John Ch. 1-12 (Bible)

Overview: John Ch. 1-12 (Bible)

Chapter Summary

To review methodologies and to illustrate that they can be used with any book, this chapter applies all four methods to the Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John from the Perspective of Genre Criticism

The Gospel of John, like the Synoptic Gospels, is a Greco-Roman biography. In the Johannine Prologue (1:1–18), John reflects on the Logos (typically translated “Word”) of God who existed with God from the beginning and who, in fact, is God. It is only at the end of this mystical reflection that John explains that the Word of God is Jesus. The prologue, then, provides the reader with a very different expression of the nature of Jesus than any of the Synoptic Gospels. This biography is not about a mortal man; it is about a being who is, in his own right, divine.

Although Jesus is never again explicitly called the Word of God, John draws on and develops these themes throughout the rest of the Gospel: Jesus existed with God from the beginning (cf. 17:5) and is the Word of God (cf. 10:30; 11:25); he brings life and light to the world and is rejected by his people (cf. 9:5; 12; 19).

The Gospel of John can be divided into two major parts. The first twelve chapters narrate Jesus’ public ministry over several years. During this time, Jesus performs seven public “signs” and gives speeches that demonstrate his identity. Because Jesus has clearly expressed his identity, he condemns those who do not believe and eventually decides to end his public ministry.

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