If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.…
I rather construe it in the indicative sense, "ye search," upon these reasons —
1. Because of what is said in the verse itself, ye think ye have eternal life in them; in which words our Saviour intendeth not so much to show what they might have in the Scriptures, for then it had been proper to have said, In them ye have eternal life, as He meaneth to touch upon the erroneous conceit of the Jews, who thought they obtained eternal life by the study of the law ex opere operato.
2. Because of the context in the verse following, which lieth fairer in this sense, Ye study the Scriptures scrutinously, and they are they that testify of Me, and yet ye will not borne unto Me — than taken thus: Search ye the Scriptures, for they testify of Me, and ye will not come to Me.Besides, consider —
1. That Christ is speaking to the doctors of the Sanhedrim, the most acute, diligent, and curious searchers of the Scripture of all the nation. Men that made that their glory and employment; and howsoever it was their arrogancy that they thought their skill in Scripture more than indeed it was, yet was their diligence and scrutinousness in it real and constant even to admiration. It was exceedingly in fashion among the nation to be great Scripture men, but especially the great masters of the Sanhedrim were reputed as the very foundations of the law and pillars of instruction, as Maimony styles them in the treatise "Mamrim," cap. 1. And therefore it cannot be proper to think that Christ in this clause sets them to the study of the Scripture, upon which they spent all their wits and time already, as confessing their studiousness, yet showeth them how unprofitably they did it and to little purpose.
2. They did exceeding copiously and accurately observe and take up the prophecies in Scripture that were of the Messias, and though they missed in expounding some particulars concerning Him, yet did they well enough know that the Scriptures did testify of Him abundantly.
3. The word that is used, ἐρευνᾶτε, which betokeneth a narrow search, seemeth to be in. tended purposely to answer the word דרשׁ, which they themselves attribute to themselves in their unfolding of the Scriptures.
(J. Lightfoot, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.