Gospel of John

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The Gospel of John (Greek : Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, romanized: Euangélion katà Iōánnēn) is the fourth of the canonical gospels. [1] [Notes 1] The work is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions. [2] It is closely related in style and content to the three Johannine epistles, and most scholars treat the four books, along with the Book of Revelation, as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author. [3]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.

Biblical canon A set of texts which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture

A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts which a particular religious community regards as authoritative scripture. The English word "canon" comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". Christians became the first to use the term in reference to scripture, but Eugene Ulrich regards the idea as Jewish.


The discourses contained in this gospel seem to be concerned with issues of the church–synagogue debate at the time of composition. [4] It is notable that in John, the community appears to define itself primarily in contrast to Judaism, rather than as part of a wider Christian community. [Notes 2] Though Christianity started as a movement within Judaism, it gradually separated from Judaism because of mutual opposition between the two religions. [5]

Judaism The ethnic religion of the Jewish people

Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. It encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Composition and setting

A Syriac Christian rendition of St. John the Evangelist, from the Rabbula Gospels. John the Evangelist (Rabbula Gospels).jpg
A Syriac Christian rendition of St. John the Evangelist, from the Rabbula Gospels.

Johannine literature

The Gospel of John, the three Johannine epistles, and the Book of Revelation, exhibit marked similarities, although more so between the gospel and the epistles (especially the gospel and 1 John) than between those and Revelation. [6] Most scholars therefore treat the five as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author. [3]

Johannine epistles Three epistles contained in the New Testament

The Johannine epistles, the Epistles of John, or the Letters of John are three of the catholic epistles of the New Testament, thought to have been written AD 85–100. Most scholars agree that all three letters are written by the same author, although there is debate on who that author is.

Book of Revelation Final book of the New Testament

The Book of Revelation, often called the Book of Revelations, Revelation to John, the Apocalypse of John, The Revelation, or simply Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ or the Apocalypse, is the final book of the New Testament, and therefore also the final book of the Christian Bible. It occupies a central place in Christian eschatology. Its title is derived from the first word of the text, written in Koine Greek: apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation" (before title pages and titles, books were commonly known by the incipit, their first words, as is also the case of the Hebrew Five Books of Moses. The Book of Revelation is the only apocalyptic document in the New Testament canon The only extended passage in the Old Testament is in the Book of Daniel.

Johannine literature the collection of New Testament works traditionally attributed to John the Apostle or to a Johannine Christian community: the Gospel of John, the 1st–3rd Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation

Johannine literature refers to the collection of New Testament works that are traditionally attributed to John the Apostle or to Johannine Christian community. Johannine literature is traditionally considered to include the following works:


John contains many characteristics of those writings belonging to the genre of Greco-Roman biography, a) internally; including establishing the origins and ancestry of the subject (John 1:1), a focus on the main subject's great words and deeds, a focus on the death of the subject and the subsequent consequences, b) externally; promotion of a particular hero (where non-biographical writings focus on the events surrounding the characters rather than the character himself), the domination of the use of verbs by the subject (in John, 55% of verbs are taken up by Jesus' deeds), the prominence of the final portion of the subject's life (one third of John's Gospel is taken up by the last week of Jesus' life, comparable to 26% of Tacitus's Agricola and 37% of Xenophon's Agesilaus), the reference to the main subject in the beginning of the text, etc. [7]

Genre is any form or type of communication in any mode with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. Genre is most popularly known as a category of literature, music, or other forms of art or entertainment, whether written or spoken, audio or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria, yet genres can be aesthetic, rhetorical, communicative, or functional. Genres form by conventions that change over time as cultures invent new genres and discontinue the use of old ones. Often, works fit into multiple genres by way of borrowing and recombining these conventions. Stand-alone texts, works, or pieces of communication may have individual styles, but genres are amalgams of these texts based on agreed-upon or socially inferred conventions. Some genres may have rigid, strictly adhered-to guidelines, while others may show great flexibility.

John 1:1 Verse of the Bible

John 1:1 is the first verse in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John. In the Douay–Rheims, King James, New International, and other versions of the Bible, the verse reads:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tacitus Roman senator and historian

PubliusCornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest Roman historians. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature, and is known for the brevity and compactness of his Latin prose, as well as for his penetrating insights into the psychology of power politics.


The gospel of John went through two to three stages, or "editions", before reaching its current form around AD 90–110. [8] [9] It speaks of an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions, but does not say specifically that he is its author. [2] Christian tradition identifies this disciple as the apostle John, but for a variety of reasons the majority of scholars have abandoned this view or hold it only tenuously. [10] [Notes 3]


The scholarly consensus in the second half of the 20th century was that John was independent of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), but this agreement broke down in the last decade of the century and there are now many who believe that John did know some version of Mark and possibly Luke, as he shares with them some items of vocabulary and clusters of incidents arranged in the same order. [11] [12] Key terms from the synoptics, however, are absent or nearly so, implying that if the author did know those gospels he felt free to write independently. [12]

Gospel of Matthew Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110. The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, and likely used a hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, although the existence of Q has been questioned by some scholars. He also used material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".

Gospel of Mark Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Mark is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret, concealing it in parables so that even most of the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant. The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.

Gospel of Luke Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Many incidents in John, such as the wedding in Cana, the encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, and the raising of Lazarus are not paralleled in the synoptics, and most scholars believe he drew these from an independent source called the "signs gospel", and the speeches of Jesus from a second "discourse" source. [13] [12] Most scholars agree that the prologue to John employs an early hymn. [14]

The gospel makes extensive use of the Jewish scriptures. [13] John quotes from them directly, references important figures from them, and uses narratives from them as the basis for several of the discourses. But the author was also familiar with non-Jewish sources: the Logos of the prologue (the Word that is with God from the beginning of creation) derives from both the Jewish concept of Lady Wisdom and from the Greek philosophers, while John 6 alludes not only to the exodus but also to Greco-Roman mystery cults, while John 4 alludes to Samaritan messianic beliefs. [15]

Structure and content

Jesus giving the Farewell Discourse to his 11 remaining disciples, from the Maesta of Duccio, 1308-1311. Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles.jpg
Jesus giving the Farewell Discourse to his 11 remaining disciples, from the Maestà of Duccio, 1308–1311.

The majority of scholars see four sections in this gospel: a prologue (1:1–18); an account of the ministry, often called the "Book of Signs" (1:19–12:50); the account of Jesus' final night with his disciples and the passion and resurrection, sometimes called the "book of glory" (13:1–20:31); and an epilogue which did not form part of the original text (Chapter 21). [16] [17]

The structure is highly schematic: there are seven "signs" culminating in the raising of Lazarus (foreshadowing the resurrection of Jesus), and seven "I am" sayings and discourses, culminating in Thomas's proclamation of the risen Jesus as "my Lord and my God" (the same title, dominus et deus, claimed by the Emperor Domitian, an indication of the date of composition). [23]


The Rylands Papyrus the oldest known New Testament fragment, dated from its handwriting to about 125. P52 recto.jpg
The Rylands Papyrus the oldest known New Testament fragment, dated from its handwriting to about 125.


John's "high Christology" depicts Jesus as divine, preexistent, and identified with the one God, [24] talking openly about his divine role and echoing Yahweh's "I Am that I Am" with seven "I Am" declarations of his own. [Notes 4]


In the prologue, John identifies Jesus as the Logos (Word). In Ancient Greek philosophy, the term logos meant the principle of cosmic reason. In this sense, it was similar to the Hebrew concept of Wisdom, God's companion and intimate helper in creation. The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo merged these two themes when he described the Logos as God's creator of and mediator with the material world. The evangelist adapted Philo's description of the Logos, applying it to Jesus, the incarnation of the Logos. [25]


The portrayal of Jesus' death in John is unique among the four Gospels. It does not appear to rely on the kinds of atonement theology indicative of vicarious sacrifice (cf. Mark 10:45, Romans 3:25) but rather presents the death of Jesus as his glorification and return to the Father. Likewise, the three "passion predictions" of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33–34 and pars.) are replaced instead in John with three instances of Jesus explaining how he will be exalted or "lifted up"(John 3:14, 8:28, 12:32). The verb for "lifted up" reflects the double entendre at work in John's theology of the cross, for Jesus is both physically elevated from the earth at the crucifixion but also, at the same time, exalted and glorified. [26]


Among the most controversial areas of interpretation of John is its sacramental theology. Scholars' views have fallen along a wide spectrum ranging from anti-sacramental and non-sacramental, to sacramental, to ultra-sacramental and hyper-sacramental. [27] Scholars disagree both on whether and how frequently John refers to the sacraments at all, and on the degree of importance he places upon them. Individual scholars' answers to one of these questions do not always correspond to their answer to the other. [28]

Frequency of allusion

According to Rudolf Bultmann, there are three sacramental allusions: one to baptism ( 3:5 ), one to the Eucharist ( 6:51–58 ), and one to both ( 19:34 ). He believed these passages to be later interpolations, though most scholars now reject this assessment. Some scholars on the weaker-sacramental side of the spectrum deny that there are any sacramental allusions in these passages or in the gospel as a whole, while others see sacramental symbolism applied to other subjects in these and other passages. Oscar Cullmann and Bruce Vawter, a Protestant and a Catholic respectively, and both on the stronger-sacramental end of the spectrum, have found sacramental allusions in most chapters. Cullmann found references to baptism and the Eucharist throughout the gospel, and Vawter found additional references to matrimony in 2:1–11 , anointing of the sick in 12:1–11 , and penance in 20:22–23 . Towards the center of the spectrum, Raymond Brown is more cautious than Cullmann and Vawter but more lenient than Bultmann and his school, identifying several passages as containing sacramental allusions and rating them according to his assessment of their degree of certainty. [28]

Importance to the evangelist

Most scholars on the stronger-sacramental end of the spectrum assess the sacraments as being of great importance to the evangelist. However, some scholars who find fewer sacramental references, such as Udo Schnelle, view the references that they find as highly important as well. Schnelle in particular views John's sacramentalism as a counter to Docetist anti-sacramentalism. On the other hand, though he agrees that there are anti-Docetic passages, James Dunn views the absence of a Eucharistic institution narrative as evidence for an anti-sacramentalism in John, meant to warn against a conception of eternal life as dependent on physical ritual. [28]


In comparison to the synoptic gospels, the Fourth Gospel is markedly individualistic, in the sense that it places emphasis more on the individual's relation to Jesus than on the corporate nature of the Church. [28] [29] This is largely accomplished through the consistently singular grammatical structure of various aphoristic sayings of Jesus throughout the gospel. [28] [Notes 5] According to Richard Bauckham, emphasis on believers coming into a new group upon their conversion is conspicuously absent from John. [28] There is also a theme of "personal coinherence", that is, the intimate personal relationship between the believer and Jesus in which the believer "abides" in Jesus and Jesus in the believer. [29] [28] [Notes 6] According to C. F. D. Moule, the individualistic tendencies of the Fourth Gospel could potentially give rise to a realized eschatology achieved on the level of the individual believer; this realized eschatology is not, however, to replace "orthodox", futurist eschatological expectations, but is to be "only [their] correlative." [30] Some have argued that the Beloved Disciple is meant to be all followers of Jesus, inviting all into such a personal relationship with Christ. Beyond this, the emphasis on the individual's relationship with Jesus in the Gospel has suggested its usefulness for contemplation on the life of Christ. [31]

John the Baptist

John's account of the Baptist is different from that of the synoptic gospels. In this gospel, John is not called "the Baptist." [32] The Baptist's ministry overlaps with that of Jesus; his baptism of Jesus is not explicitly mentioned, but his witness to Jesus is unambiguous. [32] The evangelist almost certainly knew the story of John's baptism of Jesus and he makes a vital theological use of it. [33] He subordinates the Baptist to Jesus, perhaps in response to members of the Baptist's sect who regarded the Jesus movement as an offshoot of their movement. [34]

In John's gospel, Jesus and his disciples go to Judea early in Jesus' ministry before John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed by Herod. He leads a ministry of baptism larger than John's own. The Jesus Seminar rated this account as black, containing no historically accurate information. [35] According to the biblical historians at the Jesus Seminar, John likely had a larger presence in the public mind than Jesus. [36]


In the first half of the 20th century, many scholars, primarily including Rudolph Bultmann, have forcefully argued that the Gospel of John has elements in common with Gnosticism. [34] Christian Gnosticism did not fully develop until the mid-2nd century, and so 2nd-century Proto-Orthodox Christians concentrated much effort in examining and refuting it. [37] To say John's gospel contained elements of Gnosticism is to assume that Gnosticism had developed to a level that required the author to respond to it. [38] Bultmann, for example, argued that the opening theme of the Gospel of John, the pre-existing Logos, along with John's duality of light versus darkness in his Gospel were originally Gnostic themes that John adopted. Other scholars, e.g. Raymond E. Brown have argued that the pre-existing Logos theme arises from the more ancient Jewish writings in the eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs, and was fully developed as a theme in Hellenistic Judaism by Philo Judaeus. [39] The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran verified the Jewish nature of these concepts. [40] April DeConick has suggested reading John 8:56 in support of a Gnostic theology, [41] however recent scholarship has cast doubt on her reading. [42]

Gnostics read John but interpreted it differently from the way non-Gnostics did. [43] Gnosticism taught that salvation came from gnosis, secret knowledge, and Gnostics did not see Jesus as a savior but a revealer of knowledge. [44] Barnabas Lindars asserts that the gospel teaches that salvation can only be achieved through revealed wisdom, specifically belief in (literally belief into) Jesus. [45]

Raymond Brown contends that "The Johannine picture of a savior who came from an alien world above, who said that neither he nor those who accepted him were of this world, [46] and who promised to return to take them to a heavenly dwelling [47] could be fitted into the gnostic world picture (even if God's love for the world in 3:16 could not)." [48] It has been suggested that similarities between John's gospel and Gnosticism may spring from common roots in Jewish Apocalyptic literature. [49]

Comparison with other writings

The Gospel of John is significantly different from the synoptic gospels, with major variations in material, theological emphasis, chronology, and literary style. [50] There are also some discrepancies between John and the Synoptics, some amounting to contradictions. [50] The gospel forms the core of an emerging canon of Johannine works, the Johannine corpus, consisting of the gospel, the three Johannine letters, and the Apocalypse, all coming from the same theological background and opposed to the "Petrine corpus."


John lacks scenes from the Synoptics such as Jesus' baptism, [51] the calling of the Twelve, exorcisms, parables, the Transfiguration, and the Last Supper. Conversely, it includes scenes not found in the Synoptics, including Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana, the resurrection of Lazarus, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and multiple visits to Jerusalem. [50]

In the fourth gospel, Jesus' mother Mary, while frequently mentioned, is never identified by name. [52] [53] John does assert that Jesus was known as the "son of Joseph" in 6:42 . For John, Jesus' town of origin is irrelevant, for he comes from beyond this world, from God the Father. [54]

While John makes no direct mention of Jesus' baptism, [51] [50] he does quote John the Baptist's description of the descent of the Holy Spirit as a dove, as happens at Jesus' baptism in the Synoptics. Major synoptic speeches of Jesus are absent, including the Sermon on the Mount and the Olivet Discourse, [55] and the exorcisms of demons are never mentioned as in the Synoptics. [51] [56] John never lists all of the Twelve Disciples and names at least one disciple, Nathanael, whose name is not found in the Synoptics. Thomas is given a personality beyond a mere name, described as "Doubting Thomas". [57]

Theological emphasis

Jesus is identified with the Word ("Logos"), and the Word is identified with theos ("god" in Greek); [58] no such identification is made in the Synoptics. [59] In Mark, Jesus urges his disciples to keep his divinity secret, but in John he is very open in discussing it, even referring to himself as "I AM", the title God gives himself in Exodus at his self-revelation to Moses. In the Synoptics, the chief theme is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven (the latter specifically in Matthew), while John's theme is Jesus as the source of eternal life and the Kingdom is only mentioned twice. [50] [56] In contrast to the synoptic expectation of the Kingdom (using the term parousia , meaning "coming"), John presents a more individualistic, realized eschatology. [60] [61] [Notes 7]


In the Synoptics, the ministry of Jesus takes a single year, but in John it takes three, as evidenced by references to three Passovers. Events are not all in the same order: the date of the crucifixion is different, as is the time of Jesus' anointing in Bethany and the cleansing of the temple occurs in the beginning of Jesus' ministry rather than near its end. [50]

Literary style

In the Synoptics, quotations from Jesus are usually in the form of short, pithy sayings; in John, longer quotations are often given. The vocabulary is also different, and filled with theological import: in John, Jesus does not work "miracles" (Greek : δῠνάμεις, romanized: dynámeis, sing. δύνᾰμῐς, dýnamis), but "signs" (Greek: σημεῖᾰ, romanized: sēmeia, sing. σημεῖον, sēmeion) which unveil his divine identity. [50] Most scholars consider John not to contain any parables. [63] Rather it contains metaphorical stories or allegories, such as those of the Good Shepherd and of the True Vine, in which each individual element corresponds to a specific person, group, or thing. Other scholars consider stories like the childbearing woman ( 16:21 ) or the dying grain ( 12:24 ) to be parables. [Notes 8]


According to the Synoptics, the arrest of Jesus was a reaction to the cleansing of the temple, while according to John it was triggered by the raising of Lazarus. [50] The Pharisees, portrayed as more uniformly legalistic and opposed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, are instead portrayed as sharply divided; they debate frequently in John's accounts. Some, such as Nicodemus, even go so far as to be at least partially sympathetic to Jesus. This is believed to be a more accurate historical depiction of the Pharisees, who made debate one of the tenets of their system of belief. [64]

Historical reliability

The teachings of Jesus found in the synoptic gospels are very different from those recorded in John, and since the 19th century scholars have almost unanimously accepted that these Johannine discourses are less likely than the synoptic parables to be historical, and were likely written for theological purposes. [65] By the same token, scholars usually agree that John is not entirely without historical value: certain sayings in John are as old or older than their synoptic counterparts, his representation of the topography around Jerusalem is often superior to that of the synoptics, his testimony that Jesus was executed before, rather than on, Passover, might well be more accurate, and his presentation of Jesus in the garden and the prior meeting held by the Jewish authorities are possibly more historically plausible than their synoptic parallels. [66]


Bede translating the Gospel of John on his deathbed, by James Doyle Penrose, 1902. The last chapter by J. Doyle Penrose (1902).jpg
Bede translating the Gospel of John on his deathbed, by James Doyle Penrose, 1902.

The gospel has been depicted in live narrations and dramatized in productions, skits, plays, and Passion Plays, as well as in film. The most recent such portrayal is the 2014 film The Gospel of John, directed by David Batty and narrated by David Harewood and Brian Cox, with Selva Rasalingam as Jesus. The 2003 film The Gospel of John , was directed by Philip Saville, narrated by Christopher Plummer, with Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus.

Parts of the gospel have been set to music. One such setting is Steve Warner's power anthem "Come and See", written for the 20th anniversary of the Alliance for Catholic Education and including lyrical fragments taken from the Book of Signs. Additionally, some composers have made settings of the Passion as portrayed in the gospel, most notably the one composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, although some verses are borrowed from Matthew.

See also

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Historiography of early Christianity is the study of historical writings about early Christianity. Historians have used a variety of sources and methods in exploring and describing the history of early Christianity, commonly known as Christianity before the First Council of Nicaea in 326.

Paul N. Anderson is a New Testament scholar conducting research on the historical, cultural and theological background of the Gospel of John, the historical Jesus, Quaker studies, and spirituality studies. He is Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University since 1989 and was a founding member of the John, Jesus, and History Project at the Society of Biblical Literature 2002-2016. He also serves as Extraordinary Professor of Religion at North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa and has served as a visiting professor or researcher at Haverford College, Yale Divinity School, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, the Radboud University of Nijmegen, and Chapman University.



  1. Also called the Gospel of John, the Fourth Gospel, or simply John.
  2. Chilton & Neusner 2006, p. 5: "by their own word what they (the writers of the New Testament) set forth in the New Testament must qualify as a Judaism. ... [T]o distinguish between the religious world of the New Testament and an alien Judaism denies the authors of the New Testament books their most fiercely held claim and renders incomprehensible much of what they said."
  3. For the circumstances which led to the formation of the tradition, and the reasons why the majority of modern scholars reject it, see Lindars, Edwards & Court 2000 , pp. 41–42
  4. [25]
  5. Bauckham (2015) contrasts John's consistent use of the third person singular ("The one who ..."; "If anyone ..."; "Everyone who ..."; "Whoever ..."; "No one ...") with the alternative third person plural constructions he could have used instead ("Those who ..."; ""All those who ..."; etc.). He also notes that the sole exception occurs in the prologue, serving a narrative purpose, whereas the later aphorisms serve a "paraenetic function".
  6. See John 6:56 , 10:14–15 , 10:38 , and 14:10, 17, 20, and 23 .
  7. Realized eschatology is a Christian eschatological theory popularized by C. H. Dodd (1884–1973). It holds that the eschatological passages in the New Testament do not refer to future events, but instead to the ministry of Jesus and his lasting legacy. [62] In other words, it holds that Christian eschatological expectations have already been realized or fulfilled.
  8. See Zimmermann 2015, pp. 333–60.


  1. Burkett 2002, p. 215.
  2. 1 2 Burkett 2002, p. 214.
  3. 1 2 Harris 2006, p. 479.
  4. Lindars 1990, p. 53.
  5. Lindars 1990, p. 59.
  6. Van der Watt 2008, p. 1.
  7. Kostenberger, Andreas "The Genre of the Fourth Gospel and Greco-Roman Literary Conventions," in Porter, Stanley E., and Andrew W. Pitts, eds. Christian Origins and Greco-Roman Culture: Social and Literary Contexts for the New Testament. Vol. 1. Brill, 2012, 445–463, esp. 449.
  8. Edwards 2015, p. ix.
  9. Lincoln 2005, p. 18.
  10. Lindars, Edwards & Court 2000, p. 41.
  11. Lincoln 2005, pp. 29–30.
  12. 1 2 3 Fredriksen 2008, p. unpaginated.
  13. 1 2 Reinhartz 2011, p. 168.
  14. Perkins 1993, p. 109.
  15. Reinhartz 2011, p. 171. See also: Jonathan Bourgel, " John 4:4–42: Defining A Modus Vivendi Between Jews And The Samaritans", Journal of Theological Studies 69 (2018), pp. 39–65 (https://www.academia.edu/37029909/Bourgel_-_JTS_-_John_4_4-42_The_terms_of_a_modus_vivendi_between_Jews_and_the_Samaritans)..
  16. Moloney 1998, p. 23.
  17. Bauckham 2007, p. 271.
  18. Aune 2003, p. 245.
  19. Aune 2003, p. 246.
  20. 1 2 3 Van der Watt 2008, p. 10.
  21. 1 2 Kruse 2004, p. 17.
  22. 1 2 Edwards 2015, p. 171.
  23. Witherington 2004, p. 83.
  24. Hurtado 2005, p. 51.
  25. 1 2 Harris 2006, pp. 302–10.
  26. Robert Kysar, "John: The Maverick Gospel" (Louisville: Westminster John Knox), 1976, pp. 49–54
  27. Hans Boersma, Matthew Levering, eds. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Sacramental Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN   9780191634185.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  28. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Bauckham 2015.
  29. 1 2 Moule 1962, p. 172.
  30. Moule 1962, p. 174.
  31. Shea, SJ, Henry J. (Summer 2017). "The Beloved Disciple and the Spiritual Exercises". Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits. 49 (2).
  32. 1 2 Cross & Livingstone 2005.
  33. Barrett 1978, p. 16.
  34. 1 2 Harris 2006.
  35. Funk & Jesus Seminar 1998, pp. 365–440.
  36. Funk & Jesus Seminar 1998, p. 268.
  37. Olson 1999, p. 36.
  38. Kysar 2005, pp. 88ff.
  39. Brown 1997.
  40. Charlesworth, James H. "The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift?." Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 8.1 (2010): 42
  41. DeConick, April D. "Who is Hiding in the Gospel of John? Reconceptualizing Johannine Theology and the Roots of Gnosticism." in Histories of the Hidden God: Concealment and Revelation in Western Gnostic, Esoteric, and Mystical Traditions. (2013) 13–29.
  42. Llewelyn, Stephen Robert, Alexandra Robinson, and Blake Edward Wassell. "Does John 8:44 Imply That the Devil Has a Father?: Contesting the Pro-Gnostic Reading." Novum Testamentum 60.1 (2018): 14–23.
  43. Most 2005, pp. 121ff.
  44. Skarsaune 2008, pp. 247ff.
  45. Lindars 1990, p. 62.
  46. John 17:14
  47. John 14:2–3
  48. Brown 1997, p. 375.
  49. Kovacs 1995.
  50. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Burge 2014, pp. 236–37.
  51. 1 2 3 Funk, Hoover & Jesus Seminar 1993, pp. 1–30.
  52. Williamson 2004, p. 265.
  53. Michaels 1971, p. 733.
  54. Fredriksen 2008.
  55. Pagels 2003.
  56. 1 2 Thompson 2006, p. 184.
  57. Walvoord, John F. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. p. 313.
  58. Ehrman 2005.
  59. Carson, D. A. (1991). The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eardmans Publishing Co. p. 117.
  60. Moule 1962, pp. 172–74.
  61. Sander 2015.
  62. Ladd & Hagner 1993, p. 56.
  63. Barry 1911.
  64. Neusner 2003, p. 8.
  65. Sanders 1995, pp. 57, 70–71.
  66. Theissen & Merz 1998, pp. 36–37.


Online translations of the Gospel of John:

Gospel of John
Preceded by
Gospel of
New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
of the Apostles