The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 72 of 210
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Chapter 8:
The first twelve verses of chapter 8: are missing in the N.I.V., R.S.V. and N.E.B.
as they are not found in some of the earliest manuscripts. As this involves the Greek
texts, we give the comments of Professor F. F. Bruce. He writes:
"These twelve verses are missing from a wide variety of early Greek manuscripts from
the earliest forms of the Syriac and Coptic Gospels, from several Armenian, Old
Georgian and Old Latin manuscripts, and from the Gothic Bible. They constitute, in fact,
a fragment of the authentic gospel material not originally included in any of the four
Gospels. Its preservation (for which we should be thankful) is due to the fact that it was
inserted at what seemed to be a not inappropriate place in the Gospel of John or Luke.
Among the manuscripts of John which include it, the majority place it between 7:52 and
8:12; others place it after 7:36, after 7:44, or after 21:25. One family of manuscripts
(family 13) places it after 21:38. Many of the witnesses which do contain it mark it with
asterisks or daggers, to indicate the uncertainty of its textual attestation. In style it has
closer affinities with the Synoptic Gospels than with John. One reason for its being
placed in this context in John may have been the idea that it served as an illustration of
Jesus' words in 8:15, `I judge no-one' (Appendix, The Gospel of John)."
Those who possess The Companion Bible, should read the comments on this passage.
The reader will note the various places in which this section occurs and also that some
manuscripts put it in Luke, but, as Professor Bruce says, it is authentic gospel material for
which we should be thankful, and we need have no doubts as to its truth. We give it in
the translation of J. N. Darby:
"And early in the morning He came again into the Temple, and all the people came to
Him; and He sat down and taught them. And the Scribes and Pharisees bring (to Him) a
woman taken in adultery, and having set her in the midst, they say to Him, `Teacher, this
woman has been taken in the very act, committing adultery. Now in the law Moses has
commanded us to stone such: Thou, therefore, what sayest Thou?'. But this they said
proving Him, that they might have (something) to accuse Him (of)" (8: 2-6).
As the last words show, those critics were not primarily concerned with the offence,
but rather they introduced it to trip Christ up if possible. In any case, where was the
guilty partner? Why was he allowed to escape? It appears that the old law was not
rigorously applied in the first century. But in some parts of the East it is still upheld
What is your opinion? the Scribes and Pharisees asked the Lord, hoping that He might
rule differently from Moses and so become a breaker of the law. Again we see Christ's
matchless wisdom in the way He dealt with the situation:
"But Jesus, having stooped down, wrote with His finger on the ground. But when
they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said to them, `Let him who is
without sin among you first cast the stone at her'. And again stooping down He wrote on
the ground" (8: 7, 8).
This is the only mention of writing by the Lord. The question was like the one dealing
with the tribute money; whichever way He answered, He could be caught on the horns of
a dilemma. What was it He wrote on the ground? Many have been the guesses. It has