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John 8:34

8:34 Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 1  everyone who practices 2  sin is a slave 3  of sin.

John 8:51

8:51 I tell you the solemn truth, 4  if anyone obeys 5  my teaching, 6  he will never see death.” 7 

John 8:58

8:58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, 8  before Abraham came into existence, 9  I am!” 10 

1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

2 tn Or “who commits.” This could simply be translated, “everyone who sins,” but the Greek is more emphatic, using the participle ποιῶν (poiwn) in a construction with πᾶς (pas), a typical Johannine construction. Here repeated, continuous action is in view. The one whose lifestyle is characterized by repeated, continuous sin is a slave to sin. That one is not free; sin has enslaved him. To break free from this bondage requires outside (divine) intervention. Although the statement is true at the general level (the person who continually practices a lifestyle of sin is enslaved to sin) the particular sin of the Jewish authorities, repeatedly emphasized in the Fourth Gospel, is the sin of unbelief. The present tense in this instance looks at the continuing refusal on the part of the Jewish leaders to acknowledge who Jesus is, in spite of mounting evidence.

3 tn See the note on the word “slaves” in 4:51.

4 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

5 tn Grk “If anyone keeps.”

6 tn Grk “my word.”

7 tn Grk “he will never see death forever.” The Greek negative here is emphatic.

sn Those who keep Jesus’ words will not see death because they have already passed from death to life (cf. 5:24). In Johannine theology eternal life begins in the present rather than in the world to come.

8 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

9 tn Grk “before Abraham was.”

10 sn I am! is an explicit claim to deity. Although each occurrence of the phrase “I am” in the Fourth Gospel needs to be examined individually in context to see if an association with Exod 3:14 is present, it seems clear that this is the case here (as the response of the Jewish authorities in the following verse shows).

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