The Gospel of John – Part Seven “Sixth Sign” Healing of a Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41

INTRODUCTION: This man had never seen a sunrise, sunset, a flower, or anything. He grew up in a world of darkness. This man’s blindness was not punishment for his sin or his parent’s sin. However, it is true that he would not be blind if it were not for the Fall of man and curse of sin. This man’s physical blindness was tragic but it was his spiritual blindness that was the issue. The Pharisees who could physically see were spiritually blind. This man’s blindness had a divine purpose which was only known to God. Through the touch of Jesus this man received his sight. After the touch, he could not only see physically but also spiritually! It was for the sake of God’s plan to bring this blind man to Christ and bring glory to God! Let us consider…
I. The Man (9:1-5).
Though the man was blind and could not see his way to Jesus it didn’t prevent Jesus coming to him. Jesus saw the man who had been born blind. It was assumed that either he or his parents sinned and his blindness was a result. This is not so. Tragedy happens to the just and the unjust.

II. The Mud (9:6).
We learned in the Prologue of John that Jesus is the Creator. Adam was created from the dust of the ground. We are made of clay. God is the Potter and we are the clay. Jesus took some mud… some clay and placed in on the man’s blinded eyes. What an amazing sign! God made the man and He remade the man!

III. The Miracle (9:7-9).
Jesus told the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man received the Word! Go! Wash! Out of the man’s obedience and him responding to the Word in faith a miracle took place! The man could see! We are told that the ‘god of this age has blinded the eyes of the unbeliever” and we all are born blind spiritually. We need a miracle of rebirth. We must be born again!

IV. The Messiah (9:10-12).
When asked who it was that gave him sight the blind man said, “A Man called Jesus…” His name is the sweetest name I know! It is this Man that touched my life and gave me sight! “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…. I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see!” Say His name with me… Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!

V. The Message (9:25).
The Pharisees were furious and sought to destroy the ministry of Jesus. They were full of religion but they were spiritually blind. They kicked the healed blind man out. He was not welcome with them but He was welcome with Jesus. Through faith in Jesus we can see what really matters in life.

CONCLUSION: God reached down and took that which was considered evil (dirt); mixed it with human saliva; touched the blind man’s eyes; instructed the man to wash; and through the blind man’s faith, he received sight! God is not limited by the physical condition of a person. Jesus, God in the flesh, is able to cause the blind to see!

The Gospel of John – Part Six “Fifth Sign” Jesus Walking on the Water (John 6:15-21)

INTRODUCTION:  After feeding the 5,000 Jesus withdrew by Himself because He perceived the crowd would force Him to be king. He did not give any specific instructions to His disciples. However, they went to down to the sea and began a nighttime voyage across the sea to Capernaum. The disciples of Jesus had labored all night long to row only about half way across the Sea of Galilee (about 3 miles). In the midst of their navigational struggle Jesus passed by them … walking on the water! When they realized it was Jesus, they let Him into the boat and immediately reached their destination. Without Him they were struggling just to make a little headway, but with Him in their midst the struggle was over. When we have Jesus our journey is no longer a struggle but a joy!  Let us glean from this fifth sign…
1.  The Setting (15-18).
After an all-day speaking event and performing the miracle of feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with five barley loaves and two fish Jesus was probably tired. The disciples were probably tired too! They had been at the speaking engagement all-day and served that mega crowd. The crowd wanted to seize Jesus and make Him their king. He was and is King but not as they were looking. He removed Himself from the crowd. That was pretty amazing itself. He was able to take some time for solitude with the Father and rest. The disciples were instructed to go to the other side of the lake (Sea of Galilee). They were to go a distance of about five miles. They were all in one boat. It might have been the very boat that is on display in Israel today that is from the 1st century AD. About halfway across the lake a storm arose and it was dark. They were alone and afraid.
2.  The Savior (19-20).
Jesus does not want His followers to be alone, in the dark, or afraid. When we cannot go to Him, He will come to us. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. When we are in trouble He will walk on top of that which we are afraid. He is above all. He is our Savior and when we need Him we can count on Him. He came to the disciples walking on the water. They were afraid but when He spoke the fear had to go! “It is I, do not be afraid.” Their fears were gone and they received Him into the boat.
III.       The Security (21-21).
When we have Jesus on board there is nothing to fear. “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!” Jesus was not limited by the gravitational pull, darkness, space, or time. Immediately they were at their destination. When we have Jesus in our vessel we can be assured that we will reach our destination.
CONCLUSION: The goal of the disciples was to reach their destination. They were primarily hindered by the storm which arose quickly. When they saw Jesus walking on the water coming near the boat they were afraid. It was when they received Jesus their fear was calmed and immediately they reached their goal. We do not have control over the wind. When we are in a storm and the wind is blowing there is One who we can call upon. He is limitless and all-powerful. He walks on the water and He draws near to those who will receive Him!

The Gospel of John – Part Five “Fourth Sign” Feeding the 5,000

INTRODUCTION:  This is the fourth sign pointing to the deity of Jesus. This miracle is included in all four Gospels (See Mt.14:13-21; Mk. 6:30-44; Lk. 9:10-17). It held strong appeal, especially for those who had learned of Israel’s experience in the wilderness when God “rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them food from heaven” (Ps. 78:24). This sign shows Jesus as the Supplier of physical needs (1 Cor. 10:3-5). He is the Living Bread (v. 51); True Bread of God (v. 33); True Bread out of heaven (v. 32). He is the one who daily feeds the whole world by creating harvest fields from a few grains. Christ always provides. The question is will we trust Him to provide our needs. Jesus is the hope of the Second Exodus, which leads to freedom from the slavery to sin.

1.  The Place (1-3).

Jesus and His disciples were in the region of the Twelve which was along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The place offered a type of natural amphitheater. It was a beautiful place for Jesus to teach.

2.  The Passover (4).

This sign took place just before Passover. This gives us a good idea that Jesus was probably into His public ministry at least a year. With Passover edging closer the people may have been thinking about the great feast. Little did they know the Passover Lamb was in their midst!

3.  The People (5-6).

There were 5,000 men. Some commentators say that with the women and children it could easily have been 10K, 15K, or 20K people. They were following Jesus because of the signs (miracles).

4.  The Problem (7).
The multitude of people were listening to Jesus and the disciples observed that there was no food for them to eat. Getting late in the day they wanted to dismiss the crowd. The only food available was a bag lunch that a lad had brought. At least he thought about making preparations for the daily bread he would need. Can you imagine being the only one with food in the midst of 5,000 hungry men? I think I would hide my food. His food was confiscated – emanate domain of sorts.

5.  The Provision (8-13).

It may have been just a lad’s bag lunch but remember “little is much when God is in it.” Jesus took the five barley loaves and two small fish and blessed them. Five is the number of grace and two is the number of witness. Five and two make seven which is the perfect number or number of completion. However, Jesus was not adding but multiplying! The miracle of provision took place as the disciples were serving the multitude. There were twelve baskets full remaining. Jesus instructed the disciples to gather the remaining food. It was not a “doggy bag” for the disciples. These basket were most likely bushel baskets. It would be more than enough for the disciples. On a side note… where did the baskets come from? Perhaps, Jesus had a part in that as well…  could be one of the many unmentioned signs (20:30).

6.  The Prophet (14-15).

After the miracle took place the multitude wanted to seize Jesus and make Him their king. They desired an earthly king that could and would stop the Roman oppression. Jesus came as Prophet, Priest, and King. He withdrew because the purpose of His birth was not to save the Israelites from Rome but to save the world from sin. Moses spoke of another prophet coming after him and that they should listen to him. Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy.

CONCLUSION: The Lord loves to supply our needs! There are several things we can learn from this fourth sign. God tests our faith with challenges to do the impossible. According to Philip and the rest of the disciples feeding the multitude was impossible. God often ministers through weakness. He does not select strong people so that He can use their strengths. He does not select perfect people who always do things right in the eyes of men. He chooses weak and broken people so that He can demonstrate His power through their weakness. God is not limited by our experience or our resources.  The disciples thought there was nothing that could be done. We frequently limit ourselves in the church. We say: “We’ve never done it this way before.” But, God delights in doing the unexpected.

The Gospel of John – Part Four: “Third Sign” Healing at the Pool

INTRODUCTION:  This sign is different than the first two. The first sign which took place at a wedding Jesus was informed of the need by his mother. The second sign which was the healing of a dying boy Jesus was sought out by the boy’s father. This sign we see Jesus seeking a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years. Jesus intentionally healed this man on the Sabbath day. This miracle was a challenge to traditional religion which was not effective. Jesus came as the divine light and life giver. The Pool of Bethseda has been referred to as the “house of mercy”, house of the portico”, “house of the olive”, and “house of the outpouring”. For this crippled man it had become a house of hopelessness. This is a clear indication of how empty the religious system in Jerusalem had become. When Jesus arrived, the pool containing five colonnades became the place of grace.
I.          The Pool (5:1-4).
The pool was by the sheep gate where there was much traffic. People would enter the sheep gate with the sacrifices and would go toward the Temple. The pool was a place of mercy as there was no other help available for the ones who were there except a miracle. When the angel would bless the waters the first one in would be healed.
II.         The Problem (5:5-7).
This man was not able to move on his own. He was dependent upon others. Years of watching others receive their healing had left the man hopeless. He had “no man” to help him into the water. The man had to let go of his old identity as a sick man. He had to be willing to be healed.
III.        The Power (5:8-9).
Jesus came to the man. We often hear people say the following: “When I came to the Lord…” Truth is we don’t come to the Lord but He comes to us. He cam to this man. The man heard the Word of Jesus and responded. The man got up carrying his mat and started walking. It was almost like a Forrest Gump moment… he was walking!  “I’m going for a walk now! Don’t bother me… I’m walking by faith!”
IV.        The Pharisees (5:10-13).
When the man was healed it was on the Sabbath and it was unlawful to carry anything or do any kind of labor. Jesus broke the law by healing the man on the Sabbath and the man broke the law by carrying his mat.
V.         The Praise (5:14-15).
The man picked up his mat and walked because Jesus told him to do so. It was a high form of praise as He did the very thing Jesus told Him to do.
VI.        The Persecution (5:16-18).
Instead of folks being excited for the man they criticized and persecuted him because he was breaking the law. Never mind the law the man had been healed by Jesus after being an invalid for thirty-eight years. Sometimes people will not be happy for you. You have to endure persecution because of Jesus. They hated him and they will hate us.
VII.       The Purpose (5:19-23).
The sign is to point to Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is God in the flesh and he touches the ones who need Him. The man had no one to help him but Jesus in a friend of sinners and sufferers.
VIII.      The Promise (5:24-30).
Rise, take up your mat and walk. The man would never have to return to the pool as a sick man. He was healed and no longer had need of his place at the pool.
IX.        The Prophecy (5:31-47).
Jesus said that He has come in His Father’s name. He was sent by the Father and He is equated with the Father. This brought even more trouble as Jesus cites Moses speaking of Him.
CONCLUSION:  The religious Jews (Pharisees) were outraged when they saw this man carrying his mat. Their anger was further fueled when they learned Jesus was the one who healed the man. The healing occurred on the Sabbath day and Jesus equated himself with God and referred to Him as His Father (5:16-23). The Pharisees would not find satisfaction until the death of Jesus. Today, our satisfaction is because of the death of Jesus! He is the divine healer and he seeks to heal the sick.

The Gospel of John – Part Three: “Second Sign” Healing the Nobleman’s Son (4:46-54)

INTRODUCTION:  The book of John is structured topically. Chapters 1- 12 primarily focus on the “Seven Signs” and Chapters 13 – 20 focus on the glory of God. Interwoven is the gospel message. Jesus is God in the flesh and the hope for fallen humanity. This he declares through Seven “I AM” statements which we shall consider separately. This Second Sign confirms the healing power of God at work through Jesus. Jesus is met by a nobleman/royal official (most likely an officer under Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee) who pleads with Jesus to travel from Cana to Capernaum (about 22 miles) to heal his dying son. Let’s consider this sign and how it points to Jesus…
I.          The Places (4:43-46).
Jesus has just came through Samaria and met with the woman at the well. Many believed in Jesus because of the of the woman who testified. This shows the importance of our testimony. Jesus being a Jew broke tradition and cultural barriers by going through Samaria. in fact He stayed in Samaria two days and many others believed because He spoke His words. Jesus left Samaria after two days and went to Galilee. Galilee was where the common folks lived and worked. They were known as the “peoples of the land” and were not the elite. However, they had seen and heard of what Jesus had done while in Jerusalem. He was a rebel or revolutionary! He overturned the money changers tables at the Temple! Jesus was not pious or a religionist. He was welcomed in Galilee among the common folks.
II.         The Plea (4:47).
The nobleman most likely broke a barrier as well. He was probably an official under Herod. Because of his son being deathly sick this nobleman left his post and went to Jesus. When a parent’s child is sick there is no barrier strong enough to keep the parent from pleading for help. This man believed Jesus could heal he son.
III.        The Problem (4:48).
The man’s son was dying and there was no hope apart from Jesus. Jesus was not there so the man had to go to Him. When we have problems the place to go first is to the Lord.
IV.        The Persistence (4:49).
Nobody could keep this man away from Jesus. He was going to meet with Him and he would not be sent away. The man humbled himself most likely crying and begging.
V.          The Promise (4:50-54).
Jesus sent the man away and told him that his son lives! The man had enough faith to leave Jesus and go back to his son. Met along the journey (22 miles) by his servants was told his son was healed! He asked at what time? It was the same time that Jesus spoke to the man and told him that his son lives! Overjoyed he most likely ran the rest of the way to his son praising the Lord all the way. We need to be people who will run and shout praises for the Lord has done great things for us!
CONCLUSION:  Regardless of his royal position, this father was desperate for his son to be healed. When he heard about Jesus he responded by seeking a miracle. After Jesus heard the plea he responded by telling the need for the signs and wonders. Jesus told the man to go away that his son lives. What we are told in v. 50 is vital to the power of faith in the Word of Jesus. The man believed the Word and left. The joy of healing was experienced which must have strengthened the nobleman’s faith. And it can strengthen our faith.  Jesus is not limited by space. All we have to do is place our trust in His Word. Paul confirms, “For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

The Gospel of John – Part Two: “First Sign” Changing Water into Wine (2:1-12)

INTRODUCTION:  The gospel of John is the gospel of belief. The purpose for this fourth gospel is expressly stated, “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). There are seven primary signs mentioned in John’s gospel and each one confirms the deity of Jesus (2:1-11, 4:46-51, 5:1-9, 6:1-14, 6:16-21, 9:1-7, and 11:1-44). John’s gospel follows a topical format not a chronological one. The seven signs (miracles) are further support by Jesus Himself with seven “I am” statements. These two themes are woven together by God’s plan of Salvation.  Let’s consider the first sign…
I.          The Occasion (2:1-2).
It was a wedding! A joyous occasion that turned into a social embarrassment as the wine ran out! The couple (probably teens) were in an awkward position as well as their families. The culture during that time was different than our present one. A Jewish wedding was a celebration for many and it could go on for days.
II.         The Observation (2:3).
Mary, the mother of Jesus brings the problem to the attention of Jesus. Now, it is imperative to think about how this wedding affected Jesus. He was a single man without a bride. His Bride is the Church. How many of us prior to getting married felt like the odd ones at weddings. Everyone is excited about the love of the bride and groom while we observe from the platform of being single. Not much fun for most single folks. Jesus has a Bride and He has a wedding day! In order for His wedding to take place He had to pay the penalty of the sins of His Bride. The death, burial, and resurrection would be necessary. Where is His joy? It was before Him on the other side of the cross. The wedding in Cana was the place Jesus chose for His inaugural miracle. He brought joy to the hearts of many by turning water into wine.
III.        The Obedience (2:7-8).
Jesus told His mother that it was not yet His time. What Jesus was referring to was the cross. The hour of suffering that was to come. He was not ready and He told His mother. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus said to do. That is still true today. If you are a servant of Jesus you must do whatever He says to do.
IV.        The Outcome (2:9-11).
The servants took some of the water to the master of the feast (i.e., MC – master of ceremony). When the master of the feast drank it he discovered it was not water but the finest wine he had ever tasted. So true! The wine is symbolic of the joy of the Lord and there is nothing greater. Jesus is the real Master of the feast and He brings joy to the wedding.

CONCLUSION:  It is interesting the first sign takes place at a wedding and the last sign takes place at a funeral. The changing of water into wine symbolizes the replacement of Judaism with the gospel. The containers were six water pots used for purification which was part of the law. The pots were filled to the brim and there were six (the number of man). Man can be filled with the law and still have no joy. Wine is symbolic of the joy found in the presence of God (Joy in the Holy Spirit). A wedding with no joy is tragic as is a life with no joy. This first sign points to Jesus being the one who is able to bring joy into the life of those who will be obedient to Him. Jesus keeps the festival going! 

The Gospel of John – Part One: Introducing Christ (1:1-51)

INTRODUCTION:  John’s gospel is different from the others.  There is no genealogy, no manger scene, no boyhood, no temptation, no Mount of transfiguration, and no Gethsemane.  There are only a few special miracles chosen by John as “signs.”  We have the famous “I AM” sayings of Jesus and many discourses found nowhere else.  There are no scribes, no lepers, no publicans, and no demoniacs.  There are no parables.  It would almost seem that John sits with a copy of Luke’s gospel open before him, deliberately leaving out things Luke puts in and putting things in that Luke leaves out.  Luke wrote to show Jesus is the Son of Man.  John wrote to show Jesus is the Son of God.  John was most likely around 80 plus years old when he wrote this book.  Keep in mind he wrote other books including I, II. III. John and the book of Revelation. John was a pastor and he was faced with the problem of false teachers.  Gnosticism was one of the main problems that John addresses.  He hit it head on by stating that Jesus is God and He became flesh and dwelt with us.  The gospel of John really has two main sections sandwiched between a Prologue and Epilogue. The first section deals with the signs (culminating in raising Lazarus from the dead) and the second section deals with the Passion narrative with Jesus teaching and praying for His disciples. Jesus was a Jew; John was a Jew; John’s audience was primarily Jews; therefore, there are many references to Jewish Feasts.

I.     Divine Life (1:1-5);
a. Jesus is eternally God;
b. Jesus is equally God;
c. Jesus is essentially God;

II.    Divine Light (1:6-13);
a. John the Baptist was a messenger (man sent from God);
b. John the Baptist had a motive (to be a witness);
c. John the Baptist had a method (bear witness to the true Light);

III.  Divine Love (1:14-18);
a. dwelt = tabernacled (reference OT Tabernacle);
b. glory, grace and truth;
c. born of God (v. 13);
i. not of natural birth;
ii. not of religion or law;
iii. not of man (works);

IV.  Divine Lamb (1:19-36);
a. Jews sent priest and Levites inquiring about John (v. 19);
b. John the Baptist states he is not the Christ (v. 21):
c. Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King:
d. John identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God (v. 36);

V.  Divine Lordship (1:37-51);
a. first apostles called;
b. questions from Jesus;
i. Who do you seek?;
ii. Come and see;
iii.  Follow Me;
c.  angels ascending and descending upon Jesus.

CONCLUSION:  By the time John wrote his gospel there were many false teachers attempting to discredit the deity of Jesus.  Matthew wrote to the Jews, John Mark to the Romans, Luke to the Greeks but John wrote to the church.  John witnessed the life and ministry of Jesus.  What John tells about Jesus provides the church with information to combat heresies such as Gnosticism.  We learn from John’s gospel that Jesus is 100% God and 100% man (Hypostatic Union).  He is the infinite God-man.  The purpose of John’s gospel of Jesus is “…written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Brief Description of Heresies:
Adoptionism – God granted Jesus powers then adopted him as a Son;
Albigenses – Reincarnation and two gods: one good and other evil;
Apollinarianism – Jesus’ divine will overshadowed and replaced the human;
Arianism – Jesus was a lesser, created being;
Docetism – Jesus was divine but only seemed to be human;
Donatism – Validity of sacraments depends on character of the minister;
Gnosticism – Dualism of good and bad and special knowledge for salvation;
Kenosis – Jesus gave up some divine attributes while on earth;
Marcionism – God of O.T. evil and God of N.T. good (11 Canonical books);
Modalism – God is one person in three modes;
Monarchianism – God is one person;
Monophysitism – Jesus had only one nature: divine;
Nestorianism – Jesus was two persons;
Patripassionism – The Father suffered on the cross;
Pelagianism – Man is unaffected by the fall and can keep all of God’s laws;
Semi-Pelagianism – Man and God cooperate to achieve man’s salvation;
Socinianism – Denial of the Trinity. Jesus is a deified man;
Subordinationism – The Son is lesser than the Father in essence/attributes;
Tritheism – The Trinity is really three separate gods.

The Gospel of John – Overview

Authorship:  Two Plausible Options – John, the apostle or Johaninne School. Author identifies himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved. Some say John the Elder or John the son of Zebedee.

Recipients:  Probably Christians living in Ephesus.  (More specifically, Jews who became Christians and pagans who became Christians).  This Gospel is a pastoral document that was written to help people in their situation.

Date:  Sometime between AD 90 – AD 100 and after the other Gospels had been written and were circulating.

Unique Features:

  1. Its simple and direct style. (Vocabulary is limited and simple.  Often beginner Greek students start translating in John.)
  1. Elevated view of Christ. Often described as the “Cosmic Christ.”  (Emphasis on Jesus’ divine nature.   Ex. “the Father and I are one.”)
  1. Its different from the Synoptics. Most of the earthy content mentioned in the other Gospels are not mentioned in John.  Ex. No parables in John.  Most of the stories in John are not mentioned in the other Gospels. Ex. Water into wine (3), Encounter with Nicodemus (3), Encounter with the Samaritan woman (4), Encounter with the woman taken in adultery (8), Resurrection of Lazarus (11).  So, the content is significantly different.  However, the Triumphal Entry is similar to the Synoptics.  Miracles are identified as “signs.”  John does not use the Greek word for miracle but uses the Greek word for sign.  So, the importance is not merely the miracle but what it signifies.
  1. Judaism, Hellenism and Gnosticism are addressed. Drenched in OT illusions.  Emphasis on Jews.  The story of Jesus is built around Jerusalem and the Feast Days.  Remember, the other Gospels focus on Galilee until the last week of Jesus’ life.  John’s Gospel is the most Jewish of all and the most Greek of the Gospels (Hellenistic).  Also, Gnosticism is combated.  John does this by talking about above and below, life and death, light and darkness.  Those categories come out of Gnosticism.  Remember that Gnosticism is characterized by dualism. Gnosticism embodied Platonic thought.  The language that Jesus uses in John’s Gospel is very Gnostic.  Therefore, John’s readers were probably Jews that believed in Jesus, COMPLETED Jews.  This is why John’s Gospel is so Jewish.  But why the dualism?  The eyes that they had as pagans were not checked at the door.  So, when they accepted Jesus that had to deal with how they would fit Jesus into their background (Jewish, Greek and Gnostic).

Remember that Gnostics had a problem with Jesus.  What problem did the Gnostics have with Jesus?  They couldn’t accept that he was both divine and human.  That Gnostic world-view is still present.  The problem was not confessing that Jesus was God but confessing that Jesus was God and man.  The Bible teaches that Adam was human before the fall.  Afterwards he was less human.  Jesus was fully human.

John 1:14 is as anti-Gnostic as it gets because flesh is evil according to the Gnostics and God became flesh in v. 14.  In the story of Lazarus, “Jesus wept.”  Human beings weep, ghost don’t.  So, with the divine power of calling forth a dead man, Jesus is seen weeping.

John 19 – The spear cast into Jesus’ side and out flows water and blood, humans bleed, ghost don’t.

John 20 – the first Sunday night service- Jesus comes through a locked door and Thomas touches him, only human beings have wounds, ghost  don’t.

Jesus is God in the flesh! Not a ghost as Gnostics would argue.

Content:  4 Parts

  1. Prologue (1:1-18) First part of the Prologue climaxes in v. 14.  Second part of the Prologue climaxes with the use of “grace and truth.”
  1. The Book of Signs (1:19-12:50) Why is it called this?  It is because it is built around 8 miracles that John identifies as “signs.”  Most would say that The Book of Signs is an exposition of 1:11.  Notice the culmination of the 8th sign in 1:53 He came unto his own and his own received him not.
  1. The Book of Passion (13-20) Most would say that this is an exposition of 1:12.  The biggest part is concerned with the disciples.  Chapters 13-17 center in the Upper Room.  14:16 promise of the Holy Spirit, PARAKLETE (One who stands by your side).  Jesus promises himself in the midst of their suffering.
  1. Epilogue (21) Restoration of Peter.  Prove you love me Peter.  If you love me feed my sheep and in Acts 3 he does.

Elwell, Walker A. and Robert W. Yarbrough.  Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 1998).

Jensen, Irving L. Simply Understanding the Bible. (Minneapolis, MN: World Wide Publications, 1990).

Basic Bible Study Tips

The Bible says, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable” (2 Timothy 3:16). Reading the Bible is profitable! But there are many Christians who don’t know how to read God’s Word. It’s so important for Christians to learn how to study the Bible for themselves. If you’ve never read your Bible before, now is a good time to start! The following are some practical tips to help make your Bible study a little bit easier:

There are many different English versions of the Bible available today. Unless you understand the Old English of 1611 really well, then you will have a hard time understanding the King James Version. I recommend a modern version like the New King James Version, because it is easier to understand (that’s the version I mainly use). Get a good study Bible – it will help you understand how the Bible applies to your life. If you have problems reading, or just don’t like to read, then get the Bible on CD or MP3, watch Bible videos (Visual Bible – Matthew & Acts), or get someone to read to you!

Eventually you’ll want to read every word of the Bible; however, it does not have to be read straight through from page one. Since it is a library of sixty-six books, you can begin almost anywhere. If you are new to the Bible, try starting your reading in the New Testament with the book of Mark. It is a short, fast-paced account of the life of Jesus Christ. This book will give you a dramatic introduction to the events that changed the world and can change your life. Studying the life of Jesus will help you get to know God better, because Jesus said that when we see Him, we see the Father. Next try John, two books after Mark.

Because God is the author of the Bible, He can help us understand what we read! Jesus said the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. You may want to pray a simple prayer like this: “Father God, please give me spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that I might grow in my knowledge of You. May my heart be flooded with light so that I can understand the wonderful future You have promised to me. Help me to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance You have given to me as one of your children, in Jesus’ name, Amen!” (adapted from Eph. 1:17-18).

This helps keep your mind active in the learning process. It forces you to think about what you read and it helps you to remember what you’ve read. Ask yourself questions as you’re reading through the Scripture, like – what does this verse teach me about the following:

a. God’s nature (what He is like-loving, holy, just, merciful, etc.);
b. My nature (the nature of human beings);
b. God’s Commandments (what God requires of me);
c. God’s Promises (what God has promised to do for me)?

This is the most important step in your process of Bible study. Don’t just be a “hearer of the Word, but a doer!” Look for ways to apply the Word to your life. This is the ultimate goal of Bible study. For example, if you read a passage on loving others, look for ways to show love! The Bible was not written just to be studied, but to change lives.

Some Basic Bible Study Tools:

a) Bible Dictionary (i.e. Unger’s Concise Bible Dictionary);
b) Biblical Concordance (i.e. The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible);
c) Bible Atlas (i.e. Baker’s Bible Atlas);
d) Bible Handbook (i.e. Halley’s Bible Handbook);
e) Commentaries (i.e. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries);
f) The one most seem to use these days is good ole Google!  But be careful and check the source!

A Brief Personal View of Scripture

From the onset allow me to stress this is only a “brief” and personal view of Scripture as the Word of God.  My view of Scripture has been solidified upon the anvil of human suffering (specifically friends and family members).  I believe in the midst of tragedy, one is propelled into the search for the existence of God.  Some might refer to this as a type of “foxhole faith.”  Life storms associated problems such as, illnesses, accidents, deaths and the results of sinful living create a vacuum for truth.   Specifically, many utter in despair, “Where is God when I am hurting and in need of His help?”  He is omnipresent and is very much aware of all that is happening in and around the hurting.  But that is an easy answer and some would say falls short of the needed comfort that is requested by the grief stricken, bruised and battered society which longs for the presence of a loving God.  Praise God for His Word, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).  Yes, the love of God has given many people comfort in the time of storm but can we be certain of this particular passage?  Is it possible that some writers of the Bible are correct and others are not?  The answer to such questions is a resounding, “No.”  As seen in the following passage we can rely upon all of the Bible and not just a portion.  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).

The Bible is more than revelation it is the very living Word of God from God.  I believe it is God’s message to us.  Scripture testifies and confirms that the Bible is God’s personal message to us.  The ultimate defense that the Scriptures are the Word of God comes from Jesus Himself.  Jesus maintained the authority of the Old Testament and even quoted portions of the Old Testament during His earthly ministry.  Perhaps, best demonstrated as two walked with Jesus along the road to Emmaus, “They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32 NIV)?  His teachings provided not only hope to the ignorant but support for the educated that the Scriptures were in fact authoritative and the very Word of God.

The true evidence of Scripture being the Word of God is the life-changing, soul-saving power in Scripture which affects human life.  As stated in Hebrews, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).  The apostles testified that the Word of God is powerful and that such power was not from themselves but from God.  Writing from different perspectives and backgrounds the Biblical writers did not contradict themselves.  On the surface this might appear not a valid argument.  But in light of fourty authors all who were fallible producing an infallible work is most convincing that the Bible is the Word of God.  If the Bible were not God’s Word then the likelihood of unity within the Scriptures would not be possible.  However, if God did speak through His servants at different times then His plan would be seen through the human writers and how God’s plan unfolds.  God knew the writers and the writers knew God!

As the Word of God the Bible has a purpose for its continued existence.  Historically, the Bible shows God’s redemptive actions in Jesus Christ.  This sets the Bible apart from other literary works.  For God gives us revelation knowledge in the Bible meaning that the source and content is from God Himself.  Jesus is the thematic connection between the Old and New Testaments.  From a fallen family (Adam and Eve) to nation (Abraham’s seed) to a faithful remnant (Tribe of Judah) to Jesus Christ (Messiah) and to the New Testament Church of which we are included (grafted in) we see God redemptive plan.  God has chosen to communicate to humanity through the Bible.  Testimonies of how lives have been changed as a result of opening and reading the pages of Scripture.  From the point of suicide many have returned to give credit that the Bible is the Word of God.  It is very probable that most Christians would say that they find the strength needed for every obstacle they face within the Bible.

In conclusion, can anyone really prove that the Bible is the Word of God?  Many might answer swiftly in the negative and rest upon the message of the Bible that is to be received by grace through faith.  For some Christians such an approach might seem acceptable.  For the scholar or the one who has an unquenchable thirst for answers that go beyond the avenues afforded by faith there is evidence that the Bible is indeed the Word of God.  Again, I believe the Scriptures to be the very Word of God known as the Bible.  The Protestant Bible consisting of 66 books is the verbal (linguistic), irrevocable (unchanging), plenary (full), infallible (trustworthy) authoritative Word of God!

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