Gospel According To John
Writer: Internal and External Evidence: Purpose:
Characteristics and Scenes
Characteristics and Scenes
The writer of this Gospel was the brother of James, the son of Zebedee, and the youngest disciple. He was a fisherman from Kahpehrnah-oúm, had his own house in Jerusalem (19:27), and was an eye witness to Jesus (Jn. 1:14; 21:20,24,25). Only Paul wrote more New Testament Books than John.
Internal evidence to his authorship is complicated because he never used his name. He referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” and “the other disciple,” while he referred to John the Baptist merely as “John.” He had a close relationship with Peter. They were partners (Lk. 22:8; 9:28; Acts 3:1,11; 4:13,19; 8:14; Jn. 1:35,40; 20:3,4; 21:20,7; 19:26 cf. 35).
External evidence comes from the writings of the “church fathers.” The strongest evidence is given by Irenaeus (A.D. 98-195), “Afterward (synoptics written) John, the beloved disciple of the Lord, did himself publish a gospel during his residence at Asia” (A.D. 170). This is important because Irenaeus knew Polycarp (only a generation apart), who was a personal disciple of John. Other testimony is found in the writings of Theophilus (A.D. 115-181), Eusebius (c. A.D. 260-339), Tertullian (A.D. 150-220), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216), and Origen (A.D. 185-254).
This Gospel, unlike the “Synoptic Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) which give information on much of our Lord’s Galilean ministry, focuses more on the Judaean ministry and little upon the Galilean ministry.
The nine scenes in John are:
- Bethabara (1:1-28,29-42);
- Baythsah-eedáh, Galilee (1:43-51);
- Kahnáh, Galilee (2:1-11; 4:46-64);
- Kahpehrnah-oúm (2:12; 6:24-71);
- Jerusalem (2:13-4:3; 5:1-47; 7:10-11:11; 12:12-20:31);
- Sychar, Samaria (4:4-42);
- Galilee (4:43-54; 6:1-23; 7:1-9; 21:1-25);
- Bethany (11:11-53; 12:1-12);
- Ephraim, Perea (11:54-57).
It appears that John’s purpose was twofold: to convince the readers to commit trust that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), the Son of God (Jn. 20:31) and to combat gnosticism. There is no genealogy, no record of youth, nor of baptism, nor of the temptation of Christ. The emphasis is upon the personal and moral glory of the only-begotten of the Father.
There are eight “I Am” sayings (6:35; 8:12; 9:5; 10:7,9; 10:11,14; 10:36; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5), eight miraculous signs (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-15; 6:1-13; 6:16-21; 9:1-41; 11:1-57; 21:1-14), and eight discourses (3:1-21; 4:1-42; 5:19-47; 6:26-66; 7:14-38; 8:12-58; 10:1-38; 13:12-16:33) in John’s Gospel.
The Book may be outlined as follows:
I The Foreword: The Witness of Jesus’ Incarnation To His Deity (1:1-18).
II. The Body of the Book: The Witness of Jesus’ words and works to His Deity (1:19-19:42).
- Witnessing to The Public (1:19-12:50).
- Witnessing in Private (13:1-17:26).
- Witnessing by His Passion (16:1-19:42).
III. Conclusion: The Witness of Jesus’ Resurrection to His Deity (20:1-21:25).
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