Dear 5x5x5 Readers,
Today we started reading in the Gospel of John. John’s gospel is entirely different in vocabulary, style, and purpose than Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Remember this, the gospels were not intended as biographies. Each Gospel writer selected from a much larger pool of information the material which would serve his purpose. John was not primarily interested in relating the events of Jesus’ life, and he leaves out a great many details that are covered in the other gospels. He presumes his readers are already familiar with Jesus.
John introduces Jesus as the adult Son of God. John is focused on explaining the profound meaning of Jesus’ teachings and actions. John selected stories from approximately twenty days in Jesus’ life, and arranged them to reveal to us a Messiah with a mission. As you read watch for:
– The “Seven Signs” or miracles John shares and consider what they reveal about the identity of Jesus.
– The “I am” statements of Jesus and consider what they reveal about His identity.
John is telling each story for a reason – he is explaining who Jesus is and what His mission was.
Dear 5x5x5 Bible readers,
After our short stay in the pastoral letters of Paul to Timothy (in Ephesus) and Titus (in Crete), we turn now to the letters of 1, 2 & 3 John. The John that is writing is an apostle, one of the “sons of thunder” who knew Jesus personally. He wrote the gospel according to John earlier, to introduce Jesus to those who did not know Him. Now, much later in life, he is writing to those who are already Christians.
These letters address the behavior of those who claim to be Christians. You will see repeatedly the phrase, “If we claim…” which is followed by clear expectations of the behavior of a Christian. John’s themes are simple and straightforward on topics of light/darkness, truth, love, sin, and obedience. John was probably the last surviving apostle when he wrote these letters, and he fights vigorously against the corruption of a true faith. It’s refreshing to see such clarity!
Dear 365 Readers,
Tomorrow (11/1) we start in the book of John. John’s gospel is entirely different than the other three we have read so far. Remember this, John is not primarily interested in relating the events of Jesus’s life. He presumes his readers are already familiar with Jesus. John tells us nothing of the birth of Christ or his youth. He is introduced as the adult Son of God.
Instead of narrating events, John is focused on explaining the profound meaning of what Jesus’ teachings and actions. John selected stories from approximately twenty days in Jesus’ life, and arranged them to reveal to us a Messiah with a mission. John chose seven signs (or miracles) and built his story around them, explaining clearly the meaning and significance of each event.
As you read John, consider carefully who Jesus is talking to in each instance. He treats each audience differently and it is worth noting if He’s talking to the disciples, his opponents, or a large crowd. It’s best to read John in sections – follow the sectional headings in your Bible and read both the event and the commentary on the event as a unit. John is telling each story for a reason.