JOHN
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John the Baptist


John, various men in scripture [EBD]

  • One who, with Annas and Caiaphas, sat in judgment on the apostles Peter and John (Acts 4:6). He was of the kindred of the high priest; otherwise unknown.

  • The Hebrew name of Mark (q.v.). He is designated by this name in the acts of the Apostles (12:12,25; 13:5,13; 15:37).

  • THE APOSTLE, brother of James the "Greater" (Matthew 4:21; 10:2; Mark 1:19; 3:17; 10:35). He was one, probably the younger, of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21) and Salome (Matthew 27:56; Compare Mark 15:40), and was born at Bethsaida. His father was apparently a man of some wealth (Compare Mark 1:20; Luke 5:3; John 19:27). He was doubtless trained in all that constituted the ordinary education of Jewish youth. When he grew up he followed the occupation of a fisherman on the Lake of Galilee. When John the Baptist began his ministry in the wilderness of Judea, John, with many others, gathered round him, and was deeply influenced by his teaching. There he heard the announcement, "Behold the Lamb of God," and forthwith, on the invitation of Jesus, became a disciple and ranked among his followers (John 1:36,37) for a time. He and his brother then returned to their former avocation, for how long is uncertain. Jesus again called them (Matthew 4:: 21; Luke 5:1-11), and now they left all and permanently attached themselves to the company of his disciples. He became one of the innermost circle (Mark 5:37; Matthew 17:1; 26:37; Mark 13:3). He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. In zeal and intensity of character he was a "Boanerges" (Mark 3:17). This spirit once and again broke out (Matthew 20:20-24; Mark 10:35-41; Luke 9:49,54). At the betrayal he and Peter follow Christ afar off, while the others betake themselves to hasty flight (John 18:15). At the trial he follows Christ into the council chamber, and thence to the praetorium (18:16,19,28) and to the place of crucifixion (19:26,27). To him and Peter, Mary first conveys tidings of the resurrection (20:2), and they are the first to go and see what her strange words mean. After the resurrection he and Peter again return to the Sea of Galilee, where the Lord reveals himself to them (21:1,7). We find Peter and John frequently after this together (Acts 3:1; 4:13). John remained apparently in Jerusalem as the leader of the church there (Acts 15:6; Galatians 2:9). His subsequent history is unrecorded. He was not there, however, at the time of Paul's last visit (Acts 21:15-40). He appears to have retired to Ephesus, but at what time is unknown. The seven churches of Asia were the objects of his special care (Revelation 1:11). He suffered under persecution, and was banished to Patmos (1:9); whence he again returned to Ephesus, where he died, probably about A.D. 98, having outlived all or nearly all the friends and companions even of his maturer years. There are many interesting traditions regarding John during his residence at Ephesus, but these cannot claim the character of historical truth.


John, the Gospel according to [EBD]

The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself (John 20:31). It was at one time supposed that he wrote for the purpose of supplying the omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of the first three, Gospels, but there is no evidence for this. "There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form a representation of the Christian faith in relation to the person of Christ as its central point; and in this representation there is a picture on the one hand of the antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the other of the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield themselves to him as the Light of life" (Reuss).

After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts.

  • The first part (1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of our Lord's public ministry from the time of his introduction to it by John the Baptist to its close.
  • The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his immediate followers (13-17), and gives an account of his sufferings and of his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection (18-21).

The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives

  • (1) to the mystical relation of the Son to the Father, and
  • (2) of the Redeemer to believers;
  • (3) the announcement of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter;
  • (4) the prominence given to love as an element in the Christian character.

It was obviously addressed primarily to Christians.

It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), became the centre of Christian life and activity in the East, about A.D. 90.


John [SBD]

the same name as Johanan, a contraction of Jehoanan, Jehovahís gift.

  • 1. One of the high priestís family, who, with Annas and Caiaphas, sat in judgment upon the apostles Peter and John. (Acts 6:6)

  • 2. The Hebrew name of the evangelist Mark. (Acts 12:12,25; 13:5,13; 15:37)


John the apostle [SBD]

was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman on the Lake of Galilee, and of Salome, and brother of James, also an apostle. Peter and James and John come within the innermost circle of their Lordís friends; but to John belongs the distinction of being the disciple whom Jesus loved. He hardly sustains the popular notion, fostered by the received types of Christian art, of a nature gentle, yielding, feminine. The name Boanerges, (Mark 3:17) implies a vehemence, zeal, intensity, which gave to those who had it the might of sons of thunder. [JAMES] The three are with our Lord when none else are, in the chamber of death, (Mark 5:37) in the glory of the transfiguration, (Matthew 17:1) when he forewarns them of the destruction of the holy city, (Mark 13:3) in the agony of Gethsemane. When the betrayal is accomplished, Peter and John follow afar off. (John 18:15) The personal acquaintance which exited between John and Caiaphas enables him to gain access to the council chamber, praetorium of the Roman procurator. (John 18:16,19,28) Thence he follows to the place of crucifixion, and the Teacher leaves to him the duty of becoming a son to the mother who is left desolate. (John 19:26,27) It is to Peter and John that Mary Magdalene first runs with the tidings of the emptied sepulchre, (John 20:2) they are the first to go together to see what the strange words meant, John running on most eagerly to the rock-tomb; Peter, the least restrained by awe, the first to enter in and look. (John 20:4-6) For at least eight days they continue in Jerusalem. (John 20:26) Later, on the Sea of Galilee, John is the first to recognize in the dim form seen in the morning twilight the presence of his risen Lord; Peter the first to plunge into the water and swim toward the shore where he stood calling to them. (John 21:7)

The last words of Johnís Gospel reveal to us the deep affection which united the two friends. The history of the Acts shows the same union. They are together at the ascension on the day of Pentecost. Together they enter the temple as worshippers, (Acts 3:1) and protest against the threats of the Sanhedrin. ch (Acts 4:13) The persecution which was pushed on by Saul of Tarsus did not drive John from his post. ch. (Acts 8:1) Fifteen years after St. Paulís first visit he was still at Jerusalem, and helped to take part in the settlement of the great controversy between the Jewish and the Gentile Christians. (Acts 15:6) His subsequent history we know only by tradition. There can be no doubt that he removed from jerusalem and settled at Ephesus, though at what time is uncertain. Tradition goes on to relate that in the persecution under Domitian he is taken to Rome, and there, by his boldness, though not by death, gains the crown of martyrdom. The boiling oil into which he is thrown has no power to hurt him. He is then sent to labor in the mines, and Patmost is the place of his exile. The accession of Nerva frees him from danger, and he returns to Ephesus. Heresies continue to show themselves, but he meets them with the strongest possible protest.

The very time of his death lies within the region of conjecture rather than of history, and the dates that have been assigned for it range from A.D. 89 to A.D. 120.


John, the Gospel according to [SBD]

This Gospel was probably written at Ephesus about A.D. 78. (Canon Cook places it toward the close of Johnís life, A.D. 90-100. --ED.) The Gospel was obviously addressed primarily to Christians, not to heathen. There can be little doubt that the main object of St. John, who wrote after the other evangelists, is to supplement their narratives, which were almost confined to our Lordís life in Galilee.

(It was the Gospel for the Church, to cultivate and cherish the spiritual life of Christians, and bring them into the closest relations to the divine Saviour. It gives the inner life and teachings of Christ as revealed to his disciples. Nearly two-thirds of the whole book belong to the last six months of our Lordís life, and one-third is the record of the last week. --ED.)

The following is an abridgment of its contents:

  • A. The Prologue. ch. (John 1:1-18)
  • B. The History, ch. (John 1:19; John 20:29)
    • (a) Various events relating to our Lordís ministry, narrated in connection with seven journeys, ch. (John 1:19; John 12:50)

      • 1. First journey, into Judea, and beginning of his ministry, ch. (John 1:19; John 2:12)
      • 2. Second journey, at the passover in the first year of his ministry, ch. (John 2:13; John 4:1)
      • 3. Third journey, in the second year of his ministry, about the passover, ch. (5:1).
      • 4. Fourth journey, about the passover, in the third year of his ministry, beyond Jordan, ch. (John 6:1)
      • 5. Fifth journey, six months before his death, begun at the feast of tabernacles, chs. (John 7:1; John 10:21)
      • 6. Sixth journey, about the feast of dedication, ch. (John 10:22-42)
      • 7. Seventh journey, in Judea towards Bethany, ch. (John 11:1-54)
      • 8. Eighth journey, before his last passover, chs. (John 11:55; John 12:1) (b) History of the death of Christ, chs. (John 12:1; John 20:29)
      • 9. Preparation for his passion, chs. John 13:1 ... John 17:1
      • 10. The circumstances of his passion and death, chs. (John 18:1; 19:1)
      • 11. His resurrection, and the proofs of it, ch. (John 20:1-29) C. The Conclusion , ch. (John 20:30; John 21:1)
      • 12. Scope of the foregoing history, ch. (John 20:30,31)
      • 13. Confirmation of the authority of the evangelist by additional historical facts, and by the testimony of the elders of the Church, ch. (John 21:1-24)
      • 14. Reason of the termination of the history, ch. (John 21:25)


John [ISBE]


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