Introduction To John
Introduction to John
stated purpose of the gospel of John
what makes Gospel of John unique to the other gospels.
Author: nowhere in the Gospel of John does John refer to himself as John.
Author: External source
Like the other three gospels, the gospel of John does not name its author. But according to the testimony of the early church, the apostle John wrote it. Irenaeus (c. a.d. 130–200) was the first person to explicitly name John as author. In his work Against Heresies, written in the last quarter of the second century, Irenaeus testified, “Afterwards [after the Synoptic Gospels were written], John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia” (3.1.1). What makes his witness especially valuable is that Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 5.20), who was a disciple of the apostle John (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.4). Thus there was a direct line from Irenaeus to John, with only one intervening link. Theophilus
Author: Internal source
There is nothing specific in the gospel itself to indicate when it was written. Dates given by conservative scholars range from before the fall of Jerusalem to the last decade of the first century. (As noted above, a date in the second century is ruled out by the discovery of the papyrus fragments p52 and Egerton Papyrus 2.) Several considerations favor a date toward the end of that range (c. a.d. 80–90). The gospel of John was written long enough after Peter’s death (c. a.d. 67–68) for the rumor that John would live to see the second coming to have developed (John 21:22–23). That rumor would have had more plausibility when John was an old man. John does not mention the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple (a.d. 70). If his gospel were written a decade or more after that event, it may no longer have been an issue to his readers. (The temple’s destruction in any case would have been less significant to Gentiles and Jews of the Diaspora than to Palestinian Jews.) Finally, although not dependent on them, John was aware of the Synoptic Gospels. The later date allows time for them to have been written and circulated among John’s readers. The testimony of the church fathers further confirms that John was the last of the four gospels to be written (e.g., Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.1.1; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.24, 6.14).
According to the uniform tradition of the early church, John wrote his gospel while living in Ephesus.