Noted as one of the best starting places in the Bible, the Gospel of John is a first-hand account of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from one of his most trusted friends and disciples. This book is necessary reading for the believer as it's detail and insight is beyond anything one might cross as they seek out knowledge of this good Word. For this reason, I have decided to embark on a multi-part study on the Gospel of John to give not only in-depth analysis of the entire book; but, also background on it's creation and the man that wrote it. Today we continue with a brief outline of the text and then dive into our first part of our study.
The Gospel of John is broken down into three distinct parts. The first is a Prologue which can be found in John 1:1-18. Throughout this section it is established that Jesus is the Son of God and John traces Jesus’ existence from pre-creation to incarnation as a human. The second is Proof through ministry in John 1:19-12:50. Through these detailed accounts John records various reactions of belief and disbelief to the accounts of Jesus's teachings and miracles. The final part of the Gospel of John can be characterized as proof through death and resurrection as seen in John 13:1 – 21:25. These accounts also record various Reactions of belief and disbelief by active characters in the narrative. The first section our study will focus on is the establishment of Jesus as the Son of God and Jesus's existence from pre-creation to incarnation as a human.
In this section, John starts by clearly stating Jesus’ divine nature; rather than other gospels that presented Jesus’ work and let readers conclude divine nature on their own. The term “the Word” or (in Greek) “Logos” meant different things for the Jews and the Gentiles. For Jews, using the term “the Word” meant a revelation of God. For the Gentiles using “the Word” represented reason and power (a key to a happy and peaceful life).
John 1:1: “In the beginning...”
This refers to time before all creation. Looking backwards to pre-history.
“...was the Word...”
The Word was/is a title for Jesus. By using this specific terminology, John is showing that Jesus was around before all creation. The Word is something special, the perfect expression of the mind of God in human form.
“...and the Word was with God...”
The Word is not a power coming from God as would be from something created, but coexisting with God on an equal basis.
“...and the Word was God.”
John would, as a devout Jew, not say “and the word was a god” because this is not in line with monotheism and could be construed as idolatry. However, God is the Word. In the gospel of John:
The Word is Almighty God
God expresses Himself in the Word
God and the Word are one
John 1:2: “He was in the beginning with God.”
John is now connecting Jesus with the Word. If A (God) equals B (the Word) and B (the Word) equals C (Jesus) then A (God) equals C (Jesus).
John 1:3: “All things come into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
This makes the Word and Jesus one; Making Jesus the Creator.
John 1:4-5: "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
This is the bridge from divinity to humanity. John is explaining the end of his gospel at the beginning.
John 1:6-8: "There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light."
John is now describing the role of John the Baptist in the ministry and life of Jesus. In these three short verses, he summarizes John the Baptist’s purpose.
John 1:9-11: "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."
This passage expands on verse five. It states that Jesus brought with Him and within Him the capability of bringing everyone into the knowledge of the truth. The world will reject Him. The Jews will not accept Him.These are three important points to remember throughout the study.
John 1:12-13: "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God."
This is wonderful because it is the gospel in capsule form. The blessing of those who accepted Him would be becoming a new creature in Him, eternally.
John 1:14: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
We have now moved on with John to the progression of Word/God becoming flesh (incarnation). Jesus =God/Man. Jesus is God’s son by nature (the only one).
John 1:15: "(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)"
The idea of Jesus’ presence is reinforced through the testimony of John the Baptist.
John 1:16: "Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given."
The Word is inexhaustible truth and grace, through faith in Jesus.
John 1:17: "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
Moses received the law, the promise of the coming of Jesus (later). Moses administered the law but Jesus is the substance of the promise contained in the law. He is the fulfillment of promise.
John 1:18: "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known."
John states no man has seen God, but Jesus gives us the experience of God unavailable until now.
We have now completed the prologue of John's Gospel. Next time, we will start to look at proof of Jesus through His ministry.
Are you looking for a good reading plan and just don't know where to start? Join me in reading all about the Bible's teachings on Thanksgiving throughout the whole month of November! Check out our November reading plan below and don't forget to stop by our Instagram Live (@whitneygibbsministries) each evening to discuss the day's readings!