John 8:37 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 8:37, NIV: "I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word."

John 8:37, ESV: "I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you."

John 8:37, KJV: "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you."

John 8:37, NASB: "I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you are seeking to kill Me, because My wordhas no place in you."

John 8:37, NLT: "Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there's no room in your hearts for my message."

John 8:37, CSB: "I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you."

What does John 8:37 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In response to Jesus' claims of spiritual truth, His critics have professed to be children of Abraham. At this point, they still misunderstand the way in which Jesus refers to God as His "father." Their confusion lies in assuming that, as descendants of Abraham, they are part of the "house" of God. Jesus' comments over the last few verses dispute that assumption. His analogy highlights the difference between a household servant and the master's son. One is not a permanent part of the family, while the other is guaranteed a place with the master. The "true" sons of Abraham, then, are those who are spiritually the sons of God—a status only available to those who trust in Christ (Romans 2:28–29; Galatians 3:29).

Jesus is aware that the religious leaders of Jerusalem, and their followers—called "the Jews" here in the gospel of John—are the descendants of Abraham. However, they are not really part of God's family, since they don't accept the message of God. That message includes Christ (John 6:29). Since they reject Jesus, they also reject God, and cannot claim to have His truth, or His light, inside them. Jesus' challenge to their spiritual arrogance has led them, not only to reject Him, but to attempt to kill Him (John 5:18).

This leads Jesus to continue the analogy of "fatherhood," by making a brutally condemning remark. In the next verses, Jesus will suggest that the people opposing Him are following the example of their spiritual father…who is neither God nor Abraham. Rather, according to Christ, their father is the Devil (John 8:44)!