Last night, we sought to answer the questions: who, what, when, where and why. A good understanding of these questions will help us to understand the message the author sought to communicate through this Gospel.
WHO. The author of the Gospel of John was a disciple named John. Jesus selected twelve disciples from the crowds that had begun to follow Him. He spoke to the crowds in parables, but gave the meanings to the disciples. Within the twelve, Jesus had an inner circle consisting of Peter, James and John. These three disciples were given unparalleled access to Jesus. Thus, John gives us a very good look at the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He was an eyewitness with exclusive access to Jesus, Himself.
WHAT. The Gospel of John is a biography of Jesus. We'll be looking at several key themes as we make our way through our study. These themes include: how a person is saved from the penalty God places on our wrong doing, the importance of belief (used in its various forms roughly 100 times in the written account), the nature of eternal life, the work of the Holy Spirit and the personal relationship of Jesus to the believer.
WHEN. Most scholars place the writing of the Gospel near the end of John's life. Early estimates put the date just before the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70AD. Most estimates, however, place it during the 90s AD.
WHERE. Again, scholars put the place of authorship in the Roman provincial capital of Ephesus. It was an important political city where John served as an elder later in his life.
WHY. John gives us his purpose for writing this Gospel. In John 20:31, John writes, "But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Next week, we'll be discussing John 1:1-18. We'll meet at 7pm at the Stoney Creek Inn in Galena, IL. As you read this text, jot down any thoughts or questions you have and bring them with you. I look forward to seeing you real soon!