2. The fourth gospel is named for its writer, John, which means "Grace of God," or "God's gift." John, the same as Johanan, is a contraction of Jehohanan.

  4. From internal and external evidences we learn the following things about the writer:

    1. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of James (Mk 3:17).
    2. It is thought that John's mother was s sister of the Lord's mother (Mk 15:40,41; Mt 27:56; Jn 19:25-27). If so, he was a cousin to Jesus.
    3. He was probably born in Bethsaida, and was a fisherman (Mt 4:21).
    4. He was probably one of the two whom John the Baptist turned to the Lord (Jn 1:40).
    5. Knowledge of Jewish customs indicates that he was a Jew.
    6. He was one of the twelve apostles (Mk 3:14-19).
    7. He was an eye-witness of what he wrote, having accompanied Jesus during the Lord's ministry (Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 1:1-4).
    8. He was one of the three most intimate with Jesus (Mt 17:1; 26:37).
    9. He is the writer of First, Second and Third John, and Revelation.
    10. Scriptural references show that he was present at the ascension (Acts 1:13); on Pentecost (Acts 1:26; 2:1); with Peter in prison (Acts 3). He protested against the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:13), and remained at Jerusalem during the great persecution (Acts 8:1). Fifteen years after Paul's first visit he was still in Jerusalem (Acts 15:6). The subsequent story of his life is largely traditional. It is thought that he moved to Ephesus, and from there was banished under Domitian's persecution to the island of Patmos where he was forced to work in mines. On Patmos he received the visions of The Revelation (Revelation 1:9). Tradition says he later returned to Ephesus and died around 95 A.D. The New Testament makes no mention of this.

    1. The date: Perhaps between A.D. 85 and 95, though dates suggested by men range from 68 to 96.
    2. Place of writing: It was probably written in Ephesus.
    3. Circumstances prevailing: The gospel had been preached in all the Roman Empire, Jerusalem had fallen, Christianity had been sorely persecuted, and most of the New Testament had already been written.
    4. Ones addressed: Christians of all nationalities are in mind.
    5. Style: Simplicity, sameness, repetition, parallelism, contrasts.
    6. Subject: Jesus, the Divine Christ, the Son of God.
    7. Purpose: To cultivate and cherish the spiritual life of Christians.
    8. Characteristics (Tidwell, The Bible Book by Book):
      1. It is the gospel for the church.
      2. It is the spiritual gospel
      3. It is a gospel of feasts, which furnish material for much of Christ's teaching.
      4. It is a gospel of testimony, proving Jesus is Christ.
      5. It is a gospel of belief (See John 20:30-31).
      6. It is a gospel of symbols. Mystic numbers (3,7) and many symbols are used.
      7. It is a gospel of the Incarnation. "The word became flesh," etc. (1:14).

    1. Notable omissions: Baptism, temptation, transfiguration, instituting of the Lord's Supper, agony in Gethsemane, and parables of Christ. Why are these great events not given in the Gospel According to John?
    2. In the light of the Gospel According to John explain:
      1. The causes of unbelief.
      2. The results of unbelief.
    3. Study the night scenes of the book.
    4. Study the "I Am's" of Christ recorded by John.
    5. Note in detail the special discourses of Jesus that are found in the book.
    6. Make a list of the ones who came to worship Jesus.
    7. Discuss the following viewpoints of the gospel writers:
      1. Matthew explains the messianic functions of Christ.
      2. Mark presents the active work of Jesus.
      3. Luke describes the character of Christ as the Savior.
      4. John magnifies the person of the Lord.

Published in The Old Paths Archive

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