The Gospel of John. An Introduction.

Key Notes: Jesus' I AM names. The signs. Words to define.

John’s Gospel is unique. It is different from Matthew, Mark and Luke who have a similar perspective (called "synoptic"--the same view-point) because all three are based on the ministry of Christ in Galilee and probably share common resources. John’s focus is on Jesus’ work in Jerusalem, where John lived and recorded Jesus’ discourses with the religious leaders. The discourses are detailed and often long, suggesting the work of a careful scribe. We will find as many as 27 interviews. Another difference is that John focuses on Jesus’ Deity. The Deity of Christ is taught in all four Gospels, but is especially emphasized in John.

An unusual perspective in John is his reference to the family of God, including the Gentiles (taught in the introduction to Arthur Pink’s commentary). It suggests the global reach of God’s Kingdom.

*He came to His own and they did not receive Him, but those who did He gave the right to become children of God. Jn.1:11–13
*“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also.” Jn.10:16
*“…he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” Jn.11:51–52
*“I pray not for these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their word…” Jn.17:20

Jesus’ names in the Gospel of John are well-known. He precedes each of them with the Name of God: “I AM”. God told Moses
“Say this to the people of Israel ‘I AM has sent me to you’.” Ex.3:14
That word is not only Moses’ word, but Jesus’ word to Israel fourteen hundred years later. The difference is that Jesus is speaking of Himself. He said I AM…
            The Bread of Life. 6:35
                        The Light of the World. 8:1
                                    The Door of the Sheep. 10:7
                                                The Good Shepherd. 10:11
                                    The Resurrection and the Life. 11:25
                        The Way and the Truth and the Life. 14:6
            The True Vine. 15:1

John tells us his purpose at the end of the book:
“…Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing you may have life in His Name.“ Jn.20:30–31

What signs does John record?
            Jesus turned water into wine. (Jn.2:1–11). He is Master over materials.
            He healed the noble-man’s son. (Jn.4:46–54). He was not hindered by distance.
            He healed the paralytic. (Jn.5:9–15). Physical defects were repaired.
            He fed 5000. (Jn.6:1–14). Quantity is no limitation.
            He walked on the Sea of Galilee (Jn.9:16–21), defying natural law.
            He healed a man born blind (Jn.9:1–11) and gave spiritual sight.
            He raised Lazarus from the dead (Jn.11:1–46). He is the Resurrection and the Life.

An outline will give perspective to our reading. We expect to spend as many weeks in study as there are chapters.

Prologue. Who Jesus really is. 1:1–18
The period of  observation. His people consider Jesus’ claims. Jn.1:19–4:54
The time of controversy. His people disagree with Him. Jn.5:1–11:53
The crisis. They decide to destroy Him. Jn.11:54–12:36
Jesus confers with the disciples. Jn.12:36–17:26
The consummation. The Jews succeed in killing Him. Jn.18–19
Resurrection. Jn. 20
Epilogue. 21

The Gospel of John is unique because of its simple vocabulary. It is the easiest book of the NT to read in Greek and is a primer for beginning Greek students. Yet the words are so loaded that simple definitions are inadequate. Some of them for your study are:

Beginning, God, Man

Life, Light, Darkness

Word, Know, Truth

Flesh, Spirit, World

Believe, Sent, Love

Some suggestions for preparation of each week’s lesson.

  1. Read the chapter  every day, at least once.
  2. After three days, write out your interpretation / paraphrase of the text.
  3. Ask questions and make observations.
  4. Find out the messages. What big principles are found here?
  5. Decide how to apply it to your own life.
  6. Come to class fired up and ready to discuss.