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John 7:53

ESV [The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.] [[They went each to his own house,
NIV Then they all went home,
NASB [[ And everyone went to his home.
CSB Then each one went to his house.
NLT Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.
KJV And every man went unto his own house.
NKJV And everyone went to his own house.

What does John 7:53 mean?

This verse is usually set off from the rest of chapter 7, as part of the story of the adulterous woman. Most scholars believe this story is an authentic, inspired, true story from the ministry of Jesus. However, those same scholars greatly doubt that it originally appeared in this exact spot in the gospel of John. Even many of the ancient manuscripts bracket this passage with special marks, indicating that it's not part of the original narrative. There are also several different places, in older copies of the Bible, where these verses are recorded. These are as diverse as earlier in chapter 7, at the end of the gospel of John, or even in the middle of Luke chapter 21.

Reading the gospel of John from verse 51 directly to John 8:12 shows a much smoother, more connected flow of thought. More than likely, the common practice of including this story in between those verses is because of similar themes: forgiveness, Christ's sinlessness, and so forth.

These questions are separate from the issue of whether or not the story is authentic. The general consensus is that this is a legitimate part of Jesus' earthly ministry, albeit one not originally recorded by John himself.
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