Neither Do I Condemn You
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: John’s account of the woman caught in adultery is well-known for the question it raises about biblical accuracy and the powerful statement it makes about the grace of God in Christ. Textually, the passage appears in select manuscripts and at various places in John’s Gospel but is absent from other manuscripts and seems to interrupt the flow of events between the two chapters. Thematically, however, the events described bear close correspondence to ongoing events in the life of Jesus. Jewish leaders often attempt to trap Him in His words; Jesus always sees through their motives and silences His critics with great wisdom, and Jesus frequently sides with the marginalized without compromising the Word of God. The passage thus presents themes that are consistent with our human condition and brings to light how the gospel applies to our lives today.
01. The plan of the Jewish leaders to test Jesus by treating this woman as an object lesson in orthodoxy warns us against using the sins of others to justify ourselves before Christ.
02. The plight of this woman shows us how far we may fall from God’s original design but assures us that none are too far away from God’s grace in Christ.
03. The plight of this woman reminds us that those who have not fallen into such depths of sin still need to hear the comforting words of Christ, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. Consider the question about textual variances in light of the complete truthfulness of God’s Word. What does the evidence—textual, thematical, or both—suggest to you about its reliability? What would be lost in our understanding of God and the gospel if these verses had never appeared in the Bible? Why is it important to know what the Bible precisely teaches in order to form a correct view of who God is and what He requires from us?
2. What evidence from the text points to the fact that the Pharisees and scribes had no concern for this unnamed woman? If they were so concerned about enforcing God’s law against adultery, why was the male perpetrator not present? What does this episode teach us about those who argue for correct doctrine but whose lives bear little resemblance to love for God and love for others? See James 2:14-26 for additional insight.
3. What are some suggestions people have offered about what Jesus wrote on the ground? Why do you think John includes this information without revealing what Jesus wrote?
4. Does this text condone adultery, or any other sin for that matter? How does Jesus bring holiness and mercy together in this passage? How do we fail to live out the gospel when we refuse to call sin what it really is? How do we fail to live out the gospel when we fail to extend forgiveness toward those who are broken over their sin? Consider how Ephesians 4:32 might speak to your life in light of this passage.
5. Why did the accusers decide not to punish the woman and ultimately walk away from the scene? What did Jesus say or do that caused their consciences to affirm their own guilt in the matter? Does this passage teach that no one can confront others about their sin? How might we address the sins of others without being hypocritical with regard to our own sins? See Matthew 7:1-5 for further insight.