The Gospel of John, an overview
by Lewis Loflin
The First Christians were Galilean Fishermen
an a tax collector; they followed a carpenter.
They were not the sort who could frame their
faith in a large view of science. They were
surprised when educated Jews such as Paul
discovered that they had the truth of faith for
From page 51 A History of Christianity by Owen Chadwick
Was the author of John the Apostle John that knew Jesus or a later convert? Secular scholars claim convert, while religious scholars claim he knew Jesus in the flesh based more on faith then anything else. Both have their bias and political agendas. (I certainly do as well.) The New American Bible describes the Gospel of John as "highly literary and symbolic" and "does not follow the same order or reproduce the same stories" as the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John is full of "signs" and cryptic babble.
Quoting literature from Bishop Alexander www.fatheralexander.org:
All the Sacred books of the New Testament were written in the vernacular Greek, an Alexandrian dialect, called koine. This language was spoken, or at least understood, by all the educated inhabitants of the Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire. It was the language of all the cultured people of that time. The Evangelists wrote in Greek rather than in Hebrew...
Another interesting comment from Father Alexander, The great variability among modern Bible versions testifies to the fact that translating is essentially interpreting. In other words, to do a good job, the translator must know both the original and the language being translated into quite well. The translator must understand the subject, and, what is extremely important, grasp the idea the author intended to convey and the sense in which he intended it to be conveyed. And since the ultimate author of Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit, the translator needs His illumination and inspiration to correctly convey His message. What he is saying is the tranlation depends not with the words written, but the belief of the translator. Like all Christians he introduces the Holy Spirit to assure us that everything is correct.
What we don't have is solid proof either way. I'm not going into the same old bickering as all the "experts" that can't agree on anything do.
The Gospel of John to Christians is the most important of all. Here is the only place Jesus Himself claims divinity. Here Jesus is a full-blown savior god in the way an educated Greek scholar could understand. Here was the platonic Logos (a form of it) acceptable to the Greek mind. The troubling part is this "John" was no simple fisherman from Galilee. Even the church admits his advanced age (90) and the late dates of his writings. (90+ CE) His audience was not Jews and makes the remark "the Jews" at least 64 times. (KJV)
Conclusion In my opinion the writer is a Greek convert that hates Jews. This is based on the late date of writing; the heavy use of scholarly Greek, and the way the writer uses terms such as "the Jews" convinces me of this. He never met Jesus anymore than Paul did. While he is from Ephesus and the churches Paul founded, he never met Paul nor did Paul ever meet him.
Below I present more information pro and con on this issue and leave the final conclusion to the reader.
John the Apostle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John the Apostle was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He is also known as John the Theologian, and John the Divine.
According to the New Testament account, John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James. They originally were fishermen and fished with their father in the Lake of Genesareth.
John was traditionally held to be the author of five books of the New Testament, including the Gospel of John, but many scholars dispute this. Catholic/Orthodox tradition says that he and the Virgin Mary moved to Ephesus, where both eventually died. Many Evangelical and other scholars question this, especially due to the advanced age which Mary would have reached by this time. Some believe, however, that there is support for the idea that John did go to Ephesus and from there wrote the three epistles sometimes attributed to him. John was allegedly banished to the Greek island of Patmos, where some believe that he wrote the Book of Revelation.
John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist (? - c. 110) is the author of the Gospel of John. Tradition has identified him with John the Apostle, although many scholars dispute that they are the same person. In addition to the Gospel, he is also presumed to be the author of other books in the New Testament: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the Book of Revelation. Collectively, these books are known as Johannine literature.
The Only Begotten Son?
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (Genesis 6:2) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. (Genesis 6:4) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6) Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. (Job 2:1)
John also used the term: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name..." (John 1:12) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1) and "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)
Paul uses the term in an identical manner: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
So as Paul and John illustrate, one who is righteous becomes a "son of God."
The term "only begotten Son" is used in relation Jesus only by the writer of John: For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:17-18. Also John 3:16, 3:18, and 1 John 4:9)
The writer of John is believed to be a Greek convert and his lack of knowledge of Judaism and the Torah is as appalling as his hatred of Jews. (He uses "Jews" as a slur over 60 times in the Gospel of John alone.) First, the Law was given directly by God to Moses. Second, Moses saw God. Whomever wrote John is not quoting Jesus, he is giving us his own opinion. Third, Jesus is not the only "only begotten Son" of God: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (Psalms 2:7) Psalms is believed to be written by David.
When the writer of John does quote Jesus, "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham." (John 8:40) And according to Paul's follower Luke, "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)
But John 8:40 is contradicted by John 5:18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." According to the New American Bible most scholars believe John had been altered and rewritten. That is the opinion of the writer of John, Jesus did not say it. The same story is in the other Gospels without that claim. Does that mean anyone that becomes a "son of God" becomes an equal to God?
Jesus was a man, a human ordained by God to show us the way. So like David (Psalms 132:10, etc.), he was an "anointed" servant of God. Jesus and David were not the only "anointed," "Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden.." (Isaiah 45:1) One doesn't even have to be a Jew to be "anointed" and anyone can be a "son" (or daughter) of the Lord as long we act in righteous manner and obey God's Laws.
Luke 3:6 "all flesh shall see the salvation of God."
Psalms 2:7, "I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee." (KJV) By tradition, David wrote Psalms.
Malachi 4:5-6, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." He didn'tlose his head it seems.
Matthew 17:12-13, "But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist..."
John 1:19-21, And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
John 12:15, Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass."
Zechariah 9:10-13, "And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man..."
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