An Overview of John
I. John’s gospel is different from the other three accounts.
A. The first three – Matthew, Mark, and Luke – are called the synoptic gospels because they are similar in appearance to each other, which is the meaning of synoptic.
1. There is strong overlap and support between the three.
B. John clearly knows about the other accounts and focuses more fully on things that the others skipped or only mention in brief.
1. As a result John’s account does not give details about Jesus’ life
2. Instead, the focus is on Jesus’ teachings and the evidence that he is God - John 20:30-31
C. The author and date
1. He was knowledgeable about Palestine’s geography
2. He knows Jewish customs
3. He gives fine details
a. Numbers: John 2:6; 6:19; 21:8
b. Names: John 1:45; 18:10
4. These are marks of an eyewitness - John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24-25
5. The author calls himself “whom Jesus loved” - John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7
a. This puts the author in the inner circle of those close to Jesus: Peter, James, and John.
b. He is not Peter - John 20:2-6
c. James was killed early on - Acts 12:1-2
6. Subtle hint in John 1:6. When multiple people of the same name are mentioned, usually a qualifier is given to specify which one (Matthew 3:1; Luke 3:2). But since John never mentions himself by name, the only other John in the account is left unqualified.
7. Albert Barnes states, “There is no doubt that it was written by John. This is abundantly confirmed by the ancient fathers, and was not questioned by Celsus, Porphyry, or Julian, the acutest enemies of revelation in the early ages.”
8. The strength of evidence that John was the author did not stop modern skeptics from denying this fact.
a. It was popular to claim that John was written in the second century, but the John Rylands Papyrus 52 discovery brought down this claim.
(1) The fragment comes from a codex (book), a form that was rare prior to AD 90.
(2) The style of writing was one used between AD 100 and 135.
(3) AD 135 is currently the most common date for the fragment.
b. This is a copy, not the original, so it would place the original in the later part of the first century at the earliest.
c. Clement was the bishop of Rome in AD 95 and alludes to John's Gospel in his writings, so it clearly predated him.
d. Ignatius' writings show that he was familiar with the Gospel of John. Matthew and John appears to have been Ignatius' two favorite books. Ignatius lived from about AD 35 or 50 to somewhere between 98 and 117.
e. Basilides was a Gnostic, writing shortly after the age of the apostles (about AD 117-135). He clears quotes from John as one of his sources.
9. Most believe John did his writings between 60 and 92 AD. The best evidence is that it was written about AD 65.
a. John 5:2 - Notice the present tense. Jerusalem had not been destroyed when John was written.
A. John states his purpose clearly - John 20:30-31
B. The focus of the book is the divided response to who Jesus is - John 1:11-12; 3:36
1. He is presented as God - John 1:1; 6:69
2. He is presented as man - John 1:14; 9:11
C. While basically chronological in presentation, it isn’t detailed
D. It presents seven signs
1. Water to wine (power over matter)- John 2:1-10
2. Healing of the noble man’s son (power over disease) - John 4:46-54
3. Healing of the man with an infirmity for 38 years (power over long-term diseases) - John 5:1-9
4. Feeding of the 5,000 (creating what didn’t exist) - John 6:1-14
5. Walks on water (power over natural laws) - John 6:15-21
6. Healing the blind man (power over birth defects) - John 9:1-41
7. Resurrection of Lazarus (power over death) - John 11:1-44
E. Seven “I am” statements
1. The bread of life - John 6:35, 48, 51
2. The light of the world - John 8:12; 9:5
3. The door - John 10:7, 9
4. The good shepherd - John 10:11, 14
5. The resurrection and the life - John 11:25
6. The way, the truth, and the life - John 14:6
7. The true vine - John 15:1-5
F. Jesus claims to be deity
1. I am the Son of God - John 10:36
2. Seven claims that he is “I am”
a. Jesus is I am - John 8:24, 28, 58
b. Who is Jesus? “I am” - John 9:5
c. To believe that Jesus is I am - John 13:19
d. At his arrest all fall at his name - John 18:6, 8
3. He is Lord and teacher - John 13:13
4. He is not of this world - John 17:14
5. Was before the foundation of the world - John 17:24
G. Jesus’ humanity
1. Weary - John 4:6
2. Thirsty - John 4:7; 19:28
3. Grieved - John 11:35
4. Troubled - John 12:27
5. Died - John 19:30
A. Prologue - John 1:1-18
B. The Evidence of Christ - John 1:19-12:50
1. Consideration of Jesus as the Messiah - John 1:19-4:54
2. Controversy over who Jesus is - John 5:1-6:71
3. Conflict with Jesus - John 7:1-12:50
C. Instructions to the Disciples - John 13:1-17:26
D. Jesus’ Death - John 18:1-19:
E. Jesus’ Resurrection - John 20:1-31
F. Epilogue - John 21:1-25