Saturday, March 17, 2018

Recommend-a-blog (25)

John’s Gospel is my favorite.

Those of you who think we shouldn’t have favorite books and especially favorite Gospels are, of course, welcome to make the requisite harumph-ing noises, but a greater number of readers are probably quietly affirming, “Yeah, me too.” And of course in finding particular delight in John, I am not in the least disparaging Matthew, Mark or Luke, all of whom wrote with specific purposes, intended audiences and special emphases, and each of whom is tremendously edifying in his own particular way.

But John is just different.

A Useful Explanation

Sam O’Neal at ThoughtCo. has a useful piece here about the reasons for the differences between John’s gospel and the other three. I find his thought-line persuasive.

O’Neal points out that “90 percent of the material it contains regarding Jesus’ life cannot be found in the other Gospels.” I had noticed much of the content of John’s gospel was unique to the apostle, but that’s a staggering factoid to mull over. And he’s almost surely right: the wedding at Cana, Nicodemus’ night-time visit, the woman at the well in Samaria — these are just in the first few chapters, and all accounts are John’s alone.

Doctrinal Differences

But more than that: John is different doctrinally. Salvation by faith is made far more explicit in John than in any other Gospel. The deity of Christ, evident in all Gospels, is clearest in John, who leads with the Word’s involvement in the creation of the world: “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John’s Gospel is explicitly Christian, where all others (especially Matthew) are far more occupied with the Lord’s fulfillment of Old Testament promises, whether made to Jews (Matthew) or concerning Gentiles (Luke).

If that makes me a solipsist, I suppose I’m among a large number.

Two Thumbs Up

O’Neal’s is not a defense per se; he’s not trying to explain away the flappings of the secular critics so much as he is offering simple and perfectly plausible reasons for what are very obvious differences.

My take: well worth the time, especially if you haven’t thought through these issues extensively already.

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