Summary: This is a study of John based on 12 Ordinary Men. It has a lot of added notes and scripture.

Note: This is a study from the book 12 Ordinary Men by John McArthur an excellent book. There is also a fill in the blank outline from Adult Bible Fellowships of First Baptist Church Orion that I have posted in the series. This is not original but worth posting for study.

Twelve Ordinary Men

Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. - John 13:23

Insert here a chart listing the 12 Disciples comparing Matthew 10:2-4 Mark 3:16-19 Luke 6:14-16 Acts 1:13

Acts 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated (ἀγράμματος grammatos ag-ram-mat-os) and untrained (διώτης idiōtēs id-ee-o’-tace) men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. :27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

I. Some general observations about John:

a. One of the most familiar_ disciples to us because he wrote such a large portion of the New

Testament. What five books did he write? John (Gospel), 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation

b. He was the younger brother of James and shared his temperament. His personality and

character mirrored that of his elder brother.

This is in contrast to Peter and Andrew. Peter was boisterous and somewhat overbearing where Andrews stood behind the scenes.

c. In light of this it is remarkable that John is often called the “apostle of love.” But love was a quality

he learned from Christ, not something that came naturally to him.

This is what I learned most about studying through the disciples that is what characteristics that we see them have before they met and how Jesus molded them. Not always trying to rid them but develop them. In this you see why Jesus would chose them, not for what they were but for what they could become.

"It is clear from the Gospel accounts that John was capable of behaving in the most sectarian, narrow-minded, unbending, reckless, and impetuous fashion. He was volatile. He was brash. He was aggressive. He was passionate, zealous, and personally ambitious just like his brother James."

The Black and White writing of John. John used the word truth 45 times in his writings.

In his Gospel he set:

Light against darkness

Life against death

Kingdome of God against the kingdom of the devil

Children of God against the children of Satan

Judgment of righteous against the judgment of the wicked

Receiving of Christ against the rejecting of Christ

Fruit against fruitlessness

Obedience against Disobedience

Love against hatred

Resurrection of life against resurrection of damnation


Walk in the light or dwell in the darkness

Born of God we do not sin, we cannot sin

Either of God or of the world

Love if we are born of God or don’t love and born not of God

Be separate from all that is false

2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Balance - The Pendulum

II. He learned the balance of love and truth.

a. John’s love of truth is evident in all his writings. He uses the Greek word for truth twenty-five

times in his Gospel and twenty more times in his epistles.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

b. But when he was younger, his zeal for truth was lacking in love and compassion for people.

The incident in Mark 9 where John forbade a man to cast out demons in Jesus name is a good

illustration of this (note the context).

Mark 9 begins with Jesus telling the disciples that some there would not taste death until they see the kingdom in its present power. After this Jesus take Peter, James and John in the mountain for what we call the transfiguration. After this event Jesus tells the disciples not to tell anyone. Why? Because of their heart they were not ready. Some things are better left unsaid.

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