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Reference: John, Gospel Of


The genuineness of this Gospel, i.e., the fact that the apostle John was its author, is beyond all reasonable doubt. In recent times, from about 1820, many attempts have been made to impugn its genuineness, but without success.

The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself (Joh 20:31). It was at one time supposed that he wrote for the purpose of supplying the omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of the first three, Gospels, but there is no evidence for this. "There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form a representation of the Christian faith in relation to the person of Christ as its central point; and in this representation there is a picture on the one hand of the antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the other of the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield themselves to him as the Light of life" (Reuss).

After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part (1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of our Lord's public ministry from the time of his introduction to it by John the Baptist to its close. The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his immediate followers (13-17), and gives an account of his sufferings and of his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection (18-21).

The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives (1) to the mystical relation of the Son to the Father, and (2) of the Redeemer to believers; (3) the announcement of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter; (4) the prominence given to love as an element in the Christian character. It was obviously addressed primarily to Christians.

It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), became the centre of Christian life and activity in the East, about A.D. 90.

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John, Gospel of.

This Gospel was probably written at Ephesus about A.D. 78. (Canon Cook places it toward the close of John's life, A.D. 90-100. --ED.) The Gospel was obviously addressed primarily to Christians, not to heathen. There can be little doubt that the main object of St. John, who wrote after the other evangelists, is to supplement their narratives, which were almost confined to our Lord's life in Galilee. (It was the Gospel for the Church, to cultivate and cherish the spiritual life of Christians, and bring them into the closest relations to the divine Saviour. It gives the inner life and teachings of Christ as revealed to his disciples. Nearly two-thirds of the whole book belong to the last six months of our Lord's life, and one-third is the record of the last week. --ED.) The following is an abridgment of its contents: A. The Prologue. ch.

Joh 1:1-18

B. The History, ch.

Joh 1:19,1; 20:29

(a) Various events relating to our Lord's ministry, narrated in connection with seven journeys, ch.

Joh 1:19,1; 12:50

1. First journey, into Judea, and beginning of his ministry, ch.

Joh 1:19,1; 2:12

2. Second journey, at the passover in the first year of his ministry, ch.

Joh 2:13,1; 4:1

3. Third journey, in the second year of his ministry, about the passover, ch. (5:1).

4. Fourth journey, about the passover, in the third year of his ministry, beyond Jordan, ch.

Joh 6:1

5. Fifth journey, six months before his death, begun at the feast of tabernacles, chs.

Joh 7:1,1; 10:21

6. Sixth journey, about the feast of dedication, ch.

Joh 10:22-42

7. Seventh journey, in Judea towards Bethany, ch.

Joh 11:1-54

8. Eighth journey, before his last passover, chs.

Joh 11:55,1; 12:1

(b) History of the death of Christ, chs.

Joh 12:1,1; 20:29

1. Preparation for his passion, chs. John 13:1 ... John 17:1

2. The circumstances of his passion and death, chs.

Joh 18:1; 19:1

3. His resurrection, and the proofs of it, ch.

Joh 20:1-29

C. The Conclusion, ch.

Joh 20:30,1; 21:1

1. Scope of the foregoing history, ch.

Joh 20:30-31

2. Confirmation of the authority of the evangelist by additional historical facts, and by the testimony of the elders of the Church, ch.

Joh 21:1-24

3. Reason of the termination of the history, ch.

Joh 21:25

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King James Version Public Domain