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John's Gospel


I. The Author

My 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 3:1-21 including the gospel in a verse John 3:16.

The talk with the woman of Samaria - John 4:1-26.

The discourse to the Jews at the feast of tabernacles - John 7:14-19 and John 8:3-58.

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 15:1-11.

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 - John 2:1-11

The Nobleman's Son Cured - John 4:46-54

Man Impotent for 38 Years is Healed - John 5:1-16

Man Born Blind is Healed - John, Chapter 9

The Raising of Lazarus From the Dead - John 11:1-46 (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 - John 21:1-14 (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 John 1:14. (see also Revelation 19:13).

He is called the Messiah - John 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 - John 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.


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