In the June 2018 edition of JETS (“The Pericope of the Woman Caught in Adultery: An Inspired Text Inserted into an Inspired Text?” pp. 321-37), Scott Kaczorowski makes an amazing suggestion about John 7:53–8:11.
Many have suggested that it is not part of John’s Gospel, but that it does represent an actual historical incident. Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament takes that position (pp. 187-89). So does Kaczorowski.
But Kaczorowski goes a step further. He says that while it does not belong in John’s Gospel, it is more than just an accurate historical account. He thinks that this account is actually “an inspired text” (pp. 321, 333-337).
I’ve long believed that the Majority Text (MT) carries the correct readings. Hence I’ve long believed that John 7:53–8:11 is inspired Scripture and that it belongs right there in John’s Gospel.
However, when I read Kaczorowski, I found myself wondering if I have forgotten the evidence. I then read Metzger’s comments in his Textual Commentary and realized I needed to go back and look at the evidence.
Hodges and Farstad have a long write up on this passage in their Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text (pp. xxiii-xxxii). Their explanation is night and day different than that of Kaczorowski and Metzger. They point out that over 900 manuscripts include this account and they give extensive evidence that the style is completely consistent with John’s style (contra Metzger and Kaczorowski).
The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of John 7:53–8:11 being part of John’s Gospel.
Why is it, however, that Kaczorowski suggests that though he thinks this account was not part of John’s Gospel, it is inspired Scripture and should be taught in churches? He gives the following lines of evidence: 1) “Apostolicity and antiquity” (e.g., Papias in the late first and early second century attested to its authenticity, as did many of the church fathers), 2) “Historical authenticity and orthodoxy” (i.e., it was regarded as historical and there is nothing in it which is unorthodox), and 3) “Usage and spiritual power” (e.g., the church has always found this story to be very edifying).
Kaczorowski suggests this account is inspired Scripture. But without a home. It does not belong in John’s Gospel. Nor does it belong in any other book.
He seems fine with leaving it where it is in John’s Gospel, even though it does not belong there.
Why would God give us an account without a book? Is there anything else in the Bible which is inspired Scripture, but which does not belong in any book of the Bible?
I think Kaczorowski unwittingly makes a good case for John 7:53–8:11 being a part of John’s Gospel. In any case, I’m glad to see that he is convinced that it is part of inspired Scripture. This is a move in the right direction.