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John - Session #1

John and the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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John 1:1–5 NKJV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
What does this passage mean to you?
John 1:1
The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Circumstances in Which John Wrote

The Circumstances in which John Wrote

Who/What is the “Word”?
The concept of Logos (Greek for Word/Reason) - the mind of God.
Why would John use this imagery?

Objective of this Study

Pull relevant information from Matthew, Mark, and Luke as we go trough John.
Pull relevant information from Matthew, Mark, and Luke as we go trough John.
Get to know Jesus better.


None, but...
You get out what you put in.
Reading Matthew, Mark, and Luke will give you other perspectives as we study John together.

Compare the Gospels


Matthew (Written First )

Author - tax collector & apostle (; ; ; ; )
To - better educated Jews who believe in Jesus, but argue over the Law
Where - possibly Galilee; probably in or near Antioch in Syria
When - late 70's or 80's (w/ older sources, incl. one written by Matthew?)
What - book of "heritage" of Jesus (1:1) & much of his "teaching" (28:20)
Why - to teach a community with internal divisions and external enemies

Mark (Written Third)

Author - "John Mark of Jerusalem" (; ; ; ; )
To - mostly Gentiles, fairly new in their faith, and facing persecutions
Where - probably Rome; possibly Decapolis, Syria or Alexandria?
When - first written "Gospel"; very late 60's or early 70's (Jewish War 66-70)
What - narrated "good news" (1:1) about Jesus, esp. his actions & his death
Why - to encourage a group undergoing difficult trials and persecutions

Luke (Maybe Written First probably Second)

Author - physician & companion of Paul (; ; only)
To - wealthier Gentile Christians in an urban setting, becoming complacent
Where - probably Greece; possibly Syria/Antioch (Pauline missions)
When - mid to late 80's (incl. "many" earlier written sources)
What - an "orderly account" for attaining "secure knowledge" (1:1-4)
Why - to challenge believers to put their faith into practice more fully

John (Written Fourth) - Spiritual Gospel

Author - John, son of Zebedee; one of 12 apostles (; ; cf. )
To - very mixed: mostly Jews, some Gentiles, Samaritans, etc.
John, son of Zebedee; one of 12 apostles (; ; cf. )
Where - originally Galilee or Syria; traditionally Ephesus (Asia Minor)
When - main edition 90's (early edition 50's?  epilogue after 100?)
What - much "testimony" and "signs" for believers (20:30-31; 21:24-25)
Why - to strengthen a group ostracized by other Jews for their faith

Major Differences

The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Gospel that Is Different

The Gospel that is Different

The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Gospel that Is Different

The Gospel that is Different

It omits many things
Birth, baptism, and temptation of Jesus
Last Supper, Gethsemane, and ascension
Healing of many that were possessed by devils and evil spirits
All of the parable stories
See the explanation of Church historian Eusebius
The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Gospel that Is Different

Church historian Eusebius

The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Gospel that Is Different

It was in fact this difference of scene which provided the great Church historian Eusebius with one of the earliest explanations of the difference between the Fourth Gospel and the other three. He said that in his day (about AD 300) many people who were scholars held the following view. Matthew at first preached to the Hebrew people. The day came when he had to leave them and go to other nations. Before he went, he set down his story of the life of Jesus in Hebrew, ‘and thus compensated those whom he was obliged to leave for the loss of his presence’. After Mark and Luke had published their gospels, John was still preaching the story of Jesus orally. ‘Finally he proceeded to write for the following reason. The three gospels already mentioned having come into the hands of all and into his hands too, they say that he fully accepted them and bore witness to their truthfulness; but there was lacking in them an account of the deeds done by Christ at the beginning of his ministry … They therefore say that John, being asked to do it for this reason, gave in his gospel an account of the period which had been omitted by the earlier evangelists, and of the deeds done by the Saviour during that period; that is, of the deeds done before the imprisonment of John the Baptist … John therefore records the deeds of Christ which were performed before the Baptist was cast into prison, but the other three evangelists mention the events which happened after that time … The Gospel according to John contains the first acts of Christ, while the others give an account of the latter part of his life’ (Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, 5:24).

John describes a ministry in Jerusalem, at least in its earlier chapters, which preceded the ministry in Galilee.
The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Circumstances in Which John Wrote

It was with this in mind that the great scholar Clement of Alexandria (about AD 230) arrived at one of the most famous and true of all verdicts about the origin and aim of the Fourth Gospel. It was his view that the gospels containing the genealogies had been written first—that is, Luke and Matthew; that then Mark, at the request of many who had heard Peter preach, composed his gospel, which embodied the preaching material of Peter; and that then ‘last of all, John, perceiving that what had reference to the bodily things of Jesus’ ministry had been sufficiently related, and encouraged by his friends, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a spiritual gospel’ (quoted in Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, 6:14). What Clement meant was that John was interested not so much in the mere facts as in the meaning of the facts, that it was not facts he was after but truth. John did not see the events of Jesus’ life simply as events in time; he saw them as windows looking into eternity, and he pressed towards the spiritual meaning of the events and the words of Jesus’ life in a way that the other three gospels did not attempt.

Back to the Word

Why would John use this imagery
Greek thinking (Logos)
The rise of heresy
People who thought John the Baptist was the Messiah
Matter is essentially evil and spirit is essentially good
God / Matter can’t co-exist so God did not create the world.
God created copies (emanations) of himself that transitioned from him into non-spirit beings that ultimately knew less of God and ultimately is hostile to God.
What are current cultural beliefs that are contrary to Christianity?
Carl Sagan
Science / Reliigions
Notice the shift from “Word” to “life” and “light” in vs 4

John the Baptist (JTB)

Who is JTB?
What does JTB say about himself and about Jesus?
Who is Jesus Christ (vs 17)

JTB Testimony

JTB’s Testimony

Summarize JTB’s testimony

First Disciples

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