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John 8:27

ESV They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.
NIV They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.
NASB They did not realize that He was speaking to them about the Father.
CSB They did not know he was speaking to them about the Father.
NLT But they still didn’t understand that he was talking about his Father.
KJV They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

What does John 8:27 mean?

This verse helps explain at least some of the Pharisee's reactions. The men debating with Jesus are not interpreting His words with an understanding that He is the Promised One. Nor do they understand that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Knowing this clarifies both their resistance, and some of the questions and challenges they are posing. When Jesus speaks of His "Father," their minds jump immediately to an earthly, biological father. For them, it is confusing to hear Jesus speak of God, and then use the term "father," in this debate.

However, simple misunderstanding is not the root cause of their disagreement. This is not unintentional ignorance—this is purposeful, stubborn refusal to see the truth. As Jesus has said before, only those who want to do the will of God can truly understand His words (John 7:17). This means, simply, that a person's intentions are more powerful than someone else's evidence. The Pharisees do not want to know Jesus, and that is why they cannot understand His message.
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