Tag Archives: Gospel of John

A Look at The Pericope Adulterae from John 7:53-8:11

christ-and-the-adulteress

I was quite troubled the first time I heard someone say, years ago at this point, that the story about Jesus and the woman caught in adultery was not inspired Scripture, and thus didn’t belong in the Bible. Of course it troubled me, but I did nothing about trying to understand why this story was in my Bible (though in brackets). Back in March 2011 Piper did a sermon on this passage (Neither Do I Condemn You), usually called in scholastic writings, The Pericope Adulterae, where the explanation started to make a little more sense.

A few weeks ago I finally got around to doing my own research on the topic, and my basic overall conclusion is listed below. To see the entire argument if you so desire just go to my Writing Section or click here for the PDF called The Pericope Adulterae: An Exegetical Examination of the Canonicity and Meaning of John 7:53-8:11.

Even though this account of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery most likely did not appear in the original writings of John’s Gospel, it does not affect any significant doctrine within the whole of Scripture.  Some teachers may wish to exclude this section from reproof because of these issues, but whether a modern day pastor or teacher chooses to include or exclude the pericope, the wisdom of Jesus can be found in other areas of Scripture to support the statements within this passage.  As such, many applications of forgiveness, judgmental attitudes, and repentance can be gleened from the pericope, much in the same way the Didascalia Apostolorum used the story to “bring repentant sinners back into the congregation.”[1]

Issues such as judgmentalism and sin on a large scale can destroy communities and nations, and on a smaller scale, can destroy “marriages, families, and churches.”[2]  We have almost countless opportunities in our post-modern culture to extend grace, especially when it comes to our marriages, families, and our churches.  How many congregations have split because of a spirit among members who are quick to judge, and slow to extend grace?  The pericope adulterae, a floating, somewhat “homeless passage,” which probably needs some grace extended to it as well, provides an additional opportunity to reiterate teachings found in many other parts of the New Testament.[3]  It may not be an original part of John’s gospel, but this story “points us to the message of the whole New Testament.”[4]  Ultimately the pericopepoints us to Jesus, who not only gives us grace beyond what we deserve, grace is given by the only One who, without sin, can actually cast the first stone, but does not.


[1] Michael W. Holmes, ed., The Apostolic Fathers in English, 3rd Edition, ed. Michael W. Holmes (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 304-305. This edition was translated and edited by Michael W. Holmes after the earlier version by J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer.

[2] Roberta C. Bondi, To Pray and to Love: Conversations on Prayer with the Early Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1991), 109.

[3] Frances Taylor Gench, “John 7:53-8:11,” Interpretation (Academic OneFile) 63, no. 4 (October 2009): 400.

[4] John Piper, “Neither Do I Condemn You”.

I AM Lenten Reader, Bread of Life :: Lent Day 5

Today our reading comes from the common book of prayer. In case you are wondering why I am on day 5 and the reader is on day 6, I am just going by the traditional “40 days” of Lent, which does not include the Sunday’s of Lent. I did it this way because there is no reading for the day on that day, it’s in the service and I’m also not posting a blog post.

Day 5 :: Friday, March 14, 2011, Bread of Life

Gracious Father, Whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world:
Evermore give us this bread, that He may live in us, and we in Him;
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer)

Read John 6:1-15. In this passage, Jesus is providing for a physical necessity of the people who are following Him. Begin this week by worshiping God for His provision in your life.

Contemplation Over Day 5

It’s amazing how we look to Jesus for our physical needs when ultimately he was there for our spiritual eternity. Just a little bit farther down in John’s gospel, in John 6:26, Jesus says “I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves”, and often that is what we need from Jesus, to be fed and have our physical needs met. But once those physical needs are met, Jesus offers us so much more.

Living in the United States has given us what many in other countries do not have, a security in our daily physical needs, but it isn’t the government or an employer that provides us with those physical needs, even if we are trained by our culture today to think so. While it’s wonderful our physical needs for the most part are met, it doesn’t leave much room for God, nor do I think it gives us much of a reason to give God thanks for our daily needs.

Today I try to recognize that all of our physical and spiritual needs are fulfilled by God alone.