The Book of John
The book of John has twenty one chapters.
It is widely believed that the book of John as well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd John and Revelations were written by John the Apostle and are known as the Johannine works. These were written some 40 years or more after the death and resurection of Jesus. So even with this, there is quite a bit of time between the time John walked with Christ and when he recorded it. I don't know about you, but sometimes I can't remember what I did yesterday. So this is why I don't get real hung up on the actual wording in the text. If you have a good friend that you know well, you remember more of what that person was like than specifically what they said many times. Based on the way they are you can reconstruct conversations. Also, remember, the oral stories were the way many stories were handed down from century to century. I think they were more likely to remember the stories of Jesus and the things he said, much better than we could today because we are more visually oriented and rely more on written documentation.
Summary of the Book by Chapter
Chapter 1: Unlike the other gospels, we don't have the story of Christ's birth in this book. John starts off with recognizing that Jesus was from the beginning of time. John refers to him as the Word or in the Greek, Logos. This carries the meaning of communication or message with a focus on the content of a communication or message of God. Christ was God, and Christ was the message of God. I like to think about it as God came to earth in human form to deliver a message to people as to who he was and what he was all about. He didn't want there to be any confusion about who God is and what He is like. This is very important to understand as we look to what being a Christian is all about. If there was any confusion about what God was like and what He wants from people, Christ was here to clear it up. vs. 5 tells us that He was the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness did not katalambanō (overpower) it. He came to enlighten man.
John then continues by talking about John the Baptist. in vs 6 - 11 saying he was sent as a witness to the coming of Christ. John the Baptist said, he was not the light but he bears witness to the true light who comes to enlighten every anthrōpos (person/human). He came to his own people referring to the Israelites and they did not receive ginōskō (know/ recognize) him for who he was. They had a wrong idea of who God was and as a result, did not recognize Him as God.
However in vs.12 and 13, it says "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God." There are those who do receive him and believe (pisteuō) he is who he said, because they recognized him for who he was as God, and he gives them the right to be his children. That word pisteuō (belief or trust) carries the implication that actions based on that trust may follow. The true trust in Jesus to be God, to the point that your actions speak louder than just saying it.
vs. 14 -18 are very important. They are a little bit of a repeat of the previous verses:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John (the Baptist) testified about Him and called out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘ He who is coming after me has proved to be my superior because He existed before me.’” For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; God the only Son, who is in the arms of the Father He has explained Him.
God became flesh and lived here in our midst and we saw his doxa (glory) light that radiates from God’s presence and is associated with his acts of power; honor, praise, speaking of words of excellence and assigning highest status to God. Doxa, (glory)as of the only Son from the Father, full of charis (grace - the state of kindness, favor and gifts of joy toward someone; by extension: blessing and joy) and alētheia (truth - truthfulness).
What is your image of God? Do you see him as a great judge, just waiting for you to trip up so he can pounce on you? Do you live in fear and filled with guilt? What we believe about God and his Spirit controls the kind of spirit that is in us. If we believe that Jesus revealed the truth about God to us , we begin to experience the results of that belief. If we really believe that God is a God of happiness, joy and constant gifts to us, we begin to have the same spirit within ourselves. We begin to be people of joy and gracious gifts. Our beliefs begin to give us a quality of spirit and life that we have not known before. We leave the deadness of guilt and fear and experience the life of joy and peace. We begin to come to life.
When He talks of salvation, this is what He is talking about. Saving us from deadness of guilt and fear so we can begin to experience the life of Joy and Peace. Jumping ahead just a little bit to chapter 10 vs 7-10 o Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All those who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly.
Jesus provides a message of joy and gracious gifts, he is the door through which we must enter to be saved, meaning to have life and to have it in abundance, by living this life of joy and peace and bestowing gifts of grace, joy and peace in return to God and to others.
Up through vs 27 there is a story of how John the Baptist explains who he is to the priest and levites.
In vs 28, John the Baptist sees Christ coming and he said, "Behold the lamb of God" who takes away the hamartia (sin) of the world. We have been taught to believe of sin as a violation of God's law. It actually means to miss the mark or to err. If Jesus has come, as we have already read, to explain God to us. He takes away our err or our missing of the mark about who God is. He removes the error of our thoughts and beliefs about God.
The following verses explain again that John the Baptist is realizing who Jesus was and Andrew heard him explaining that Jesus was the Messiah and then began to follow him. And Andrew told his brother Peter. Then Jesus found Philip and Phillip found Nathanael. Nathanael's confession that Jesus was the Messiah is quite interesting. This is the way Christianity should work. When one person finds Jesus and believe's Him to be The Christ, Messiah, that person wants to share this with other and bring them to Jesus, so they can experience the same abundant life that they experience.