Caught in Adultery
The next day Jesus went to the temple. The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman to Him who had been caught in adultery, making her stand in front of everyone. What did Jesus say?
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1-2. [From 7:53-8:11] “This section dealing with the adulteress most likely was not a part of the original contents of John.” (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. [Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005], 1383)
“Is the story of the woman taken in adultery a part of Scripture? If it is where does it belong in the gospel record? John 7:53—8:11 is not found in some of the ancient manuscripts; where it is found, it is not always in this location in John’s gospel.” (Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. [Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004], 319)
“John 7:53-8:11 records the beautiful story of a woman caught in adultery that illustrates the central dilemma of salvation: how justice and mercy can be harmonized without encouraging sin or condemning sinners.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
“Early in the morning, He came back into Jerusalem, went back to the temple, and sat down to teach.” (McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983], 414)
3-4. “The religious rulers bring her right into the midst of the group that the Lord Jesus is teaching! They fling her down on the ground there and make their crude charge. ‘This woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.’” (McGee, 415)
“Where was the man? The very fact that they did not produce the man also makes it apparent that they were not interested in enforcing the Law.” (McGee, 415)
Leviticus 20:10 tells us that both the man and woman must be put to death.
5. “They are right about the Law of Moses; there is no way of toning it down. She should be stoned. They are putting Him on the horns of a dilemma. Will He contradict Moses? Will He say something else, offer some other explanation?” (McGee, 415)
6a. “If Jesus rejected the Law of Moses (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22), His credibility would be gone. If He held to Mosaic law, His reputation for compassion and forgiveness would have been questioned.” (MacArthur, 1383)
“The bringing of the woman to Jesus was obviously an attempt at entrapment (8:6a) …The story has all the features of a set-up where only the poor woman is presented (not her partner) and the parameters are defined in such a way that mercy and justice are made to be opposing principles.” (Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. [Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002], 373)
Writing in Ground
6b. “Instead of falling into the trap of answering them, Jesus stooped down and used his finger to write or draw on the ground.” (Borchert, 374)
It is not known what Jesus wrote in the ground. Speculation is that He wrote sins of the accusers on the ground. But it is all speculation.
“The first writing or drawing (8:6b) of Jesus apparently did not have the desired effect because the text says that the accusers persisted in their statements. So Jesus arose and firmly announced his verdict. It was hardly what they expected, but it was potent.” (Borchert 374)
7. “The one who was sinless, he said, could throw the first stone. According to the Torah (Deuteronomy 17:7), the actual witnesses were responsible for casting the first stones. But Jesus went beyond the usual interpretation of that prescription and demanded of the accusing witnesses that they themselves not be in breach of God-given precepts, namely, that they be without sin.” (Borchert, 374)
8. Then he wrote in the ground again.
9. “The departure of the most revered first quickly depleted the authority of the accusing group. The junior members were going to be left out on a limb.” (Borchert, 375)
10. Jesus “is placing His cross between that woman and her sin. This One who is the Son of the virgin, who Himself was under a cloud all of His life, is going to the cross to pay the penalty of even the sin of this woman.” (McGee, 416)
“Jesus asked a rhetorical question and the woman answered it simply. Forgiveness rests upon the Lord’s understanding. In this vignette we find recognition, repentance, regeneration, restitution, and reconciliation.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
“Jesus offers forgiveness today to sinners whose sins equal that of the woman or those of the Pharisees. And not only forgiveness for initial salvation but also for daily sins of anger, disobedience, envy, greed, and the judgmental character shown by the Pharisees which gave birth to this episode.” [Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]
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Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
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New King James Version (NKJV)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In this article Scripture quotations taken from KJV.
Borchert, Gerald L., The New American Commentary Volume 25A, John 1-11. Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002
Max Anders and Kenneth O. Gangel (2012). HNTC Vol. 04: John. B&H Publishing Group. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible: Volume IV: Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983
MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary. Nashville, Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005
Wiersbe, Warren W, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament Volume 1 Matthew-Galatians. Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2004