The Gospel According to John

The Gospel According to John

The Gospel of John is generally considered the most distinct of the four Gospels and grouped separately from the three “Synoptics” of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In typical traditional order, John is placed fourth after the three Synoptic Gospels. This is not proof that John was written last, but could instead reflect the distinction of that particular Gospel.

The Gospel of John was written by one familiar with Aramaic, but also fluent in Koine Greek - the international language of the day. The audience of this Gospel is universal. The perspective is accessible to all readers, rather than tailored to a particular cultural background like the other three Gospels.

It is clear from the internal evidence of John’s Gospel that the author was very familiar with 1st century AD Judaea and Jerusalem - a description fitting of Apostle John who lived there prior to moving to Ephesus. Although the Gospel of John only cryptically mentions “the disciple whom Jesus loved” as the writer, we see other markers related to the identity of John within the text.

Some recent critical scholarship rejects the authorship of John and suggests a community of writers instead. However, this revisionist position disagrees with the ancient evidence, such as church fathers in the 2nd century AD attributing the Gospel to the Apostle John, or manuscripts of the Gospel from the late 2nd century AD which are entitled “The Gospel according to John.” Finally, the composition style of this Gospel is closely related to the three Epistles of John and the book of Revelation, which is attributed to John in the text itself. Therefore, all five of these accounts are typically assigned to the same author - the Apostle John, son of Zebedee.

According to the church father Irenaeus, John lived into the reign of Emperor Trajan beginning in 98 AD. According to other historical accounts, John was the only Apostle who was not martyred for his faith. Instead, he died in exile of old age.

The date of composition for John varies widely, from the late 30’s AD to the middle of the 2nd century AD. The text itself claims that the author was an eyewitness, and therefore, anything later than the 90’s AD would be impossible. This latest possible date is also in agreement with the lifespan of the Apostle John, who died sometime in the late 90’s AD.

Further, the John Rylands Papyrus, a very early piece of manuscript evidence, contains sections of John 18 that have been dated by various paleographers to as early as 90 AD. As this papyrus is a copy of the Gospel from Egypt, this would push back the original composition perhaps decades earlier. Like the other Gospels, John makes no mention of the significant destructions of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD, or even the revolt started by the Jews against the Romans in 66 AD. Some scholars point to a passage near the end of John indicating that Peter had not yet been martyred, and thus the Gospel could have been written in 65 AD or earlier.

 

- Dave Stotts, host of Drive Thru History – “The Gospels”

Drive Thru History®:

The Gospels

"The Gospels" tells the story of Jesus from the actual locations recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

We travel to over 50 sites in Israel to deliver the Gospels in a fresh way, show the evidence for the truth of scripture, and encourage families to get excited about reading the Bible again.

Drive Thru History®:

The Gospels

"The Gospels" tells the story of Jesus from the actual locations recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

We travel to over 50 sites in Israel to deliver the Gospels in a fresh way, show the evidence for the truth of scripture, and encourage families to get excited about reading the Bible again.

READ MOre:

Copyright © 2019, ColdWater Media