Revelation 3:20

Read Introduction to Revelation


“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."


Behold, I stand at the door and knock
Jesus presents Himself as standing outside a house and knocking on the door. When Jesus approaches this house, He finds the door shut. He takes the initiative to break down the barrier to fellowship. His "knock" is His initiative to break that barrier. 
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door
Jesus invites us into fellowship with Him not only with His hand by knocking but with His voice. Jesus appeals to those inside the house by His knock. It is their responsibility to open the door. Jesus cannot fellowship with those inside the house unless they invite Him in. 
The "if" in the Greek indicates that Jesus is waiting on our choice. He will not compel fellowship by force. He will not break down the door of your heart to have fellowship with you. 
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me
Jesus argues in the previous verse that He disciplines the Laodicean Christians because He loves them. He speaks to Christians who grew lukewarm in their ardor for fellowship with Him. Now He states that He wants fellowship with them. 
The word "dine" means to eat the chief meal of the day. Here Jesus speaks of spiritual dining (1 Co 11:25). Jesus appeals here to Christians, not non-Christians. He appeals to them for intimate, prolonged fellowship. He wants to get personal with us. The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe wants fellowship with each and every Christian. Especially, this is an invitation to those who are lukewarm to come back to Him. Jesus asks carnal Christians for their fellowship. 
PRINCIPLE: Jesus will not force fellowship upon us.  
APPLICATION: If we want fellowship with the Lord Jesus, we must invite Him into our lives. We invite Him to become the center of our worship. He will not force a relationship upon us. He will not violate our will. 
Is Jesus outside the door of your church? Your church is His very own church, yet He stands outside waiting to come in. 

19 Responses to “Revelation 3:20”

  • Dr Richison: A conversation came up the other day in which the idea of Jesus “coming into your heart” was said to be unscriptural by some Christian friends.

    I have had a tough time dealing with that claim because it has always been my understanding that the verse Rev.3:20 meant that Jesus was outside knocking at the door of the heart, not some other “door”.

    When we speak of accepting Christ we often say, ” ask Him into your heart”. Things like this are important to me. My friends laugh at me for searching things out so intently but, I feel that the things of God are worthy of searching.

    Anything you can send me on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you and may God richly bless you and yours, Jan

  • Janet,

    Your friends are right for a number of reasons. 1) this passage does not speak to non-Christians but Christians. The idea is for this church to enter into deep fellowship with the Lord (the idea of “dine” means to have a full meal with). 2) A person cannot become a Christian by simply letting Jesus into their heart; they have to rest in the sacrificial death of Christ by faith for that to happen. Any invitation to receive Christ without 3 essential elements is not becoming a Christian. Those three elements are: 1) a person is separated from God by sin, 2) Jesus personally paid and suffered for that sin, 3) trust in what Jesus did engages that person with eternal life.

    Hope this helps,


  • Thank you Grant; I do realize that one must Believe in the heart, confess with the mouth to receive salvation. It was very hard to think that two of my dear friends could feel so strongly against such a kind gentle way such as asking Him to come into our heart as well. I do believe that He is a gentleman and waits patiently for us to open”the door” whatever door that may be.

    Do you know where this idea came from?

  • Janet and Grant, I have also recently been told by some Pastors and Bible teachers that the heart is not signifigant is reaching any decision. They talk more about the mind making when accepting Christ as your Saviour. I find this to be contridict the Bible in mnay ways. I did a bible study on the Mind and heart, and found that the bible does make distinct separation when talking about the two and oftens states that the change must occurr within your Heart and Mind. I think the heart needs to change, since that is where sin is concieved. Any commentary on this would be much appreciated



  • James, thanks for your blog.

    The word “heart” in Scripture does not connote what it means in English, at least it is not parallel to the English. The word “heart” means the total person: the mind, emotions, and will. A person cannot become a Christ solely by his/her emotions.

  • Interesting subject. I always thought 3:21 was for the nonChristian. I submit to your believing he is talking to Christians and for them to wake up and start supping with Him. Great discussion!

  • Gerry, Notice that all messages in chapters two and three are addressed to churches, not non-believers.

  • Thanks Grant,

    I was telling my husband about this being addresse to believers. He reluctanly agreed with me, but said he had used this same verse for the Good News Club for kids, and watched many many children come to Christ because of it.

    So if it works for conversin, why not? But you are right, it is about sleeping Christians. Blessings

  • I prefer the KJV of this text – more poetic and real than the clinical, literal versions elsewhere.
    I too also believe it regards the knocking at the heart – literally speaking you might think the door to a house, but these are supernatural Revelations, far beyond the realm of a simple door to a house.
    Lets get spiritual and personal with interpreting God's word to people - not a them and us mentality.
    love & peace to you all.

  • James, thanks for your good comment. I have one exception to your thoughts. Although I agree that it is not enough to treat the Word of God clinically, without passion and application, it is not enough to interpret the Bible spiritually. That leaves people open to subjective interpretation which reads their own thoughts into the passage. I believe we need both a careful exegetical, objective interpretation and a heart for the things of God simultaneously. Sometimes that causes division because God's truth separates those who have a heart for Him from those who do not.

  • Bradley White-Findeisen

    In researching the Greek for Rev. 3:20, it was pointed out in one source that the "I"s were incorrectly inserted and that's why they are italicized in the KJV.  If the original Greek does not include the "I"s, then the verse doesn't have Christ knocking at the door, but, rather us knocking at the door and listening for Christ's voice.  That puts an entirely different spin on things.  What do you think?

  • Bradley, all the Greek verbs of this verse are first person singular and are properly translated.

  • Amen. Revelation 3:20 Key words for interpretation. HEAR MY VOICE. Turns this from bieng a casual visit to an urgent knock. picture someone knocking and calling out to the resident. See the urgency? God bless

  • What about all the people that gave their lives to the Lord in this fashion and trully believed?Are they not saved ?


  • Diana, most of these people are probably saved because somewhere along the line they heard and believed the true way a person comes to Christ–trust in the work of Christ on the cross for eternal salvation.

  • Wonderful commentaries on this passage. I had a question pop up. If Jesus is knocking on our heart’s door does that mean there is a time He will stop if we do not let Him in? Please provide biblical evidence to support your answer.

  • Victoria, Jesus is always open to the return of the Christian to fellowship with Him. No matter what the sin or how many times the Christians may have sinned; the Lord opens His arms to the son or daughter who has gone astray. However, if there is implacable, persistent unrepentance then it is possible to commit the "sin unto death [physical death]" (1 Jn 5:16). This happened in 1 Corinthians 11 at the Lord's supper (11:30). Before a person reaches that stage the Lord disciplines or child-trains the Christian to bring him back into fellowship (He 12:5-6). 

  • As a lay man i would like to explain this, If a person is not even willing to open the door to someone who knocks, how will he give him food??? The secret behind this verse may be, The one who knocks the door comes with food, if we open the door, we will enjoy the feast. 

  • Sanghmitra, it is important to interpret Scriptures for what they say themselves. If we inject our own thoughts, it becomes a dangerous way to interpret the Bible.

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