What does John 8:30 mean?
ESV: As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
NIV: Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
NASB: As He said these things, many came to believe in Him.
CSB: As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
NLT: Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
KJV: As he spake these words, many believed on him.
NKJV: As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.
Verse Commentary:
This short phrase presents a problem for Jesus' earthly critics—in this case, the Pharisees. At the same time, it does not present especially good news for Jesus or His other followers.

Despite their claims to seek truth and to follow God's law, the local religious leaders are mostly concerned with their own power and reputation. Jesus' outrageous claims have not only caused unrest, they have led people to question their leaders. Some suspect that the Pharisees have come to believe in Christ. If not, they might assume, then these men are too weak to stop a blasphemer. Here, Jesus' words continue to convince members of the crowd that what He says is true. This adds fuel to the Pharisees' burning anger against Jesus.

And yet, the belief many of these people profess is not a saving faith. It might be an agreement, in some sense. But the hallmark of saving faith is to continue in the truth (John 8:12; 1 John 5:1–3). Many, if not most, of the people listening to Jesus in this particular moment will not maintain their support for Him in the coming days. Just as some expressed a shallow sort of "belief" after Jesus fed thousands (John 6:22–25), but then turned away when they did not like His teaching (John 6:66), the people Jesus speaks to now will, for the most part, turn their backs on Him as He continues to confront Pharisaical attitudes towards God.
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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