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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

The Gospel According to John - Introduction

From the time of Irenaeus (about 180 CE) tradition names John the son of Zebedee as the beloved disciple ( 13.23; 19.26–27; 20.1–10; 21.7, 20–24 ; perhaps also 1.35–40; 18.15–16; 19.35 ) and author of the Gospel. Irenaeus names him as author of the Epistles and Revelation also. Many scholars doubt this identification but agree that these books are derived from a common school, influenced by one dominant teacher. The same tradition locates the “Johannine literature” in Asia Minor, around Ephesus, a view that finds some support in the opening chapters of Revelation, as does the use of the name John.

The story of the ministry of Jesus is set in “Palestine” between 26 and 30 CE but the Gospel was probably completed and published in the last decade of the first century CE. The Gospel thus has two contexts: the ministry of Jesus (26–30 CE); and the situation of the author and his community after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. There was growing antagonism between Jesus' believers and the synagogue, * at least in John's region ( 9.22, 34; 12.42; 16.2; 20.19 ). This theme partly overlaps with the account of the antagonism toward Jesus by powerful Jewish leaders who instigated his arrest and execution by the Romans. Generally, the Jews denotes the Jewish leaders, and the term can be used interchangeably with the Pharisees * (see comment on 9.18–23 ). Antagonism is often expressed in dualistic language, especially the opposition between the light and the darkness. This dualism * is characteristic of some parts of the Dead Sea scrolls, reflecting the conflict of the community that produced the scrolls with the rest of Judaism.

The Gospel encourages the believer to make a courageous witness in the face of intimidation and threat. It offers hope and encouragement through the presence of the risen Jesus in the Spirit Paraclete (chs. 14–16 ).

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