Perhaps you have noticed in your translation of the Bible that John 7:53-8:11 is set off in brackets with a footnote saying something like, “the earliest and best manuscripts do not include verses 7:53-8:11.” It is a bit jarring to see such a note attached to one of the most beloved stories in our English Bibles (“let he who is without sin cast the first stone”). Nevertheless, the note is correct. This text was most assuredly not a part of the original text of John but was added centuries later.
Every semester in the hermeneutics courses that I teach at Boyce College, I do a brief section on textual criticismâ€”the science and art of reconstructing the original text of the Bible. In that section, we discuss this text from John, and someone will usually ask me how to address this issue in church when preaching through the gospel of John. Last Sunday, I think John Piper provided an excellent example of how to handle it. Watch the video above, listen below, or download here.[audio:http://cdn.desiringgod.org/resources/sermon/2011/20110306.mp3]