About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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My Commentary On 
The Gospel Of John

Nest Section - Chapter 1:1 - 18

This commentary is based on the 1994 edition of the New International Bible.  Chapter titles in this commentary correspond to chapter titles in the NIV.

 

Introduction

A quick reading of the four gospels will show that Johnís gospel is quite different than the other three.  One main difference is that the others major on certain events that showed the teaching and character of Jesus.  John does relate some events to us but there seems to be a more theological emphasis on his writing.  This can be seen right from the first verse when he speaks about Jesus being the Word of God that was made flesh.  The rest of the book shows us this fleshly divine Word.  It's thus clear to me that John wanted to portray Jesus in a light that no one had done before, and I'm sure glad he did.

 

The other gospels spend much time on Jesus' Galilean ministry.  From Johnís account you would hardly know that Jesus was born, raised, and spent most of His life in Galilee.  There is no account of Jesusí birth, other than the statement concerning the Word becoming flesh.  Half, or even more than half, of the book concerns the last week of Jesusí ministry. 

 

What we learn from John is not found in the other gospels.  This does not mean what John is saying is not authentic, as some suggest.  It also does not mean that John is re-interpreting who Jesus is and who He was while He was on earth, as some say.  It simply means that Johnís reasons for writing are different than the others.  Again, it's obvious that John was not coming from an historical approach but a theological approach to Jesus.  Some suggest the specific reason why John wrote his account was because Gnosticism, which had not yet fully developed, was beginning to creep into the church.  I will comment more on this when we come to the first chapter of John.    

 

It is commonly thought that Johnís gospel was written from the city of Ephesus somewhere between 90 and 95 AD where John lived in his senior years.  Some suggest that it might have been written as late as 110 AD.  Still others, those who hold to the Preterist view of prophecy say John wrote all of his writings prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  This helps support their prophetic view that states most if not all of the book of Revelation has already been fulfilled and it was fulfilled prior to the fall of Jerusalem.                    

 

Some Bible teachers suggest;
and I think they are in the
minority, that there are two John's.  One John is the John who was a disciple of Jesus.  Other's say there was another John, called John the elder, who was an elder in the church at Ephesus close to the turn of the first century.  Some, and I'm in this camp, feel that there are not two Johns.  John the disciple of Jesus is John the elder who lived in Ephesus at the end of his life.    

 

Although I understand both sides of the debate, from my limited knowledge, I believe the Gospel of John was written by John the Apostle, who was an elder in the city of Ephesus in and around 90 to 95 AD.  John would have been very old by the time he wrote this letter.  He could have easily have been 90 years old.      

 

Eusebius, a very important fourth century writer and theologian quotes early Christian authors to say that John wrote his account because the other three gospel accounts didn't incorporate the deeds of Jesus prior to John the Baptist's death.  If you read John 3:22 to 24 you'll note that John does indeed incorporate some of the activity by Jesus before John the Baptist's death.  As a matter of fact, John the Baptist was still baptizing in the early days of Jesus' ministry.   

Next Section - Chapter 1:1 - 18

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