Out of CONTEXT Verse: John 8:32

One of the most quoted verses in Christianity today is John 8:32:

The truth will set you free.

This verse is often thrown around when someone wants to inform another person of some “truth” that they otherwise were unaware of.  But what is this verse really saying?  To understand it, we must look at this verse IN CONTEXT.

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.” – John 8:31-38

So, what Jesus is REALLY saying is not some simple declaration that a mental ascent to an ambiguous concept called “truth” is going to set one free. Instead, He’s saying that abiding in His Word – obeying and honoring it to the point of becoming LIKE HIM (which is the really meaning of discipleship) – will be evidenced in turning away from sin, and will result in true freedom.


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