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Bible Commentaries
John 8

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


Then everyone went home. [This section about the Woman Caught in Adultery is omitted by most ancient manuscripts, and some that contain it place it in chapter 21. However, it is in both the Old Latin and the Vulgate; and is accepted as authentic] After the conversation with the Jewish Authorities in chapter 7. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. He often spent the night there.

Verses 2-3


Brought in a woman. They expect to trap him and make him incriminate himself. [This is like the question of paying taxes, Matthew 22:17.]

Verses 4-5


Teacher. They call him this, but they do not mean it. This woman was caught in the very act. These men were acting as private individuals, and came to Jesus claiming to be so shocked by this woman’s conduct, that they wanted to revive the long-abandoned practice of death by stoning.

Verse 6


They said this to trap him. With cold-blooded impudence, they actually use her guilt to try to destroy Jesus. But Jesus bent over and wrote. As though he understood what they were trying to do, but would not accept their question. [This is the only time Jesus is described as writing.]

Verse 7


As they stood there. Do they think he is embarrassed? Do they think he has no answer? As they see him tracing figures on the ground, they “close in” for the kill, but Jesus is only giving them “enough rope to hang themselves!” Whichever one of you has committed no sin. What hope is there for the world, when the religious and righteous become even more detestable than the sin they intend to punish! There must be more to this than we are told. He does not declare the woman either guilty or innocent, but with a few words, it is the men on trial here, and not the woman. [Some think Jesus wrote words on the ground, which showed the men he knew their hidden secrets. But we are not told this. Perhaps 2 Peter 2:14 describes their character. It could be they have used this woman themselves.]

Verse 8


Then he bent over again. By this, he dismisses them.

Verse 9


When they heard this, they all left. They do not argue with Jesus, because they cannot! They said too much about the woman’s guilt, and they know it was they themselves who tried to evade the Law. Compare this with John 8:46.

Verse 10


Is there no one left to condemn you? The “case” is withdrawn. No one is left to prove her guilty. [Compare Romans 8:33-35.]

Verse 11


I do not condemn you either. Jesus gives her “grace.” Even though she is guilty, he does not condemn her, but sets her free! Go, but do not sin again. One who is forgiven, must give up sin! He gives mercy, but does not overlook sin.

Verse 12


I am the light of the world. See notes on Matthew 5:14; John 1:7-10.

Verses 13-14


What I say is true. The Pharisees argued against this. If someone claimed to be from God, his own claim proved nothing. But Jesus did speak the truth, because he was the Truth! And there was other evidence which proved his claim (John 8:18).

Verse 15


You make Judgments. They judged by purely human standards. I pass Judgment on no one. Jesus knows the complete truth about himself. Also, he allows the lives and consciences of men to show just what they are.

*The most reliable early MSS omit John 7:53 to John 8:11.

Verse 16


But if I were to pass judgment. He came to be the world’s Savior (John 3:17). But he is qualified to “judge,” since he uses the Father’s rules to measure by.

Verse 17


It is written in your law. Notice he does not say, “our Law.” The Law required two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).

Verse 18


And the Father who sent me. Here were the two witnesses. The Father gave his testimony by: the prophets; the mighty works that Jesus did; the Voice at Jesus’ baptism; John the Baptist.

Verse 19


Where is your father? They challenge him to produce this unseen witness. They thought in terms of a human father (John 8:27). You know neither me nor my Father. Those who reject Christ show that they are ignorant of the Father. If they believed in Jesus as the Messiah, they would have known who his Father was. See John 14:6-10.

Verse 20


As he taught in the temple. In the Women’s Court. See notes on Mark 12:41-44. This was near where the Council met, but they did not arrest him.

Verse 21


You cannot go where I am going. Jesus will return to the Father, but they will be unable to follow, because they will die in their sins through unbelief. Compare John 7:33-36.

Verse 22


That he will kill himself? They are making fun of him. The Jews believed the darkest area of the “world of the dead” was reserved for suicides.

Verses 23-24


But I come from above. Jesus had showed their sins to be the basis of separation, but they believed they could go anywhere he could go, unless he went to some place for self-murder. In response to this, Jesus tells them he is from heaven, and will return there after his death. They are part of this world that is taking men to their death (Romans 7:24), and can only escape by believing in him! I AM WHO I AM. They would understand by this that Jesus is claiming to be God. This is the language of Exodus 3:14 [The Septuagint has HO ON. ON is nom. sing. masc. part. pres. EIMI. Jesus says he is EGO EIMI, which identifies him as HO ON. ]

Verse 25


Who are you? This is not a question, but a challenge! Jesus answers it by referring them to what he has already said.

Verses 26-27


They did not understand. Their minds were so filled with this world, that they had no interest in spiritual things. They would not believe that their God was his Father.

Verse 28


When you lift up the Son of Man. Lifting him up on the Cross would break down unbelief. Many things would happen to show that he was the Son of God. Fifty days after his raising from death, three thousand would be convinced and obey the Truth (Acts 2:36-39). I AM WHO I AM. See note on John 8:24,

Verse 29


He has not left me alone. The Father was with him and in him. He was [and is] “the brightness of God’s glory.”

Verse 30


Many who heard Jesus. That he was a teacher sent from God.

Verse 31


If you obey my teaching. Following Jesus is an “either/or” proposition. The test of being a disciple of Jesus, is in obeying his teaching. “The Jews” would include some of the Jewish authorities, and they did believe he was a teacher sent from God. Yet as he teaches them further about the fact that he is the Messiah, they fail the test (John 8:59).

Verse 32


And the truth will make you free. The truth is that God has acted in history through Jesus Christ. Those who believe this will reach out through faith to seize the sacrifice of Christ and make themselves part of it. But faith is built on truth, and without truth, there can be no faith. God’s truth frees us from sin and death.

Verse 33


We are the descendants of Abraham. Their faith was in their ancestor, not in God. See note on Matthew 3:9. We have never been anybody’s slaves. The Jews had been held as slaves over six hundred years to Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome.

Verse 34


Everyone who sins is a slave of sin. Christ does not argue with them, but states a fact. The one who makes a HABIT of sin is a slave to Satan. [See Romans 7:9-24.]

Verse 35


But a son belongs there forever. A slave has no legal claim on the family. The son is a permanent member of the family. The Jews, as slaves of sin, would soon be turned out of the Lord’s household. Matthew 23:37-39.

Verse 36


If the Son makes you free. See Galatians 4:19-31.

Verse 37


I know you are Abraham’s descendants. He implies they did not have the same attitude that Abraham had. Since they were Abraham’s descendants, they should have acted as he did, and believed God.

Verse 38


I talk about. He was the Father’s Son! In “spirit,” they followed the Devil as their father.

Verses 39-40


If you really were Abraham’s children. The things which they did, disproved their claim to be the children of Abraham. The true “blood-line” is spiritual (Galatians 3:26-29).

Verse 41


You are only doing what your father did. They were spiritually the Devil’s children. We are his true sons. They claim to be true sons of the living God. [Some versions translate this: “We were not born of fornication. “ This is misleading, because it sounds to us like an insult. It is rather their claim to be legitimate children of God.]

Verse 42


If God really were your father. The fact they hated the Son proved they were not God’s children. Jesus bears down hard on them, because he wishes to save them from God’s wrath. It isn’t “make believe,” but a very serious matter! Only Jesus CAN save them (Acts 4:12).

Verse 43


Why do you not understand what I say? Minds filled with ideas from the Devil, find it hard to understand the ideas from God, no matter how plainly they are expressed.

Verse 44


You are the children. By their hate and their desire to kill Jesus (John 7:25), they show they are spiritual children of the Devil. From the very beginning he was a murderer. He was once “in truth,” but rebelled (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). He “murdered” the human race, by introducing SIN into the world (Genesis 3:0). Those who are trying to kill Jesus, have this same “spirit.”

Verse 45


I tell the truth. If he told them a lie, they would believe it, because they hate the truth. Compare John 5:43.

Verse 46


Which one of you can prove? Compare notes on John 8:7-9. He points to his sinless life as proof there is nothing false in his words. They all knew he was a “holy man” (John 3:2).

Verse 47


You, however, are not from God. See notes on John 3:19-21.

Verse 48


Were we not right? This is an insult! Samaritans were hated (see notes on John 4:5-9). Demon (see notes on Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:29-32).

Verse 49


I honor my Father. He ignores the charge he is a Samaritan. He shows he could not have a demon, because he honors the Father. They dishonored him by their charges. Compare notes on Matthew 12:24-34.

Verse 50


I am not seeking honor for myself. He was not sent to honor himself, but to do what God wanted him to do. He does not need to defend himself (John 5:32).

Verse 51


Will never die. The real death is spiritual death. Death of the body is not “real,” in the sense that it is a door that leads to the Eternal World, where the believer finds the “Feast in Heaven.” Notice it is WHOEVER – Jew or Gentile – obeys Christ’s message.

Verses 52-53


Now we know for sure. They think this is proof of their charge against him. God had given his word to Abraham and the prophets, yet they had all died. How can Jesus claim his words will prevent death??? Compare John 4:12.

Verse 54


The one who honors me is my Father. They had just asked: “Who do you think you are?” The Father will answer this by raising Jesus from death. This is the real proof, and the basis for our hope (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Verse 55


You have never known him. “This very one you say is your God.” They should have “known” God from the Scriptures, but they did not. Jesus KNEW God personally!

Verse 56


Your father Abraham. God made the promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Galatians 3:16). By faith, he looked forward to Gods act in Christ to set men free. My day. This refers to the First Coming of Christ to be the world’s Savior. See John 3:16; John 3:25-27, and notes there.

Verse 57


You are not even fifty years old? Fifty years old was the “prime of life,” and anyone under that was “young” (1 Timothy 4:12; Timothy was about thirty-five). They know it has been 2,000 years since Abraham was alive, and ask how he could have seen him.

Verse 58


Before Abraham was born, ‘I AM.’ This is an official declaration. “I Was” would have shown priority, “I AM” shows timeless existence! This identifies him with the “I AM” of the Old Testament. See notes on John 8:24.

Verse 59


They picked up stones to throw at him. To them, what he just said was blasphemy. It would have been – if he was only human. But he was the Logos (John 1:1-3)! He hid himself, because it was not yet the right time for him to die. His death would be to fulfill God’s purpose (Luke 9:31).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 8". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/john-8.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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