(dark type is new information for this lesson; light type was information covered in the previous class.)



John is a first century document

The action took place between 30 – 36 AD because Pilate was removed from his position by Tiberius Caesar in 36 AD.

The Jewish revolt took place between 66-70 AD

This book was written to second and third generation Christians who still had an apostolic witness living among them in the man of John.



Christianity is a historical religion.

The apostles are the link between the historical events and our understanding today.

The book of John is the eyewitness account of the life of Jesus by one of his disciples, John.


The author:

a)      Was a Jew

b)      Had first hand knowledge of the cities, places, and the lay of the land in Palestine

c)      Was very familiar with Jerusalem

d)      Understood Judaism and its practices, beliefs and schools of thought.


Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, Gaul in 177 AD says that John the apostles “issued”  (“exedoke” meaning “gave out or “published”)  this gospel in Ephesus.  He said:

               “John, the discipleof the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, had  himself published a gospel during his residence in Ephesus in Asia.”


The Muratorian Fragment from 170 lists the books accepted by the church at this time.  Along with listing the names of the books it also tells the origin of each book.  This Muratorian Fragment tells that John was the author of this book.



Irenaeus says that John lived until the reign of Trajan.  Trajan began to reign in 98 AD and continued until 117.


Even early Christians believed and wrote that John’s gospel was the fourth gospel.

So church history is unanimous that Matthew, Mark and Luke where already in existence  when John wrote his gospel.

This helps us to understand why John is different than the first three gospels and does not repeat many of the same stories and teachings.  John gives us a different look than what was already available.

93% of John’s material does not occur in the other three Gospels (called “Synoptics” because they are all similar)

Clement of Alexandria states that John wrote to supplement the information given in Matthew, Mark and Luke.



Critics have placed the writing of John around 160 AD.

But we have references by writers before that date apparently referring to John’s gospel:

1)      Justin Martyr (145 AD) writes:

a.       “Christ said, ‘Except you be regenerated you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ ”

b.      “It is plain that it is impossible for those who were born once for all to enter into their mothers womb” (John 3:3-5)

2)      Tatian a disciple of Justin Martyr wrote a harmony of the four gospels, known as the Diatessaron, before 170 AD.  If the Gospel of John had recently been forged it would not have qualified to be included.

3)      Ignatiaus who was martyred around 117 under Trajen apparently quotes from the gospel of John twice:

a.       John 3:8 when he says the Spirit knows “whence it cometh, and whither it goeth”

b.      John 7:38 where he says he no longer has a desire for material things but only “the living water.”

4)      Egerton Papyrus 2 – Three papyrus codex leaves where acquired in 1925 that come from the 110-140 AD.  The author of these papyri where familiar with the book Gospel of John where they make references to John 5: 39, 45; 9:29; 7:30; 10:39


Egerton Pyparias from 110-140 AC

5)      John Ryland manuscript is a codex fragment of a copy of the gospel of John from 110-130 AD that contains John 18:31-33 on one side and 18:37, 38 on the other.                    


John Ryland’s Manuscript from 110-130 AD

Place of Writing



For Greek readers both believers and unbelievers because :

1)      Prologue is in Greek thought

2)      John:

a.       Explains Jewish customs

b.      Translates Jewish names

c.       Locates Palestinian sites

3) 12:20-22 tells us that the Greeks came asking “to see Jesus.”


This book is not directly any of these:

a)      written for a specific occasiioin

b)      contain a personal preface as does Luke

c)      not simply a collection of information like Mark

d)      dedicated to any person

e)      a complete narrative

f)        an essay

g)      not a strong recording of history to reflect a time or place

This book does seem to be a defensive writing to strengthen the true theological  foundations of the church.

The occasion may be to combat the rise of Cerinthus teaching (early Gnosticism)


Cerinthus taught that Jesus was merely human.  He was possessed by the spirit of Christ at his baptism.  This spirit of Christ left Jesus at the cross.


Church history records John and Cerinthus meeting and having verbal exchanges during John’s time in Ephesus.



1)      Present Jesus as divine.  Although the first three gospel do the same this was one of John’s key reasons.  John begins with the Word becoming flesh in 1:1 until Thomas exclaims “My Lord and My God” in 20:28.

2)      John’s purpose statement is found in John 20:30-31

3)      John’s purpose was clearly evangelistic and that seems to be mainly among the Greeks.

4)      The verb “Believe” (“pisteuo”) is used 98 times in the book.  But, the noun “faith” (“pistis”) is never used.

5)      John may have been writing (as he clearly does in 1 John) to combat some false teachings and heresies that had come into Christianity.




I.                    Prologue (1:1-18

II.                 Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry (1:19-51)

III.               Jesus’ Public Ministry (chapters 2-11)

1)      The seven signs

2)      The seven discourses

IV.              The Last Week (chapters 12-19)

V.                 The Resurrection (20:1-29)

VI.              Purpose Statement (20:30-31)

VII.            Epilogue (chapter 21)


I.                    The Prologue: Proposal for Belief (1:1-18)

II.                 The Presentation for Belief (1:19-4:54)

III.               The Reactions of Belief and Unbelief (5:1 – 6:71)

IV.              The Crystallization of Belief and Unbelief (7:1 – 11:53)

V.                 The Crisis of Belief and Unbelief (11:54 – 12:50)

VI.              The Assurance for Belief (13:1 – 17:26)

VII.            The Rejection by Unbelief (18:1 – 19:42)

VIII.         The Vindication of Belief (20:1-31)

IX.              Epilogue: The Dedication of Belief (21:1-25)



1)      Textual evidence shows 7:53-8:1 are not part of the original

2)      Some believe chapter 20:31 was the original ending of the book and that chapter 21 was added later by John or someone else.

a.       No manuscripts have ever been found without chapter 21.



1) Key words are:  

a.       Witness

b.      Love

c.       Abide

d.      Counselor

e.       Light

f.        Life

g.       Darkness

h.       Word

i.         Glorify

j.        True

k.      Real


3)      These things are omitted in John’s gospel:

a.       Genealogy

b.      Birth

c.       Baptism

d.      The Temptations

e.       Exorcising Demons

f.        Parables

g.       Transfiguration

h.       Institution of the Lord’s supper

i.         Agony in Gethsemane

j.        The Ascension


4)      The Seven Signs – John focused on seven signs to prove Jesus was God


  • Turning Water into Wine at Cana
  • The Healing of the Nobleman's Son
  • The Healing of the Palsied Man
  • The Feeding of the Five Thousand
  • The Storm on the Lake and Jesus Walking on the Sea
  • The healing of the Blind Man
  • The Raising of Lazarus from Death

5)      Each of the seven signs are followed by a discourse by Jesus explaining the sign.



Signs In JOHN


 Book of John (Referance)

Central Truth

1 Changing Water to Wine


Point to Jesus as the Source of all the blessings of God's FUTURE (see ISA. 25:6-8 JER.  31: 11-12 and Amos 9:13-14

2 Healing the Offical's Son


Points to Jesus as the Giver of Life

3 Healing The Invalid at Bethesda


Points to Jesus as the father's Coworker

4 Feeding the Five Thousand

6:1-15  25-69

Points to Jesus as the Life-Giving Bread

5 Walking on Water


Points to Jesus as the Divine I AM

6 Healing the Man Born Blind


Points to Jesus as the Giver of Spiritual Sight

7 Raising of Lazarus


Points to Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life



6)      There are Seven “I am” statements by Jesus

a.       6:35 – “I am the bread of life”

b.      8:12 – “I am the light of the world”

c.       10:7 – “I am the gate for the sheep” (10:9)

d.      10:11 –“I am the good shepherd” (10:14)

e.       11:25 – “I am the resurrection and the life”

f.        14:6 – “I am the way and the truth and the life”

g.       15:1 – “I am the true vine” (15:5)


7)      There are four Passovers in the book of John

a.       John 2:23

b.      John 5:1

c.       John 6:4

d.      John 11:5


8)      Places in Jerusalem mentioned by John:

a.       Five colonnades at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:2)

b.      Colonnade of Solomon at the outer edge of the temple enclosure where Jesus taught (John 10:23)

c.       The Praetorium (palace by temple where Pilate dwelt) (John 18:28

d.      The Stone Pavement where Jesus stood before the Pilate and the Praetorium (John 19:13)

e.       Golgotha (Hebrew word for “skull”) (John 19:17()

f.        Joseph’s garden and tomb where Jesus was buried (19:41)


9)      John’s details about Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, Sychar are historically and archeologically correct.

10)   Historical events that John writes about:

a.       John the Baptist (1:19-37; 3:2-36; 4:1)

b.      Herod’s rebuilding of the temple (2:20)

c.       High priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas (18:13-14)

d.      Pontius Pilate (18:28 – 19:16, 38)


11)  John does not write about:

a.       Roman occupation of Palestine although it is to be understood

b.      Current Political situations directly

c.       The Church by calling it “the church”

d.      The organization of the local church


12)  Personal Interviews with Jesus recorded by John

a.       Nicodemus in Jerusalem (3:1-15)

b.      Wth woman of Samaria (4:1-26)

c.       The Nobleman of Cana (4:43-53)

d.      The Paralytic in Jerusalem (5:1-15)

e.       The Blind man (9:1-38)

f.        Mary and Martha in Bethany (11:17-40)


13)  Six conflicts with the Jews are mentioned

a.       2:18-20

b.      5:16-47

c.       6:41-59

d.      7:15-44

e.       8:31-58

f.        10:22-39


14)  Theological Themes

a.       Jesus in the incarnation of the eternal God

b.      The Atonement – Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God

c.       Eternal Life

d.      The person and function of the Holy Spirit

e.       Belief – Belief is equated with:

                                                               i.      Receiving (1:12)

                                                             ii.      Following (1:40)

                                                            iii.      Drinking (4:13)

                                                           iv.      Responding 4:51)

                                                             v.      Eating (6:57)

                                                           vi.      Accepting (6:60)

                                                          vii.      Worship (9:38)

                                                        viii.      Obeying (11:39-41)

                                                           ix.      Commitment (12:10-11)