SwindollStudyBible-John - Page 12



JOHN
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to
the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may
continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by
believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
JOHN 20:30-31
Who Wrote the Book?
The Gospel of John never provides the name of its author. This is not surprising,
since such identifications are not made in any of the other three Gospels either.
However, two significant factors point to John as the author. First, the book identifies its author as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 21:20, 24; see also John 13:23;
19:26; 20:2; 21:7). This description likely points to John for three reasons. First,
this person had to be one of the twelve disciples, because he was an eyewitness
to the events he records in this Gospel (John 21:24). Second, he was probably a
member of Jesus’ inner circle of three disciples (Peter, James, or John), because
he was among the first Mary told of the Resurrection (John 20:1-10). Third, this
disciple is distinguished from Peter in the book, and James died too soon after
the Resurrection to be the author (Acts 12:2). The second significant piece of
evidence for John’s authorship is the unanimous testimony of early Christians,
among them the ­second-­century Christian Irenaeus, who declared that John was
the disciple who had leaned over to talk to Jesus at the Last S
­ upper—“the disciple
Jesus loved” (John 13:23)—­and the author of this Gospel (Against Heresies 3.1.1).
Where Are We?
In Christian tradition, John’s Gospel has always been referred to as the “fourth
Gospel,” implying that it was composed after the other three. Polycarp, a s­ econd-
­century Christian martyr who was a personal disciple of John, told Irenaeus of
Lyons that John had written the book during the apostle’s time in Ephesus. These
factors suggest that John wrote the book between ad 85 and ad 95.
Why Is John So Important?
It is notable that John does not include the Nativity story in his Gospel. Instead,
he introduces the book by going back even further in ­history—­to eternity past.
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