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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
John

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21

Book Overview - John

by E.W. Bullinger

Joh
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE.

"BEHOLD YOUR GOD" (Isaiah 40:9).

John 1:1-28. THE FORERUNNER.
John 1:29-34. THE BAPTISM:WITH WATER.
John 1:35 - John 4:54. THE KINGDOM.
John 5:1 - John 6:71. THE KING.
John 7:1 - John 11:54. THE KING.
John 11:54 - John 18:1. THE KINGDOM.
John 18:2 - John 20:31 THE BAPTISM:OF SUFFERING (DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION).
John 21:1-25. THE SUCCESSORS.


For the New Testament and the order of its Books, see Appdx-95 . NOTES ON JOHN""S GOSPEL.
For the Diversity of the Four Gospels, see Appdx-96 .
For the Unity of the Four Gospels, see Appdx-97 .
For the Fourfold Ministry of the Lord, see Appdx-119 .
For words peculiar to John""s writings, see some 84 words recorded in the notes.

The Divine purpose in the Gospel by John is to present the Lord Jesus as God. This is the one great feature which constitutes the difference between this Gospel and the other three.

It has already been noted that in the first three Gospels the Lord Jesus is presented respectively as Israel""s King, Jehovah""s Servant, and the ideal Man; and that those incidents, words, and works are selected, in each Gospel, which specially accord with such presentation. Thus they present the Lord on the side of His perfect humanity. It is this that links them together, and is the real reason for their being what is called "Synoptic", and for the marked difference between them, taken together, and the fourth Gospel.

It would have been a real marvel had there been perfect similarity between the selected words and works which characterize the first three Gospels and those of the fourth, where the presentation is on the side of His Deity. That would indeed have presented an insoluble problem.

The differences which have been noted are not due to any peculiarity of literary style, or of individual character, but are necessitated by the special presentation of the Lord which is the design of each Gospel. Hence, in the Structure of the fourth Gospel (above), when compared with the other three, it will be noted that there is no Temptation in the Wilderness, and no Agony in the Garden. The reason for this is obvious, for both would have been entirely out of place, and out of harmony with the purpose of the Gospel as a whole.

For the same reason, while the Transfiguration is recorded in the first three Gospels, no mention is made of it in John, the reason being that it concerned the sufferings and the earthly glory of the Son of God (Appdx-98) is concerned with His heavenly and eternal glory.

The only incidents which John records in common with the first three Gospels are seven in number (Appdx-10 ), viz.:

The Work of John the Baptist.
The last Supper.
The Anointing at Bethany.
The Passion, and
The Resurrection, and
> the Walking on the Sea.

In the other Gospels, miracles are so called, or "mighty works", but in John they are always called "signs" (see Appdx-176), because they are recorded not as to their facts or their effects, but as to their number and signification. In John it is the Person of the Lord that is presented, rather than His offices; and His ministry is mainly in Jerusalem and Judaea rather than in Galilee.

Hence the Lord""s visits to the Feasts find a special place (
John 2:13; John 3:21; John 5:1; John 7:10; John 10:22; John 11:55, &c.); while His ministry in Galilee is constantly assumed, rather than described (John 6:1; John 7:1; John 10:40). These differences are due, not to the conditions of religious thought prevalent in John""s day, but to the presentation of the Lord for all time.


>
The purpose of the Holy Spirit by John, in his presentation of the Messiah , is to say to us and to all, " Behold your God "; and His Deity is observed throughout this Gospel. See John 1:3, John 1:14, John 1:33, John 1:34, John 1:49; John 3:13, John 3:14; John 5:23, John 5:26; John 6:51, John 6:62; John 8:58; John 13:33, &c. This is emphasized by the first and last references (John 1:1; John 20:28; John 20:31).

The same purpose and design are seen in the presentation of the Lord as having the Divine attribute of
Omniscience . This is not entirely absent in the other Gospels; but it pervades the fourth Gospel, and is manifested by much more frequent reference (see Table below). In this connection the presentation of the Lord as God required special words which are not needed and are not found in the other Gospels. Attention is called to some 84 in the notes.

But of important words which are characteristic of this Gospel, and are found in other Gospels, the necessity of their more frequent use will be seen from the following examples which are set out below, and referred to in the notes. In most cases the number of the occurrences is more than in all the other three put together.

The Characteristic words are:

MATT.

MARK

LUKE

JOHN

abide 1 = meno

3

2

7

41

believe = pisteuo. Ap. 150

11

15

9

99

the Father = ho Pater (used of God). Ap. 98 .III

44

5

17

121

My Father. Used by the Lord 2

14

0

4

35

finish = teleioo

0

0

2

19

flesh = sarx

5

4

2

13

glory =doxa

8

3

13

19

glorify = doxazo

4

1

9

23

Jews = Iiudaioi (including Mark 1:5 and John 3:22)

5

7

5

71

judge = krino.

6

0

6

19

know = oida. See Ap. 132 .I.i.

8

13

14

61

know = ginosko. See Ap. 132 .I.ii

20

13

28

56

lay down His life

0

0

0

3

light = phos. See Revelation 130:1

7

1

6

23

life = zoe. See Ap. 170 .

7

4

6

36

life (give life to) = zoopoieo.

0

0

0

3

live = zao. See Ap. 170 .

6

3

8

17

love (Noun) = agape. See Ap. 135 .II.1.

1

0

1

7

love (Verb) = agapao. See Ap. 135 .I.1

7

5

13

37

love (Verb) = phileo See Ap. 135 .I.2.

5

1

2

13

parable = paroimia.

0

0

0

4

send = pempo. See Revelation 174:4.

4

1

10

33

sign = semeion.

13

11

11

17

true (Adj.) = alethes (faithful). Revelation 175:1.

1

1

0

13

true (Adj.) = alethinos (genuine). Revelation 175:2.

0

0

1

8

truth = aletheia.

1

3

3

25

truly = alethos

3

2

3

10

Verily, verily = Amen, amen 3

0

0

0

25

witness (bear) = martureo 4

1

0

2

33

witness = marturia

0

3

1

14

works = pl. of ergon

5

2

2

27

Revelation 129:1

9

3

3

79



It is not only the use of certain words that characterizes this special presentation of the Lord, but the absence of others is equally instructive. For, as in Matthew and Luke the Lord is constantly addressed as "Lord", but not often in Mark, where it would not be in keeping with His presentation as Jehovah""s
servant ; so in John the Lord is never represented as praying5 to the Father as in the other Gospels, but always as saying or speaking to Him. This is a special characteristic of the fourth Gospel, wonderfully in harmony with its great design. On the other hand, prayer is specially required on the part of a king (as in Matthew) in respect of his delegated authority (Matthew 14:23; Matthew 26:36, Matthew 26:39, Matthew 26:42, Matthew 26:44); also on the part of a servant , in respect of His assumed subjection (Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46; Mark 14:32, Mark 14:35, Mark 14:39); and of an ideal Man in respect of his dependence upon God at all times (Luke 3:21; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18, Luke 9:28, Luke 9:29; Luke 11:1; Luke 22:41, Luke 22:46). Thus, while in the first three Gospels the Lord is presented on the side of His humanity, as in prayer on eight occasions, not once is He so presented in John""s Gospel.5 And the reason is obvious. Moreover, He "lays down" His life; no one takes it from Him. This occ. only in John. 6

1 Meno is rendered (in John):"abide," 22 times; "dwell," 5; "remain," 5; "continue," 3; "endure," 1; "abide still," 1; "tarry," 3; "be present," once. In John""s Epistles it occ. 26 times: 67 times in all.


2 See John 2:16; John 5:17, John 5:43; John 6:32, John 6:65; John 8:19, John 8:19, John 8:28, John 8:38, John 8:49, John 8:54; John 10:17, John 10:18, John 10:25, John 10:29, John 10:29, John 10:32, John 10:37; John 14:2, John 14:7, John 14:12, John 14:20, John 14:21, John 14:23, John 14:28,; John 1:1, John 1:8, John 1:10, John 1:15, John 1:23, John 1:24; John 16:10; John 20:17, John 20:17, John 20:21. On the other hand, the expression "our Father" does not occur at all, and the reason is evident. Nor does the word huios = son, as used of believers as being the "sons of God"; but always teknon . Paul uses huios of believers (Romans 8:14, Romans 8:19. Galatians 4:7). But he uses teknon also in (Romans 8:16, Romans 8:17, Romans 8:21. Philippians 2:15. Ephesians 5:1). John uses huios almost exclusively for the Lord. The reason for this is evident also.


3 In order to emphasize the greater authority with which the Lord spoke, as God, and as coming with double importance.


4 , 5 , 6 See Page 1511 in The Companion Bible.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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