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Purpose of The Book of John:
To give an intimate portrayal of Jesus Christ. John wrote his gospel to Jewish Christians who were suffering from a "Jesus" gap. They had fled their homeland after Rome sacked Jerusalem and were now living in foreign lands, trying to maintain their faith while interacting with a pagan culture. Moreover, he wrote to a generation who had been born after Jesus' ascension to heaven, a generation who knows Jesus only through third- and fourth- hand reports. John wrote a gospel focused on Jesus himself in order to bridge that gap and reintroduce his audience to the Messiah, the God-man, Jesus.
Summary of The Book of John:
John’s gospel is the story of Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God. John describes how Christ’s incarnation and death on the cross made God known and secured eternal life for all those who believe in him (ch. 20:30 – 31).
Author and Dates of The Book of John:
John's gospel was the last of the four to be written by a good margin. The many references to being "thrown out of the synagogue" (9:22; 12:42; 16:2), the incorporation of certain themes from Greek philosophy, and the testimony that John lived a very long life, probably point to the decade of the 80s AD - a time when Christians were no longer allowed in synagogues and were dispersed all over Asia minor after the sack of Jerusalem by Rome.
All of the gospels were written in hopes that they would reach the widest possible audience, but each was written with a particular group in mind. Early Church fathers testify that John wrote this gospel in Ephesus, and may have intended it for people in that city, or he may have intended it specifically for the many Jewish Christians living in Alexandria, Egypt, a center for Greek philosophy.
Outline of The Book of John:
Themes of The Book of John:
The Divine Messiah: More than any other gospel, Jesus' divinity is asserted and emphasized (1:1; 8:52).
The Rejection of Jesus by Israel: John includes many confrontations between Jesus and "the Jews," and testifies that "his own did not receive him." In this way, the gospel may serve as a rebuke and final warning to certain Jewish people who had yet to receive Jesus as their messiah, or to encourage gentiles that Christianity is not just for the Jews (1:10-11).
The Trinity: John records much more information than any other gospel writer concerning the relationship between the Father and the Son, and also speaks at great length about the Holy Spirit's role in Jesus' ministry.
Light and Darkness: One of John's favorite metaphors for Jesus' ministry is Light in the darkness, representing the truth and life Jesus brings to a wayward and dying world (1:5; 8:12).
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