The Book of John
Exegetical Institute, Inc.
Study Course by: Dr. Grady
GOSPEL OF JOHN
Jesus’ traveled and taught between the areas of Galilee and Judea. His first recorded miracle was performed in Cana of Galilee, just west of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus ministered in Jerusalem, as well as in the surrounding cities of Bethany and Ephraim.
John seems to have written his Gospel as an elder of his time. He refers to Peter’s death in John 21.19, which was predicted by Jesus in John 21.18. External evidence indicates John wrote his Gospel between A.D. 85 – A.D. 95. External evidence supports that John was alive up until the reign of Trajan that started in the year A.D. 98. Polycarp, who was a disciple of John, used John’s Gospel in some of his writings. Polycarp lived between A.D. 69 – A.D. 155
It is very evident that John wrote for the reasons given in John 20.31. John was evangelist. John was the Beloved Disciple of Jesus Christ. John had lived his life for Jesus and he wanted others to know and serve his Lord.
John spent much of his life in Ephesus, where he and Mary the mother of Jesus had lived for several years and worked in the church at Ephesus. Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, heard Polycarp speak of John writing a Gospel while at Ephesus. This information would correspond to the dates given in the previous indicating the time John wrote his Gospel.
The Book of Revelation is the only Bible book bearing the Apostle’s name. Neither the Gospel of John nor the Epistles 1,2,3 John bears the Apostle’s name. There are other references to John the Apostle in the Gospel of John, but none of these actually state that John was the author. Reference is made to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13.23, 19.26, 20.2, 21.7), which is commonly accepted as “ the disciple who bears witness of these things.”
The writings from the latter part of the first century and the second century by the early church fathers provide evidence of John’s authorship of the Gospel of John. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and a disciple of John, wrote and spoke of his contact with John. He stated that John wrote a Gospel while in Ephesus. Polycarp also used phrases that are found frequently in the book of John. Polycrates, bishop of Ephesus, calls John a teacher of the things of Christ and an eyewitness of the ministry of Christ. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, wrote that he heard Polycarp speak of John the Apostle as writing a Gospel while living at Ephesus.
Archaeological evidence indicates John the Apostle as the writer of the Gospel of John. A discovery in Egypt proves the Gospel of John was written before the second century. Other evidence points to John living until the reign of Trajan, which began in A.D. 98. Experts believe the Gospel of John was written around the latter part of the first century. Jesus, while hanging on the cross spoke to His mother, Mary and John The Beloved, concerning care ship. We know that Mary, The Elect Lady, and John The Beloved lived and churched in Ephesus.
The theme and purpose of the Gospel of John is clearly understood in this Bible book. John states his theme in John 20.30-31. John’s purpose for writing the book of John is our course to provide a witness to the life of Christ and to win souls.
John focuses on the deity of Jesus is evident. As John is led of the Holy Spirit to write, his desire is that all might be enlightened to the truth of Jesus Christ. From the beginning through the end of this book, John stresses that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and Savior of the world. The theme he expounds throughout the book of John is summarized in the next to the last chapter. John writes in John 20.30-31, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: 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.”
John’s purpose for the Gospel of John is to provide evidence supporting the fact that Jesus is God and the provider of eternal life. John provides this evidence by supplying numerous examples from the ministry of Jesus. John focuses primarily on the words of Jesus as He ministered through teaching, through miracles, while He hung on the cross, and after His resurrection. John wants the reader of his Gospel to come to the undeniable conclusion that Jesus is God and the only one who gives eternal life.
John wrote this gospel so that the reader might understand that Jesus Christ is God and the provider of eternal life. John was an evangelist who wanted everyone to have an opportunity to either say yes or no to Jesus Christ. John’s theme is stated in John 20.20-31. The whole Gospel supports his theme, which is the purpose for John’s writing.
Most professors in seminary target one specific set of scriptures in the Gospel of John. While The Gospel of John demonstrates only a small portion of the ministry of Jesus, this group of scriptures captures the meat of the gospel. In this small portion of Jesus’ ministry we find an even smaller statement that sums up the entire book of John. That statement is John’s theme for writing and it can be read in John 20.30-31. No doubt John was still a fired-up evangelist who wanted individuals to be enlightened with God’s salvation through commitment to Jesus Christ.
As John focuses on the things Jesus said. Some scholars believe John may have had several reasons for writing since there were problems with Judaism and the Gnostics; but he does not elaborate on them. However, John does go into great detail to produce an eyewitness account of the words of Jesus that ultimately leads the convicted reader to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Of course the words of Jesus are connected to His deeds in which John vividly describes. The deeds and words together provide adequate evidence that commitment to Jesus Christ results in eternal life. As we all know seven is the number for complete. God used seven from the beginning of time. Genesis chapter seven describes the even of Noah by sevens, while at the same times depicts the coming of the Messiah, a spotless lamb, who would be our ultimate sacrifice. Let us cover some scripture of things that Christ performed once he began his ministry here on earth.
Seven “miracle signs” performed by Jesus according to the Gospel of John.
- 2.1-11: Changed water into wine in Cana of Galilee.
- 4.46.54: Healed an official’s son in Capernaum
- 5.1-18: Healed an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda.
- 6.5-15: Fed 5000 people by the Sea of Galilee.
- 6.16-21: Walked on the water of the Sea of Galilee.
- 9.1-7: Healed a blind man.
- 11.1-54: Raised Lazarus from the dead.
“I Am” is used seven times in the Gospel of John.
- 6.35: “I Am the Bread of life.” Jesus identifies Himself as the “Bread of life.” Jesus identifies Himself as the “Bread of Life” because He gives eternal life and sustains in this life with ultimate in satisfaction.
- 8.12: “ I am the Light of the world.” The whole world is in spiritual darkness, and it is only through commitment to Jesus Christ that one’s spiritual darkness is eliminated by Christ’s illumination.
- 10.7,9: “I am the Door.” Jesus Christ is the entrance by which mankind enters into relationship with Holy God, thus also resulting in eternal life.
- 10.11,14: “ I am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus has a personal interest in His Children; he cares for, guides and protects believers even better than a shepherd does for his sheep.
- 11.25: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” Jesus is predicting His resurrection from the dead as well as informing all believers they will never die, but will pass from physical life into spiritual life which lasts forever.
- 14.6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Jesus Christ is the avenue by which God has chosen to reveal His truth and his life; Jesus is the way to God, the Truth of God and is the life of God.
- 15.1,5: “I am the true Vine.” The believer receives his spiritual nourishment from Jesus Christ, the supplier; as the true vine, Jesus is the only source through which spiritual nourishment is extended.
Jesus’ reference to Himself as “I Am” identified Himself as the “I Am” in
Exod 3.13-14. He spoke to Moses and identified Himself as redeemer who is faithful to His people. Jesus wanted His hearers to understand He was still redeemer and faithful.
John recorded special things he admired about Christ
Subject 1: The Deity of Jesus Christ, John 1.1-5 –
The prevalent philosophy manifested in numerous cults is the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. Believers need a thorough understanding of the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ.
Subject 2: The New Birth, John 3.1-15 –
People everywhere need to understand that to live forever they must be born of God through Jesus Christ.
Subject 3: Jesus, the Bread of Life, John 6.25-58
Total commitment to Jesus Christ is necessary
Subject 4: The Truth Shall Make You Free, John 8.31-47
The world needs the message of Jesus Christ’s
Subject 5: Jesus is the True Vine, John 15.1-11
The branch needs to understand that Chris, the vine, t is source of strength and power. Jesus stood there that day in the vineyard. He is teaching the disciples. Jesus plainly spoke and explained to those disciples how the vineyard rows containing the grape vines were about 10 feet apart. He explained how He was the true vine and His followers were the branch. Jesus explained how the branch becomes rotten and must be pruned by lifting the branches that were lying in the ground. Jesus picked those branches up that day, pruned the bad from the branch. He then propped the branch, lifted the branch up and placed a solid rock, a stone to support the branch. If one loses their salvation how then in these same verses can a Christian, the branch, be pruned “That they bear more fruit”? A dead, lost sinner, one who has lost his or her salvation cannot bear more fruit, Jn 3:16.. Jesus always lifted those followers up during His time here on Earth. He will never cast you down on the grown. To lift up means to support, care for one another. Jesus was compassionate. Jesus died for our sins of the past, sins of the present and all sin of the future.
When a person is conceived in their mothers womb they are given a fleshly body and at the same time a spirit. One cannot reject the fact that when man is born the spirit received came from God. The spirit given, therefore, is as natural as the flesh given to form the human body. Jesus in Jn. 3.1-15 used the term “Born Again”. The term “Born Again” is recorded in verses three and seven of this conversation. The term refers to the supernatural birth of a repentant sinner who commits his life to Jesus by faith. The term “Born Again” is also referred to as “born after the Spirit” Gal 4.29; “born of Him” 1 John 2.29; “born of God” 1 John 3.9, 4.7, 5.1, 5.4, and 5.18. Peter uses the term “Born Again” in 1 pet 1.23, to explain the new birth the sinner experiences through regeneration.
The word “born” means to be brought into life or being. The word “again” means to return, to put into a former position or former condition. Putting the English definitions together would cause the verse to read: brought into life or being by putting into a former position. This expression captures the biblical definition of “Born Again.” To be “brought into life” is what God does for the repentant sinner who has been dead spiritually because he is a sinner. The second part of the expression says, “by putting into a former position.” This former position is the one experienced by both Adam and Eve prior to the fall; they had never sinned. When the sinner is “Born Again,” he is placed into the position of a saint and it is as if he has never sinned. His sins are forgiven.
The word for “born” in the Greek is “genno” which means to beget, to be born. The Greek word for “again” is “another” which has a double meaning, depending on how it is used. The meanings for “another” are “again” or “anew” and “from above.” The meaning “from above” for “another” reflects the biblical usage referring to the supernatural birth. In the passages cited in the first paragraph, it is understood form the way the term is used that the “Born Again” experience is from God, therefore, a supernatural experience. We thank Dr. Cox , a Seminary professor for pointing this out in such a way there can be no misunderstanding from the original language.
All mankind is born into the fleshly existence. What mankind needs more than anything else in the world is the new birth? Only God can supply the new birth; being “Born Again” is of God from God, a supernatural birth.
Let us outline The Book of John
- The Identification, John 1
- The Deity of Jesus, 1.1-5
- The Witness of John the Baptist, 1.6-8
Jesus’ Mission, 1.9-13
Jesus’ Incarnation, 1.14
Jesus’ Revelation, 1.15-34
Jesus’ Manifestation, 1.35-51
- The Presentation, John 2-4
- Through the Miracle at Cana, 2.1-12
- Through the Cleansing of the Temple, 2.13-25
- Through Disclosing the New Birth, 3.1-21
- Through the Ministry of John the Baptist, 3.22-30
- Through the Gospel writer, 3.31-36
- Through the Discourse with the Samaritans, 4.1-45
- Through Healing a Nobleman’s Son, 4.46-54
- The Confrontation, John 5-12
- Controversy over Healing the Paralytic, 5.1-18
- Controversy over Jesus Proclamation, 5.19-47
- Controversy over Jesus’ Activity and Teachings, 6.11-11.57
- Controversy over Preparations, 12.1-50
- The Teaching Ministry, John 13-16
- Teaching through Serving, 13.1-20
- Teaching through Prediction, 13.21-38
- Teaching of the Way to Eternal Life, 14.1-15
- Teaching About the Spirit, 14.16-31
- Teaching About Fruit Bearing, 15.1-11
- Teaching About Relationships, 15.12-27
- Teaching About Future Events, 16.1-33
- The Prayer Ministry, John 17
- The Betrayal, John 18.1-11
- The Trial, John 18.1-11
- The Crucifixion, John 19.17-29
- The Death and Burial, John 19.30-42
- The Resurrection, John 20.1-10
- The Appearances, John 20.11-21
- To Mary, 20.11-18
- To the Disciples, 20.19-31
- By the Sea of Galilee, 21.1-14
- The Conversation with Peter and John, John 21.15-23
- Conclusion, John 21.24-25
Five important terms used in John
1.“And the Word was made flesh,” John 1.14
2. “Lamb of God,” John 1.29
3.“Everlasting Life,” John 3.16
4.“Believe,” John 20.31
5.“Follow me,” John 1.43, 10.27, 12.26, 13.36
- 1.43: choosing the disciple
- 10.27; the disciple listening
- 12.26: the disciple imitating
- 13.36: the disciples’ destination
Exegetical Outline of the book of John
- The identification of Jesus is revealed. John 1
- The deity of Jesus is explained. 1.1-5
- The witness of John the Baptist was heard. 1.6-8
- The revelation of God is fulfilled in Jesus. 1.9-51
- God appointed Jesus’ mission. 1.9-13
- Jesus was God incarnate. 1.14
- Jesus was God manifested. 1.15-51
- The presentation of Jesus Christ is personalized. John 2-4
- Jesus performed a miracle at Cana. 2.1-2
- Jesus cleansed the Temple. 2.13-25
- Jesus disclosed the new birth to Nicodemus. 3.1-21
- John the Apostle and John the Baptist testified of Jesus 3.22-36
- Jesus met the needs of the hurting. 4.1-54
- The controversy Jesus experienced was because of unbelief. John 5-12
- Healing the paralytic on the Sabbath resulted in a confrontation. 5.1-18
- Jesus’ proclamation resulted in confrontation. 5.19-47
- Jesus’ claim resulted in confrontation. 6.1-71
- Jesus’ healing the blind man resulted in confrontation. 9.1-41
- Jesus’ healing the blind man resulted in confrontation. 9.1-41
- Jesus’ words and activity resulted in confrontation. 10.1-11.57
- Preparation for the future resulted in confrontation. 12.1-50
- The preparation of the Disciples was extensive. John 13-16
- Jesus prepared the Disciples to serve. 13.1-20
- Jesus prepared the Disciples for the future. 13.21-38
- Jesus prepared the Disciples for spiritual growth. 14.1-16.33
- The prayer Jesus prayed is enlightening. John 17.1-26
- The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus was no accident. John 20.11-21.23
- The appearances of Jesus were a blessing John 20.11-21.23
- The conclusion of the Gospel of John is for our benefit. John 21.24-25
In John 20 we find three important facts, all are witnessed and confrmed . In chapter 20 of John’s Gospel we encounter the empty tomb. Following the empty tomb we read of those to whom Jesus appeared in a resurrected body. Next, John tells why he has recorded not only the events of John 20, but also all previous chapters of his Gospel.
All other faiths and religions have dead gods. Our believe, Christianity is the only religion whose God is alive and is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He will return and reign foreever . The tomb of Jesus’ burial is empty; He arose bodily form the grave. No other religion can make this claim. The founders of all other religions died and did not come back to life. All other religions are false. Their founders’ bodies are in the grave; their founders’ souls are in Hell. Christianity, whose founder is Jesus Christ, died and was buried, but arose from the dead because He has the power over death and all other things. This resurrection was not just a spiritual resurrection as non-believers and liberals agree on. This resurrection was a bodily resurrection. Jesus Christ, after being dead, came back to life. John, Peter, and Mary are mentioned as being eyewitnesses to the empty tomb. (John 20.1-10).
The next events the Apostle John records are the physical appearances of Jesus recorded in John 20.11-29. Jesus appeared to His Disciples in a physical resurrected body. Liberals deny the physical resurrection of Jesus; but denying truth does not change the facts. Jesus Christ arose bodily from the grave because He is God.
The Apostle John continues in chapter 20 by giving a report of an eyewitness in verse 30, and a reason for recording the previous events in verse 31. John recorded the events of chapter 20 as well as the previous chapters so that men, women, boys, and girls everywhere can be saved.
John tells us of the empty tomb because Jesus died for our sins. He tells us of the resurrection because Jesus arose giving victory over sin, death, Hell, and the grave. John reminds us of the reason he has written, so believers may live eternally with Jesus.
I. Jesus’ tomb is empty. John 20.1-10
- Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John were puzzled to find an empty tomb. 20.1-8
- Mary reported her findings. 20.1-2
- Peter and John examine the evidence. 20.3-8
- The Disciples did not comprehend a previous revelation. 20.9-10
- Jesus’ appearance proved a bodily resurrection. John 20.11-29
- Mary encountered the resurrected Jesus. 20.11-18
- The resurrected Jesus comforted the Disciples. 20.19-33
- Thomas had a change of heart when he met the resurrected Jesus. 20.24-29
- Jesus’ message is clear. John 20.30-31
- John and others were eyewitnesses to the message and miracles of Jesus. 20.30
- John’s Gospel is for all to experience the message and miracle of Jesus. 20.31
In John 10 Jesus is presented as the Shepherd of the sheep. Sheep in this case are representatives of believers in Jesus. As we read through this chapter we picture a shepherd watching over and caring for his sheep. The shepherd is constantly on guard protecting his sheep from wild animals that would harm and scatter them. As the shepherd calls his sheep, they recognize his voice and follow him. The point Jesus was making is that the true Shepherd is recognizable through His works.
The scripture refers to false prophets who sneak into the congregation through deceptions. He says this one “ is a thief and robber” (v.1). Jesus describes the practice of a thief. An intruder does not want the resident to know he is there, so he must sneak his way in. In verse two Jesus describes the true Shepherd, who has nothing to hide. Jesus has nothing to hide; He boldly comes forth as truth because He is truth.
Seeking out how the scripture applied at the time written we find the people of this time would place their sheep at night with other sheep, they become mixed in with many shepherds’ sheep. The next morning the shepherds go to the corral and call their sheep. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. They only follow their shepherd and no other, so there is no possibility of ending up with more or less sheep than you had the night before. In verses three and four Jesus is referring to calling His own children and leading them. Notice that the shepherd leads the sheep. So it is with Jesus, he leads; He does not drive His church. Christ does not force us to do any thing, but He lovingly leads us through the paths of life.
In verse five we are reminded that the sheep will not follow a stranger; instead, they run from strangers. True believers know the voice of the Holy Spirit. As we examine the many voices we easily determine the voice of Jesus.
In verse six informs us that the hearers did not understand. So Jesus repeated Himself as He often did when something was important. Only this time Jesus went into much detail concerning the relationship between the sheep and the Good Shepherd.
In verse seven through eighteen, Jesus spoke once more of the sheep being lead by the true Shepherd. Jesus once again speaks about false prophets in verse eight. As the shepherd provides good pastures for his sheep (v.9), so does Jesus provide eternal life and peace to all those who follow Him. In verse ten Jesus describes the thief not only as one who robs, but also as one who kills and destroys. In verse eleven Jesus once again refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd. He goes one step further and tells of His soon-coming death when He says, “the Good Shepherd giveth life for the sheep” (v.11). Verses twelve and thirteen refer to the false prophets and teachers who are only interested in self-promotion and self-profit. The do not own the sheep; therefore, they do not care what happens to the sheep. When wild animals approach, the “hireling” runs in the other direction. So it is with the false prophets and teachers; they run at the first glimpse of trouble. Their so-called flock is then devoured and scattered in more trouble and having more problems than ever before. Verse fourteen is a reminder that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. Once again Jesus mentions His death (v 15) for the sheep. In verse sixteen He tells of all the other sheep He has, which is no doubt a look into the future of the church. In verses seventeen and eighteen He mentions His death and in verse eighteen Jesus refers to His resurrection.
In verses nineteen through twenty-one we are reminded about the “division” among the people. There were some people interested in what Jesus was saying. There were others that thought he was a false prophet. Some of them were even accusing Him of being demon possessed.
The Apostle John continues recording Jesus’ discourse by giving a location and time of year. In verse 24 the Jews are there and once again asking Jesus to tell what has already been very obvious. Jesus tells the Jews in verse 25 to look at the works He has done. He then states in verse 26 that they do not believe because they are not His sheep. They could not understand because they were spiritually blind. They also had such an intense hatred for Jesus that they refused to see the obvious. Again Jesus reminders the hearers of that wonderful truth, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know the, and they follow me” (v.27). The giver of eternal life is God, because eternal life is of God. When God has granted eternal life, no man or anything else for that matter, is able to destroy that life or remove one from obtaining that life. In verse 30 Jesus boldly answers their question from verse 24. Because He told them the truth, the Jews wanted to stone Him (v.31). In verse 32 Jesus questioned their response. Their reply in verse 33 shows their intense spiritual blindness.
Jesus continues in verse 34 and reminds the hearers of the Law particularly where the judges of Israel were concerned. Jesus said that just as God recognized the appointed human judges, determining right and wrong, He should be given the respect as the Son of God. The Jews “sought again to take Him” (v.39).
The remaining verses tell that Jesus left the area. He went to where John the Baptist had baptized, and there He ministered to needs of others. The background for chapter 10 seems to be the excommunication of the beggar from the synagogue. Jesus had given this man his sight on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders responded by putting the man out of the synagogue. Jesus’ response was the parable of the Good Shepherd.
In the Old Testament God often refers to Israel as His flock. The shepherd is sometimes presented as God and sometimes presented as someone God has designated this responsibility to. In the parable of John 10 Jesus informs the Pharisees that he is the Good Shepherd, and they being blind leaders were false shepherds or “hirelings.” The religious leaders were to care for the flock, the healed blind man and uncaringly cast him out of the sheepfold.
Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is the true Messiah. Jesus saves. An exegetical study of the scriptures verse by verse has been the intention of God for understanding what the scripture says, what the scripture means, how the scripture applied at the time written and how the scripture applies to you today. The Book of John is a book of history as history was being made. An eyewitness of one of the followers of Jesus is believed to be the writer. John who made records for The Book of John is the same John who made records for The Book of Revelation.