What does John 8:27 mean?
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.
NKJV: They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
John 8:12–30 includes the second of Jesus' seven ''I AM'' statements, as recorded in the gospel of John. Jesus' reference to light was probably playing off of a ritual performed during the Feast of Booths, where lamps would be lit using wicks made from the robes of priests. This continues the dialogue of chapter 7, picking up where John 7:52 left off. The exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees will escalate, in part showing that Jesus was not afraid to directly castigate those who misled the people.
Chapter Summary:
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus' preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ''I AM'' statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus' opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
Chapter Context:
Jesus is attending the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, and has once again come into conflict with the local religious authorities. In the previous chapter, Jesus referred to Himself as a source of living water, playing off of the festivals' ritual pouring of water in the temple. In this chapter, Jesus will use the imagery of lights, also related to festival traditions. This chapter demonstrates Jesus' willingness to be direct, even aggressive, with His critics. The next few chapters will complete Jesus' public ministry, as He prepares for His impending death.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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