Question. Can you elaborate on what you mean when you say that the speakers are not the new believers in John 8:33? I still do not get it.
Answer. In chapter 8 Jesus is talking to a large group of people. There are many unbelievers in the crowd (see v 19 and v 23). But as Jesus is preaching/teaching, some come to believe in Him (v 30). So the crowd is made up of both believers and unbelievers.
In vv 31-32, Jesus is talking to those who believed in Him (as it clearly states in v 31). But the unbelievers are still there and hearing what is being said.
The question is, who is speaking in v 33? Do the “they” refer to those who have believed or to the unbelievers that are there.
John Niemelä wrote a great article about the Greek in the Gospel of John. Whenever new speakers are introduced, the Apostle introduces them with some kind of description.
So, if v 33 was talking about the new believers of vv 30-31, the Apostle John would have introduced them with a description, something like “those who believed in Him said…..”
But when John writes that a speaker speaks again, he simply uses the pronouns “they” or “he.”
That is what we have here.
The “they” are people who have already spoken. And we see in chapter 8 the unbelievers have already spoken (v 22, 25). The unbelievers are the “they.”
Jesus’ response to them in vv 34-47 also tells us that He is speaking to the unbelievers in the crowd.
In other words, in chapter 8 here Jesus is speaking and addressing a mixed crowd that has both believers and unbelievers in it. He can address the believers in one place (vv 31-32) and unbelievers in another (vv 34ff).