New Believers Study
An Overview of the New Testament
by Pastor Ron Beckham
The author of the Gospel of John, was John, the son of Zebedee,
brother of James, and the two of them were called "Sons
of Thunder" in
Mark 3:17. Their mother, Salome, was part of the
group that followed and served Jesus in Galilee, and
she was present when He was crucified (Mark
John apparently was one of the Galileans who followed John the
Baptist until he was called to follow Jesus, along with others, at
the start of His public ministry (John
1:19-51). John was one of the twelve who were selected
to be "apostles" ("sent ones")
became one of the leaders of the Church, after Jesus ascended, along
with James and Peter (Galatians
2:9). James (not his brother James) was the actual
leader of the Church at Jerusalem. John later
went to Ephesus and was then exiled to the Island of Patmos (Revelation
The author of the Book of John is called the disciple "Jesus
loved" (John 13:23, 19:26,
20:2, 21:7, 20).
The author had an extensive knowledge of the geography and Jewish
customs of Palestine, indicating he was a Palestinian Jew, and his
attention to detail strongly suggests he was an eyewitness of the
events in this Book. The Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and
Luke) name the inner circle of Jesus as Peter, James and John - the
writer of this Gospel was one of those in that inner group.
The Early Church identified John the Apostle as the author of the
Book of John, including Irenaeus, who was a disciple (student) of
Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Apostle.
Irenaeus, in "Against
Heresies", said John the Apostle was the writer of
this Book, also stating that John lived until the time of Emperor
Trajan ( A.D. 98-117). There were others who identified John
as the author, including Clement of Alexandria, Theophilus of
Antioch, and Origen.
The earliest recorded title of this Book was "Kata
Ioannen," or "According
to John." The word "Gospel" (Good News) was
added later. For years, it was thought that John was written
much later than during the lifetime of John the Apostle, but then "John
Rylands Papyrus 52" was found in Egypt,
which contained portions of
38. The fragment was dated at about 135 A.D., indicating a
very early date for this Book.
This Book was written AFTER the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark and
Luke). The Gospel of John was written BEFORE John's three
letters (I, II and III John) and the Book of Revelation, so the date
for the writing of the Book of John, was between 60 and 90 A.D.
John would have been one of the last eyewitnesses of the Lord, His
death, and His resurrection. John wrote this Gospel, according
to early tradition, while he was in the city of
John wrote this Gospel for a purpose: "But
these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God, and that believing you might have life in His name"
20:31). He specifically and purposefully, as led by
the Holy Spirit of God, selected statements of Jesus and events
surrounding Him, that were overlooked or not emphasized by writers
of the other Gospels.
did not give us an all-inclusive biography of Jesus’ life on this
earth. We know that from
John 20:30, where he said, “And
truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples,
which as not written in this book.” And further,
“There are so many
other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one,
I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books
that would be written” (John
stated in relation to the Synoptic Gospels, there are excellent
websites where you may visit, and copy or print the writings of some
truly remarkable theologians from past centuries. A good,
simple to use “search engine” for that purpose is called “Google,”
where you can enter words like “Bible Commentaries” and “Search” for
some really great Bible commentaries from the past, including the
following suggested locations:
Did Jesus Christ live before His
birth? In what manner?
What is the significance of John the Baptist? Who is this
man of the desert?
Why did Jesus heal different people differently?
Why was Jesus Christ baptized?
What does the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness mean to you?
Discuss the following: Is Jesus Christ God to you? In what
Why did so many of the religious rulers oppose Jesus?
Did some of them follow Him? Why?
Are there less parables in John than the other Gospels? Why?
What does Jesus mean, when He calls Himself the "Bread of Life?"
What is "Living Water"? How does this relate to your life?
Why did Jesus leave this earth?
Will He come again? Under what circumstances?
What does He mean, in the Lord's Prayer of John 17, that we are to
Was Jesus both God and man? How do you see this in the Book
Gospel of John
with the other Gospels, you’ll have to prayerfully READ 21 Chapters
of this Book, to get a feeling for it, and its best to read it many
times. If I had to choose just ONE Book that I would be
allowed to take, if I were arrested and sent to prison, this would
very likely be the one.
The freshness of this Gospel is wonderful. We were in Israel, during the year 2000, and saw many of the places John
described in great detail, and “detail” is one of the strong
elements of this Book. He SAW the places and events written in
the Book he wrote.
noted there were FIVE porches near the Sheep Gate (John 5:2), which
has been archeologically confirmed in recent times. He saw SIX
water jars (John
2:6). It was “three or four miles” (John
5:19), “one hundred yards” (John 21:8), “153 fish” (John 21:11).
He added names he had heard spoken, such as Nathanael (1:45),
Nicodemus (3:1), and Malchus (18:10) - the excellent comments of an
eye witness with a good memory.
John consciously supplemented the Synoptic Gospels. He WANTED
us to know more of what happened, and because of what we learn,
trust in the Jesus He personally knew. This was the man who
saw Jesus die, saw the empty tomb, spoke to the Risen Jesus after
the resurrection, touched Him and saw His face, hands and feet.
know from John’s Gospel that there were at least three and probably
four Passovers during the public ministry of Jesus, so from this
Book, we understand the ministry lasted more than two years and
probably as much as three and a half years.
you have questions or comments, write to
Ron@FridayStudy.org or utilize the
Discussion Forum at