This year, I want to invite you to study the Gospel of John with me. For most of the year, I will be spending my Sundays preaching verse-by-verse through this amazing book of the Bible. I want to encourage you to study it with me, learning about Jesus Christ from His best friend, John.
For starters, it would be beneficial for you to simply read the entire Gospel of John this week. The book will take you a few hours to read, and if you devote roughly 20 minutes a day, you can finish it in just one week.
This may be something new for you, but I promise God will use it to meet with you and teach you about Jesus. Before you begin to read, it is always helpful to take a minute and ask God the Holy Spirit (who inspired the Scriptures to be written) to help you understand them. The Holy Spirit wants you to learn the Bible and love Jesus, and He is very happy to answer that simple request. The more you practice this, the more you will be surprised and excited at how the Holy Spirit sheds light on understanding the Word.
The entire goal of John’s Gospel is stated in John 20:30–31, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
No one book could tell us absolutely everything that Jesus said and did, but John wrote what the Spirit impressed upon him was most important for people to know about his best friend and God, Jesus Christ. John was one of Jesus’ disciples and spent three years seeing Jesus performing miracles, hearing Jesus preach sermons, and watching Jesus persevere under trial and temptation. John tells us quite clearly that his hope is that you would read his book, believe in Jesus Christ, and receive eternal life! As you read John, you will see his request become your reality. You will meet the real Jesus in the pages of John, and reality will alter your destiny and determine your eternity. John had a deep personal relationship with Jesus that changed his life, and he writes to help you enjoy the same kind of relationship with his best friend and God.
Today is a great day to start reading John. Since the book is 21 chapters long, perhaps it is easiest to read 3 chapters every day in the next week.
As you read it, don’t feel discouraged if parts of it are challenging for you to understand. There is an old quote that many attribute to the church father Augustine (3534-430) that says, “John’s Gospel is deep enough for an elephant to swim and shallow enough for a child not to drown.” Like a pool with a shallow end for new swimmers and a deep end for skilled swimmers, the Gospel of John is perfect for everyone no matter how familiar they are with the Bible. To help you understand what you read in John, a good study Bible with helpful commentary notes can be a big blessing. Do you have a good Bible with study notes? If not, while there are many wonderful options, I would personally recommend getting a copy of the English Standard Version (ESV) Study Bible.
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.