I’m Free, Praise the LORD, I’m Free
What follows is a Bible Study based on a previous sermon on John 8:31-36 that I shared as a guest preacher last Independence Day.
In America we often think of freedom as independence — freedom from constraints. In contrast, Christian freedom entails dependence on Christ — who gives us the freedom to fulfill our purpose of being right relationship with God.
Below, please find the main points, videos, slideshow, Greek text, author’s translation, and bibliography. To download the original PowerPoint file (with animations, videos, etc.) please visit the C4C DropBox.
- The modern conception of freedom is negative: freedom from constraints, independence (this lesson is greatly influenced by Tim Keller’s writing in Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptic)
- It’s virtually impossible to live without any constraints because freedoms conflict. For most, one cannot be free to never study and be free to be a good student. One cannot be free to be healthy and be free to eat whatever one wants.
- We have to choose the constraints that are most liberating – loving relationships with mutual sacrifice of freedom
- If we hold to Christ’s teaching, we are truly His disciples. Then we’ll know the Truth, which/who will set us free (Jn 8:32). More than a mere profession, true disciples practice Christianity and persevere in Christ’s teachings
- No matter our ancestry, if we continually sin, we are slaves to sin. Theological Stockholm Syndrome makes us develop feelings for that which captivates us
- 1st century slaves had no permanent place in the household; sons remained forever and had power to free slaves
- Jesus – the one and only Son of God (Jn 3:16) who remains in the Father’s house forever (cf. Jn 14:2) – is the Only One with the rights and authority to free slaves
- So, if the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed (Jn 8:36): Negative freedom from sin + Positive freedom: freedom to fulfill our God-given purpose of being in right relationship with God
- Christ gave up His freedom to give us eternal freedom. With Christ, we can be in a loving relationship with mutual sacrifice of freedom.
- On Christ, must remain dependent
Generally, I like to start lessons light-heartedly before progressing to more serious matters. “Freedom” is so important to we Americans, “free” as sung at the climax of our national anthem. Some people hit the note better than others…
Once again, to download the original PowerPoint file (with animations and videos), in addition to any other lesson, please visit the C4C DropBox.
Greek Text UBS5
31 Ἔλεγεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς τοὺς πεπιστευκότας αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίους, Ἐὰν ὑμεῖς μείνητε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ, ἀληθῶς μαθηταί μού ἐστε 32 καὶ γνώσεσθε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς. 33 ἀπεκρίθησαν πρὸς αὐτόν, Σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐσμεν καὶ οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε· πῶς σὺ λέγεις ὅτι Ἐλεύθεροι γενήσεσθε; 34 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν δοῦλός ἐστιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας10. 35 ὁ δὲ δοῦλος οὐ μένει ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. 36 ἐὰν οὖν ὁ υἱὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλευθερώσῃ, ὄντως ἐλεύθεροι ἔσεσθε.1
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you remain in my word, truly you are my disciples.” 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
33 They answered him, “We are the descendants of Abraham and none of us have ever been slaves. How can you say that, we will become free?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I say to you that anyone who does sin is a slave of sin. 35 Now the slave does not remain in the house forever, the Son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free, indeed.”
- Beale, G. K., and D. A. Carson. Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic; Apollos, 2007.
- Beasley-Murray, George R. John. Vol. 36. Word Biblical Commentary. Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002.
- Borchert, Gerald L. John 1–11. Vol. 25A. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.
- Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, Archie England, Steve Bond, E. Ray Clendenen, and Trent C. Butler, eds. “Festivals.” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.
- Burge, Gary M. “John.” In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, 3:840–80. Baker Reference Library. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995.
- Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991.
- Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. “Booths, Feast Of.” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
- Guthrie, Donald. “John.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, edited by D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Wenham, 4th ed., 1021–65. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
- Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary & 2. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.
- Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
- Keller, Timothy. Making Sense of God: An Invitation to the Skeptical. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
- Klink, Edward W., III. John. Edited by Clinton E. Arnold. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016.
- Kruse, Colin G. John: An Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 4. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003.
- Michaels, J. Ramsey. The Gospel of John. The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.
- Merriam-Webster, Inc. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003.
- Milne, Bruce. The Message of John: Here Is Your King!: With Study Guide. The Bible Speaks Today. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
- Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to John. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995.
- Osborne, Grant, Philip W. Comfort. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.
- Silva, Moisés, ed. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.