John is the gospel of belief, and was written to show the world that Jesus was the Christ, the "Son of God." Jesus was sent by the Father to give eternal life to believers.
- Key Verse: John 3:16
- Key Words: Believe, Life, Light, Love, World, Father, Son
- Key Dates: Written between 80-98 A.D.
- Time Period: From 27-30 A.D. (early) or 29-33 A.D. (late).
The brothers James and John were fishermen who were business partners with Peter and Andrew (Luke 5:10). John was one of the closest friends of Jesus. John was one of the three who were selected to be with Jesus at the raising of Jairus' daughter, the transfiguration, and in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In addition to the fourth gospel, John also wrote 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, as well as the Revelation.
This gospel was directed toward a Gentile, Christian audience. John frequently explained Jewish customs and often described places in Palestine.
John’s purpose for writing this gospel was expressly stated in John 20:31, "these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
While the teachings of Jesus in the synoptics came primarily in the form of sermons and parables; John presented His teachings within the context of conversations that Jesus had with others.
The different gospel
The gospel of John is very different from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the synoptics). The word synoptic means "to be seen together." Events recorded in the synoptic gospels were set principally in Galilee. By contrast, most of John's gospel was set in Judea.
Seven "I am" Claims
Jesus made seven great "I am" claims in John. These are reminiscent of God's "I am" statement in Exodus 3:14. See John 6:35, 8:12, 10:9, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, and 15:1.
Signs in John
Miracles in John are referred to as "signs." The signs are given to confirm the deity of Jesus. The seven principal signs from this gospel are in John 2:1-11, 4:46-51, 5:1-9, 6:1-14, 6:16-21, 9:1-7, and 11:1-46.
Deity of Jesus
John emphasized the eternal nature and deity of Christ. This gospel reveals a great deal about the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Some of the deepest truths about God can be found in within the four chapters of the upper room discourse (John 14, 15, 16, and 17).
Did you know?
The mothers of John and Jesus may have been sisters (John 19:25).
Some of the most memorable events in the life of Jesus are presented only in John. For example, only John recorded the wedding feast at Cana, the woman at the well, and the raising of Lazarus (John 2:1-11, 4:1-42, 11:1-12:11).
The public ministry of Jesus lasted for approximately 3 ½ years. We know this because John recorded 3 Passovers during Christ’s ministry (John 2:13, 6:4, and 11:55).5
5 Hoehner, Harold W. Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1977.