The Gospel Of John
The first four books of the New Testament are called the Gospels. The word gospel in Greek is euaggelion, which means “good news.” It doesn’t take long to see that there are similarities found in the first three Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The events covered, and sometimes even the wording, are identical. We call these the Synoptic Gospels. The word synoptic means “from the same eye.” The only gospel that seems to be different is the Gospel of John.
Why Is John’s Gospel So Different?
Internal evidence reveals that the writer of the last gospel was obviously an eyewitness to the events of Christ’s ministry. The author spoke from a viewpoint of one who had been there during the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is little evidence that contradicts the view that John the Beloved was the author of the Gospel of John.
Distinct in many ways, John’s Gospel serves as a supplement to the Synoptic Gospels. His goal was simply to present the deity of Christ in hopes that the readers would place their faith in the completed work of Calvary. John presented Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life,” and stated that no man can come to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). This quote given by Christ is absent in the Synoptic Gospels.
John began his gospel by presenting the main theme: The deity of Christ. He avoided the discussion on the nativity and the genealogy of Christ as presented in the Synoptic Gospels. Instead, John declared the eternal pre-existence of the Word, the fellowship the Word experienced with God, and that the Word was indeed God.
Many events recorded in the Synoptic Gospels are not found in this gospel. Conversely, many dialogues presented in the Gospel of John are wanting in the previous three. John realized that not everything Jesus said or did was, or could be, recorded (John 21:25). However, he felt that what he wrote would help give a clearer picture of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Different Time, A Different Church Body
At the time that John wrote the gospel, Christianity was no longer predominantly Jewish. The greatest reason for the change in membership was the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. Saul, who became the apostle Paul, was used mightily to reach the gentiles through a series of three missionary journeys.
The genealogies and messianic terminologies would be all but lost to the Gentile world. For that reason, John did not address the Jewishness of Christ, without denying the Judaic background of Christ. John wrote his gospel to Christians who, at this point of church history, spanned the globe. He saw a need to present salvation as a simple faith in the Son of God without needing to adopt a Jewish mindset.
Written To Counter Heresies
John was greatly concerned about the rise of heresies. Heresies are teachings that blatantly contradict God’s Holy Word. One of the greatest opponents to the church was the teaching of the Gnostics. By the time John began writing his gospel, Gnosticism had already caused many in the church to be lead astray. One of their strongest thrusts of error was their teaching against the deity of Christ. It is for that reason that John stressed throughout his gospel that Jesus Christ was the second person of the Godhead. Jesus was not a semi-god. He was not a lesser god. Jesus was fully God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Is heresy proven wrong? Where would we be without the precious Gospel of John?