Summary: First in Series in a detailed study of the Gospel of John. An Introduction to the Gospel of John, The Prologue is a part of the first "P" in the Gospel of John. The Three P’s found in the Gospel of John.
Note to reader: This is the first lesson in a series of Bible study on the Gospel of John.
The Gospel of John
Introduction to the Bible study on the Gospel of John:
The Gospel of John is a document written for a first century audience.
The stories that Jesus told in His ministry were not initially written down by the Apostles.
The writing of the Gospels only began about A.D. 70 and this writing continued to the writing of the Gospel of John around A.D. 90-100.
There were reasons why the Gospels were written instead of being based upon oral tradition.
1. The primary reason the Gospels were written was because of the death of the 12 Apostles who were the only eyewitness accounts to the ministry and miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The 12 Apostles were the ones with authority, and they developed the need to separate fiction from fact, and to shift from “oral tradition”, to having documents in the form of a written book.
How are we to read a Gospel?
When you read a newspaper, or a magazine, you read articles for facts and you read to gain knowledge of the big stories, and so you read a newspaper in certain parts.
So, we are to read a Gospel along with the other 3 Gospels, in this case, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and view the many pictures within as we compare these pictures to one another.
What is a Gospel?
A Gospel is predominately a biographical account of the life of Jesus Christ. There are 4 Gospels; therefore, there are 4 views of the account of the life of Christ.
Another view of what a Gospel is would be that it’s a theological portrait of Jesus.
John isn’t trying to present objective facts, but instead, John writes that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that we might mature as Christians (John 20:31).
So, each of the 4 Gospels offer a distinctive portrait, or view of Jesus, and each Gospel should be read along side the other 3 gospels.
The writer of the Gospel of John is one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, “The disciple whom Jesus loved.”
John is the most Jewish of the 4 Gospel writers.
He is also the most Greek-Hellenistic of the writers of the Gospels, and reflects a Greek worldview as well as a Jewish worldview.
John’s intended audience was a mixed group: (Jews, Gentiles, Greeks, Hellenistic, Romans, Post-Pauline, Stoics, Pagans, Gnostic).
The mixed group translates into a "Burger King" Theology where many people just made up their own religion (similar to what is happening in our world today).
By the time of the writing of the Gospel of John, several historical events had already taken place.
1. The Apostle Paul had completed his ministry and his head had already fallen to the axe by the hand of Nero, emperor of Rome (A.D.67).
2. The Jerusalem Council had already met in A.D. 49 and fixed some of the early Christian conflict problems.
3. Jerusalem had fallen to the Roman Empire (A.D. 66-70) with the total destruction of the great Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
4. After A.D. 70 Judaism was at the risk of being totally lost, and the Judaism religion through a period of trying to pull itself together. The Pharisees, who were the major leaders of Judaism entrenched Judaism and centered around a coastal town of refuge named Jamnia, which became the center of Judaism. Out of that came Conservative Judaism centered in the Old Testament Law.
5. This new Judaism did not accept any New Testament writings, and they closed the O.T. Cannon, and renounced any Christian faith to the risk of excommunicating anyone who preached and teached any Christian faith in their synagogues; the social centers of Jewish society. (ex. Paul was always run out of town after he preached Christianity in a Jewish temple of worship).
6. Many of John’s readers came from this type of environment.
The purpose of the writing of the Gospel of John: The first “P”
The three “P’s” found in the Gospel of John:
1. The Purpose
2. The Public Ministry
3. The Private Ministry
Lecture: The Structure of the Prologue: John 1:1-18
What are some reasons for believing in Jesus as the Christ?
Explain the Logos\Word that was made flesh.
The Logos\Word has always existed from eternity past, and has no beginning, as He (Christ) is uncreated. We cannot fully explain to our satisfaction the Logos\Word because God says in Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow tall the words of this law.”