John, Gospel of

The genuineness of this Gospel, i.e., the fact that the apostle
John was its author, is beyond all reasonable doubt. In recent
times, from about 1820, many attempts have been made to impugn
its genuineness, but without success.

The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself
(John 20:31). It was at one time supposed that he wrote for the
purpose of supplying the omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of
the first three, Gospels, but there is no evidence for this.
"There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the
manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form
a representation of the Christian faith in relation to the
person of Christ as its central point; and in this
representation there is a picture on the one hand of the
antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the
other of the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield
themselves to him as the Light of life" (Reuss).

After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book
begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part
(1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of our Lord's public ministry
from the time of his introduction to it by John the Baptist to
its close. The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the
retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his
immediate followers (13-17), and gives an account of his
sufferings and of his appearances to the disciples after his
resurrection (18-21).

The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives (1) to
the mystical relation of the Son to the Father, and (2) of the
Redeemer to believers; (3) the announcement of the Holy Ghost as
the Comforter; (4) the prominence given to love as an element in
the Christian character. It was obviously addressed primarily to
Christians.

It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the
destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), became the centre of
Christian life and activity in the East, about A.D. 90.