Is 'Let Him Who Is Without Sin Cast the First Stone' Biblical?
So far, no modern translators have chosen to leave it out altogether.
"If you leave it out without any comments," said Ben Witherington, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, "there are bound to be thousands of Bible readers asking, 'Is this Thomas Jefferson's Bible?'"
But leaving it in can be dangerous, too, especially when Christians breeze past the notes to concentrate on the story. It's difficult to understand how to treat such a sequestered passage; pericope adulterae continues to be much used as evidence of Jesus' character and as an example to believers.
The note in most Bibles does not say the story isn't authentic, but that the oldest manuscripts do not include it. Laypeople assume that translation teams must have a good reason for including the passage, Wallace said.
Douglas Moo, professor at Wheaton College, said that Christians should be cautious about using "Go, and sin no more" or "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
Wallace said pastors have a responsibility to communicate the truth of this text to their congregations. "We need to be as thoroughly biblical as we can be [There] is a huge amount of ignorance that we're catering to in the Christian public.
"A person hearing these words should recognize that they have no authority as authentic words of Jesus," he said. Christians who are reading the story, he said, should give it the same authority as any other unsubstantiated early Christian teaching about Jesus.
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See also today's interview with Dan Wallace on the manuscript discoveries.
J.I. Packer answered the question," How can I reconcile my belief in the inerrancy of Scripture with comments in Bible translations that state that a particular verse is not 'in better manuscripts'?