A couple of years ago, I fell in love with John’s poetic and captivating writing style. I poured over his gospel in preparation for the 6 session DVD Bible study, Pursuing God’s Beauty: Stories from the Gospel of John.
If you want theology, read Paul.
If you want ethics, read James.
But if you want love, read John. [Tweet this]
Before we begin, here are 5 things you should know about John’s Gospel:
1. Who is John?
John is one of Jesus’ 12 original disciples and author of John’s Gospel, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and Revelation. Jesus nicknames John and his brother, James: sons of thunder. John’s primary theme is to convince readers that Jesus is God in human flesh—believe in him! And—get this—he wrote his gospel for everybody.
2. Why so much seven?
Throughout Scripture, the number “7” is used to describe completion and perfection. John depicts seven signs (miracles) to prove Jesus is the Son of God. You’ll also notice seven “I AM” statements all proclaiming who Jesus is. Each “I AM” statement reflects a motif from Judaism that challenges listeners to recognize who Jesus is and believe in him. Put a star next to each of the seven miracles and circle each use of “I AM” as you read.
3. John’s Gospel can be divided into four sections:
- The prologue—1:1-18
- The book of signs—1:19-12:50 (Psst… each of the seven signs (miracles) of Jesus show up in this section).
- The book of glory—13:1-20:31
- The epilogue—21:1-25
Make a note of these transitions before you dive into John and jot down any differences you notice between each section.
4. Jam packed with symbolism.
Light and darkness, water, bread, sheep, and vines are all examples of imagery John uses. Underline these words when you see them as you read.
5. John is one of a kind.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are considered the Synoptic Gospels because they share much of the same content in a similar order. But as you read John’s Gospel, you’ll notice significant differences. Not just in content and order, but in tone and theme. The Synoptic Gospels present Jesus’ teachings as sermons, but John presents them as conversations.
As we read this week for the #LentChallenge, my hope and prayer is that with a word, passage, or story we will be wonderstruck by Scripture and fall in love with the Bible once again, or maybe for the first time.
This week we’re giving away this beautiful watercolor print made by Amarilys from Watercolor Devo.
Amarilys has had a flair for the arts as long as she can remember. But it wasn't her formal training that made her creativity burst forth... it was having a baby, an awakening of her passions: Truth, Life, and Beauty. These keep bringing her back to her watercolor devo[tional] times. Discover more of her work at watercolordevo.com.
To win a print this artwork, leave a comment on the original blog post at MargaretFeinberg.com. Winners will be selected and announced on Wednesday.
Congratulations to the winners: Jenny G, Jenni, Jan Hicks
What questions do you have about the #LentChallenge reading so far? We have a brilliant Bible scholar ready to weigh in.