Book of the Week 43: John

Greek Name: KATA IOANNEN

Human Author: John                                                           

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 21

Basic Facts

  1. John is the forty-third book of the Bible.
  2. In terms of literary genre, John is classified as a gospel.
  3. Chronologically, John is the last of the four canonical gospels to be written.
  4. The Greek name for the book of John is KATA IOANNEN which means, “according to John”
  5. Of all four canonical gospels, John contains the most unique information and is considered the only gospel that is not a synoptic gospel.

Story of the Book

The gospel of John begins with an account of the story of Creation with parallels to Genesis chapter 1. John tells his audience that God created all things through His powerful Word, and this Word was made flesh and now dwells among us (John 1:14), and John reveals that this Word that was made flesh is Jesus Christ. Woven into this account of creation is the ministry of John the Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus. John proclaims Jesus to be the lamb of God and baptizes Jesus. The next several chapters give a detailed account of the life of Jesus including His life, ministry, miracles, and teachings. Jesus heals the sick, raises the dead, proclaims the good news of the Kingdom of God, and gives hope to the destitute. While the synoptic gospels give more detail to the early years of Jesus’ life, John focuses almost exclusively on Jesus’ final years of life concerning His public ministry. John gives an especially detailed account of the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry starting in chapter 13 through the end of the book. Out of all four gospels, John gives the most detailed account of Jesus’ last supper, prayer in Gethsemane, His arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. The book ends with an acknowledgement that if all the things Jesus did were written down, the world itself could not even contain the books that would be written (John 21:25).

Fulfillments by Jesus in John

John writes about many of the things which Jesus did to reveal His identity as the Messiah, and John states that the purpose of his account is to convince his readers that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:30-31). The ways in which John displays Jesus as the divine Son of God are too numerous to mention them all here. Nevertheless, the following is a short list of examples of the ways in which the divine identity of Jesus is revealed in John: Jesus is the Word of God who is God through whom God the father has made all things (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3), and Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus also makes several “I AM” statements which make a linguistic connection between the person and work of Jesus to the name God assigns to Himself as “I AM who I AM” in Exodus 3:14. Jesus declares:

  • “I AM the bread of life” (John 6:35-48)
  • “I AM the light of the world” (John 8:12)
  • “I AM the door of the sheep” (John 10:7) 
  • “I AM the good shepherd” (John 10:11-14) 
  • “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58) 
  • “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25) 
  • “I AM the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) 
  • “I AM the true vine” (John 15:1-5)

These examples, along with the miracles of Jesus, proclaim Jesus’ divine identity as the Son of God so that through Him we may obtain forgiveness of sins through His shed blood on the cross.