Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


7. The Gospel of John

Discussion Questions

  1. What distinguishes the Gospel of John from the other three Gospels?
  2. What is the significance of Irenaeus’s testimony that John was the author of the Gospel of John?
  3. What was John’s purpose for writing his Gospel? Does it differ from the purpose of the authors of the other Gospels?
  4. What role did the Gospel of John play in the development of the doctrine of the Trinity?
  5. Why does the basic idea of Jesus as a divine/human savior serve as the basis for other themes in John?
  6. How aware was John of the gnosticism of the day?

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Make a chart comparing and contrasting the stories of Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman in John 3 and 4. Note the similarities and/or differences between them and their response to Jesus.
  2. Ask the class to find references in John that emphasize the divine glory of Christ in three categories: a.references emphasizing Jesus’s divine qualities and essence, b.references where the focus is on Jesus as God’s unique divine representative, c.references that show Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel’s hopes and images and as the One who is the answer to humanity’s needs.
  3. Make a study of the information about Jesus that is found in John but not in the other Gospels. Using the format of a panel discussion, present the results of the group study to the rest of the class.
  4. Investigate the love of God as revealed in John and find appropriate contemporary illustrations of that love. Conduct a brief discussion of the results in class.
  5. Take one of the people or groups of people in John who believed and write an account of another person or group in history who believed in the same way. Write a brief paragraph about this application of faith.