What Does "The Truth Shall Make You Free" Really Mean?
Part 1

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Copyright 1994 - 2022 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
January 15, 2022

Last Updated :
January 15, 2022


Misuse Of John 8:32, Which Truth Are They Talking About?, Modern Hollywood's Lack Of Respect For The Holy Scriptures, Distorting Biblical Facts, Early Bible Movies, Should Jesus' Face Be Shown?, Actors Who Play The Role Of Jesus, My Review Of 2014's "Noah": Utterly Ridiculous Nonsense, Eight People Were Spared From Genesis Flood, Pinnacle Peak Pictures a.k.a. Pure Flix, Jesus' Audience In John Chapter 8 Were Jews, Jews Thought They Were Free, Jews Believed They Were Righteous Due To Keeping Mosaic Law, Parable Of The Pharisee And Publican, Story Of Adulterous Woman, Sin Is Defined As Breaking God's Laws, Breaking One Of God's Laws Is The Same As Breaking All Of Them, Jesus Offers To Free Us From The Burden Of The Law, Jesus Paid The Ransom Price For Our Salvation, Jews Sought To Establish Their Own Righteousness Without Christ, We Are All Born In Sin And Remain In Sin Without Christ, No One Becomes Righteous Without Christ, Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb




As some of my readers will already know, there are so many people today -- both worldly people, and even some of our Christian brethren -- who either knowingly, or possibly due to ignorance, misuse the Bible verse that is contained in the title of this series. We sometimes hear it said in our favorite TV shows, in a movie, or somewhere else. But quite often, the people who are quoting it don't even understand what the verse actually means, much less who first said it, and where it originated from. They may not even know that it is actually a verse from the Bible! How sad!

Quite frankly, as a Bible-believing Christian, what irks me the most is the fact that such people quote only part of the verse, which opens the door for them to distort the true meaning of the phrase in whatever way they please. In other words, that word "truth" can be interpreted to mean whatever "truth" is being promoted in that particular television show or movie. In short, the word loses its real intended meaning as spoken by Jesus in John 8:32, as we see here:

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32, KJV


So tell me; isn't it time to set the record straight by clearly explaining what the verse REALLY means, and not just what some television executive, movie producer or director, script writer or actor wants you to think it means? As I've mentioned a number of times before, most people in movieland -- which I personally refer to as -- "Unholywood" -- and the modern entertainment industry have no or very little respect for the Bible. They may use it as a source for some of their movie plots, but they don't truly honor it as the inspired Word of God. After all, if they did respect the Bible, they would not be so quick to use artistic license as a means to grossly distort some of its stories.

I am sure that many of you will know what I'm talking about. They will change names and/or places, alter events, insert fictitious characters, and do whatever else they feel may be necessary, in order to make the story flow, and to produce a more exciting movie that will draw in the crowds. Of course, Hollywood has always done this. However, there was a time a number of decades ago, when movie producers demonstrated at least a small degree of respect for the sacredness of the Scriptures and the Divine.

I am reminded of a few of the early movies which centered around the life of Jesus, or in which the Lord appeared. In said movies, they never showed Jesus' face. One well-known example with which you are undoubtedly familiar is 1959's "Ben-Hur", starring Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd in the leading roles. "The Robe" -- a 1953 Christian-oriented film starring Richard Burton, Jean Simmons and Victor Mature -- is another movie where the Lord's face is never revealed.

But boy how things have changed in our modern day! I cannot even keep track of how many different versions of Jesus we have seen over the years! But please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that it is necessarily wrong to show an actor's face when they play the part of Jesus. In fact, I think it makes for a better movie or television show, because we can more intimately connect with the character of our Savior, as portrayed by the actor. We simply need to make sure that we do not begin to idolize that actor, as sometimes occurs.

In my opinion, a few actors have done a rather excellent job in playing the part. For example, I am reminded of the 1977 TV mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth" starring Robert Powell in the leading role. Although Powell admitted that he was not a religious person himself, his portrayal of the Savior was really quite powerful. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, the four-part series keeps the viewer spellbound from beginning to end. I also liked Brian Deacon in the 1979 movie "The Jesus Film", which very closely follows the Gospel of Luke.

In fact, it may interest some of my readers to know that you can download the "Jesus Film Project" app to your iPhone or your Android phone and watch this excellent movie for free, along with hundreds of other free Christian-oriented movies, mini-series and short films. The developers of the app state that they will add more content to the app as time goes by.

However, sometimes Hollywood does things which are really beyond being ridiculous. A case in point is the 2014 movie entitled "Noah", starring Russell Crowe in the lead role, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins. Folks, honestly, that movie really made my jaw drop! Like many other people who viewed "Noah", my initial reaction upon reaching the movie's conclusion was "What in the world was that?" It was just that bad. What am I talking about? Let me briefly tell you.

The minute that the so-called "rock giants" made their first appearance in the early moments of the film, I realized that "Noah" was in very serious trouble. Sadly, from that point forward, it was simply downhill to the very end. From rock giants, to mysterious glowing stones, to a magical seed which sprouts an entire forest in seconds, to a storm which goes from rain drops to gigantic ocean waves encompassing the Ark in mere seconds, to Noah himself being depicted as a maniacal psychopath who is bent on making certain that the entire human race perishes, everything about this film was just wrong.

I haven't even addressed the blatant Biblical inaccuracies yet. For example, any Bible-knowledgeable person knows that all three of Noah's sons had wives prior to entering into the Ark. Thus, the Scriptures teach us that eight people were saved from the flood waters, as we can easily conclude from the following group of verses:

"And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood."
Genesis 7:7, KJV


"And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark."
Genesis 7:21-23, KJV


"And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons' wives with thee. Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him:"
Genesis 8:15-18, KJV


"Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:20, KJV


While both the Book of Enoch and the KJV Bible mention the Watchers -- see Daniel 4:17 -- the Fallen Angels who are mentioned in Genesis, and the Watchers who are mentioned in Daniel, are not the same beings. According to the accounts of the writers Enoch, Peter and Jude, the Fallen Angels were in fact imprisoned in the bowels of the Earth in order to await judgment from God. Like so many other things in this film, the ridiculous rock giants were a wild fabrication of director Darren Aronofsky's warped imagination. And by the way, neither is Darwinian macroevolution supported in the Bible. There are other Biblical inaccuracies in this movie as well, but I will leave it at that.

Regarding the actors, I have long admired the work of the main cast of characters. That is, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone, and to some degree, Emma Watson as well. However, I can't for the life of me figure out what inspired any of them to lend their collective talents to that horrible film. I believe that they all gave good performances; and I do not blame them directly for the dismal failure of the movie. The fault lies with the story itself, and with its writers, Aronofsky and Handel, in my view.

So as I noted earlier, with "Noah", Hollywood has clearly demonstrated its arrogance, and its lack of respect for the Bible. After having watched so many Biblically-themed movies over the decades, I can only conclude that it is not that Hollywood is incapable of making Biblically-accurate movies. After all, they definitely have the money and the resources to conduct in-depth research. It is simply that they don't want to. As I said before, they seem to like to chop up and distort the truth and to twist Biblical facts, if it results in attracting the masses and earning a greater profit.

In Darren Aronofsky's case, it is a double tragedy. While some reviewers of this film have pointed out that Aronofsky is an atheist, upon conducting my own limited research, I discovered that he comes from a Jewish background, and that both his parents are Conservative Jews. While Mr. Aronofsky notes that "there was very little spiritual attendance in temple", being Conservative Jews, one would think that his parents would have at least imparted to him an accurate, Scripture-based account of Noah and the Ark. If so, it most certainly doesn't show in this movie, and it should really be called "Noah, According to Darren Aronofsky". So if you want the truth, please stick to your Bible!

While I have trashed Hollywood with my previous comments, let me also mention here that in more recent years, there have been attempts made by certain people and companies to produce content which is more suitable for the Christian audience. One example of this is Pinnacle Peak Pictures, which was formerly known as Pure Flix. You may possibly enjoy some of their movies.

Having now shared all of the above with you -- yes, I realize that I went off on a bit of a tangent -- let us return to our main topic of discussion. That is, of course, the phrase "the truth shall make you free". As I mentioned at the beginning of this same series, the phrase was spoken by Jesus in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John. But to understand what the Lord actually meant by His words, and to put the verse in its proper context, we need to look at the surrounding verses of Scripture as well. Consider the following:

"As he [Jesus] spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abrahams seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [but] the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
John 8:30-36, KJV


So the first thing that we need to recognize here is exactly who Jesus' audience was. As you can see, Jesus was actually addressing His Jewish listeners "which believed on him". But they were absolutely clueless concerning what the Lord was talking about. In fact, they erroneously assumed that they were ALREADY free and that they weren't in bondage to anyone or to anything. Thus they ask "how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" The first thing that Jesus tells them is that despite what they have chosen to believe, they are in fact in bondage to sin, being the servants of sin.

Why are these Jews unable to see this? Quite simply, because they are convinced that their observance of and adherence to the Laws of Moses -- or Mosaic Law -- makes them righteous, sinless and perfect before God. In fact, if we turn to the Gospel of Luke, we find a very clear example of this rather sickening attitude. Notice how in the very first verse, we are told "certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous":

"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:‭ Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.‭ The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men ‭are‭, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.‭ I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.‭ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as ‭his‭ eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.‭ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified ‭rather‭ than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.‭"
Luke 18:9-14, KJV


We see the very same holier-than-thou attitude clearly on display in the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, as related by John in his Gospel. In fact, the incident below occurs about twenty verses before the verses I shared with you earlier from the Gospel of John. While the Scribes and the Pharisees judged this woman harshly based on the stiff mandates of the Mosaic Law, Jesus extended Mercy, Grace and Forgiveness to her. Consider the following verses:

"And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

Stated another way, due to their self-righteous pride, these Jewish listeners in John chapter eight were convinced that they possessed the power to save themselves through their own works. That is, by keeping the Laws of Moses. According to the Scriptures, the definition of sin is violating, breaking or transgressing the Laws of God, as the Apostle John clearly informs us in the following verse:

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV


So, because like many Jews of that time period, they deceived themselves into believing that they faithfully kept the Laws of Moses, they likewise believed that they were sinless. Of course, as modern Believers in Jesus Christ, we understand that this certainly was not, and is not, the case whatsoever. Why not? Well, because as I point out in a number of my other articles, righteousness can't be obtained by striving to keep the Laws of Moses, no matter how hard an individual tries to do so. It is really an exercise in futility. Consider what the Apostle James wrote in the Epistle which is named after him:

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
James 2:10, KJV


According to some accounts, there are some 613 commandments -- or "mitzvoth" -- found in the Old Testament. Attempting to keep every single one of them is humanly impossible. It is in fact an extremely heavy burden to bear. But, you see, the Lord fully understood this. This is why Jesus said the following at the end of Matthew chapter eleven:

"Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV


I am personally convinced that when the Lord used the phrase "heavy laden" in the previous set of verses, He was in fact referring to the heavy burden of trying to keep the mandates of the Mosaic Law, in order to merit one's Salvation. I also believe that Jesus is saying that He would take this burden upon Himself, and fulfill the requirements of the Laws of Moses, by offering His own life on a Roman cross, as payment -- that is to say, a ransom price -- and Atonement for all of our sins. This truth is made plainly evident by verses such as the following:

"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28, KJV


"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Mark 10:45, KJV


"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
Acts 20:28, KJV


"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV


"Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men."
1 Corinthians 7:23, KJV


"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:13-14, KJV


"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
1 Timothy 2:5-6, KJV


In case you don't realize this -- those Jews obviously did not -- there is a major problem with the mentality of trying to merit one's own Salvation. You see, as the Apostle James wrote in the previous verse, if a person falters in keeping even one commandment of the Mosaic Law, he is in fact guilty of breaking all of them. As a result, he has forfeited his Salvation. So much then for striving to establish our own righteousness that way! Forget it! Yet as the Apostle Paul writes, that is precisely what these First Century Jews were attempting to do, as we see here:

"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and GOING ABOUT TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
Romans 10:1-3, KJV


Not only were those Jews endeavoring to establish their own righteousness outside of Christ, but as we have already seen, they were convinced that they were sinless before God because of it. However, as you the reader probably already know, this erroneous belief is totally contrary to the plain truth which is clearly expressed in the following group of verses. That truth is that we're all born in sin, and remain in sin, until we are washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb of God:

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Psalm 51:5, KJV


"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."
Ecclesiastes 7:20, KJV


"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23, KJV


"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:8-10, KJV


The previous Scriptural truth leads directly to yet another inevitable -- and perhaps uncomfortable for some people -- conclusion; and that is that if we are all sinners before the Lord, then we certainly have no righteousness of our own. As with the previous set of verses, this sound truth is likewise confirmed in Scriptures such as the following:

"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
Isaiah 64:6, KJV


"They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
Psalm 14:3, KJV


"If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
Psalm 130:3, KJV


"‭‭For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed ‭the righteousness‭ of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.‭"
Matthew 5:20, KJV


"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
Romans 3:10, KJV


As I briefly mentioned a moment ago, the only way in which the stain of sin can be removed from our lives, is by being symbolically washed in the Blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God, who is none other than Jesus Christ. Consider this set of Bible verses which makes this Scriptural truth so very plain:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
Isaiah 1:18, KJV


"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Matthew 26:26-28, KJV


"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many."
Mark 14:22-24, KJV


"And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."
Luke 22:14-20, KJV


"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
Romans 3:25, KJV


"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Ephesians 2:13, KJV


"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.‭"
Hebrews 9:22, KJV


"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;"
Hebrews 10:19-20, KJV


"Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate . . . Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Hebrews 13:12, 20-21, KJV


"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied."
1 Peter 1:2, KJV


"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 John 1:7, KJV


"And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
1 John 2:2, KJV


"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1 John 4:10, KJV


"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
Revelation 1:5, KJV


"And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Revelation 7:14, KJV


Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

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