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Exegetical Paper: Prologue of John's Gospel

Exegetical Paper: Prologue of John's Gospel

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Published by Zach Games

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Published by: Zach Games on Nov 21, 2010
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11/12/2012

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John 1:1-18: The Prologue
(1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word wasGod.
 
(2)
He was in the beginning with God.
(3)
All things came into being through Him, and apartfrom Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
(4)
In Him was life, and the life wasthe Light of men.
(5)
The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
(6)
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
(7)
He came as a witness, to testifyabout the Light, so that all might believe through him.
(8)
He was not the Light, but he came totestify about the Light.
(9)
There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightensevery man.
(10)
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did notknow Him.
(11)
He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
(12)
But asmany as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even
to those who believe in His name,
(13)
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(14)
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory,glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(15)
 
John testified about Himand cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’
(16)
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upongrace.
(17)
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through JesusChrist.
(18)
 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of theFather, He has explained Him.” (NASB)
11
All references are from the
 New American Standard Bible
unless otherwise noted. All subsequent references arenoted parenthetically.
1
 
Survey
The prologue of John’s gospel presents the reader with many Christological andtheological implications. Christ is shown to be the preexistent Word, but not just any Word, but
the
Word. He
was God,
He
is
God, and He
has always
and
will always
 be God. John shows thereason for Jesus’ coming and the response of the reader to Jesus’ earthly ministry as the pre-incarnate, preexistent Word of God.
Historical ContextAuthorship
There is much to be said of the Historical context of John’s gospel, especially inrelation to the date and authorship. Like the other gospels, the author is presumably unknownand there is much debate as to who wrote the gospel. “John in fact is often viewed as somehow
more
anonymous that the other three (gospels), by those who prefer to speak of Matthew, Mark,Luke and ‘The Fourth Gospel’.”
2
The author of this gospel is more debated than any of the other gospels, but all of the gospels had “according to” attached to them at some later date for the purpose of gaining popularity and fame.
3
It would have been very common when these letterscirculated, to attach the apostle’s names to each one of the gospels. “For this reason it wasassumed (almost unanimously) in the ancient church that ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved,’ whowas said to have written the gospel we are discussing, was named ‘John’.”
4
The John that most
2
Michaels, J. Ramsey. "Introduction." In
The Gospel of John
, 5. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B.Eerdmans Pub, 2010.
3
Carson, D. A. "Introduction." In
The Gospel according to John
, 68. Leicester, England: Inter-VarsityPress, 1991. The “according to” is κατα followed by the name of the apostle.
4
Michaels,
Gospel of John
, 6.
2
 
commentators refer to is also under speculation; “There is no lack of suggestions as to who hemay have been: after John the Apostle, Lazarus is a favorite nomination; in addition, John Mark,Matthias, Paul, the Presbyter John…”
5
 Most commentators lean towards the authorship of John the Son of Zebedee. Thewidespread evidence comes from two places: external evidence: information outside the text of the gospels that has a bearing on the composition of the gospels and internal evidence:
 
readings based on the differences between the readings, not between the manuscripts in which they werefound. There are two types of internal evidences: transcriptional and intrinsic. Severalcommentators agree that the internal evidence as well as the external evidence both pointtowards the author, (Hiebert, Blomberg, Michaels, Beasley-Murray, Carson, Kostenberger,Keener), whomever he may be. The external evidence comes from many sources, Theolophlis of Antioch, Irenaeus, Ptolemy, Polycrates, Eusebius and Papias. These scholars have manydiffering views and some are not even worth taking seriously, however we must still takeseriously “the unanimous tradition of the church that author of the Gospel was ‘John,’ whileavoiding the difficulties now frequently associated with the traditional ascription to John the sonof Zebedee.”
6
The tradition of the early church no doubt supports the claim of John son of Zebedee, the evidence does support the idea, “It is at least possible that this Gospel is ‘Accordingto John’ not because someone named John is the actual author but because of the early mentionof ‘John’ in 1:6 and the prominence of John’s testimony in the Gospel’s first three chapters.”
7
 The evidence for John as author comes mostly from the internal evidence, “it is
5
Murray, George Raymond. "Introduction."
 John
. Lxxiv. Second Edition. Waco, Tex.: Word Books,1987. Murray however doesn’t hold to any author, by name that is. He goes on to state that we don’t know the nameof the author, therefore his work is anonymous, but remains a monumental work of scripture.
6
Michaels,
Gospel of John
, 12. Although Ramsey here states his disagreement with the church, he later states, “The church of nineteen centuries has identified him with the Apostle John, son of Zebedee, and that longtradition deserves utmost respect… His claim to authorship is unmistakable, yet his anonymity (whatever theoriginal readers of the Gospel might have known) is both conspicuous and deliberate” (24).
7
Michaels,
Gospel of John,
17.
3

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