New Living Translation
32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
And you will know what is true from fake knowledge of the truth and the truth will set you free
Christ Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). … The Bible has much to say about truth and directly relates it to God.Oct 24, 1997
What Does It Mean To Know the Truth?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
October 24, 1997
Christ Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). That’s a wonderful promise that can be taken seriously, especially when you feel the need for some sort of healing – whether the difficulty is injury, illness, financial hardship, a troubled relationship, or anything else. But just what does it mean to know the truth?
For something to be known, it really has to be true. You can’t know – correctly – that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth, although for centuries people thought they knew those fallacies to be accurate. They didn’t know; they believed.
The Bible has much to say about truth and directly relates it to God. In fact, the definition of truth in “Harper’s Bible Dictionary” includes the statement that “God is truth.” And this is how He is understood in Christian Science, the Science by which Jesus healed. “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures,” written by Mary Baker Eddy, frequently uses Truth (along with Life, Love, Principle, Soul, Mind, and Spirit) as synonyms for God. Knowing the truth, then, is knowing God in some degree. Daily study and prayer to understand Him better are the best means to this end. He is and knows only good. The Bible says that God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). And you can find specific truths God knows about His creation, which will abolish any evil belief that is troubling you – as well as the physical effect of that belief.
Things that are true can be proved. How do you prove your (true) freedom from whatever (false) belief is bothering you? Here’s an example. Shortly after I graduated from college, I began having migraine headaches. At first I would go right to bed when an attack came, and “know the truth” until I could get to sleep. I can’t remember exactly how I prayed. I’m sure it involved claiming my exemption from pain. Pain was not something God could know or experience. It was not something I, as His likeness (see Genesis 1:26), could know or experience either. I knew that “man is not material; he is spiritual” (Science and Health, Pg. 468), and therefore that matter (flesh and disease) could make no conditions for me.
The third time I had a migraine I was again tempted to go to bed because I felt so miserable. But I decided to stay up and do some reading in Science and Health to help me realize the truth more clearly. I would no more have tried to read anything else than I would have tried to fly, but I knew that the truth from the Bible, as explained in that book, could heal me. At first it was very difficult for me to concentrate. But I soon became so engrossed in what I was reading about God’s perfect creation and His uninterrupted care for all His children, including me, that these truths permeated my thinking. When I finally put the book down, I was free. I was healed. And in the 40 or so years since, I have never had another headache of any kind.
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The spiritual truth one knows concerning any problem begins with the fact that evil can’t be factual, because God doesn’t know it. In a relationship difficulty, for instance, it would be important to know that everyone is a child of God, reflecting His nature, and that any disturbing behavior is no part of an individual’s identity as God’s child.
Your point of departure for spiritual healing may pretty much be the same – denial of evil (on the basis of its unreality in truth) and firm declarations of your oneness with God, who is good alone. But the specific spiritual facts to be known vary with each situation. We need to know that when we are earnest and steadfast in our search for the truth God will reveal it to us, and that this determines our daily experience for the better.
Anyone can pray, can know the truth. And this brings freedom. In addition, every issue of The Christian Science Journal includes a worldwide directory of Christian Science practitioners, whose sole occupation is healing through prayer.
What does John 8:32 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]
The most enticing aspect of sin is the promise of freedom. Even from the first temptation, in the garden of Eden, man has assumed that defying God is a way to control his own destiny. In fact, the opposite is true. Nothing enslaves like sin—it corrupts our thinking, controls our actions, and destroys our peace. Worst of all, it separates us from God (Ephesians 2:12) and condemns us to an eternity of loneliness and shame (Matthew 8:12). Jesus, on the other hand, represents the truth—that is, Himself. This is theme Christ will return to often in His teaching (John 14:6; John 8:12). No other claims are true, and nothing but truth can really free us.
Comforting lies are never as beneficial as loving truth. Even when the truth is not what we want to hear, we can’t expect to make good decisions or correct choices when we’re operating under the control of a lie. As Christ stated earlier in this dialogue, He—alone—is the “light of the world,” the one and only means to apprehend truth. True freedom is found in forgiveness of sin and service to God, and this is only found when we accept Jesus.
John 8:31–59 is a passage which dovetails with John 2:13–22, where Jesus drives corrupt businessmen from the temple. These Scriptures disprove any myths that Jesus was weak, timid, passive, or soft. In this exchange with the Pharisees, Jesus pulls no punches. Jerusalem’s religious leaders, and their followers, continue to resist Jesus’ preaching. They rely on arrogance and insults, to which Jesus responds with blunt, unfiltered condemnation. This culminates in Jesus making an overt statement of His own divinity, punctuating the debate by declaring ”before Abraham was, I am!”
John chapter 8 includes the story of the adulterous woman, a well-known but controversial passage. Most scholars believe this story is authentic, but not originally found in this exact spot in Scripture. This chapter continues Jesus’ preaching during the Feast of Booths, where He once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. Here, Christ will make His second ”I AM” statement, using the analogy of light, which is a common theme in Hebrew theology. This conversation will become more and more heated. Eventually, Jesus’ opponents are enraged enough to attempt killing Him right then and there.
What does it mean that “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)?
“The truth will set you free” is a common saying in academic circles that want to promote academic freedom and the power of learning. Many universities have this statement emblazoned on a sign near the entrance of a building. But “the truth will set you free” did not originate in academia; Jesus said it in John 8:32. In context, Jesus’ statement has nothing to do with classroom learning. In fact, John 8:32 speaks of a higher form of knowledge than is capable of being learned in a classroom.
Jesus had just finished a speech at the temple where He delineated differences between Himself and His listeners. “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:23–24). The result of Jesus’ message was that “even as he spoke, many believed in him” (verse 30). Then, in verse 31, Jesus begins to speak just to those who had believed.
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples’” (John 8:31). True discipleship is more than intellectual assent; those who are “really” followers of Christ will “hold to” His Word. That means they will not only accept His teachings as truth, but they will also obey His teachings. Action is proof of faith (cf. James 2:17).
True disciples of Jesus believe that He speaks the truth about God and the Scriptures. They also know that He is who He claims to be. Back in verse 25, the people asked Jesus who He was, and He responded, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.” There may be a tinge of exasperation in His response; He had repeatedly made known that He was the Messiah, the one they had anticipated for many years.
Verse 32 begins with, “Then you will know the truth.” “You” refers to those who are true disciples of Jesus. True disciples will know the truth. More than that, their eyes are opened to a greater understanding of the truth (cf. 1 John 5:20).
The truth Jesus’ disciples receive brings with it freedom. Jesus continues, “And the truth will set you free” (verse 32). At that point in history, the Jews were under the rule of the Roman government. Even though Rome gave them an exceptional amount of autonomy, they were keenly aware of the Roman presence around them in the form of soldiers, governors, and empirically appointed kings. When Jesus said the truth would set them free, however, He was not talking about political freedom (though the following verses indicate that’s how the Jews took it). Jesus provides the best commentary for His own statement in verse 34. Jesus explains, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Being a slave to sin is the ultimate bondage.
The freedom Jesus offers is a spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin—that is, release from the lifestyle of habitual lawlessness. He continues with an analogy: “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever” (verse 35). The people would have understood Jesus to mean that they were not members of God’s family, despite their biological relationship to Abraham (verse 37), because they were slaves to sin. If they were to become disciples of Jesus, they would know the truth of their condition and the truth about Christ, and Jesus would set them free. Believers would be freed from their bondage and brought into the family of God.
Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Knowing the Truth will set one at liberty—free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death (Romans 6:22; 8:1–2). Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18). “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16, ESV).
What Does John 8:32 Mean? ►
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
All who received the Lord Jesus as the Word of God made flesh, are given the right to become children of God, even to those that believe on His name – and certain Jews believed in Him and so Jesus explained to these believers, if you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples. He continued to explain that those who chose to abide in His word would know the truth and the truth would set them free.
There are many who truly believe in Christ as Saviour, many who have trusted Him as their Redeemer, many who have placed faith in the only begotten Son of God for their salvation. There are many who have been born from above, but not all choose to abide in the truth of His word and as a result can become prey to a different gospel, or hearken to teachings that twist or distort the truth of God’s word.
A Christian is not necessarily a disciple of Jesus, BUT disciples of Christ is certainly Christians – believers who have leaned and are continuing to learn more and more of Christ Jesus. When we obey the Word of God and learn of Christ we grow in spiritual knowledge, our spiritual understanding matures. The more we grow in our Christian life the more we develop in our freedom from the sin nature that keeps us in bondage – and that freedom in Christ sets us free to live our life in spirit and truth.
Let us abide in the Word of God so that we may learn of Christ and grow in grace, for if we truly abide in Christ and He in us we will certainly be His disciples and we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.
Loving Lord I want to know You more and abide in Your word and become a true learner of You… Help me Lord to learn of You and grow in grace, for I want to know the truth and to be set free from the bondage of sin – a freedom only comes as I abide in You. I ask this in Jesus name, AMEN.