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Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament

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 Verse 43
Chapter 7
Verse 45
Chapter 9

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John 8:44

Ye are of your father the devil (umeiv ek tou patrov tou diabolou).
Certainly they can "understand" (ginwskete in 43) this "talk" (lalian) though they will be greatly angered. But they had to hear it (akouein in 43). It was like a bombshell in spite of the preliminary preparation.

Your will to do (telete poiein).
Present active indicative of telw and present active infinitive, "Ye wish to go on doing." This same idea Jesus presents in Matthew 13:38 (the sons of the evil one, the devil) and Matthew 23:15 (twofold more a son of Gehenna than you). See also 1 John 3:8 for "of the devil" (ek tou diabolou) for the one who persists in sinning. In Revelation 12:9 the devil is one who leads all the world astray. The Gnostic view that Jesus means "the father of the devil" is grotesque. Jesus does not, of course, here deny that the Jews, like all men, are children of God the Creator, like Paul's offspring of God for all men in Acts 17:28. What he denies to these Pharisees is that they are spiritual children of God who do his will. They do the lusts and will of the devil. The Baptist had denied this same spiritual fatherhood to the merely physical descendants of Abraham (Matthew 3:9). He even called them "broods of vipers" as Jesus did later (Matthew 12:34).

A murderer (antrwpoktonov).
Old and rare word (Euripides) from antrwpov, man, and kteinw, to kill. In N.T. only here and 1 John 3:15. The Jews were seeking to kill Jesus and so like their father the devil.

Stood not in the truth (en thi alhteiai ouk esthken).
Since ouk, not oux, is genuine, the form of the verb is esteken the imperfect of the late present stem sthkw (Mark 11:25) from the perfect active esthka (intransitive) of isthmi, to place.

No truth in him (ouk estin alhteia en autwi).
Inside him or outside (environment). The devil and truth have no contact.

When he speaketh a lie (otan lalhi to pseudov).
Indefinite temporal clause with otan and the present active subjunctive of lalew. But note the article to: "Whenever he speaks the lie," as he is sure to do because it is his nature. Hence "he speaks out of his own" (ek twn idiwn lalei) like a fountain bubbling up (cf. Matthew 12:34).

For he is a liar (oti pseusthv estin).
Old word for the agent in a conscious falsehood (pseudov). See 1 John 1:10; Romans 3:4. Common word in John because of the emphasis on alhteia (truth).

And the father thereof (kai o pathr autou).
Either the father of the lie or of the liar, both of which are true as already shown by Jesus. {Autou} in the genitive can be either neuter or masculine. Westcott takes it thus, "because he is a liar and his father (the devil) is a liar," making "one," not the devil, the subject of "whenever he speaks," a very doubtful expression.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 8:44". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". <>. Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960.


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