John 8:31-38 The Truth Shall set You Free

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 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’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house for ever; the son remains for ever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your

The Truth Shall set You Free

Truth is the correspondence of an idea with reality.  The question in this passage is whether people see the world the way it really is.  If we have the insight given by Jesus in his teaching, we see the way we truly are and that sets us free.  Jesus’ teaching shows the nature of mankind’s heart.  We are naturally evil.  That does not mean that each person is as bad as they can possibly be, but it means that each person is twisted and corrupted so that we are a living horror compared with what we should be.  Jesus also communicates a holy God.  That means that the ultimate foundation of existence is a transcendent person who has created and sustained everything.  He knows the purpose of all things and he holds all things together.  Jesus, then communicates that becoming a follower of him reconciles the Holy God with his wayward creation.  Jesus reharmonizes the creation with God’s purposes.  This requires an act of conversion.  We live in a lie.  There are many ways to ruin ourselves.  We can embrace naturalism, postmodernism, communism, capitalism or other value systems which will replace God and not lead us home to him.

All systems of belief should be compared with the nature of reality.  Naturalism explains physical phenomena but then falls apart with the truth of poetry and philosophy.  Postmodernism allows everyone to tell their whole story but misses the harmonizing unity that draws all stories together.  The truth of Jesus explains all of reality.  his truth sets us free.


Help me to live in light of the unifying truth that Jesus reveals.


  1.  How does the truth set us free?
  2. Who rejected being set free?
  3. Who are slaves according to Jesus?
  4. Are you enslaved? By what?
  5. How can the truth set you free?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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20 Responses to John 8:31-38 The Truth Shall set You Free

  1. Kathleen says:

    I think that the word “know” in this passage could mean experience. “Then you will experience the truth, and the truth will set you free” (vs. 32). I experience the truth of God by reading his word and seeing his promises come true for me in my life. The people Jesus was talking to didn’t realize that they were being held captive. They even asked what they needed to be set free from. In their eyes they were already free. According to Jesus, we are all slaves to sin. In my experience, the farther into sin you go, the harder it is to escape. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. When we experience Jesus, we are set free.

  2. Amy McCashen says:

    1. The truth is that Jesus died for us and took away all of our sins. That is freeing.
    2. The people that did not believe in Jesus were rejecting their freedom. Most of them did not even realize or accept the fact that they were enslaved and in need of saving.
    3. Anyone who is in sin is a slave to sin.
    4. Yes, I am a slave to sin. Yes, Jesus has set me free and He has already paid the price for me. It is kind of like the “Already, and Not Yet” statement. Jesus has already done everything, but I am not freed from my sin quite yet. I am still a sinner.
    5. The truth sets me free because I know that I am God’s. I know that His forgiveness and grace and mercy is forever and that no matter what I do or do not do, He is faithful and loving to me. Even though I still am a sinner, I know that I am free in Christ and one day I shall sin no more!

  3. Austin Brose says:

    The Truth sets us free because it reveals the bondage that sin has us in, it sheds light on the sin that entangles us. It also gives us a way out of that slavery. The people who did not believe the Truth that Jesus spoke rejected to be set free. The people who are slaves according to Jesus are the ones who continue to live in sin. I am enslaved, by my self-centeredness, my narrow vision, and the sin that can creep up and ensnare me. The truth can set me free because it gives me a way out, it gives me a hope to fight for, and it gives me the strength to do it.

  4. Lacy says:

    1. The truth sets us free from the powe and consequences of sin.
    2. Everyone who rejects Jesus rejects freedom.
    3. According to Jesus, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.
    4. I have been set free from sin for servitude to God.
    5. The truth sets me free by reminding me of my identity in Christ, and that I no longer need to follow sinful urges. I have the power to live as Christ wants me to.

  5. Jenna says:

    1. Jesus is the truth, so knowing the truth is knowing Jesus, the only way we can be set free.
    2. The Jews.
    3. Jesus says that those who reject the truth are slaves to sin.
    4. In Christ, I am set free from slavery to sin – I do not have to sin. But yes, I definitely still sin and struggle with sin. One area that I struggle with is contentment in God’s plan for my life.
    5. My discontentment often stems from my pride, or thinking that God’s plan isn’t going to be the best for me. But, the truth is that God’s plans are so infinitely better than mine!

  6. Sara Cavitt says:

    1) The truth sets us free through knowing Jesus as the truth by abiding in His Word and through being His disciple.
    2) The Jews were rejecting the freedom in Jesus.
    3) Slaves are those who are held captive by their sin and do not accept freedom in Jesus.
    4) Although I know am free in Christ, I still struggle with sin in my life.
    5) The truth can set me free in being reminded that I must daily die to my sin, because I am not enslaved by it.

  7. How can the truth set you free?
    The truth sets us free from our selves — from being enslaved to sin, not being able to choose good, and not having redeeming power over our will power. When we have God’s truth to follow, we are free to live as God has willed for us to live and we are able to find joy and fulfilment living for Him.

  8. Janice Lee says:

    1. The truth sets us free from sin.
    2. People who do not believe in Jesus reject being set free.
    3. Those who reject Jesus are slaves.
    4. I have been set free from sin.
    5. The truth sets me free from continuing in sin to live by the Spirit.

  9. Ed says:

    With Christ we are saved and that is freeing. Our sins are a constant fight but if we serve our LORD in his name we are busy serving God through Jesus and that should help replace opportunity from sin. I fight sin all the time and hold on to way to much, I’m guilty but with Christ I can help others which is changing me to be closer to God. I pray that I hear God that I take time to be still to listen. Please help me all with this prayer.

    God Bless

  10. karas says:

    Jesus is the truth, and the truth that He saves us from our sin brings freedom. However, His listeners did not believe they needed to be set free, and rejected that idea. Slaves are any of us who are enslaved to sin, who commit sin and cannot not sin. I think my though patterns and sometimes even emotions can be enslaving. I do believe that Jesus offers freedom by way of the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering me. However sometimes I still find myself not living that out and letting my flesh or fears win. I like the analogy of a mean boss being demoted so that he no longer has any real power over you, but you may still obey him out of habit. I think focusing on the fact that I have indeed been freed helps me live free.

  11. Mary says:

    I just read this passage somewhere else this weekend; I can’t remember where, maybe a book for one of my classes. It reminds me of a discussion we keep having in one way or another in Apologetics, about whether we believe the truths of Scripture before we know Jesus or visa versa. I am not sure how it works, but I am just glad that God reveals Himself to us and that he doesn’t leave us guessing what we are doing here. I am also glad that we don’t have to have our theological ducks in a row to be saved; otherwise we would be in some serious trouble. There IS true freedom in Christ, and I am so grateful to have been given it.

  12. Ashley says:

    1. When we are free from sin, we live in reality. Jesus is truth. To live in truth, in Jesus and apart from sin, is to embrace true and free life!
    2. Those who reject Jesus live enslaved.
    3. Slaves according to Jesus are those who commit sin.
    4. I am free in status, but I still get tangled up sometimes in practice.
    5. The truth can set me free by allowing the presence of God to overcome me.

  13. Rachel says:

    Freedom is found in living the truth. Truth is found in Christ alone. New life in and through Christ is the freedom that all men, slaves to sin, long for. I am set free in Christ, yet my body is used to being a slave to sin and acts as though sin is still it’s master. I am enslaved to my expectations, to pride, to self-righteousness, and to my own desires. The truth: that I have been crucified with Christ and no longer live, but Christ lives in me! This truth is a breakthrough. The results though, are a struggle.

  14. Dylan says:

    1. The truth sets us free from our being slaves to sin. Once we are saved, we no longer have to give in to sinful desires.
    2. The Jews who refused to accept they were slaves to sin rejected Jesus. Since they were descendants of Abraham, they considered themselves untouchable.
    3. Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. Perhaps this is intended to mean “keeps on sinning” since we know once we are saved, even our future sins are forgiven.
    4. Sometimes I do feel enslaved. I am tempted to pursue perfection, intelligence and status, and lustful desires. When I give in to these temptations I feel crushed, but when I conquer them through Christ I have real peace and confidence. I feel like a man who just barely made his flight for a two week vacation in the Bahamas, eagerly awaiting his destination. I am thankful then.
    5. By abiding in the word and the way of Jesus, sinful actions become more and more contrary to my character. I can also experience true joy and peace then, which are really the result of me worshiping him, my greatest desire.

  15. Beth Coale says:

    1. Well, one way to look at it is Christ is truth and He sets us free. Also, there is just something to acknowledging truth that is freeing.
    2. the Israelites, they just kept being in a cycle of slavery, we do too
    3. everyone who commits sin
    4. I should not be enslaved by the power sin anymore now that I’m in Christ. I’m still enslaved by my own desires and bad habits that “lure and entice” (James 1:14). This analogy is so meaningful to me… to stay in our sin is like being in a prison with the door open. Why would we stay there?

  16. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. How does the truth set us free?
    By knowing the truth, you can be set free from the sin that so easily entangles.
    2. Who rejected being set free?
    The Jews, because they don’t see themselves as being enslaved.
    3. Who are slaves according to Jesus?
    All who have sinned
    4. Are you enslaved? By what?
    I once was a slave to sin, but now I am a slave to righteousness. This doesn’t mean I do not sin, but it does mean it is no longer what defines and characterizes me.
    5. How can the truth set you free?
    Knowing the truth of Christ, that he has concurred death, sets me free from the power of sin.

  17. nataliaria says:

    In this passage, Jesus seems to connect abiding in His word, being His disciple, and being set free by the truth. As a result, I believe that the truth that sets us free is the result of being joined to Christ, who is the truth, and having our minds and hearts come in line with Him. Thus we are joined to the truth, and set free from the lies and sin that previously ruled us.

    Jesus seems to be talking to people who have already believed in Him in this passage, but they also seem reluctant to admit that they had previously been enslaved by anything. Jesus, however, states that everyone who has sinned is a slave to sin.

    I studied Romans 8:2-4 for my commentary paper in Roman, and the concept of being ruled by the flesh versus by the Spirit came up frequently throughout my study. I believe that I have been brought under the rule of the Holy Spirit, and that I am under its influence, and that the Holy Spirit is working in my heart and life to make me more like Christ. However, there certainly remains an element of the influence of the sinful flesh in my life. This creeps into my motives in interacting with people (to bring attention to myself), my discipline in discretionary time, and many other areas.

    The truth can set me free by bringing my heart and mind back to what I know to be true about the freedom I have in Christ, and the reality of my need to obey Him and not the flesh, as well as the fact that He works to enable me to obey.

  18. Nick says:

    Sometimes I feel enslaved to my busy schedule. Between all the things that I have to do, sometimes I feel like there is no escape from everything that I have to do and no time for anything else. What I need to realize is that I need to lean on God through all of those things. He is sovereign over everything in this world, and everything in my life. I need to remember that as I live my daily life, and make sure that I am free in him, rather than enslaved to the things in my life.

  19. Rebekah Thompson (Bekah) says:

    1. By facing the worst part you are able to find an out…so by knowing that we are sinning and that we are condemned to hell….Jesus is then there to save us
    2. Everyone who rejects him is rejected being freed from their enslavement to sin
    3. Everyone who sins and doesn’t know him
    4. I am not longer enslaved to sin because I am set free in Christ
    5. Refer back to number one

  20. Laura Walters says:

    The book Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen comes to mind in pondering what it means to be set free. You state that “Jesus reharmonizes the creation with God’s purposes. This requires an act of conversion. We live in a lie.” Though we are naturally evil and live presently in a corrupted, horrific world, the truth of reconciliation with a Holy God allows a transcendent reality that we are beloved. As Nouwen presents in his book, we are chosen, we are blessed. This does not mean that we live ‘above’ or ‘out of’ the world but that we have a new vantage point. We have the vantage point of freedom — of being beloved by our Creator.

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