Imagine living in an alternate universe where we have only three synoptic gospels in the biblical canon. What would we miss in a world without the Fourth Gospel? The richness of the theology and eschatology in the upper room discourse (John 14–17)? The teaching on true worship in the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman (John 4)? The assurance of eternal security of John 3:16? The high Christology of the prologue (1:1–18) and the various “I am” sayings (6:35; 8:12; etc.)? What would you miss the most?
This course offers an in-depth examination of various historical, literary, and theological themes of the Gospel of John. We will explore the unique contribution that John makes to the canonical story of Jesus the Messiah (20:30–31). We will ask how his writing shapes and nurtures our spiritual being and motivates us to become the children of God (1:12–23). We will discover together the unique message of John by comparing John’s story to the synoptics. By focusing on the world behind the text (historical context), the shape of the text (literary context), and the world ‘in front of’ the text (hermeneutical approaches), we will come to better appreciate John’s portrayal of the person and work of Jesus and how his Gospel story continues to speak to the church today.
- To become familiar with the historical context and the text of the Gospel of John for use in teaching and preaching ministry
- To appreciate the literary and theological characteristics of John
- To discern major themes and issues in the John and to consider their significance for the contemporary church
- To become competent interpreters of the text
- To become sensitive to the historical and cultural environment of the early church
- To allow the Gospel of John to motivate, form and transform our faith, worship and Christian way of life
- To develop skills in interpreting John in terms of their theological, historical and social contexts
- To articulate a detailed outline of John
- To explain key topics and major exegetical issues related to John