Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
John 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verse 1

John 1:1

Book Comments

Walking Thru The Bible

Gospel of John


The book of John is unique among the Gospels. There is no mention of the birth and early years of Jesus. A great amount of attention is focused on Jesus’ final instructions to the apostles.

Most of the events related in John are found nowhere else in Scripture--the first miracle at Cana, the first cleansing of the temple, Nicodemus’ visit with the Lord, Lazarus’ resurrection, etc.

Author: The book refers to its author calling himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved...who has written these things," John 21:20, 24. The writer obviously was a Palestinian Jew who was an eyewitness of the events of Christ’s life, for he displays knowledge of Jewish customs (John 7:37-39; John 18:28) and of the land of Palestine (John 1:44, John 1:46; John 5:2) and he includes details of an eyewitness (John 2:6; John 13:26; John 21:8, John 21:11). Both internal and external evidences point to the apostle John the son of Zebedee and Salome as the author. It appears that John preached in the area of Ephesus in the middle of the first century and that the gospel was written about that time before the destruction of the city in AD 70, ["Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches." John 5:2]

Purpose of the Book: The Gospel of John has clearly an evangelistic purpose, presenting Jesus and calling upon men to make a decision about him (John 20:31). The book opens with an affirmation that eternal life is to be found in Christ (John 1:4). While Matthew was written primarily for the Jewish audience, and Mark and Luke for the Roman and Greek, John appears to have been aimed at a universal audience.

Major Themes:

1. One of the unique themes of John’s Gospel is the opening doctrine of the Word (Greek, ho logos), John 1:1-18. The Jew understood that ho logos created the world (Genesis 1:1), gave life (Isaiah 1:1) and accomplished the divine purpose in all things (Isaiah 55:11). The Greeks perceived ho logos as giving the universe order and harmony (e.g., Heraclitus) and serving to direct mankind to ultimate realities.

John presents Jesus as the divine logos who has come in the flesh. To the Jew, this meant that God’s power, plans, and promises were contained in Jesus. To the Greek, it suggested that the one who created and gave order to the universe, who sustained it in an orderly fashion had come in the flesh to dwell among men.

2. In John’s gospel the evidential nature of miracles as signs is most prominent. A miracle is "an extraordinary work of God in the world which serves as a sign or attestation." We often hear the word used loosely and incorrectly. A miracle (dunamis) is a mighty work or exhibition of extraordinary power. John uses the idea of Jesus’ miracles being ’signs’ (semeion) a distinguishing mark or seal of genuineness, (John 2:23; John 3:2; John 4:54; John 6:2, John 6:14).

Miracles in the Bible served the purpose to accredit a man as being from God (e.g, Moses before Pharaoh, etc.) In Jesus’ case his miracles confirmed that he was from God (John 5:35; John 3:1-2) and identified him as the Messiah (John 7:31), and gained the attention of the people and showed God’s compassion for the plight of mankind.

It is impossible to remove miracles from the life and record of Jesus Christ. If one rejects the miracles (including the virgin birth and Jesus’ resurrection) he has no grounds for accepting the philosophy and truthfulness of Jesus.

On the other hand there are obvious contrasts between Jesus’ miracles and the alleged miracles of today’s "faith healers." Jesus worked miracles in the absence of faith, he worked a variety of miracles, including control over nature, multiplying food, raising the dead, and were never done for selfish gain.

3. Jesus speaks of the "new birth" in John 3:1-21 and expresses that a man must be born again, or from above, to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This new birth involves water and the spirit. The association of "water" with the process of man beginning life anew would immediately be identified with baptism in the mind of Nicodemus and those in that time. As seen in the context of this passage John was baptizing multitudes and this was for the forgiveness of sins (John 1:15-34; John 3:22-28; Mark 1:4).

Baptism is consistently paralleled with one beginning a new life in Christ (cf. Romans 6:3-6; 1 Peter 3:21). It pictures the putting to death of the man of sin and his burial, his cleansing by the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5), and his resurrection from the grave of water to a new life (Romans 6:4-6).

John’s Plan in the Gospel: The thesis of John’s record is that Jesus was God in the flesh. The principle part of the book provides supporting evidence of this thesis. John presents seven great signs (or miracles) that serve to credential Jesus as the Son of God. Nicodemus said something about the power of these miracles when he said in John 3:2

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1st sign (John 2:1-11) Water Into Winde

2nd sign (John 4:46-54) Healing the Nobleman’s Son

3rd sign (John 5:1-18) Healing at the Pool of Bethesda

4th sign (John 6:1-14) Feeding the Multitude

5th sign (John 6:15-21) Walking on the Sea

6th sign (John 9:1-41) Healing the Blind Man at Pool of Siloam

7th sign (John 11:1 -57) Raising of Lazarus

John presents seven witness who give their testimony to Jesus as the Son of God. Who were these witnesses and what did they say, (1) John 1:34 (John 1:19-36); (2) John 1:49 (43-51); (3) John 6:69 (66-69); (4) John 11:27; (5) John 20:28; (6) John 20:31; (7) John 10:36 (31-47).

John presents the seven great "I AM" statements of the Lord himself and his own claims. (1) John 6:35; (2) John 8:12; (3) John 8:58; (4) John 10:11; (5) John 11:25; (6) John 14:6; (7) John 15:1.

And John presents clearly his own purpose for writing these things, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (John 20:30-31).

Overview of John:

I. Incarnation of the Son of God, 1:1-18

II. Presentation of the Son of God, 1:19 - 4:54

III. Confrontations with the Son of God, 5:1-12:50

A. At a feast in Jerusalem, 5:1-47

B. At passover time in Galilee, 6:1-71

C. At f east of tabernacles, 7:1-10:21

D. At feast of dedication, 10:22-42

E. At Bethany, 11:1-12:11

F. At Jerusalem, 12:12-50

IV. Instructions by the Son of God, 13:1 - 16:33

V. Intercession of the Son of God, 17:1-26

VI. Crucifixion of the Son of God, 18:1 - 19:42

VII. Resurrection of the Son of God, 20:1 - 21:25

A. The empty tomb, 20:1-20

B. His appearances afterwards 20:11-21:25


A Service With Jesus

John 20:19-23 (Luke 24)


1. What first Lord’s Day service do you remember?

Here is one that stands out in John’s mind.

2. Notice the week the disciples had come through.

3. Look at the condition of their spirit when they met


4. Jesus met with them on that great day, and let’s notice three things that happened in that assembly:


A. By What Was Not Said.

Jesus did not shame and criticize them.

B. By What Was Said.

Jesus greeted them with ’Shalom’ or "Peace," and really wanted them to have the peace He could give them (John 20:19, John 20:21).


When the Lord appears they were terrified and how does He convince them? What evidence? (Luke 24:37, Luke 24:38-39)

A. The Scars -- Luke 24:39

B. The Scriptures -- Luke 24:44-46; Isaiah 53:1; Psa.22


John 19:21-23 is John’s record of the commission. They had been challenged before (Matt. 10) but now it is broader and greater. How would they respond?

A. T his Would Be An Exalted Privilege

1. They would be ambassadors. Credentials.

2. They would go in the name of Christ.

3. They had a message for every man -- that every man needed to hear -- (2 Corinthians 1:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:1-12)

B. It Would Be Extremely Personal

Even as I send "you," that means Peter, James, etc.

1. Can we imagine the personal resolution on the part of each one as he hears he is to be sent!

2. Think how each one has a chance to talk of something like this.


1. Follow these apostles after this Sunday meeting, do you think any said, "Well, I slept half way through it!" or "I didn’t get much out of it!"

2. What effect did this meeting have on those present? How did it affect their conduct?

3. What can a "Sunday Service" do for you and me?

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Verse Comments

Verse 3

John 1:3

All things . . includes the whole universe, indicating that (except for God) everything that exists was created and that (except for God) nothing has existed eternally. - ESVSB

Made through him . . follows the consistent pattern of Scripture in saying that God the Father carried out his creative works through the activity of the Son (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).

This verse disproves any suggestion that the Word (or the Son, John 1:14) was created, for the Father would have had to do this by himself, and John says that nothing was created that way, for without him was not any thing made that was made. - ESVSB

Verse 14

John 1:14

Some Various Comings of Christ

*1 Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; John 6:38; Galatians 4:4 This was the coming of the Lord in the flesh, his birth at Bethlehem.

2 Pentecost, Matthew 16:28 (Mark 9:1) Mark 14:62, Matthew 26:64 In some significant way it could be said that Christ also came on Pentecost representatively when he sent his promise of the Holy Spirit.

3 To Paul at His Conversion __ Acts 26:16, Acts 22:7-9 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8 The Lord came to Paul so he could see him alive after his crucifixion and thus qualify him to be an apostle.

4 In Visions -- To Paul at Jerusalem, Acts 22:17-18 (after conversion); At Corinth, Acts 18:9; again at Jerusalem, Acts 23:11

5 AD 70, His coming in judgment upon the Jews for their rejection. Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30, Matthew 24:44, Matthew 24:39; Mark 13:26-30; Luke 21:20-27; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8

This brought an end to their nation, the temple, the physical priesthood coming from Levi, the end of animal sacrifices, etc. ("Last days"[of the Jewish dispensation] plural)

*6 The Resurrection Day (His Second Coming, -- Cf. "Last Day" singular) 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff to 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 ff; John 14:1-3;

John 5:28; John 11:24; John 6:39; John 6:40; John 6:44;

Verse 29

John 1:29

Verse 38

John 1:38

[Only the Apostle John supplied information bilingually in the New Testament (cf. John 1:38, John 1:42; John 4:25; John 6:1; John 9:7; John 11:16; John 19:13, John 19:17, John 19:20; John 20:16; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 12:9).]

Verse 40

John 1:40

Andrew ... "Operation Andrew" - he is most often seen bringing people to Jesus

1) Peter, John 1:40-41; 2) boy with fish, John 6:8-9; 3) Greeks, John 12:20-22;

Verse 42

[Only the Apostle John supplied information bilingually in the New Testament (cf. John 1:38, John 1:42; John 4:25; John 6:1; John 9:7; John 11:16; John 19:13, John 19:17, John 19:20; John 20:16; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 12:9).]

Verse 45

John 1:45

Nathanael was from Cana, and this sets the stage for the place of Jesus’ first miracle, recorded in John 2.

Verse 51

John 1:51

the Son of man -- The first occurrance of this disnigation on the book of John. See notes at Matthew 8:20 and Luke 5:24.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on John 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/john-1.html. 2021.
Ads FreeProfile