Gospel of John Chapter 1
Whatever this "Word" (John 1:1) is, what claims are being made above?
A. The Word is someone who can be referred to as a "Him" (John 1:3).
B. He was "with God" (John 1:1).
C. He "was God" (John 1:1).
D. He existed from "the beginning" (John 1:1 & 2).
E. Everything was "made through Him" (John 1:3).
To start, are these five claims at least internally consistent with the rest of the Bible?
Since John 1:1 talks about "in the beginning," let's go to the beginning of the Bible and look for the answer in how God created the world in Genesis 1.
What are the second and third words of Genesis chapter 1, verses 3, 6, 9, 11,
14, 20, 24 and 26?
"God said," so according to the Bible, God created everything not with a wand or a snap of His fingers but through "Word" (John 1:1), hence "E" above.
When does Genesis 1 say the creation through His Word
"In the beginning" (Genesis 1:1), hence "D" above.
What is the fifth word in Genesis 1:26?
"Us," which means that whomever God is referring to is: (1) also God; (2) with God; and (3) someone who can be referred to by a personal pronoun, hence "A," "B," "C" above. So A,B,C,D,E above are internally consistent in the Bible.
To whom does the "Us" refer?
God the Father, God the Son (see John 1:14 below) and God the Holy Spirit.
Is the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Genesis passage above?
"And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:2)
What role was John the Baptist sent to perform?
John 1: 7-8 state that he was to, "bear witness of the/that light."
Who is the "light"?
John 1:10 onwards refers to the light as "He" and "Him", and states that the "world was made through Him", equating Him to the "Word" above. So the "Word" above is now being referred to as the "light."
Where is this "light"?
John 1:10 states, "He was in the world," and John 1:11 states, "He came to His own," although "His own did not receive Him."
What is "his own" in John 1:11?
Who can become children of God?
"Those who believe in His name." (John 1:12)
What happened to the "Word"?
"Became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) - i.e., He became a human being and lived among us.
What is His name?
"Jesus Christ". (John 1:17)
What additional precision is there about His relationship with God the Father?
John 1:18 states that Jesus is the Father’s "only begotten Son", and monogenes, the original Greek word translated "only begotten" literally means "one of a kind" - i.e., "unique" or "incomparable", and connotes derivation instead of birth, indicating no defined start to Jesus’ existence; He had always existed from the "beginning" (John 1:1) with the Father.
How can A,B,C,D,E above be stated more precisely with these additional details?
A. Jesus is someone who can be referred to as "He" or "Him".
B. Jesus is the only begotten son of God the Father.
C. Jesus is God.
D. Jesus existed from "the beginning."
E. Everything was made through Jesus.
According to the Bible, Jesus isn’t a 30-year old man who lived 2000 years ago. The verses above state that He is God who came to live with mankind in human form for some 30 years 2000 years ago.
Who is "John" (John 1:19 & 26)?
It's John the Baptist. So John the writer of this Gospel is writing about another John.
What is John the Baptist saying in John 1:23?
John the Baptist is answering by referring to the prophet Isaiah, who had declared: "'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!' Says your God. 'Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.' The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God...'” (Isaiah 40:1-3)
What is the context of that declaration?
The book of Isaiah was written for the Jews returning to the promised land from exile. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah emphasize God’s judgment. The passage quoted above (from Isaiah chapter 40) marks the shift to the ‘comfort’ that God will provide and alludes to the Jesus' role of opening a way for humanity to return to where we were with God, before the fall from Eden.
What is John the Baptist saying about loosing "sandal
straps" (John 1:27)?
In those days the roads were nothing more than dirt paths littered with animal excrements, and foot coverings were crude sandals. Given how dirty people's feet became from walking through the dust and filth, the job of washing someone else's feet was considered so low that only the lowest slaves were obliged to perform it. John the Baptist is saying that compared to Jesus, he is so worthless that he isn't even worthy to be Jesus' foot washing slave.
What and where are "Bethabara" and "Jordan" (John 1:28)?
Bethabara was a place on the other (east) side of Jordan, which is the river that runs along the eastern border of Israel.
Does baptism wash away sins?
John 1:29 states that Jesus "takes away the sin of the world."
Why does John the Baptist call Jesus, "The Lamb of God" (John 1:29)?
Throughout the Old Testament, lamb "without blemish" (Exodus 12:5) is the animal God designated to be killed for the sins of His people as a symbol of the lamb that "God will provide for Himself" (Genesis 22:8) so that those who were to die for theirs sins could be spared.
Then what did John’s Baptism do?
It was a sign of repentance. Those baptized were saying that they wanted to turn away from their sins.
But wasn't Jesus also baptized by John the Baptist?
Is the Bible saying that Jesus also had sins?
No, since Hebrews 4:15 states, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
Then why was Jesus baptized?
Matthew 3:13-17 provides additional details about Jesus' baptism: " 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" Jesus' baptism initiated His 3 year ministry and was the occasion God the Father used to declare His Son to the crowd that Matthew 3:5 describes as having come from "Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around Jordan."
What is the meaning of baptism today?
It is an outward sign of having accepted Jesus as one's personal Savior and Lord whose sacrifice washes away the sin of the person baptized.
Does one “need” to be baptized to go to heaven?
How do we know that?
Luke 23:32-33 and 39-43 describe a criminal who went to paradise without being baptized: "32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left... 39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us." 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." To be clear, baptism is not what washes away sin. Jesus' sacrifice is what washes away sin, and baptism today is just the acknowledgement of that.
How did John recognize Jesus as the "Lamb of God"
God the Father had told him to look out for the one on whom the Holy Spirit would descend, as per John 1:32-33 above.
Until what time did Andrew stay with Jesus that day?
The "tenth hour" (John 1:39) was the tenth hour from sunrise, which was set as 6AM, so they stayed with Jesus until 4PM.
Andrew was originally a disciple of whom?
John 1:35 and 40 indicate that he was a disciple of John the Baptist.
What did John the Baptist do with Andrew?
Pointed out Jesus for him to follow.
What and where are Galilee and Bethsaida?
The body of water most often referred to as the "Sea" of Galilee is actually a lake through which the Jordan River flows in northern Israel. "Galilee" (John 1:43) also refers to the region around this body of water, and Bethsaida, which means, "House ('Beth') of fishing" is a fishing village on its north shore.
How do you think Andrew and Philip said what they said in verses John 1:41 and 45?
They were most likely very excited and said those words in raised voices. The Bible records events, including many that are highly emotional, in a dry, matter-of-fact manner. There is no embellishment or hyperbole, and this will become increasingly apparent as we progress through the rest of this Bible study.
What do you think of Nathanael's first reaction?
It was based on his preconceived ideas, his 'prejudices'.
How does Philip respond?
He told Nathanael to "come and see" (John 1:46) Jesus for himself.
How applicable is his advice for people today?
The vast majority of people who don't believe in Jesus base their beliefs, or the lack thereof, also on preconceived ideas. They may have heard people who claim to know the Bible talk about Jesus but they've never considered the evidence - the Bible - for themselves. They may have heard some movie critics, but they've never watched the movie for themselves. To them, Philip's invitation to "come and see" Jesus - the World of God - for themselves applies as much today as to Nathanael two thousand years ago.