Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105

Bible Study Notes

Gospel of John Background

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
This article also serves as the introduction and Background Material to our Bible Study series in the Gospel of John. John brings to attention some of the most important essences of life, faith, and belief and the importance of love and effectual relationships. In addition, He presents His personal discourses to challenge people concerning their barriers of faith. John explores the importance of abiding in our Lord so we can grow and bear fruit to be better, more productive Christians and give glory to God. He also addresses the role, Person, and importance of the Holy Spirit. John provides the major phases of Jesus' ministry...

Introduction to John

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31

This article also serves as the introduction and Background Material to our Bible Study series in the Gospel of John.

Introductory Thoughts

John is the last Gospel penned as it came several years after the other "synoptic" Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. Like the rest of the Gospels, John covered the events of Jesus' birth and death, His teachings, works, and the plan of redemption. These events occurred early in the first century, from around 27-36 AD, during the reign of Pontius Pilate. John wrote to a Church in turmoil, where the first generation of witnesses and Christians were dying out and the new generation was taking over. He was filling in the gaps to give more evidence and detail to prove Jesus was the Son of God--and more. He is the One True Lord God Creator and Messiah, the Eternal God who is LORD, and yet the quintessential example of living for God's glory and humble service. John sought to convince his audience by being rational and giving philosophical evidence for the Divinity of Jesus Christ using facts, Scripture, and logic. He presented instructions and doctrine for a new generation of church leadership who were not eyewitnesses. He showed Jesus' miracles, precepts, and the testimony of those He had touched so others could respond too. In so doing, John answered the common objections that the Jews and Greeks had for a greater understanding of who and what Jesus was.

Background and Setting

The Church had escaped the tribulations in Jerusalem and fled into Asia Minor (modern Turkey) just prior to the revolts and destitution during 68-70 AD. They were now undergoing the beginnings of more severe persecution than what they initially went through in James' and Peter's time when the Roman Emperor Nero was blaming the Christians for the burning of Rome (which he had caused), making them the scapegoats (54-68 AD). At this time, the Emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) had stepped up the persecutions severely, perhaps being the worst ever seen in Church history (2 John 1-8; 3 John 9-10; Rev. 1:9; 2:9-13; 13:7-10).

During the writing of this Gospel, John and any Jews connected with the new Christian sect movement were being severally harassed and/or had already been expelled from the synagogue and their family and cultural structures. This was a time of tough, antagonistic Jewish persecution, giving the Christians a squeeze in the middle of harassment and hostility from the Romans too-the city officials in the Roman providence such as Asia Minor to which the Jews and Christians fled after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. They were also betrayed by family and falsely accused by fellow Jews. In addition, the Jews kicked them out of their fellowships, a scandalous consequence for a Jew, leaving them without family or social contacts, or the ability to work and earn a living. This was a time of real tribulation. Some of the Christians were starting to lose their focus and this Gospel provided a fresh beacon of hope and inspiration. Furthermore, some were venturing back to the old ways of the Law to please the Pharisees in order to get back in or gain more benefits in their synagogue and standing in the community. Yet, in Christ they would have had so much more! When we realize the truth, we must then act on it, not flee because of fear, conviction, or what others may think (Deut 13; 18:9-12).

Intention and Theme

The main theme is "evangelistic," that Jesus, the One to believe and trust in for life and salvation, performed unprecedented signs and wonders and rose from the dead to prove His status. He is the "Logos," the Word, the Eternal God Creator and Redeemer who condescended from His magnificent place of preeminence in the universe to become the God-Man so to identify with us, pay our debt of sin, and give us undeserved redemption. Jesus is the Supreme Reason for and Hope of the universe. Thus, John presents the eternal and physical life of Christ to bring hope and reconciliation, just as Christ Himself did. His goal was that people of all religions would realize who Jesus was and live in His name, meaning to come to a saving, transformed, and growing faith that would be marked by trust and obedience without hypocrisy or shallowness (John 1:1-2, 14-18; 20:31).

John brings to attention some of the most important essences of life, faith, and belief and the importance of love and effectual relationships. In addition, He presents His personal discourses to challenge people concerning their barriers of faith. John explores the importance of abiding in our Lord so we can grow and bear fruit to be better, more productive Christians and give glory to God. He also addresses the role, Person, and importance of the Holy Spirit. John provides the major phases of Jesus' ministry, the prologue of eternity in 1:1-18, and then the forerunner, John the Baptist, who parallels Jesus' life cycle of popularity then rejection then persecution and finally martyrdom (1:18-12:50). Jesus voices His most vital instructions in His farewell discourses in chapters 13-17. Following this comes the dramatic Passion of the Christ, His payment for us to have grace, the drama of redemption, chapters 18-20, then a postscript of wonderment and awe: Jesus is risen, hallelujah! in chapter 21.

Jesus takes on the status quo, and debates many times with the Jewish leadership concerning their traditions, how they viewed the Sabbath, and now, about the fact that the Messiah was in their midst, and that He is both the Christ and fully God. Jesus used clever logic, citing their traditions, Scripture, and their need, as well as reference and testimony to these facts. These challenges to the Pharisees are what led to our Lord's Crucifixion (Lev. 19:18; John 5: 10-12, 30-47).

John sought to win over his fellow Jews and the post Temple leadership who were fixated on the Law and on reinventing the past traditions; they were convinced the law supported their position. John proved the converse-that Jesus fulfilled the Law and Prophets. John used Scripture and classic rabbinic logic to state that Jesus was in fact the promise Messiah and moreover, God incarnate. The Pharisees believed there was a detachment between God and Man (which was because of sin) and the only way to know God was through their traditions and interpretations and they also did not believe that the Holy Spirit was active nor did many of them expect a Messiah; only the common people did. Thus, John instructed them using their own cultural traditions and encouraged them by carefully stating his case with reason and logic as well as with Scripture. Ironically, they were wrong; we can know God personally and we do possess the Holy Spirit-and to know Jesus is to know God. Therefore, to reject Jesus is to reject the Father, Yahweh. The rejection of Jesus by many of the Jews was not because He was an unknown or an illogical or unscriptural figure; rather, it was because they loved sin and did not want to be convicted of Truth. They, like many people today, saw no need for a Redeemer and sought to save themselves instead, which is an impossible and hopeless task (John 1:1-18; 7:37-39; 11:17-27; 12:44-50).

John also wanted to set forth a challenge to stir up complacent, worried, and/or wearied-from-persecution Christians who were in doubt to have faith and motivation, to think and not bow to emotionalism or gossip or to superficial leaders who skewed truths for their own traditions and ideas. He urged them to go deeper and move to the depths of faith and maturity, making an intense connection with the principles of God's Word to one's life, thinking, and behavior (John 7:25-52).

Authorship

The internal evidence points that the writer is clearly identified as John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee, an eyewitness and also the writer of Revelation and the Epistles of First, Second, and Third John. Although the writer never directly refers to himself by name because of his humility, he was well known to his colleagues, making it easier for the early church to accept this work. At the same time, because of the power and prestige of the Gospels, none of them directly claimed an author, for that would have been an insult to our Lord since it was His Word given in His words. In addition, they were written in a period of persecution so there was also a "pseudonym-ous effect" to protect the early church leaders and remaining Apostles. John only writes about Christ for His Glory. Thus, in this Gospel, "John" always refers to John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-6; Mark 1:2-6; Luke 7:20). John modestly claims credit and is backed by early church documents. He was a Jew, shown by his use of the Old Testament and his knowledge of the Temple and cultural settings and feast days. He was a significant church leader who spoke with great authority, making a pseudo author, a second or third century writer impossible. The Gospel also records, in chapter thirteen, that John is the Disciple whom Jesus loved. This did not mean Jesus did not love the other Disciples. It was a statement of affection, humility, and honor, as Jesus gave this Disciple, John-the human instrument and author of this Gospel-such a coveted position that he would later earn by his service to Jesus' mother and to the Christian community. This is called "Johannine" authorship (Matt. 10:2; Luke 22:8; John 1:1, 14; 13:23-24; 19: 25-27, 35; 20:2; 21:7-24; Acts 1:13; 3:1-4:37; Gal. 2:9; Rev. 1:1, 3-4, 9; 22:6-10, 18-19). Inevitably

Predictably, there is some contention because John does not sign or directly take credit for this work. He does not because he was inspired by the Holy Spirit and was very unassuming. People who helped him and knew the truth surrounded him. The textual evidence is backed by the style of writing; and the information given makes it trustworthy that the writer was Jewish. His obvious education and knowledge in the details of the historicity, topography, customs and settings, and his quoting of private conversations between Jesus and the Disciples could not have been done as a well crafted late forgery. The details and accuracy of the cultural feast days and festivals were lost by this time for a younger person or a non-witness, preventing someone with a literary imagination or hearing it secondhand to explain it with the details provided. There is also an uncanny unity in Greek syntax and structure such as the "I am's" and "signs" that would be imposable to explain through honest "textual criticism" of various scribes contributing to this one work. The language and structure have unique fingerprints, as seen in Revelation, 1 John, and 2 John that also cannot be explained by the "school theory." In addition, because of John's position and prevalence, people knew him, his writing, his storytelling style, and his stories; a forgery could not have been crafted in the middle or late second century (John 1:28; 5:2; 6:5-7, 61-64; 9:7; 11:1, 54; 12:3, 21; 13:1-11, 30-36; 18:4; 19:13; 21:24; Acts 3:1-11; 12:2; Gal. 2:9).

Thus, there is no serious contention on who penned this Gospel: John; son of Zebedee; Disciple of Jesus Christ. There are some extreme "redactor" scholars who say there was a Johannine school that penned this Gospel using fragments and essays from others, but there is no textual or archeological evidence for this claim. Virtually all biblical authors have been challenged since the 18th century, with the start of the critical thinking movement. These theories are based on speculative reasoning, and there is no clear evidence for them. If there were such a school, it would not have been unusual, since most philosophers and key religious leaders had them after their death. The mission was to persevere and copy the works-not invent them. There are also the various theorems of the "pseudonym-ous" works that were popular in the two hundred years before and after Christ. This is where a famous person is credited to a writing to establish power and posting by latching on or citing someone else. Again, there is no evidence for these claims and they would not be expected by a close-knit and skeptical group in fear of persecution (1 John 2:22-23).

There is some minor contention because of the extreme date difference. The Synoptic Gospels were written around 60 AD during the first persecutions and before the destruction of the Temple. John comes along after the Temple's demise around 90 AD. But, John was perhaps the youngest Disciple and lived to be the oldest, so this would not be much of a stretch, making John in his eighties or early nineties. (Obviously the True Writer is God who inspired John! Any book of the Bible is written, or better put, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who moves the human hands to be instruments in the writing of the Bible. So, when I say John wrote it, I am referring to the human authorship that reflects his style, use of language, and culture, but this is still the inerrant Word of God.) John was called the "beloved disciple," meaning he was in the inner circle, one of the closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry and was able to give a firsthand account of the life and teachings of Jesus. Since he was well aware of the other Gospels, he filled in what was not included by the others (John 1:1, 10-11; 22:16-20).

Date and Occasion

Church tradition cites that this Gospel was written in 85-90 AD, prior to John being exiled to the Island of Patmos which was around 90-95 AD. This seems right and this Gospel has the earliest fragments dating to the early second century, a mere half of a generation afterwards. There is far more textual evidence for this Gospel than any other ancient text or work, including the classics of Plato and Socrates. Some scholars cite it as having been written prior to the Temple's destruction, and thus a contemporary to the synoptic Gospels. But, the discovery of the "Rylands" fragment of John 18 that dates to 130 AD gives conservable proof of a late, second century origin. Key words like the "Sea of Tiberias" that was only used after 70 AD and an innuendo to Peter's execution (66AD), shows this later date. In addition, the Sadducees are not mentioned as they were in the other Gospels. Because they died out after 70 AD (they were sad you see), John did not bother with Jesus' retorts to a dead system (John 21:19).

There is also a minor debate as to where John was when he wrote this Gospel. There are three possible locations: Patmos, where he was exiled; Galilee, where he lived before 70 AD; and Ephesus, where he lived after the destruction of the Temple and the setting for his work, Revelation. If the date is after 70 AD, then he was in Ephesus and Smyrna (Rev. 2:9-10; 3:7-9). After the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, the church scattered (mostly to Asia Minor), and John became one of the main leaders. Within this time-frame, the Pharisees took over the traditions of the Jews and reworked the Law and temple sacrifices into many of the traditions Jews have today. Thus, the Early Church was in conflict with the Pharisees, as we see with John's many retorts to them. Another problem faced by John and his churches is the anti-Messiah movement that took over after 70 AD. Because no messiah came to save them from the Romans, Jerusalem was destroyed and their homes, Temple, and culture eradicated. So they felt a messiah was a theme of betrayal and a loss of hope. Christian's claim that Christ was the Messiah was taken as an insult, even though they did not understand the actual Prophecy and read into it what they wanted. This caused more and more conflicts later addressed in Revelation. Even though The Gospel was written to entice and encourage Jews and Romans to believe, they were the main persecutors to John and the Church.

Canonicity and Acceptance

The "apostolic origin" and "canonical acceptance" of the Gospel of John were without a controversy or doubt and accepted by the early church as Scripture. The early churches accepted it without question because John was well known and it would have been impossible to forge or be misrepresented. The Early Church also identified John as the author, including Eusebius, Justin Martyr, Ireneaus (his work "Against Heresies" 3,1.2, 180 AD), Tatian ("A Harmony of the Gospels," 150AD), Clement of Alexandria (220AD), Hippolytus, and Origen.

Theological Value

John begs the world to come see and hear whom the Christ is and that He is the only way to the Father. He adds to this theme sixty-six references to seeing and fifty-eight to hearing! He references the Old Testament more than a hundred times to shake the Jews while giving philosophical arguments to stimulate logic and reason to the opponents. Thus, he is not limited to an audience or a systemic thinking; rather, he used general arguments and classical rabbinic discourses of argumentation for the Jews as well as narratives that crossed the barriers of Jew and Greek, religious and secular to show that Jesus is God who came to save. That God is the One who has provided for the Israelites their physical and spiritual needs and now He is here with an offer no one should refuse. John is forceful yet still respectful and mindful to all main people groups then, and consents to give the best answers for the hope we all need (John 1:29; 4:13-14; 6:35; 5:18; 5:58; 10:11, 30-33).

John has also a unique style of recording Jesus' discourses. In ancient times, people were more of storytellers and it was the common way in the first century to paraphrase a master or great teacher's teaching. Of course, this does not take away the Holy Spirit's inspiration or value but allows God to commune His precepts with us in different ways and apply them to different situations. It is not clear if John is doing that, but he emphasizes the teachings Jesus gave to both a general audience and his own people's situation and adds an emphasis on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who were persecuting John and the early Church at the time of the writing of this Gospel. The slight differences can be explained by the simple fact that John writes later and fills in the various conflicts and material the other three Gospels do not state or emphasize (John, chapters 3-12).

This Gospel contains the key catchphrase of what it means to be a Christian. Also, John begins a series of discourses on Jesus' teaching, which usually centers on a question someone asks Him. He turns the resulting misunderstanding around into not only deep instruction, but also deep conviction. Jesus' teaching discourses are similar to those of the great philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, but Jesus emphasized what matters most to the soul and eternity that is also reflected in how we are to God and others. This passage contains the quintessential Bible passage and summary of the Gospel Message that just about everyone knows and what people assume tells us what it means to be a Christian. This is all about who God is: One of Love; and what He does: He loves. This is His indispensable and primary attribute, but it is not only what God is about. Rather, it is a summary of all of His character. Love is but one of His many characteristics and qualities. This is how His character and Person comes to us, how He loves by not waiting for us to come to Him, because we can't; rather, He comes to us. God demonstrated His ultimate Love by sending His Son as a sacrifice. His sacrifice included becoming a man-a suffering and dead man-for our benefit. Jesus came into a world that had already condemned itself and rejected God. We all are condemned for judgment because of sin and the refusal to accept God's way; we rejected Him, His self-realization, and law. Yet, Christ came to we who are undeserving, offering us His free grace if only we believe and trust in Him (John 3:16).

John gives more theological background of the Eternal God, Jesus, and answers the questions of the skeptics and persecutors of early Christianity. John is also more multi-ethnic, thus showing a warmer feel to the growing Gentile Christian community as Christianity spread from being a Jewish sect, to a "religion," and then to the entire world including what is most important, that Jesus nailed our debt of sin to the Cross! He paid a debt that we could never afford to do by any means conceivable-not by works, or ideas, or experiences, or education, or service, or being good. If these things could add even an insignificant amount to our debt of grace, then Christ's work on the cross would have been unnecessary and meaningless because we could have done it on our own! Our saving faith is by Christ alone-nothing to add and nothing to declare except to receive His most precious free gift of grace by our faith alone-period! The question inlayed in this passage is what will we do now? How then shall we live (John 4:46-54)?

Genre

The literature style is "Gospel" which is a cross between biography and instruction. It is not an extensive or all-inclusive work; rather, it contains biographical information with scenes beginning prior to the creation of the universe and then concentrates on the life and times of Jesus Christ, Son of God. It uses classical Jewish storytelling and symbolism that flashes forward and back though "polemic" (an apologetic argument to stem or stir up controversy made against others views and doctrine) episodes like a modern movie, telling a story with discourses between various peoples to relate to the questions and objections of the original audience. The first half of the Gospel (John, chps. 1-11) takes place over a three-year time period, and the last half (John, chps. 12-21) take place over a one-week period (John 2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-15; 6:5-13; 6:15-21; 9:1-7; 11-44; 20:30-31).

"Gospel" simply means "the good news," the news that Jesus Christ, God's Son and Savior forgives the sins of all those who trust in Him. The word "Gospel" also refers to the title of the first four books of the New Testament, which depict the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. All of the Gospels convey a similar theme of lifting up Christ as the Son of God Who is Lord of all-who Christ is, what He did, what He said, how people responded, as well as His role in our life, death, the fulfillment of God's promises, the kingdom of God, and eternity. In addition, he shows Jesus as the Christ/Messiah, who is God, and who is the authoritative teacher for our faith and practice-and that apart from Christ, there can be no salvation or hope to come (Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Gal. 1:6-9).

John loves to give contrasting particulars like dark and light, love and hate. This is to show the dramatic cause and effect of God and His purpose to His people. It shows our need to be dependent upon Christ by showing us the relationship of sin to righteousness and our drastic need for a Savior and the power of the Holy Spirit, and, conversely, our pride and misunderstanding of Him. This is to make the case for our need because of our sin and naturally hopeless state; thus, we cannot come to God without the Person and Work of Christ (John 1:4-12; 2:20; 3:5-16; 5:24; 6:35, 51-62; 8:23-47; 10:27-29; 15:17-18).

Relationship to the Other Gospels

Matthew was written primarily to Jews, giving evidence of why Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Mark was primarily written to the Romans and Gentiles giving evidence of why Jesus is the reason for faith and living. Then, Luke was written to Greek philosophical thinkers who wanted a more orderly account so to analyze who Jesus was. Finally, John comes along nearly twenty years later, without a specific audience in mind. He starts off with declaring Jesus as eternal, ever existing, born into the world for the whole world to save the world. He gives thoughts and answers to arguments for both Jews and Gentiles, to thinkers and the common person-all of whom need a Savior.

All four Gospels paint the same God-Man but as different "portraits" of Christ. Each is lifting up and painting the same Person at a different angle and emphasis, like looking at all the facets of a diamond-one facet at a time. They are not meant to be detailed biographies, as they each tell their true story to their audience, but they do not tell us everything, only what we need to know. What they do is select the teachings best suited for their audience and that are most important and necessary for our salvation and spiritual growth, penned by human writers being led by the Spirit (John 20:30-31).

The Controversies

An honest and careful assessment of the four Gospels will reveal that Matthew, Mark, and Luke are obviously alike, while John is quite different. The first three Gospels agree extensively in their language and teaching. They include a similar order in which events and teachings from the life of Christ take place although in Hebrew thinking, chronology is not important, as they used literary flash backs just as modern movies do today. A movie can start in the middle and flash back and forth for literary effect; this form is classic Jewish story telling. It is the Greeks who were logical and systematic in their thinking and storytelling approach, to whom Luke also writes.

All of the Gospels begin with placing Jesus in a historical setting such as the genealogy with Matthew or John the Baptist's ministry in Mark, connecting Jesus to humanity and history. Since John was familiar with the others and the context of His earthy ministry, John places Christ by His nature being God, connecting Jesus with His eternal Being and history of the universe. John's use of "Word" to identify Jesus also grabs philosophic-minded Romans and pious Jews. He is our Creator, Lord, and Savior and is the eternally existing, ever present, ever powerful, sole creator-God. It is about our transcendent, all-knowing, ever-existing, most Holy, most powerful, eternal God who has always existed and will always continue to exist-and He is Jesus Christ! This Gospel was designed to remove all doubt of who and what Jesus Christ is.

The Old Testament is filled with types and shadows of the coming LORD. Here we find convergences of Old Testament prophecy with Jesus' prophecies that later help motivate and rally His Disciples after His Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Is there a contradiction in John 2:13-25? Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that Jesus cleansed the Temple during the week that led up to Jesus' betrayal and Crucifixion. John seems to indicate that Jesus did this right after the Cana wedding. Only John records Jesus' statement and challenge that if they would destroy this temple He would raise it up. Also, Matthew indicates that this event was the basis of the false charges for Jesus' arrest and mock trial, and taunting at the cross from the mob. The significant differences and timeline indicate that Jesus cleared out the Temple at least twice (Matt. 21: 1-17; 26:61; 27:40; Mark 11:15; 14:58; 15:15-19, 29; Acts 16:14).

There is a debate about whether the context of the passage of John 7:53-8:11 fits, as this passage is not found in the earliest Greek manuscripts. There is the possibility that this event did occur in the sequence of events during the feast and in-between times of Jesus' speaking engagements, but it is more probable that this occurred at another time. Of the earliest manuscripts that do have this passage, it is found in different sections of John and it is even in some manuscripts of Luke by verse 21:38. In addition, none of the early Church Fathers commented on this passage; over 90% of the New Testament was commented on. In the "textual criticism" of this passage, the Greek syntax is very different than the rest of John or Luke, although many stories in ancient religious cultures, including Judaism, had rich oral traditions and people memorized passages that were not written down until much later. So, is this a problem? Yes and no. Yes, because we have to play detective and see if this is an actual historical and accurate account of Jesus. After careful investigation, it is; so "no", it is not a problem for our learning and edification of God's Word. Even though this may be a later addition that did not come to be in John until the fourth century, there is no indication that the narrative is wrong. This story follows the character of Jesus, the customs and historicity of the times (as in, this is a factual account that was known, along with many other stories about Jesus then, which have been lost to history.) This one, being of such importance, finds its way back. It can also be a testimony of the Bible's reliability and impact, that if we wonder if anything was left out that we might need for our spiritual growth or understanding of God, the answer is "no." We have what God wants us to have and it is up to us to get busy in the study and application of His most precious Word (John 21:25)!

When linear minds look at Jewish literature like this Gospel, they are perplexed because is not written in chronological order. John's audience is Jewish and they do not think in terms of events in a linear fashion like many western cultures do. There is a potential problem in this Gospel when compared to the other Synoptic Gospel accounts. Is there a contradiction with Mark concerning the "Triumphant Entry" with the colt or in the order of the events? Or, what about Jesus' anointing? When, and by whom was it done? Consider that Matthew's audience was Jewish, so he sticks with the fulfillment of prophecy in his account. For the colt, Mark only mentions the donkey because his audience is Greek, and they would not know of or care about the colt or its significance. The accounts of Matthew and Mark are different from John's in where the accounts of Lazarus and the anointing occur. The difference was chronology; remember, Jews were not chronological thinkers. Greeks were, so there may have been two accounts and two anointings-one by a repenting sinner at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and one of devotion and gratitude at the end (Matt. 21:1-17; Mark 11:2; 14:1-11; Luke 7:36-50; John 12:1-50).

Epilogue

This is an incredible Gospel that depicts the power and compassion of Christ to those who are faithful. In the midst of God's power, purpose, and love is His call for us to first learn who He is and what He has to say, and then to trust and obey. He has set up instructions for us to live by that are meant to help, guide, mold, shape, and protect us. They also enable us grow, mature, and create community and fruitful living. This is a tough concept for many who want things their way and do not like authority or the progress of faith that is honed by life's irritations and opportunities. But, before we can be illuminated more in faith, we have to escape the darkness of what holds us back-our sins and frustrations, the barriers of our fears, and our misguided beliefs. Real faith can be used to protect and to serve as well as to glorify God and grow in faith.

Resources used:

1. Barrett, C.K. The Gospel According to John. Westminster Press. 1978

2. Bernard, J.H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John. T&T Clark. 1928

3. Brown, Raymond. The Gospel According to John. Doubleday. 1970

4. Calvin, John. Commentary of the Epistle of Hebrews. reprint Eerdmans. 1989

5. Early Church Fathers, The Works of

6. Eusebius, The Works of

7. Expositors Bible Commentary, John vol 9 Zondervan. 1994

8. Halley's Bible Handbook. Regency. 1927

9. Josephus, The Works of

10. Justin, The Works of

11. Keener, Craig S. The IV Bible Background Commentary. Inter Varsity Press. 1993

12. Krejcir, Richard J. Into Thy Word. "Into Thy Word Bible Study Method." Writers Club Press. 2000

13. Michaels, J.R. John, NIBC. vol 4. Hendrickson. 1989

14. New Geneva Study Bible. Thomas Nelson. 1995

15. Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to Saint John. Crossroad. 1982

16. Smith, Jerome H, Ed. The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. Thomas Nelson. 1992

17. Sproul, R.C. Essential Truths of the Christian Faith. Tyndale. 1992

18. Sturgeon's Devotional Bible. Baker Books. 1964

19. Wiersbe, Warren. With the Word. Oliver Nelson. 1991

20. Research at the Scholarly Archives at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA; Years of study & teaching notes; Seminary notes; Prayer.

Dr. Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Director of Into Thy Word Ministries, a missions and discipling ministry. He is also the theologian in residence at the Francis Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development.

© 2010 Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/

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