This year I am preaching through the entire Gospel of John verse-by-verse and want to encourage you to study it with me. You can start by simply reading the entire Gospel of John. As you read it, there are some key themes that are worth looking for. These are unique to John and provide unique insight into the person and work of Jesus Christ.
In John, God is Spirit (4:24), all-powerful creator (1:3), holy (17:11), righteous (17:25), and loving (3:16, 17:23). God is referenced as Father more times in John than any other Gospel. Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God the Father in John’s Gospel (5:17–27, 10:30), and we can become God’s sons through Jesus and by faith (1:12, 16:6). All of this is intended to stress the relational nature of the Christian faith by using loving and familial terms.
Also in John, Jesus is clearly proclaimed as “God the One and Only” (John 1:18). John explains that Jesus’ death had a universal significance for both the liberating of human beings and defeating of Satan (12:32–33). We are also told that Jesus came into the world on a mission for the purpose of dying (12:27) and that in His death He glorified the Father by revealing both love and justice (12:27–28, 13:31, 17:1). Jesus’ impending death was first announced by His cousin, John the Baptizer (1:29, 1:36). Jesus also predicted His own death by being lifted up (3:14–17, 8:28), promised that by His death we would be given life (6:48–58) and that He would lay down His life like a shepherd does for his sheep (10:11, 10:15). Jesus also claimed that His life would not be taken from Him but rather given by Him (10:18). Lastly, in a curious plot twist, Jesus’ death was prophesied by Caiaphas the high priest (11:48–52).
John contains more information about the Holy Spirit than any of the other Gospels, especially in chapters 14–16. We learn that He is the helping presence who indwells and helps believers (John 14:15–21, 14:26). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit has an ongoing ministry of convicting people of sin (John 16:5–16). As the Spirit of truth, His ministry includes leading us from lies and toward the truth of God (John 14:15–21, 16:12–16).
Regarding salvation, John clearly writes that people must be born again (3:3–7) or they will ultimately perish. This is because everyone is born into the world as a child of Satan and enemy of God, bound to sin and believing lies, according to the very strong words of Jesus in arguing with religious leaders (8:42–47). Regarding salvation, John says that we are saved from God’s wrath by Jesus alone and that there is no salvation apart from Him (3:17). John goes on to explain that Jesus is the very Messiah that the Jewish people had longed for and to be a real believer is to live in obedience to what Jesus commands (12:47).
Love is also a predominate theme throughout John’s Gospel. God loves (5:42, 15:10), God loves Jesus (10:17, 15:9, 17:23–26), God loves the disciples (16:27, 17:23), God loves all people (3:16), Jesus loves the Father (14:31), Jesus loves the disciples (13:1, 13:34, 14:21, 15:9–10), Jesus loves His friends Martha and her siblings Mary and Lazarus (11:5, 11:36), Jesus loved His best friend, John (13:23), Jesus expects people to love Him and the Father (8:42, 14:23, 16:27), and Jesus expects His followers to love one another (13:34–35, 15:12–13).
It takes about a few hours to read the whole book. How is your reading of John’s Gospel going?
I will spend roughly an entire year preaching verse-by-verse through the entire Gospel of John, and those sermons can be found for free each week after they are preached at MarkDriscoll.org.