John 8: "I Am"

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 82

The events in John 8 occurred during the same Feast of the Tabernacles we read about in John 7. Another symbolic activity of that feast was the lighting of many candles in the temple. This was to remind Israel to be a light to the world. Jesus used this as an opportunity to testify again of who He is. As you read this chapter, think about how Jesus and His teachings are like light and how darkness is an appropriate symbol for sin and unbelief.

Understanding the Scriptures

John 8

Whence I came (v. 14)Where I came from 
Whither (vv. 14, 21–22)Where 
Treasury (v. 20)Place where offerings are deposited 
Abraham’s seed (vv. 33, 37)Abraham’s descendants 
Born of fornication (v. 41)Children born out of wedlock 

John 8:11—Did Jesus Forgive the Adulterous Woman?

President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “His command to her was, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ He was directing the sinful woman to go her way, abandon her evil life, commit no more sin, transform her life” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 89).

It is encouraging to note that the Joseph Smith Translation tells us, “And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name” (JST,  John 8:11).

Christ and the adulterous woman

John 8:58—“Before Abraham Was, I Am”

“I Am” is the name of the God who revealed to Moses that he was called to be a prophet (see Exodus 3:14). In saying that, the Lord proclaimed that He (Jehovah) was the God of the Old Testament and the promised Messiah. The Jews considered such a declaration as blasphemy and “took they up stones to cast at him” (John 8:59).

Studying the Scriptures

Do three of the following activities (A–D) as you study John 8.

Activity A iconIs Life Fair?

Read John 8:1–11 and list what seems unfair to you about this story. Make another list of what seems fair to you. Write your feelings about how Jesus Christ has power to make things “fair” in your life.

Activity B iconHold Up the Light


Think about what happens when you hold up a burning candle in a dark room. What happens when you cup the flame with your hand? Mark and cross–reference John 8:12 with 3 Nephi 18:24. Explain what the light is and how you can “hold it up.”

Activity C iconGive Examples

Jesus made two very important statements about freedom and bondage in John 8:32–34. Sometimes others want us to believe that the opposite of what Jesus said is true. We only have to look around, however, to see the truth of what He taught. We especially know it is true if we have lived His teachings (see John 7:17).

  1. 1.

    Give an example of how what Jesus said in John 8:32 is true in regards to the Word of Wisdom, the law of chastity, or one of the other commandments.

  2. 2.

    Give an example of how what He said in John 8:34 is true in regards to the same commandment.

Activity D iconWrite a Story

As you read John 8:48–59, look for who the Jewish leaders accused Jesus of being and who Jesus testified that He was. President Thomas S. Monson, then Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said to “be loyal to the royal within you” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1991, 65; or Ensign, May 1991, 48). Think about who you really are and write a brief paragraph about how knowing who He really was gave Jesus courage to face severe persecution.