Composition of the Gospel of John

POSTED 24 OCTOBER, 2017

Approximate date: mid-to-late 80s C.E.

Time period: need to establish a doctrinal Gospel independent of the Synoptics (Mark, Matthew, Luke), focused on the relationship of Yeshua the Son to God the Father, and Yeshua to His Disciples and followers

Author: the Apostle John

Location of author: Ephesus

Target audience and their location: largely non-Jewish Believers in Asia Minor, and eventually throughout the Roman Empire

Theological Summary: The Gospel of John definitely stands out among the four Gospels, and certainly has a special place in the hearts of many Bible readers. John is one of the most significant texts in all of the writings of the Apostolic Scriptures, especially for formulating and defending theology. The Fourth Gospel also has an important place in understanding the history of emerging Christianity in the Second Century, as “The oldest extant portion of NT writings is a papyrus fragment (P52) containing bits of John 18 and dating from the first half of the 2nd century. John is well represented in other papyri, including such witnesses as P66 and P75” (ABD). The oldest fragments available of the Apostolic Scriptures come from the Gospel of John, and attest to how widely it was used. “The fourth gospel does not explicitly assert its author’s name: like the Synoptics, it is formally anonymous. As far as we can prove, the title ‘According to John’ was attached as soon as the four canonical gospels began to circulate together” (Carson and Moo). The often-quoted John 3:16 summarizes the message of the Fourth Gospel quite thoroughly: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

That John the son of Zebedee was the author of the Fourth Gospel was established in early Church history, but this has surely been challenged in the more modern era. It is generally agreed among conservatives today that the author of the Fourth Gospel was John the son of Zebedee, the brother of James, and one of the original Twelve Disciples. Internally from the text we see the attestation, “we saw His glory” (1:14), and associated with this can be the various “we” statements appearing in 1 John 1:1-4. The author of the Fourth Gospel does claim to have been among a company of persons who had personally seen the Lord Yeshua. John the son of Zebedee was among the inner circle of Yeshua’s Twelve Disciples, being present at Yeshua’s Transfiguration (Mark 9:2; Matthew 17:1; Luke 9:28), and His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His trial (Mark 14:33; Matthew 26:37). John is mentioned only twice in the Book of Acts, being present with Peter in Acts 4:1-22, and being sent to Samaria in Acts 8:14-15. According to early Church tradition, John escaped the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. and spent his remaining years in Ephesus, although he did experience a period in exile on the island of Patmos where he was shown the material in the Book of Revelation.

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Gospel_of_John

reproduced from A Survey of the Apostolic Scriptures for the Practical Messianic

As a Messianic Believer, do you have a problem reading the New Testament? When you read the Apostolic Scriptures, are you confused when you encounter the Gospels, Acts, or Epistles? Have you possibly been taught that the “New Testament” replaces the “Old Testament,” and that there are contradictions between the two, only to be reconciled by the coming of Yeshua? Do you have difficulty reconciling the words of the Torah to Yeshua, Peter, Paul, John, and the other Apostles?

If you have ever asked any of these questions, it is time that you receive a re-introduction to the Apostolic Scriptures. These texts record the ministry and teachings of Yeshua the Messiah, the history of the First Century Messianic community, and the challenges that the early Believers in Yeshua faced. These texts are not contrary to the Torah, but do continue God’s progressive story that begins in Genesis. They have valuable lessons that every Messianic Believer and Messianic congregation must learn in this hour, as the Messianic community grows and matures.

A Survey of the Apostolic Scriptures for the Practical Messianic takes you on a journey through the New Testament from a distinct Messianic point of view. The student, in company with his or her study Bible, is asked to read through each text of the Apostolic Scriptures, jotting down characters, place names, key ideas, and reflective questions. Each book of the New Testament is then summarized for its compositional data and asks you questions to get a good Messianic feel for the text. This workbook can be used for both personal and group study, and will be a valuable aid for any Messianic Believer wanting to study the whole Bible on a consistent basis.

220 pages