Scripture Studies » John's Gospel
I. The Author
College Notes: John the Apostle
Thompson Chain Reference Bible, William Smith Bible Dictionary, Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary and J D Douglas -- John the Apostle
John Kitto and Robert Lee -- John, Son of Zebedee and Salome
Matthew Henry Commentary -- John, brother of James, one of the twelve disciples
Philip Schaff Bible Dictionary -- John the Apostle
2. Arguments against John's Authorship
He was martyred at an early age. (This is rejected by a majority of scholars)
Alleged historical and geographical inaccuracies would seem to indicate that it was
not written by an eye witness. (Archaeology has confirmed John's accuracy)
John was unlearned. (People also forget that John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim's
Progress and other great respected writings was unlearned) -- One might ask his
critics what qualifies a person as unlearned? There is considerably more to life than
head knowledge that can qualify a man to write eloquently or with conviction.
His account wouldn't have differed so much from the other gospels. (This disregards
John's special purpose in writing the book as will be seen later in this study).
The slowness of the early church to accept the gospel as canon. (All the gospels
were accepted as canon together so this is a fallacious argument)
The silliest argument of all (my words) is that "John probably dictated the gospel to
someone else, hence he is the author.
3. Time written
College Notes - Just before his death 85-95 AD
Thompson Chain Reference Bible - Late in the first century
Smith's Bible Dictionary - 78 AD
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown - 90-94 AD
Douglas - AD 90's
Lee - 50 years after Christ's ascension - Approximately 83 AD
Encyclopedia Brittanica - 105 AD
4. Place Written
Lee, Smith, Henry and Brittanica say Ephesus
Douglas - Asia minor -- Particularly Ephesus
Kitto - Ephesus or as Athanasius supposes, Patmos
5. Theme and Key Words
College Notes - Jesus Christ, Son of God
Thompson Chain Bible - Faith and Eternal Life
Lee - Jesus as the Eternal Son of God
***The key words are believe and life
6. Purpose of the Book
College Notes, Douglas and Brittanica - John 20:31 -- "But these are written that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might
have life through his name."
Lee - Written at the request of Andrew and the Asiatic Bishops to combat error
Henry - To refute Cerinthus and the Ebionites who believe Jesus to be a mere man.
Douglas - To refute antagonistic views of Christ held by the Jews of his time and to
argue against gnosticism which stresses the importance of knowledge and believes
that "knowledge is power" and that the spiritual is not real.
7. Written To
College Notes and Smith - Christians
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown - Gentiles
Douglas - Jewish Audience
8. Various Breakdowns of the Gospel of John
John Kitto - 2 Principal Sections
1:1 to 12:50 - Public functions of Christ and brief summary (John 12:44-50)
13:1 to 20:25 - History of the passion and resurrection.
Smith's Dictionary and College Notes - 3 Sections
1:1 to 1:18 - Prologue or Introduction
1:19 to 20:29 - The Main Message
20:30 to 21:35 - Epilogue or Conclusion
Douglas - 3 Sections
1:1 to 11:56 - Revelation of Jesus to the World
12:1 to 17:26 - Revelation of Jesus to the Disciples
18:1 to 21:25 - The glorification of Jesus
Thompson Chain Reference Bible - 5 Sections
1:1 to 1:18 - The Prologue
1:19 to 12:50 - The manifestation of Christ's Divinity
13:1 to 17:26 - Private Revelation
18:1 to 20:31 - Humiliation and Triumph Over Death
21:1 to 21:25 - The Epilogue
9. Comparison with the Synoptic Gospels
John's message was evangelical while the synoptic gospels were spiritual
John covers the Galilean ministry of Christ - the synoptic His Judean ministry
John shows Christ's public life and the synoptic gospels show his private life.
John stresses Christ's humanity and the synoptic gospels stress his deity.
About 92% new material is in John but is not found in the synoptic gospels.
There are no parables in John's gospel.
John omits Christ's early life taking it back to creation - "In the Beginning."
Verily, verily is used only in John 23 times. The synoptic gospels used only Verily.
John uses the words witness (13 times) and bear witness (33 times) clearly being
proof of the evangelical nature and thrust of the gospel message.
10. Discourses and Conversations Found Only In John
The talk with Nicodemus - John 3:1 to 3:21 including the gospel in a verse John 3:16.
The talk with the woman of Samaria - John 4:1 to 4:26.
The discourse to the Jews at the feast of tabernacles - John 7:14-19 and 8:3 to 8:58.
The parable of the good shepherd - John, Chapter 10.
Private instructions to his disciples - John, Chapters 14 to 16.
Intercessory Prayer - John, Chapter 17.
Meeting with the disciples at the Sea of Galilee - John, Chapter 21.
The True Vine - John 15:1 to 11.
11. 6 Great Terms that are Characteristic of or special to the gospel of John
The Only Begotten, The Word, Life, The Paraclete, Truth and The Light of the World
12. Miracles Found Only In The Gospel of John
Turning Water into Wine - 2:1 to 2:11
The Nobleman's Son Cured - 4:46 to 4:54
Man Impotent for 38 Years is Healed - 5:1 to 5:16
Man Born Blind is Healed - John, Chapter 9
The Raising of Lazarus From the Dead - 11:1 to 11:46 (Resurrection and the Life)
Not raised from a bed like Jarius' daughter.
Not raised from a bier like the Widow of Nain's son.
BUT from the grave after being dead for FOUR DAYS!
The Miraculous Draught Of Fishes - 21:1 to 21:14 (The other gospels speak of the
the draught on the Sea of Galilee (obviously a different event)
13. Four Peculiarities Of John's Gospel (from John Kitto)
The Mystical Relation of the Son to the Father
The Mystical Relation of the Redeemer to Believers
The Announcement of the Holy Spirit -- the Comforter.
The Importance Ascribed to Love.
14. Other Interesting Information About This Book
The Method and Form is Allegorical (one thing standing for another). It is figurative
language requiring an interpretation -- an illustration.
In John 20:17 we find the first time that Jesus calls the disciples "brethren."
15. Jesus is presented in a wide variety of ways.
He is called the Word (Logos) in
John 1:1 and 1:14. (see also Revelation 19:13).
He is called the Messiah - 1:41,4:25-26 and 29, 7:26 and 42, 11:27 and 20:31
He is called the Son of Man - John 3:13-14, 5:27 and 12:23 and 34
He is called the Son of God - 1:18, 34 and 49, 3:16, 9:35-37, 11:27 and 19:7
Most of the key ideas from this gospel come from the Old Testament and Jesus Christ is portrayed as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. In addition, this gospel is recognized by the early fathers such as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Iraneus, Heracleon and Tertullion.
Miracles that are found in the book of John include turning water to wine, healing the son of a nobleman, healing the palsied man, feeding the 5000, calming the storm, opening blind eyes and raising Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus Christ is signified in John's gospel as Creator, Sustainer, Empowerer, Provider and Protector, Enlightener and Re-creator. He is further portrayed as Son of God, Son of Man, Divine Teacher, Soul Winner, Great Physician, Bread of Life, Water of Life, Defender of the Weak, Light of the World, Good Shepherd,The Door, The Resurrection and the Life, The King (when entering Jerusalem), The Servant, The Consoler, The Way, Truth and Life, The True Vine, The Giver of the Spirit, The Great Intercessor, The Model Sufferer, The Uplifted Savior, The Victor Over Death and the Restorer of the Penitent.
THE I AM'S OF JESUS CHRIST
Some only give 7 "I Am's" of Christ and most know some or all of them.
The seven are: The Bread of Life, The Light of the World, The Door, The Good Shepherd, The Resurrection and the Life, The True Vine and The Way, the Truth and the Life.
I add the following for your consideration:
I am He (the Messiah) - John 4:26
I am from above - John 8:23
Before Abraham was - "I Am." - John 8:58 (This was most devastating to the Jews)
I am Master and Lord - John 13:13
I am He (in Gethsemane on his arrest) - John 18:6
And in the Book of Revelation speaking to John the Apostle he said the following
I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End - Revelation 1:8
I am he that liveth and was dead and am alive forevermore - Revelation 1:18
I am Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End, First and the Last Revelation 22:13
I am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star - Revelation 22:16
There has never been and will never again be another such a person as this wonderful Savior, and the gift of eternal life which he suffered and died and resurrected to give stands above all other considerations for those who wish to live life to its fullest potential both here on earth and throughout the endless ages of eternity! All praise and honor to Jesus Christ my Lord, Savior, Master and King. Amen!
C R Lord © 1980