John 8

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

← John 7   John 9 →

1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

13 The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.

15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.

16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.

18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

19 Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.

20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.

22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.

23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.

24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.

26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.

27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.

28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham.

40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?

47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.

50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:

55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

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

58 Jesus said unto them, Verily,verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

← John 7   John 9 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 20, 264, 290, 1362, 1573, 1607, 1839, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 3, 6, 23, 167, 336, 350, 413, ...

A Brief Exposition of New Church Doctrine 98

Conjugial Love 79, 500

Divine Providence 145

The Lord 3, 9, 14, 20, 27, 30, 31, ...

Sacred Scripture 51

Heaven and Hell 84, 129

Interaction of the Soul and Body 6

True Christian Religion 92, 98, 104, 106, 107, 109, 188, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 142, 296


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 15, 27, 97, 122, 186, 195, 200, ...

On the Athanasian Creed 81, 111

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 49, 54

De Domino 44

De Verbo (The Word) 17

Divine Wisdom 1

Marriage 92, 98, 104, 106, 107, 109

Scriptural Confirmations 2, 14

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 3:4, 5, 13

Exodus 6:7, 17:4, 21:2

Leviticus 20:10

Deuteronomy 5:6, 22:22, 32:47

Judges 15:11

2 Samuel 22:29

2 Kings 5:25

Nehemiah 9:36

Psalms 27:1

Proverbs 8:8

Isaiah 26:13, 42:6, 49:5, 6, 50:4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 57:3, 60:1, 63:16

Jeremiah 6:10, 17:13

Ezekiel 33:9

Micah 5:1, 3

Zechariah 1:5

Malachi 6

Word/Phrase Explanations

mount
'Mount Olivet' signifies the celestial church, or celestial good, which comes from love towards the Lord, and divine love.

Olives
'Olives' signify good.

early
Since the sun represents the Lord, the early morning and sunrise represent a state of enlightenment, with a new and clear understanding coming after a...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

the temple
'Solomon's temple' represents heaven and the church.

temple
'The Tabernacle of God,' as in Revelation 21:3, signifies the celestial church. In a universal sense, it signifies the celestial kingdom of the Lord, and...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

down
"Down" is used many different ways in natural language, and its spiritual meaning in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Phrases like "bowing down,"...

Scribes
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:17, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

Pharisees
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

Woman
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

midst
The "midst" of something in the Bible represents the thing that is most central and most important to the spiritual state being described, the motivation...

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

sayest
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

accuse
To “accuse” in the Bible represents a sort of spiritual accusation: It’s an attack aimed not at a person, but at the spiritual ideas represented...

wrote
In John 8:2-11, the Lord wrote twice on the ground, when the woman taken in adultery was brought to him, which signifies the condemnation of...

ground
Is there any difference in meaning between “earth” and “ground”? At first it doesn’t seem so; both refer to the soil making up the land...

asking
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

sin
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

stone
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

beginning
In the Word, "beginning" doesn't just mean the beginning of something in time. In the inner sense, it means the initial phase of a spiritual...

Last
'The first and the last' signifies that the Lord is the only God.

alone
To be alone in the Bible represents being free of evil and false influences. That's why the Lord seeks solitude to pray, and why the...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

bear
Like many verbs, the spiritual meaning of "bearing" something depends greatly on context – what it is that's being borne, and why. It is further...

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

Tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

judge
It’s easy to see the connection between judging and truth. In a court of law, the judge’s whole purpose is to find the truth. In...

flesh
Flesh has several meanings just in its most obvious form. It can mean all living creatures as when the Lord talks about the flood "destroying...

Judgment
Judgement' pertains to the Lord's divine human and holy proceeding. Judgment' has two sides, a principle of good, and a principle of truth. The faithful...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

written
If knowing what’s right were the same as doing what’s right, we would all be thin, healthy, hard-working, law-abiding, faithful to our spouses and free...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

men
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

Words
'Words,' as in Exodus 34:28, signify everything pertaining to doctrine.

hands
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

hour
The Writings tell us that time and space are aspects of the physical world, but do not exist as we know them in the spiritual...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

die
Death in the Bible represents spiritual death, or the destruction of everything that is good and all true beliefs in someone. This happens when people...

sins
'Bound up transgressions,' as in Lamentations 1:14, stands for falsities coming up towards interior or rational things.

jews
It would be simple to think that when the Bible mentions "Jews" it is simply talking about the descendants of the tribe of Judah, the...

kill
The Lord is love itself, and that love is the ultimate source of all energy and thus of all life. It follows, then, that the...

beneath
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

many
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

son of man
The Lord, in some places, calls Himself 'the son of God,' at other times, 'the son of man (ἄνθρωπος).' This is always according to the...

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

believed
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

Word
'Word,' as in Psalms 119:6-17, stands for doctrine in general. 'The Word,' as in Psalms 147:18, signifies divine good united with divine truth. 'Word,' as...

disciples
When we read the Gospels and see Jesus addressing the disciples, we assume His words are meant for us as well. And indeed they are!...

the truth
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Works
Works, emeralds, purple broidered work, fine linen, coral, and agate, (Ezek. 27:16), signify knowledges of good.

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

born
In a general sense, being "born" in the Bible represents one spiritual state producing another, usually some form of love or affection producing or "giving...

Fornication
The fornication of Babylon with the kings of the earth, as in Revelation 18:3, signifies the falsification of the truth of the church.

love
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

the devil
In the Word, 'Satan' 'the devil,' and 'the prince of the world,' signify hell.

lie
When people lie or speak falsely in the Bible, It represents what Swedenborg calls "falsity of faith" and the resulting "evil of faith." This is...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

the
The fourscore men who came from Schechem, Shiloh, and Samaria, as in Jeremiah 41:5, represented the profanations of good and truth.

Well
'A well,' as in Numbers 21:17-18, signifies the Word of the ancient church. 'A well,' or 'pit,' as in Luke 14:5, signifies falsity and the...

Samaritan
'The Samaritans,' in Luke 10, means the Gentiles in charity towards their neighbors. 'The Samaritans' signify the Gentiles or nations which would receive doctrine from...

Glory
Glory, wisdom, and thanksgiving signify the Lord's divine spiritual principle. Honor, virtue and might signify his divine celestial principle, as in Revelation 7:12.

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

prophets
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

taste
Our five senses correspond to spiritual affections, or the attraction we feel toward spiritual things. The sense of taste, according to the Writings, corresponds to...

rejoiced
Feelings of joy and rejoicing flow from our affections, not from our thoughts. Some people might argue that that's not true, that you can rejoice...

Glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

fifty
God rested on the seventh day of creation. That represents a state of holiness and tranquility that was preserved in the form of the sabbath....

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Discipleship at Easter
The final events in Jesus' life unfolded quickly. The disciples responded to the changes in different ways. The twelve disciples picture qualities in us that follow the Lord. How do we respond when our faith is challenged?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Disciples of the Lord Bookmarks
Here are bookmarks that you can print, cut out, and use to help you remember some of the keys to becoming a disciple of the Lord.
Project | Ages over 7

 Follow Me
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Go and Sin No More
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 How the Word Enlightens
The Lord wants to help everyone see spiritual things more clearly but the quality and extent of an individual’s enlightenment depends on his or her own spiritual development. Enlightenment is affected by the questions we ask the Lord and the reasons we are seeking answers.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 I Am the Light of the World
Start out sitting in darkness and light candles one by one as you read (or repeat) a quote from the Word. The room will grow brighter and brighter with the sharing of each quote.
Activity | Ages over 11

 I Am: The Lord’s Divine Presence with Us
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Jesus Predicts His Departure
Jesus said, "I AM the light of the world." When is He the light of our world--when He teaches true ideas, or when we act on them?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Light of the World
Use light colored crayons or pastels on dark paper to illustrate light in the darkness.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Disciples of the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Providence and Evil
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Overview of Sunday School Projects and Activities to accompany the Journey program Practicing Forgiveness
Overview of a book of Activities and Projects to accompany the Journey program Practicing Forgiveness. Includes activities for five stories on forgiveness for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Prayers for Adults: Being Disciples of the Lord
Activity | Ages over 18

 Prayers for Teens: Being Disciples of the Lord
Activity | Ages 15 - 17

 Quotes: Disciples of the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Spiritual Freedom
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord's Names
The Lord's names reveal aspects of His qualities. We can be linked to Him through baptism in His name.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Oneness of God
Lesson and activities looking at the oneness of God and the way his many names help us reflect on what He does for us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 The Truth Shall Make You Free
Will truth make us free whether or not we are following the Lord?
Activity | Ages over 15

 The Woman Taken in Adultery
A woman accused of committing adultery was brought to Jesus by a mob armed with stones and threatening her life. When do we arm ourselves with true ideas from the Word of God with the intention of using them to judge others?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 The Word of the Lord
Lesson and activities looking at how the Word can helps us and the angels in heaven.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 Tolerance and Judgment
Loving the neighbor is intending and doing good to all, but wisely loving others takes a variety of forms depending on others' actions.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 True Freedom
"It is the freedom to enjoy such things - the freedom to love the Lord above all, the freedom to love the truth of His Word, and the freedom to love the good in our fellow human beings - it is this which is freedom itself."
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Wings of Truth
Lesson and activities exploring how truth can uplift, protect, and free us.
Religion Lesson | Ages over 15

 You Shall Not Bear False Witness
Worship Talk | Ages over 18


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