Monday, January 07, 2008

John 1:1-5

Okay, I realize this is a bit dated but really, if you preach or teach on any aspect of the Bible and want to be able to present a strong Biblical theology on just about whatever you are teaching.... you need this book! IVP's New Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Exploring the Unity & Diversity of Scripture edited by Brian S. Rosner, et al (IVP, 2000) has many times been a life saver for me. Even before I received a copy of Keener's commentary on John I have been thinking about either preaching through it or teaching through for a Bible study -

Last night I preached on John 1:1-5 (I have a sermon on John 1:1-18 but I wanted to go back and focus more on smaller parts of the lengthly narrative unit (1:1-18)). With the great help from the Dictionary of Biblical Theology (and the wonderful help of Bauckham's The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple (and of course Keener) was was able to put together these main points:

1) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to God (v1-2).
While Jesus is separate from the Father, he is essential to his very identity as God – because the Word was with God and was God – this one was in the beginning with God (v1-2). Jesus is not just the unique one-of-a-kind Son of God, his is God incarnate – his very being is tied into the essence and identity of God the Father.

2) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to creation (v3).
While Jesus was and is separate from God’s creative work, he was and is essential to the work of God in creation because “all things were made through [it] and apart from him nothing was made that was made.”

3) calling Jesus the Word of God defines his relationship to humanity (v4-5).
While Jesus was and is separate from humanity he is and was essential to its very existence since "in him is the life and the life was the light of men" – Jesus is the source of our lives – in him is the light and the life of men – through his presence in the world the darkness is dispelled and life is brought to humanity.

It was very helpful and while I know there is A LOT to talk about in the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel - these were the points I decided to focus on for now.

I have to run but I'll come back and share some more on this passage. Let me know what you think.



At 2:31 PM, Blogger bk said...


Your comments on The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple makes me think you might appreciate the insights offered in a study that highlights some overlooked facts in scripture that can shed some new light on the unnamed "other disciple whom Jesus loved". He stood openly by Jesus at the cross so what can account for this author's cumbersome efforts to conceal his identity in his own gospel? examines the facts stated in the plain text of scripture on the one whom "Jesus loved" using a courtroom scenario with the Bible being the only evidence allowed. By comparing what the Bible says about "the disciple whom Jesus loved" with what it says about other characters found in scripture this study seeks to encourage Bible students to take seriously the Biblical admonition to "prove all things" -- especially in light of Ps. 118:8.

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Brian said...

I appreciate the link - as I've noted before however, anyone's guess is as good as another's - there is support (based on John 13) to for the possibility that it is Lazarus. So, there could be any number of candidates for authorship of the Fourth Gospel.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger bk said...

Surely the speculations as to the identity of the beloved disciple seem to know no end -- Thomas, James, John, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, Judas (no kidding!), etc. -- as a simple Google search will show. However all of these ideas rely on this-or-that non-Bible source so Ps. 118:8 should be a clear word of caution to those who would promote these ideas. (In fact there are just as many verses that could be cited to support the Mary Magdalene idea as to support the John tradition -- but since the number in both of these cases is ZERO it makes little sense for anyone who rejoices in the truth (1 Cor. 13:6) to pretend that either of these ideas can be considered in light of the overwhelming Biblical evidence to the contrary.

You can turn a blind eye to the FACTS if you want to believe that "anyone's guess is as good as another's" but just because you are ignorant of the evidence does not mean that it does not exist . Realize that if the police find no DNA when they look at the scene of a crime but it is later found when a more thorough search is done by those who took the time to look more closely at the scene, it doesn't mean that the evidence didn’t exist when the first group looked. In the same way, the fact that you have failed to search the scriptures to find the proof that shows this person could not possibly be John doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It just means that you haven’t found it yet -- because this evidence does exist.

The truth is there is not a single verse in scripture that would justify teaching the idea that John was the one whom "Jesus loved" and yet most simply assume that this man-made tradition cannot be wrong and then interpret scripture to fit this idea. But if one will heed Ps. 118:8 then the NON-BIBLE sources on which this man-made tradition is based will give way to the facts stated in scripture which prove that NO MATTER WHO this anonymous author was he most certainly was not John. But I'll leave it there. You can believe that searching the scriptures is a guessing game if you wish, but Acts 17:11 indicates otherwise.


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