For seminary I am writing a small paper on the inclusion of John 7:53-8:11 (The woman caught in adultery) in the Gospels. It is an interesting discussion, and in reality, the text was probably NOT a part of the actual document. The earliest manuscripts do not have it included. Some older manuscripts do include the text, however, the verses are included in different spots, not necessarily at this point in the text. Because of this evidence, it is a safe bet that the verses were not a part of the gospel of John.
However, I do still think the text has something of importance to say about how Christ would have us live…I certainly would not venture to say that the story is not in congruence with the Gospel. I think it matches the life of Jesus very well. While it may not have been included in earlier manuscripts, it was certainly a story of Jesus’ life that was getting spread around. Just because it wasn’t included, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and there isn’t something to learn.
The issue that I have come across in my studying about this passage is that many people believe that since John himself did not include it in his gospel, than it shouldn’t be included in the bible. They make the claim that it is the author of the text who is inspired by the Spirit, and that scribes or other people have no right to change or adapt what was inspired by the original author.
My questions that I pose are this: Did the Holy Spirit limit itself to the author of the text, or could the Spirit possibly have moved in the scribes as well, so that this text was included? What are your thoughts? How do you think the Spirit moves today?