Essay on Religion and Theology
Number of words: 896
Gospel of John 14: 1-4
The Gospel of John, commonly referred to as the Fourth Gospel, talks about the account of Jesus’ ministry. Unlike the general sequence in the plot of Jesus’ ministry, the Gospel of John delivers a very different approach. It starts by introducing Jesus as the pre-existent Word, who existed with God, and indeed was God (John: 1-4). In shaping Christian liturgy, spirituality, and doctrine, the Gospel of John has been among the most foundational writings (“Introduction to the New Testament,” n.d.). This is so because the Gospel is an elevated portrayal of Jesus. The Gospel also effectively uses religious language, combining simplicity and complexity. It’s frequent use of metaphors and symbols fosters religious imagination that easily allows meaning to operate on multiple levels.
Structure of the Gospel of John
John’s Gospel is divided into four sections that are clearly distinguished (Van der Merwe, 2010). The first part of the Gospel is known as the prologue. This section introduces Jesus as the incarnate Word in the form of a hymn (John 1: 1-18). The following two parts are collectively known as the “books” since they are believed to be independent writings. Of these two parts, the first part is called “the book of signs,” which contains the story of Jesus’ three-year public ministry (John 1:19-12:50). The second section is referred to as the “book of passion/glory,” which covers the last week of Jesus’ life, it covers from John chapter 13 to 20. The fourth and final section of John’s Gospel is called the epilogue, which runs from Luke chapter 20. This section gives an account of the resurrection appearances of Jesus.
Sources of the Gospel of John
Unlike the books of Luke and Mathew, tracing the sources behind John’s Gospel is not easy; some biblical scholars would even term it an impossible task. But, there are three essential proposed explanations regarding the sources of this Gospel. One of them is the eyewitness Gospel. Before the dawn of current biblical criticisms, the Gospel of John was presumed to be the product of testimonies from an eyewitness. According to John 21:24, the bible talks about a disciple who will testify and write the testimonies that people will believe. This points out that the accounts in John’s Gospel are testimonies from a disciple who witnessed Jesus’ ministry. The second explanation is that that the accounts in the Gospel are from combined sources. The Gospel’s use of different literary features and shifts in theology, themes, and language style shows that the work is from different combined sources. The third explanation regarding the sources of John’s Gospel points to developed tradition. This is so because the memories in the Gospel were interpreted in light of the religious experience of the Johannine community (Frey, 2018). Besides, John was possibly the community pastor, and it is possible that he might have integrated the traditions into the written Gospel.
Authorship of the Gospel of John
In the recent scholarships on the Fourth Gospel, the question of “who is the author of the Gospel of John” has been a dominant debate. Different scholars hold different opinions of who is the actual author of John’s Gospel because, in the Gospel, the author is generally presented as “John, the disciple of Lord.” However, whoever the actual author is, is a person who had considerable knowledge of the Jewish religion with a strong understanding of Palestinian geography. From the Gospel, many scholars believe that the “beloved disciple” mentioned in Luke 21:24 was the son of the Zebedee, John the Apostle. According to the current scholars, if John the Apostle is indeed the “beloved disciple,” then this advocates him as the author of John’s Gospel. Unfortunately, to other scholars, this does not add up. If John the Apostle is the author, why is his name not indicated in the Gospel? Why is he not openly identified as an apostle like Peter and Paul?
Moreover, in Acts 4:13, the apostles John and Peter are identified as untrained and uneducated men. Which plainly shows that John could neither read nor write, and neither is he the author of the Gospel. Apart from John the apostle, son of Zebedee, other current biblical scholars argue that the “beloved disciple” was a person who later became John, the Elder. It is also believed that he is the one who wrote the epistles of John 1, 2, and 3 found in the New testament. In conclusion, given that the Gospel represents the author as “John the disciple of God,” modern biblical scholars do not have a mutual consent on the real author of the Gospel of John.
Frey, J. (2018, October). The Gospel of John as a narrative memory of Jesus (PDF). ResearchGate. Retrieved July 7, 2021, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330983436_The_Gospel_of_John_as_a_narrative_memory_of_Jesus
Introduction to the New Testament — Secure. (n.d.). Introduction to the New Testament — Secure. https://www.int-hatina-001.com/chapter-fourteen
Van der Merwe, D. G. (2010). Theology and the Gospel of John. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 66(1). https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v66i1.981