What does John 8:36 mean?
ESV: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
NIV: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
NASB: So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.
CSB: So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.
NLT: So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
KJV: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Verse Commentary:
John 8:36 is one of the most inspirational phrases in all of Scripture. While sin enslaves us (John 8:31–32), true freedom is found only in Christ (John 8:31–32). Sin deceives by promising freedom, when all it does is control and corrupt us. Those who don't have faith in Christ are bound by sin (Romans 6:18), and subject not only to slavery, but to spiritual death (John 3:36). Those who find Christ, the one and only source of spiritual truth (John 8:12), will be "truly" free.

The context of this comment is a discussion about Abraham and the concept of a spiritual "father." The religious leaders of Jerusalem, and their followers, are referred to as "the Jews" in this part of the gospel of John. When Jesus claimed to be doing the will of His "father," these critics responded by laying claim to their ancestry through Abraham. Christ's reply is that biological fatherhood is not as important as spiritual fatherhood. Jesus has just used the example of a household servant, who is not a permanent part of a family, in contrast to a son, who is always guaranteed access to his father (John 4:15–16). This was an analogy to the difference between those who merely know "about" God—including the spiritually obstinate Pharisees—in contrast to those who truly know God because they know Christ (John 8:31–35).

Christ is the real, promised "son" of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). So, the "real" children of Abraham are those who obey God, by accepting Christ (Galatians 3:26). This is the subtext behind the rest of Jesus' dialogue with the crowd.
Verse Context:
John 8:31–59 is a passage which dovetails with John 2:13–22, where Jesus drives corrupt businessmen from the temple. These Scriptures disprove any myths that Jesus was weak, timid, passive, or soft. In this exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus pulls no punches. Jerusalem's religious leaders, and their followers, continue to resist Jesus' preaching. They rely on arrogance and insults, to which Jesus responds with blunt, unfiltered condemnation. This culminates in Jesus making an overt statement of His own divinity, punctuating the debate by declaring ''before Abraham was, I am!''
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 gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 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”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of 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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