History of the Book of John

Some people have doubts about the Bible's integrity. I do not, so I have never researched it to have a great answer for people's questions. Ever since I was a kid - never went to church, never read the Bible, never understood the Trinity, nothing - but I always believed the Bible to be the true Word of God. When I became a Christian, I justified my naivety like this: God is bigger than man. If He wanted to protect what is written about Him, He can. I believe that through the Holy Spirit, God instructed men exactly what to write and guided men who canonized Scripture. If that explanation does not work for you, please research it. If you have lingering questions regarding the integrity of the Bible, it could get in the way of your relationship with God. "For the person who sincerely loves truth, there will be intuitive recognition of the truth -- even before the truth is proven. (BSF)"

The Book of John was written by the Apostle John, son of Zebedee, not John the Baptist. This fact is sometimes debated because first, some believe John was too stupid to write a book as theologically dense as the Book of John and second, because the author never states his name. Regarding John's supposed stupidity, Jesus promised the Apostles that he would "bring back to minds everything I have said to you (John 14:26, 16:14-15)." John wrote his book many decades after the others; he had time to ponder the depths of Christ's words.

Throughout the book of John, the author only refers to himself as the "disciple whom Jesus loved." He does this out of humility - he is not special, he is on same footing as other disciples. His name is not important. His thoughts are not important. All that matters is Jesus Christ and the account of His three-and-a-half year ministry. John the Baptist had a similar mentality when he openly proclaims, "I am not the Messiah."

An Apostle is defined as someone who lived, ate, prayed, and ministered alongside Jesus Christ. Apostles saw His work, knew His heart, and understood His ways (to the best of a human's ability). John had many special attributes that make him the perfect author of this book.

+ John and Andrew were the first to follow Jesus.
+ Jesus called him to leave his family and business to follow Him (Matthew 4:21-22).
+ John was named one of Jesus's 12 disciples (Matthew 10:1-2).
+ John was only disciple at crucifixion, resurrection, transfiguration, raising of man's daughter, and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Others were at these events, but he was the only one to witness all of them.

Through the four gospels, plus Acts, we see that John is reserved and quiet. He literally says three things in the Book of John (verses 1:38, 13:25 and 21:7). The first could have been Andrew, the second was forced on him by Peter, and the third was to proclaim, "It is the Lord," after His resurrection.

John observed, contemplated, and ultimately loved (John was the one entrusted by Jesus to take care of His mother after His crucifixion). He adored Jesus and appreciated every aspect of his Savior. I often picture him like a puppy licking his Master's face.

John wrote the Book of John which focuses on Christ's humanity, the epistles First, Second and Third John which focus on Christ in us (Holy Spirit), and the Book of Revelation which focuses on the glory of Christ, when every knee shall bow.

John was the final gospel written. Possibly for purpose of refuting attacks of first three gospels. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) record the acts and sayings of Jesus. After decades of contemplation, John is able to record what Jesus meant.

I like to think of the four gospels as four different painter's renditions of the same thing. If Picasso, Pollock, Ruth Mayer, and DaVinci were all to paint an apple, each painting would have similarities, but would still be completely different. Together, the four paintings would give you complete picture of an apple. The four gospels do not contradict each other; they complement each other.

Up next: An overview of the Book of John.

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