John 8:57 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 8:57, NIV: "You are not yet fifty years old,' they said to him, 'and you have seen Abraham!'"

John 8:57, ESV: "So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”"

John 8:57, KJV: "Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?"

John 8:57, NASB: "So the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?'"

John 8:57, NLT: "The people said, 'You aren't even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?'"

John 8:57, CSB: "The Jews replied, "You aren't fifty years old yet, and you've seen Abraham? ""

What does John 8:57 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A common theme in Jesus' interaction with His critics was that of misunderstanding. More often than not, Jesus' words were interpreted in an overly literal, physical sense. In fact, most of what Jesus taught was meant to be understood in a spiritual sense. The problem, of course, was not that His critics lacked intelligence or education (Matthew 16:1; 19:3; Matthew 22:35; Luke 10:25; 11:54). On the contrary, they had all of the evidence they could possibly need. This included Scripture (John 5:39–40) and miracles (John 5:36). Their refusal to accept Christ was just that—refusal—which is what caused their mistakes. In other words, they did not understand because they refused to obey. Their hatred for the truth made it impossible for them to grasp Jesus' message (John 7:17; John 8:43).

In the prior verse, Jesus referred to Abraham, noting that even he looked forward to the coming of a Promised One. That person, according to Scripture and evidence, is Jesus Himself. But the remark made by Jesus implies the same idea He spoke of in verse 55: that His knowledge is personal, direct, and innate. This leads to another misunderstanding, delivered with palpable sarcasm: "Abraham has been dead for thousands of years, how can you claim to have seen him?" The answer Jesus gives will not only summarize His teaching, it will outrage His critics to the point of another physical attack.