Introduction to the Book of John

The Book of John (written by John the Apostle scholars believe at the end of the first century AD in Asia Minor) spells out clearly who Jesus is, why he was sent here by God, and what we must do a) to be saved b) once we are saved.  John states his purpose near the end of the book: “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31).

John skips the baby Jesus images and instead focuses on 20 days in Jesus’ life and the important words Jesus said during those days from his baptism to his resurrection.  We will read 7 miracles, best read in units (although I’m sure we’ll break it up in BSF to analyze them in pieces).  We will read some of the most famous words in the Bible (John 3:16) and see familiar verses and phrases such as Jesus “I am” sayings.  We will read more teachings on the Holy Spirit than any other gospel.

From the beginning John asserts Jesus is God and came from heaven.  John tells us no one knew Jesus better than he did.  He walked with Jesus.  Stood by the cross.  Entered his tomb.  This is the spiritual gospel, different from the first three gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), which are commonly known as the Synoptics.  Synoptics means “common view”.  The first three have a view of the whole and go over the same stories, themes, sequence, and wording.

The emphasis in the book of John is on the King, not the kingdom.  Christ’s work in Judea is highlighted.  Time and place of events are in the forefront.  It focuses on great length of 24 hours of Jesus life (chapters 13-19) and of the Holy Spirit.

Evidence shows this gospel was widely read from the second century on and therefore probably influenced Christian thought more than any other New Testament book.

The first half of this gospel shows how Jesus revealed his glory to the world and was still rejected (chapters 2-12).  The second half of the gospel (chapters 12-21) shows Jesus’ last hours on earth, his death, and his resurrection (perfect for Easter when we get there!).

You will note John explaining Jewish customs throughout this book and where places are located.  This is because his target audience was Gentile Christians living in and around Ephesus.

Major themes from the first sentence to the last:  Jesus as the Word, light, life, regeneration, grace, forgiveness, and truth and the revelation of God the Father in Jesus His son.  Jesus has come to reveal the Father to all and bring eternal life to all who believe in him.

John is essential reading for all Christians and gives us tools to explain to others (using Jesus’ own words) who Jesus is and what he does for us.  Understanding the book of John is the key to understanding Jesus and therefore God.  This study will change lives!

OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF JOHN

A)  Jesus’ public ministry (John 1-12)

1)  Revealing himself to ever-widening circles, rejected (ch 1-6)

2)  Making his tender appeal to sinners, bitterly resisted (ch 7-10)

3)  Manifesting himself as the Messiah by two mighty deeds (the raising of Lazarus and his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem), repulsed (ch 11-12).  This is the turning point in the narrative.

B)  Jesus’ private ministry (John 13-21)

1)  Issuing and illustrating his new commandment (ch 13)

2)  Tenderly instructing his disciples and committing them to the Father’s care (ch 14-17)

3)  Dying as a substitute for his people (ch 18-19)

4)  Triumphing gloriously (ch 20-21)

(Outline taken from Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

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9 comments on “Introduction to the Book of John

  1. Greg says:

    I don’t know if it’s true for others, but for my BSF session, the first eight lessons in the John study have been posted on the BSF website.

  2. Cardenjr says:

    Thank you so much, This is great.

  3. Pam says:

    This is just awesome. Thanks for the outline. So very helpful.

  4. Lorraine Hollowell says:

    Thanks!!

  5. rungirl says:

    Yes thank you! Very helpful and informative.

  6. Marilyn Sebby says:

    Thanks. I love your commentaries on the BSF studies. I read them every week. Can’t wait to get started in a couple of weeks on John.

  7. Nancy Diaz says:

    Thank you for the introduction to the book of John. I always appreciate your comments. Keep them coming.

  8. Janice says:

    20 days in his life? Hmm…interesting –

  9. Mrs .Tessalee says:

    thank you so much for the guidline ,time and alway be there for BSF,have a blessed Summer.prayed for your ministry for Him.

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