Summary of the Book of John

From Issue: Discovery 7/1/2016

Written by “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (21:20, 24), the apostle John is believed to be the inspired penman. The son of Zebedee, he and his younger brother James were known as “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). His later life’s work was done in Ephesus before he was banished to the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Five New Testament books are credited to him: this Gospel account, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Revelation. John’s Gospel record differs from Matthew, Mark, and Luke—which are known as the “synoptics” because they are more similar with one another. John contains no parables, and much of what is found in John is not found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

John seems to refute the false belief that Jesus did not come to Earth in physical/human form. Thus, John draws attention to the physical aspects of Christ’s person, including His pain and death, His hunger and thirst, and His becoming tired, among other things. John also presents several personal interviews.

Central Theme:

The theme of the book is stated in the last two verses of John 20: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but 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.” Thus the book is designed to confirm the divine nature of Christ on the basis of “signs,” seven of which are spotlighted in the book. These signs are presented to prove the truthfulness of Jesus’ claim to be divine.  Signs were the chosen means by which Jesus “manifested His glory” (2:11).

He is referred to as “the Word” (1:1); “God” (1:1); “the Lamb of God” (1:29); “the Messiah” (1:41); “the Son of God” (1:49); “the King of Israel” (1:49); “Son of Man” (1:51); “the Savior of the world” (4:42); and “my Lord and my God” (20:28). His deity is identified in the “I am” statements (4:26; 8:24,28,58; 13:19)—clear references to the God of the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14). His divine nature is also echoed in other “I am” expressions (6:35; 8:12; 10:9,11,14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1,5; 18:5).

Though John reflects his Jewish background in his 
allusions to Jewish life and customs, he writes to all people—Jew and Gentile—and their need to 
acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God.


Outline of John:
 1:1-18 The deity of Christ as seen in His existence before time began and after becoming flesh
 1:19-51 The deity of Christ as seen in John the Baptizer’s testimony of Christ
 2:1-11 SIGN #1—Christ’s deity proven by His ability to turn water into “wine” (grape juice)
 2:12-25 The deity of Christ as seen in His authority over the Temple
 3:1-36 The deity of Christ seen in His announcement of the new birth
 4:1-42 The deity of Christ declared to the Samaritans
 4:43-54 SIGN #2—Christ’s deity proven by healing the nobleman’s son
 5:1-9 SIGN #3—Christ’s deity proven by healing the disabled man
 5:10-47 His deity discussed in light of His third miracle
 6:1-21 SIGNS #4 and #5—Christ’s deity proven by feeding the 5,000 and walking on water
 6:22-71 His deity discussed in light of the 4th and 5th signs
 7-8 His deity declared to the Jews in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles
 9:1-7 SIGN #6—Christ’s deity proven by healing the blind man
 9:8-10:21  His deity discussed in light of the 6th sign
 10:22-42 His deity questioned at the Feast of Dedication
 11:1-44 SIGN #7—Christ’s deity proven by raising Lazarus from the dead
 11:45-57 His deity discussed in light of the 7th sign
 12:1-50 His deity shown by His anointing and triumphal entry into Jerusalem
 13-17 His deity shown in His effort to prepare the apostles for His death and their future roles
 18-20 His deity demonstrated in his arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances, all leading to Thomas’ confession of His deity
 21 His deity confirmed to seven disciples




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