And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free – John 8:32
Meaning of John 8:32
The meaning of the verse, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” is that truth is freeing and liberating. In the entire chapter, Jesus talks and answers various Jews’ and Pharisees’ questions. Their idea was to challenge Jesus and accuse Him of something. Jesus then tells some Jews who might have believed in Him, adding that if they were aware of the truth, they would be set free. The freedom Jesus is talking about is freedom from the bondage of sin. When one accepts Jesus as their savior, they receive salvation and are forgiven for their sins. This rescues them from their fate in hell, and hence are given a chance to go to heaven after death. Additionally, when one accepts Jesus, one also receives God’s love, protection, and providence.
Interpretations of John 8:32
The verse of John 8:32 is commonly used in quotes in churches and Christian groups. However, the verse is commonly taken out of context. Here are the examples.
Interpretation #1 Jesus’ teachings are not the whole truth
The interpretation of the verse, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” is that Jesus’ teachings are not the entire truth. The reader interprets the verse in a negative manner because he or she is unwilling to take the verse as the whole truth. Hence, most non-Christians are the ones who don’t believe that Jesus is the only son of God as they believe that humans, too, are made in God’s image. This understanding is as per the Bible in spite of the New Testament’s teaching, and the reader doesn’t accept Jesus as the whole truth through the modern religious perspective. Also, Judaism and Hinduism refute such beliefs as they have their own gods they worship and believe in. Additionally, the reader also believes that one cannot always tell the whole truth as it might get them in trouble and hence need to resort to white lies to protect themselves.
Interpretation #2 Non-Christians were meant to be slaves
The meaning of the verse, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” is that non-Christians were meant to be slaves to their addiction or circumstances. The reader believes that the truth Jesus is referring to is only acknowledged and believed by Christians as other region people worship other gods. Since Jesus refers to the “truth” as Him being the savior and God, He is implying that the non-believers will always be bonded to sin and hence become slaves of it. The Bible also claims that those who don’t believe in Jesus are destined to live sinful life and go to hell because of it. Hence, the reader understands that believers are meant to be free, and non-believers are always destined for hell.
Interpretation #3 Other religions spread lies easily
In this interpretation, the reader believes that besides Christianity, other religion spreads lie. In this verse as Jesus addresses a group of Jews who refused to believe in His identity. Thus, He implies that they are unaware of the truth. As Jews have their own version of the Bible and do not believe in Jesus, the reader understands that every other religion except Christianity, like Hinduism, Islam, etc., is constituted with lies. The Hindus claim to have millions of gods, and Islam worships Allah. Additionally, the Bible condemns worshipping false God, idol worship, and any other God except Jesus. In other words, each of the major religions considers another faith or belief as a myth that is based on false teachings.
Interpretation #4 The verse is about the truth and holiness of Jesus
The final interpretation of the verse, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” is that the holiness and truth of Jesus are the contexts of the verse. The reader understands that Jesus came onto the Earth in the form of a human to rescue people from condemnation to hell for their sins. He came to reconcile them with God and to give them a chance to believe in Him, which will, in turn, allow believers to attain heaven. When Jesus mentions “truth” He is talking about His holiness, although He was in human form, and about Him being the Son of God. Additionally, there were Jews who did not believe in Him and tried to trap Him in their questions to get him killed. However, Jesus was the son of God, and this is the truth they were not willing to believe as they thought He was cheating people with His stories.
Historical background of John 8:32
The Book of John was written by John the Evangelist. Similar to the other three gospels, John covered the events of Jesus’ birth, death, works, teachings, and redemption. The gospel was written between AD 70-110. The eighth chapter contains various incidents where there is a dispute over Jesus’ testimony, a dispute over Jesus’ identity, and His claims about Himself. The chapter largely focuses on Jews attacking Jesus with different questions in order to catch Him in a lie or accuse Him of some crime. The thirty-second verse is Jesus telling the Jews who believed in Him that if they knew the truth, it would set them free. The truth He is referring to is His identity and what He is on Earth for.
Literary Devices of John 8:32
The verse of John 8:32 is a statement commonly used. However, there are some significant literary devices that can be found in verse. Here are a few examples.
Assonance – The verse has a repeated use of vowel sounds. However, they are not used in quick successions. For example, the sound of /a/ and the sound of /u/ in ‘And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’.
Consonance – There is a good use of consonant sounds in repetition without quick successions. For example, the sound of /th/ and the sound of /n/ ‘And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’.
Hyperbole – The verse is also a good example of hyperbole as the speaker, Jesus, is exaggerating the role and importance of truth.
Personification – In this verse, ‘truth’ appears to be personified, as if truth can perform an act of releasing someone from bondage.
Theme – The major themes of John 8:32 are honesty, faith, and obedience.