15 April. 2014
The Gospel of John
The study of the Gospel of John presents the history and story of Jesus Christ that pulls the reader and the community of Christianity into a faith built relationship through three powerful themes: true belief, the Paraclete, and love. One is required to express a hermeneutic to understand the importance of this Gospel. After understanding that history and literature are two ways to study this Gospel; one is required to believe or not to believe, that is to trust and have faith that Jesus is the son of God or not. If the path of belief is then chosen by that individual; then one can begin to apply the truths to both their lives as well as the community of faith that surrounds them. The Gospel of John teaches that true belief allows an individual’s life to be guided by the promised Paraclete and filled with love. To understand how the Gospel of John relates to modern life and the contemporary church it is necessary to articulate a hermeneutic. A system to study this Gospel allows the reader to connect the Johannine Community to which was it written close to two thousand years ago. Observing this particular Gospel requires a reader to view it from two different perspectives: A literature and history. The first way of studying the Gospel of John is through the lens of a narrative. The Gospel of John is interesting in that the story of Jesus’ identity, conflict, and mission are all told in the first eighteen verses. These verses are essential in the understanding and relating John’s Gospel to our modern day life, and how it is applicable to the contemporary church of today. Jesus speaks in long discourses as opposed the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus is known to speak in parables and short pithy sayings. These long discourses like that of the Samaritan woman, the man born blind, or Jesus’ discussion with Lazarus’ sisters All show Jesus’ character and his ability to work the impossible. These stories seem to transcend time and elevate the reader to a close relationship with Jesus through his love and mercy. In order to articulate a better understanding of the Gospel of John in a holistic sense it is best to view this Gospel in terms of a history. Standing away from the stories and seeing who the Gospel was speaking is extremely helpful. The individual and the contemporary church are the audience, and this is intriguing on two levels. First, the Gospel gives a wealth of knowledge about our modern day relationship to the Paraclete as Culpepper writes in The Gospel and Letters of John, “There are echoes or allusions to John in several second-century Church fathers, and Montanists based their doctrine on John’s words about the Paraclete.” (87) With that in mind it is easy to study the Gospel of John in a similar way that the early church did. The early church based their understanding on the promised Holy Spirit on the writings of this Gospel and the modern day believer should do the same as well. Secondly, to study the Gospel of John in a historical sense is extremely important when observing who it was written to. Throughout this Gospel Jewish festivals, Jerusalem, and Judea are mentioned allowing the reader to investigate to compare and contrast the situations of Jesus’ time versus that of modern day. Historical studies unveil great insight into the scripture and can allow the reader to relate to the troubles of the past; for example we see the troubles of outwardly accepting Jesus even when people want to believe, “…Leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue.”(12:42) this hermeneutic of historical study can help guide a believer to understand the Gospel of John and guide them to a better walk with Christ. The study of John from a historical and literary point of view allows the reader grasp a full understanding that Jesus was on a man on a...
Cited: Culpepper, Alan R. Gospel and Letters of John. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1998. Print.
Koester, Craig R. The Word of Life. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008. Print.
The New International Version. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan. 2011. Print
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