By Mark L. Ward, Jr.

“Cast the first stone” is one of many biblical phrases that have become common expressions. So why are these words left out of some Bibles?

Well, they are and they aren’t: All the major modern English translations put the passage in which they occur (John 7:53–8:11, about the woman caught in adultery) in italics or brackets. They mark off this passage as if it doesn’t belong with the rest of the Bible—and they usually include some kind of explanatory note. Here’s what the New International Version says: “The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53–8:11.”

So should we skip this particular story in our Bible reading? 


There are a lot of things in Scripture that are easy to read without giving them much thought. In my experience, the beginnings and endings of Paul’s letters fall into that category. Honestly, how interesting can greetings and farewells really be? Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. Let’s get to something worthwhile.

Café au lait. My grandmother crafted my first taste of the ambrosial drink that combines hot black coffee and hot milk, loading it for me with sugar. And I wasn’t the only 7-year-old enjoying java. I was raised in south Louisiana, where children begin their love affair with coffee by starting with café au lait.