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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

The Gospel According to John - Introduction

While the Gospel according to John stands in contrast to Matthew, Mark, and Luke in matters of theological perspective, arrangement of its contents, and its distinctive use of imagery and symbols, it nevertheless clearly belongs to the same form of literature as do the other three. Its author, whose identity is unknown, displays exact knowledge both of Palestinian topography and of the Judaism of the first Christian century. This Gospel seems to record a tradition independent of that reflected in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, a tradition which may well go back to John, the son of Zebedee (see 21.2 n. ), to whom the book was ascribed in the late second century. In Christian tradition John has often been called “the spiritual” Gospel, because of its attention to the spiritual import of the incidents it reports.

The Gospel is frequently analyzed into “The Book of Signs” ( 1.19–12.50 ) and “The Book of Glory” ( 13.1–20.31 ), with 1.1–18 as a Prologue and ch. 21 as an Epilogue. A “sign” is an act of power by Jesus, which points to a truth inaccessible to sight and touch, but apprehensible by faith. Paradoxically, “glory,” an Old Testament term signifying God's presence, is for the evangelist publicly manifest in the earthly career of Jesus—who, to eyes of faith, reveals himself as the Son of God in certain significant events and through his death and resurrection. The writer's aim is “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this faith you may have life by his name” ( 20.31 ).

The Gospel probably originated in Asia Minor, possibly at Ephesus, shortly before the end of the first century.

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