No Adultery: Monday Monologues (podcast) August 2, 2021


 By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Not Committing Adultery. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

No Adultery: Monday Monologues (podcast) August 2, 2021

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Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

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Do Not Commit Adultery (Seventh Commandment)

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

“And you shall not commit adultery.” (Exod 20:14) [1]

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

At the heart of adultery is almost always a lie. The lie is that our private lives are and should remain private. The truth, however, is that our actions always affect those around us.


Ask King David. He thought that he could have a quiet affair with Bathsheba. When she got pregnant, he tried to hush it up first by calling her husband, Uriah the Hittite, back from service in the army to the palace. The idea was that if Uriah slept with his wife, David’s sin would be covered up. Uriah spoiled this plan by remaining loyal to David and refusing to return home. Unable to cover up his sin, David sent word to Uriah’s commander to place him on the front line in battle and then abandon him to the Amorites. Uriah died in battle (2 Sam 11). Pretty soon everyone heard about David’s sin and attempted cover up. Psalm 30 records David’s distress over his sin. Psalm 51 records David’s confession to God. God forgave David but David’s sin led to the death of his child (2 Sam 12:13–14).


Adultery, divorce, and other forms of immorality are the consequence of yielding to forbidden desires and temptations that threaten to destroy healthy relationships [2] and tear apart our families. They also stand in contrast to God’s intent for human marriage, which is life-long marriage between one man and one woman.

Marriage is not just a romantic idea. If we view our relationships as simply serving our own needs, our children lose out. According to the U.S. Census (2011, 68), the share of children born to unwed mothers rose from 27 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2007. This one statistic implies that the prospects for children in America have plummeted in our generation. Think more poverty, more drug use, more suicide. Marriage is not just a romantic idea.

Biblical Context

Jesus deplored divorce, permitting it only in the case of sexual immorality, and relating it to adultery [3]. The covenant of marriage (Mal 2:14) involves for us two parts: both a covenantal sign (physical intimacy) and a covenantal oath (the marriage promise) [4]. Sexual immorality breaks the first part, but not necessarily the second.

Adultery and Murder

Jesus’ teaching about adultery parallels his teaching about murder. Lust leads to immorality so Jesus cautions us to avoid lust and thereby prevent adultery. He then interrupts this discussion of adultery to launch into a bit of hyperbole: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out . . . And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” (Matt 5:29–30)  After this aside, he returns to his discussion of adultery. The implication is that the body part in view is not an eye or a hand but something a bit more personal! Jesus clearly deplores divorce and immorality.


[1] Also: Deut 5:18; Matt 5:27; Matt 19:18; Rom 13:9.

[2] My first ministry experience as a young adult arose when my pastor and mentor encouraged me to start a summer youth program. The program was a success and I continued this ministry until I was married some years later. My mentor, however, was discovered by a church member to be having a homosexual affair. The affair cost him his pastorate and his marriage; it cost me an important mentor; and it cost the church a talented pastor.

[3] Matt 5:32; Matt 19:9.

[4] For Adam, we see Adam’s rib being taken out to create Eve (a kind of cutting ceremony) and an oath—“she is bone of my bones.“ (Hugenberger 1994, 342–43; Gen 2:21–23)


Hugenberger, Gordon P. 1994. Marriage as a Covenant: Biblical Law and Ethics as Developed from Malachi. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2011. Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2011. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Do Not Commit Adultery (Seventh Commandment)

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Preface to A Christian Guide to Spirituality

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JOHN 8: Grace and Truth

By Stephen W. HiemstraScalesOfJustice

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12 ESV).

What does it mean to walk in the light?

The story of the woman caught in adultery is probably the most celebrated capital judgment case in scripture.  The woman’s guilt is not in question; the only question was the sentence.  The Pharisees asked Jesus:  “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (John 8:5).

Notice that under Jewish law both parties in adultery face the same penalty of death (Leviticus 20:10).  Because the Pharisee covered up the man’s identity, they broke the Ninth Commandment (do not bear false witness; Exodus 20:16) in presenting this case.  In other words, true justice was not being presented here irrespective of the penalty assigned.  Quite the contrary, the Pharisees have no regard for the woman.

Jesus points to the Pharisee’ bias when he says:  “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).  The law required that witnesses to the crime throw the first stone (Deuteronomy 17:7).  If anyone picks up a stone, then that person is liable for prosecution under the law because they have not revealed the identity of the man who participated in the adultery.  The Pharisees understand the dilemma so they leave.  The penalty for perjury was the same penalty as for the alleged crime (Deut 19:18-9).

Jesus’ words to the woman are important.  He says:  “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).  Jesus offers both truth and grace.  True alone or grace alone is not the Gospel. Truth alone is too harsh to be heard; grace alone ignores the law. Jesus seeks our transformation, not our judgment (Rom 12:2).

It is interesting the next discussion in John 8 focuses on the nature of Jesus’ testimony.  What does it mean to walk in the light?  Scholars often argue that the case of the woman caught in adultery does not fit in John—that it was added later.  However, the context of the pharisaic controversy makes perfect sense—it is an example of fair treatment under Jewish law that the Pharisees contested.

Jesus said:  You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one (John 8:15).  Under law, the woman was guilty even though she had been set up.  Under grace, the context is important—the law must be applied with impartiality and fairness to all parties.


  1. Where and when does this chapter open? (vv 1-2)
  2. What was Jesus doing? (v 2)
  3. What happened next? (vv 3-6)  How did Jesus respond?
  4. What is the significance of Jesus writing with his finger? (vv 6,8) (Possible hint: Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10).
  5. What is the significance of Jesus’ question? (v 7)(Hint:  Deuteronomy 17:7)  What is the significance of having finger writing before and after? (vv 6, 8)
  6. Why did the Pharisees leave? (v 9) (Hint:Deuteronomy 19:18-9)
  7. Why is the woman unnamed? (vv 3,9-10)
  8. What does Jesus say to the woman? (vv 9-10)  Why is it important? (Hint: Romans 12:2)
  9. Who or what is Jesus referring to in verse 15?
  10. What does Jesus mean when he says:  “I am the light of the world”? (v 12)
  11. What is this dialog between Jesus and the Pharisees about in verses 13-19?
  12. Who judges according to Jesus in verses 15-16?
  13. Where did these conversations take place? (v 20)
  14. What does Jesus say about sin?  (v 24)  How do the Pharisees respond? (v 25)
  15. What does Jesus say about his relationship with the Father? (vv 26-29)
  16. What does Jesus say to those Jews who believed him?  (vv 30-36)
  17. What is freedom?  (vv 32-36)
  18. How does Jesus use the word, father?  (vv 37-44)
  19. How do we know who comes from God? (v 47)  What is the reward?  (v 51)
  20. How do the Pharisees react to Jesus’ words? (vv 37-59)
  21. Why do the Pharisees attempt to stone Jesus?  (vv 56-59)

JOHN 8: Grace and Truth

Also see:

JOHN 9: Sin and Darkness; Healing and Light 

Vanhoozer: How Do We Understand the Bible? Part 1 

Roadmap of Simple Faith

Bothersome Gaps: Life in Tension

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

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