For years I thought this verse above meant that the more I knew the truth in the Word of God, as in memorizing scripture and reading the Bible, the freer I would be. Although, this is true, I was missing the mark on the source of freedom. I was coming at it from an academic or educational position instead of relational.
Let's back up to the verse right before John 8:32, and read both John 8:31 and 8:32:
"Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed Him, 'If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. Then, you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free.'"
The Truth isn't just something to be studied or words on a page.
The Truth is a person. Jesus himself said, "I am the way, the Truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
When we abide in "The Truth", we change from a vantage of knowledge to knowing.
Bible study, although good, should never be the final objective. The Pharisees knew the scriptures, but that did not impress Jesus. Jesus said to them, "You diligently study the scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40)
There are many people who diligently study the scriptures, seeking the Word of God to bring them what they desire...prosperity, health, position, or blessings. Yet, they never know the Truth. They pile on scriptures like a covering over their heart. And the very words spoken to penetrate the depths and pierce their soul, are blocked due to fear, ignorance or self-protection.
The reason we study scripture isn't just to have Bible knowledge or memorize promises. The reason we read the Bible and study the Word is so we can know the person of Jesus Christ.
And when we KNOW the person of Jesus Christ, when we KNOW the Truth, then the Truth will set us free. He alone can set us free. He alone is worthy of all our praise. And who the Son sets free, is free indeed.