Re: Question on John 8:32

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Tue Oct 26 1999 - 08:27:07 EDT

<x-flowed>To: Robert W Meyers,

RWM: << Dr. Morris comments: This [Jn 8:32] could be read, literally, "come
to know." True freedom results from continued study of the Scriptures and
obedience to them. >>

I don't see anything in chapter 8 of John which suggests anything about
studying scriptures or obedience to them. As for the verb GNWSESQE, it is
simply a future tense. BDF (sec. 348) suggests:

<< ... the future is the only tense which expresses only a level of time
and not an 'Aktionsart' so that completed and durative action are not
distinguished. >>

And Buist M. Fanning [1990:123] writes:

<< ... the future must be taken as a non-aspectual 'tense'-category,
indicating occurrence 'subsequent' to some reference-point. >>

Also, the translation "come to know" doesn't seem to me to suggest anything
different from the simple "know" in this circumstance.

RWM: << Thus, the Lord is not saying that one continuing in His Word
already is free from sin; but rather this continuance in His Word will
result in a continuing process of becoming more and more free from sin? >>

I don't see that the Johannine Jesus is saying that at all. According to
John, the Johannine Jesus was asked what he meant by saying "you will be
made free." The Johannine Jesus answers:

"Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The
slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place
there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John
8:34b-36 NRSV).

There is no suggestion by the Johannine Jesus that emancipation is only
partial and that one becomes part-slave yet part-free. The point seems to
be very clear, if the "Son" makes you free, then you will no longer be a
slave. The notion of a partial emancipation would seem to be foreign to the

And as for the (supposed) parallels you listed (i.e., 1 Peter 2:2; Rom
6:2,7), it is not clear to me that the author of John had ever read either
1 Peter or Romans, or that either of these works were a direct influence
upon the gospel of John.

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"There are no ultimate sources of knowledge. Every source, every suggestion
is welcome; and every source, every suggestion, is open to critical
examination" (Karl Popper, "Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of
Scientific Knowledge," 1963:27).

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