Casting The First Stone: Bible Study And Lesson

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

The Gospel records tell us that Jesus was constantly being challenged by the religious elite of His day. During His earthly ministry, Jesus upset the religious leaders on a regular basis. Often, these leaders would purposefully pose a question to Jesus to try to trap Him into saying or doing something that would allow them to charge Him with breaking a religious law. We find one of those instances in the Gospel of John.

Trying to trap Jesus

We begin in verse three, “The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him” (John 8:3-6).

The penalty for adultery under Jewish law was death (Leviticus 20:10) for both the man and the woman. We see here that the Jewish leaders brought only the woman to Jesus for judgment. We do not know why they didn’t bring the man also. The text says that she was “caught in the act”; therefore, the identity of the man must have been known also. The Jewish leaders might have only brought the woman to further test Jesus’ reaction, or His knowledge of the Law. Regardless, this was a trap in which they hoped to halt Jesus’ growing influence and popularity with the people. They also hoped that Jesus would incriminate Himself in such a way that they could charge Him with a crime, so as to put a stop to His ministry.

Jesus’ Godly response

These religious leaders were no match for Jesus. Who could dare hope to outsmart the Creator of the universe? Then, Jesus replied to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7). With these words, Jesus forced these religious men to search their own hearts for sin. I can imagine that, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, every little iniquity these men had perpetrated was replayed in their minds in a conscience-searing parade of images. They had arrived as self-righteous, arrogant, executioners and now the convicting power of the Holy Spirit was humbling them and forcing them to see that they were no more innocent than the woman they had brought to Jesus.

Only the Holy Spirit can truly convict someone of their sin. We may have all the clever arguments we can memorize, and knowing the evidence for our faith is a good thing, but without the Holy Spirit’s convicting power our efforts will prove fruitless. We should also keep in mind, as we witness to those who are lost and hurting, that we were once in their condition. We were unsaved sinners to whom someone else shared the Gospel. We did not save ourselves and there was not anything in us that made us worthy of being saved. It was God’s grace alone that reached out to us and rescued us. The Christian heart should have no place for arrogance.

So, how did these recently convicted religious leaders respond? The Bible tells us that, “…when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him” (John 8:9). It appears that these men were so embarrassed by the realization that they too were sinners, that they slunk off, one by one. Hopefully, this event caused many of them to rethink their relationship with God and to confess and repent of the sins of which they had recently been reminded.

Jesus confronts the woman

 “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11)

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11)

As the Jewish leaders wandered off, only Jesus and the woman were left. She must have wondered what was coming next; would Jesus now judge her? What should she do? Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:10-11). One can almost sense the relief and gratitude the woman must have felt when Jesus said this. Hopefully, she also felt the responsibility He gave her with His words “sin no more”.

Jesus does not forgive one’s sin in order for them to be able to sin without consequences; rather, He expects us to repent, to change the way we live, in gratitude for His saving act of love to us. This event is a living example of the verse, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Jesus had every right in the universe to judge this woman; however, He would rather offer her the opportunity for forgiveness instead. Such is the love of our great God.


This event is a marvelous picture of Jesus’ saving grace. Jesus judged the situation and, instead of condemning the woman, He forgave her and instructed her to repent. We could all take a lesson from Jesus in the way He handled the religious leaders too. Instead of losing His temper, as we are often prone to do, He calmly stated truth and let the truth do its work. Many times we attempt to force feed our beliefs into those with whom we are witnessing. Instead, we should simply speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and let the Holy Spirit work that truth into their heart.

You might also like this article:

Speaking the Truth in Love

Resources – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version “Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Dapaah June 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for the message. It’s great and I have learnt a lot from it.


Kris June 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

I think you did a great job with this . One of the things that also comes to mind is that under the law noone could be put to death without first having testimony of two or three witnesses.

When Jesus added that this provisio of anyone who was willing to cast the stone having to be without sin it did not deny this need for two or three witnesses but as we see the qualifications were more clearly defined .

He did not come to condemn the world because the world was already under the condemnation from the Fall .

His dealing with the woman did not deny justice but set the higher standard of His intent which was mercy. How grateful we are for this truth.

Deu 32:4 [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.

I think that much of the time in our day where ‘tolerance’ has been the word of the day …[of the world] people do not think of it as truth which protects but is linked with ‘punishment’ . Thus even though everyone desires judgment when they are damaged by some act or situation that is unjust there is not always a just judgment to be had as the knowledge and understanding of this is found in God . Man left to his own devices has been sliding into legislating sin .

Deu 16:19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.

Psa 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

God’s judgment on matters is just and establishes the depth of how merciful He is in the length that He is merciful and longsuffering though we all have deserved death!

Without judgment that is righteous people suffer and mercy is not known.

Psa 103:6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

Psa 106:3 Blessed [are] they that keep judgment, [and] he that doeth righteousness at all times.

In this record I see Jesus demonstrated knowledge of the law as you pointed out but also demonstrated the truth that as long as we are alive we have the option to ‘Go and sin no more’ which is just as important as the compassion and extension of His mercy to us !

When people reject God ‘s Word which is His judgment upon all things they miss the opportunity to be able to know what God ‘s definition is of all things in order for us to KNOW how to live pleasing to Him and to avoid harm to ourselves and others.

Rejection of God’s Word /judgment leads away from righteousness and the offer of mercy from God.

When someone speaks what GOD says about something it is often rejected as if what is said is their own opinion . Those who do not know God’s word do not recognize God’s position as stated about whatever He has spoken upon. So they reject it out of hand.

This is sad and unwise. We are all in need to know what HE has offered us by way of His word so that we may obey Him.

I dare say when Jesus left town and the woman went on to live her life in and among those who were the judges …if she returned to her sin she would be dealt with according to their laws.

Jesus judged her rightly but also gave her the confirmation that she needed to stop her adultery . We are not saved by ‘stopping sin’ but our walk when we know Him will be more and more concerned to seek to avoid those things which His word tells us to do and not do. The Word will arise from where we have ‘sown it ‘ to ‘judge’ as the Word tells us it is the “sword of the spirit which divides asunder the thoughts and intents of the heart so we may realize how our thoughts and intentions line up with His Word/Judgment which IS righteousness.’

Jhn 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Where do we find what is ‘righteous judgment’ ?

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, FOR INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.

God did not leave us without His instruction to look upon the condition that we are in and then as we have seen the things which He has shined truth upon in our own hearts and minds we are thus being equipped.

2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Pro 10:17 He [is in] the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

This judgment Jesus executed upon sin was so exacting and His aim was protective as he warned her to go forth and ‘sin no more’ because the law still stood .

Our salvation has provided us with His provision for our eternity and for our lives to be turned from darkness to the light of truth so we may learn to walk in what He has provided through His life, death , resurrection and Word .

How precious His loving kindness and mercy to expose sin by His judgment upon it and to have also made known His will for us to be able to have an ‘open book’ to know what His view of sin is , thus shining a light upon His mercy as well!

Pro 11:1 A false balance [is] abomination to the LORD: but a just weight [is] his delight.

Pro 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Thank you for your having brought this to our attention in times when justice and mercy have become somewhat muddled .

Mat 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier [matters] of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Luk 11:42 But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Those who reject the Mercy of the Lord in Jesus Christ will have judgment….But God has extended mercy so that men may awaken, repent and live….

Job 12:12 And Job answered and said,

2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.

3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?

4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.

6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?

10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?

12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.

14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.

17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.

18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.

19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.

20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.

21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.

22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.

24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.

25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

I thank you for your service to encourage the Body and inform those who are seeking more and more the bread of life who is Jesus Christ !


Nicholas June 18, 2013 at 3:18 am

You all have had me ask for prayer before , I am in need so much with my wife , she is so sad over her mom’s death , over her daughter’s choices , we are going through so much , have gone through so much , and it doesn’t seem to let up , at one time before we were married she told me she tried to commit suicide , and she said tonight as soon as she get’s the house in my name that is her plan to do this . I am having such a time at work , we have had terrible financial problems , I was out of work for over 6 months , I know GOD can do anything , I feel HE must soon , I wish we could just see some hope . I can always think of things to say to others , Bible verses , etc. but prayer is what I feel we need so very much , for GOD is the only one wise enough and strong enoug to help !!!!


Robert June 18, 2013 at 8:31 am

You certainly have my prayers. Let me encourage you to trust God and His promises. Oftentimes, it is difficult to see through the darkness to the light, but God promises us that He is with us to comfort, strenghen, and guide us. I have seen that, if I remain steadfast in Him, He answers my prayers in ways greater than I could have imagined. Trust Him, Nicholas…He will not dissapoint.
Yours in Christ,


Kris June 18, 2013 at 3:49 am

Brother I know your stress and situation …it is the Faith OF Jesus Christ that is evident in those who are His and comes forth more glorious when we are going through a trial.

How I praise Him for your stedfast hope in the midst of this fiery trial. We cannot ‘muster’ enough of what it takes…it is HIS faith that comes through and by His Word as it is IN us daily that we overcome and endure.

Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint

Though we are cast down and all things around us look bleak it seems that all of the things at work are preparing for the exposition of His excellence that is in those who are relying upon Him . He will glorify Himself and in those who are faithful to do all that He has given US to do as we trust Him to do all that is HIS job!

Some of the time we struggle to just remain and in this we know He is pleased with our willingness to submit.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

We “bridle ” our tongue with the rein of the two edged sword ..which is the word of GOD and HE will give us an answer for all things we need for life and a godly relationship with Him . The Word is a living spirit …putting it in our minds will sustain us as we wait upon His wisdom to come to mind.

Your wife is in the marriage which has made her one flesh and your continued walking in the light which you have will keep you ,…and as her head whose head is Christ you will be supplied with what you need. Surround her with the truths of God daily and continue in faith and you will not be disappointed. Allow the word of GOd to be His “voice’ which will arise to counsel you in this time of testing .

May your heart be comforted with the comfort which Christ had even in the Garden of Gestheminie when he was seiged by the very things we are all tempted with yet without sin ,.

God makes a way of escape when we are taxed with all kinds of suggestions which are NOT HIS ‘voice’ / word.

Stay close in His hand while you are waiting upon the supply to your heart.

Deu 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

an audio free online reading with music found on Grace Gems for your encouragement…there are many great readings to listen to for your continued listening and edification.–SPC–Meditations


Kris June 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Also another thing comes to mind.

1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

The head is where the Word of God is to reside and thus abide….as we have He who is the WORD abiding in our minds and we abide or live by the Word …He will guide us along according to His words.

The meaning of ‘head’ …there are several but one that stood out for me was that it means ‘source of life’

Jesus told us that He is the head of the body

He also said that He is the head of the man and the man is the head of the woman.

This is encouraging for your ‘source of life’ in Jesus Christ must effectively be able to guide you along through the various assaults that come your way and as you are the head of your wife it is not so much a burden as one of the ways obeying God as you love her , cherish her, and nourish her with how the Lord comforts you that you may see the impact upon her own heart.

Continue to feed upon the truths of the Word and do not allow your mind to bring up any sort of denial of what GOd says about you . Contend for the faith that IS yours through the knowledge of Him and you will begin to feel more and more secure in His promises despite the ways that things around you seem to try to shake you.

2Cr 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

You have said how you have been able to offer the Word and hope to others and this is good ….even if THEY did not receive it YOU heard it and it builds up when we hear and lean upon His Word.

You HAVE what GOD says you have …cling to that tenaciously.

You have not been given the spirit of fear but of love , power and a sound mind in all that He has provided IN you by His spirit in the inner man.

The assurance you have in His provision for your wisdom will bring peace in the midst of this trial. It is odd but true and sometimes after what seems like the most hopeless situation as we continue to seek Him in the Word for our necessity to be comforted …just beyond the worst of it there is a deeper understanding of something perhaps we had not really thought of!

Job 33:29 Lo, all these [things] worketh God oftentimes with man,

Job 33:30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.


Rom 5:1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Rom 5:3 And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Rom 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.


Nicholas June 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm



kris June 19, 2013 at 12:09 am

Yeay!!We will enjoy awaiting the victories that are sure to come….and the various ways that you are growing despite the way the enemy intended this for evil …but it will turn to glorify the Lord and give you testimony of ‘bragging ‘ rights to the glory of GOD!

Glad you are a man with such a great ‘can do’ attitude….YOU ROCK!


Mr Anthony Cotton June 21, 2013 at 7:43 pm

I have got to say what Jesus said to the adulterer is to me one of the most profound quotes in the bible.
It is such a very short sentence,and it stopped a mob ready to stone her to death.
It also dealt with the pharisees who were trying to trap Him.
It`s amazing!!!!!!


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