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I am struggling to understand John 8 in the bible. Can you help me?


Thanks for your question about John 8 and its meaning.

Firstly I would like to encourage you to study this in the context of a local Church. Do you know people in a Church who you can discuss this with? I'm sure that they will help you by explaining the things you do not understand. If you do not attend a local bible believing church, there is a link at the end of this answer that may help you. 

Secondly I would also like to encourage you to read it in the context of the whole book of John. If we just read parts of a book out of context they can sometimes make little sense. Imagine just reading a chapter from the middle of The Lord of the Rings... it would not probably make much sense at all. When we read the Bible it is important to read it with other believers and also in light of the whole passage/book/Bible. John wrote down just a few examples from Jesus life so that we can learn from them:

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25)

Below are some of my own thoughts and understandings about John 8. If I were to write a much more detailed understanding it could take weeks of study. Each few verses from John 8 could easily be written into an hour long sermon. Therefore I also want to encourage you to read decent commentaries about it and discuss it with others around you. If you have a theological college close to you, ask if you can use their library. Books can also be bought or viewed online. You can also buy very cheap bible study guides for a few pounds.

John wrote this about his own book:

The Purpose of This Book
 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31)

With this in mind, in John 8 we see many different aspects of Jesus life:

Firstly he saves the woman from being stoned to death (verses 1-11) and reveals the sin in everyone's hearts; He tells the crowd that everyone has sinned. Also, Jesus does not condemn her, but forgives her and tells her to go and sin no more. 

Secondly Jesus says He is the light of the world (verse 12). This is an amazing name given to Jesus. He is pure and light, He is truth, He has come from the Father in heaven (verse 19) and He is going to die for the sinful people (verse 24):

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins (John 8:21-24)

Jesus was without sin and did nothing wrong against God. (verse 29)

He then calls his people to follow his commands (verses 31-38). Sadly some of the people are not following God's word (verse 39-47) and Jesus says that they are not walking with God but with the devil. These people then accuse Jesus of having a demon (John 8:48-57).

Jesus finished by saying that "before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). This causes the Jews to want to kill Jesus. This is because he is claiming to be God. In the Old Testament God said that his name is I am (Exodus 3:14). Jesus also says this in John when the soldiers come to arrest him, and they fall to the ground. This is another powerful name Jesus has:
When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6).

Remember the purpose of John is: written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. In John 8 we see how Jesus forgives sin. Jesus is fully God and He died in our place to forgive us. Do you believe this? Call out to Jesus for forgiveness and turn away from you sin.

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site:

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at

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