Gospel of John (CBS)/Week 1

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We start off our studies of the Gospel of John with a one week unit on the Prologue (verses 1:1-18)

Assignments[edit | edit source]

  1. Read John 1:1-18
  2. Write a well developed response that expands upon this week's topic.
  3. Complete the Study Guide
  4. Take the Unit Test

Discussion[edit | edit source]

This week's discussion will be held at TIME on DATE in the AWF virtual universe, Agape World at the AWF School facility.There is a section on the talk page where you can post topics and questions for us to go over. If you are unable to make it, your questions can also be posted in a separate section to the talk page, where I will do my best to answer them shortly.

Handouts[edit | edit source]

Lesson[edit | edit source]

A prologue is defined by Wiktionary as "A speech or section used as an introduction, especially to a play or novel." The Prologue in the Gospel of John is exactly that. The author is setting up for the rest of the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ. He is explaining exactly what he is going to document through his writing. Today we will examine the wording and concepts of the Prologue to provide us with background that is critical to understanding the rest of the Gospel.

Lets go into the background of the Gospel before we actually get into wording. The original text of the gospel was written in Koine, or common Greek. This wasn't the language of Plato and all the famous folks, this was the language of the people. The author of the Gospel chose this language for that very reason. He wasn't writing to the rich and the enlightened, he was writing to the people! Some might ask, why didn't he write the book in Hebrew? Isn't that the language of God's chosen people? Well, the Hebrews were offered Jesus and rejected him. They blew him off! Eternal Life? Who needs that? We sure don't. Here, we'll even crucify you for your effort! The Gospel wasn't written in Hebrew because the Hebrews were not its intended audience. The Hebrews had become so focused on obeying the Law that they had made it into an idol. Their eyes and ears were firmly closed to the Message of Jesus. Since the Hebrews weren't interested, the message was directed to the Gentiles instead.

The author even used specific language to appeal to the Gentiles. For example, when we look at the text, it talks a lot about the Word. There are many different words in Greek that can be used to represent the Word, but the author chose one very special one, Logos. Logos was this Greek concept for the ultimate order of the universe and how their gods interacted with the Earth. This short video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A5mCttJQg0) made by Randall Niles, a former atheist, explains exactly what Logos is in more detail than I ever could.

When you have this powerful word in this new work, you can bet they'd pay attention. Now that the author has their attention, he can teach them more about the Good News in terms they would be able to understand. In the Gospel, and the prologue especially, there are many concepts which can be seen. The Prologue provides both background and an abstract of everything in the rest of the Gospel.

Let's look at an excerpt from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible for more information on the Prologue. It can be found here and goes into much better detail than I can.

Chapter 1[edit | edit source]

The Divinity of Christ. (1-5) His Divine and human nature. (6-14) John the Baptist's testimony to Christ. (15-18)

Verses 1-5 The plainest reason why the Son of God is called the Word, seems to be, that as our words explain our minds to others, so was the Son of God sent in order to reveal his Father's mind to the world. What the evangelist says of Christ proves that he is God. He asserts, His existence in the beginning; His coexistence with the Father. The Word was with God. All things were made by him, and not as an instrument. Without him was not any thing made that was made, from the highest angel to the meanest worm. This shows how well qualified he was for the work of our redemption and salvation. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, is derived from him, and depends upon him. This eternal Word, this true Light shines, but the darkness comprehends it not. Let us pray without ceasing, that our eyes may be opened to behold this Light, that we may walk in it; and thus be made wise unto salvation, by faith in Jesus Christ.

Verses 6-14 John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is ( 1 Peter 1:23 ) Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.

Verses 15-18 As to the order of time and entrance on his work, Christ came after John, but in every other way he was before him. The expression clearly shows that Jesus had existence before he appeared on earth as man. All fulness dwells in him, from which alone fallen sinners have, and shall receive, by faith, all that renders them wise, strong, holy, useful, and happy. Our receivings by Christ are all summed up in this one word, grace; we have received "even grace," a gift so great, so rich, so invaluable; the good will of God towards us, and the good work of God in us. The law of God is holy, just, and good; and we should make the proper use of it. But we cannot derive from it pardon, righteousness, or strength. It teaches us to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour, but it cannot supply the place of that doctrine. As no mercy comes from God to sinners but through Jesus Christ, no man can come to the Father but by him; no man can know God, except as he is made known in the only begotten and beloved Son.

Unit Test[edit | edit source]

The test will be 10 free response questions similar to the ones in the study guide. It will be offered through the Wikiversity Moodle site from the beginning of this week to the end of this week. Once the course is approved, a link to the Moodle site will be placed here.