September 16, 2019
It is never too late to begin your personal Bible study of John or to begin a group study of the Gospel of John! None of the Bible commentaries, lessons, or handouts are dated as they once were, so no one and no group using the International Bible Study Commentary & International Bible Lesson (and the other Bible lesson materials) are ever hopelessly behind. If you ever fall behind due to illness or vacations, for example, it is easy to catch up using the Contents page. If you miss a week or more, you can catchup with your Bible group by reading the commentary and lesson at home.
As you begin your study, if you would like to learn more about John the Baptist and the birth and early years of Jesus before He was baptized by John the Baptist, read the first three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew and/or the first three chapters of the Gospel of Luke. The Holy Spirit did not lead John to cover these events. Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (reported in Matthew 4 and Luke 4) occurred before Jesus called His first disciples. John did not report Jesus’ temptation by the devil and instead moved from a report of John the Baptist’s interrogators to the report of Jesus’ calling His first disciples. In the Gospel of John, John is giving an eyewitness account; therefore, John did not tell us what he did not personally see; such as, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.
If we carefully read the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we have good reasons to believe that John, the writer of the Gospel of John, was first a disciple of John the Baptist and then one of the first two disciples that Jesus called to follow Him. That means John would have prepared himself to meet Jesus the Messiah by having repented of his sins and having undergone the baptism of John the Baptist. Without going into details here, John and Andrew were the first two disciples to follow Jesus (see John 1:35-37).
From the time he was a disciple of John the Baptist, John offers us a first-hand eyewitness testimony regarding John the Baptist. Then, John offers a first-hand eyewitness testimony regarding the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry through His death and resurrection. Even though John was also an eyewitness of what Matthew and Luke wrote about regarding Jesus, John takes us behind the scenes. Jesus taught the crowds publicly and His disciples privately. Matthew and Luke report details of Jesus public ministry. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John blends Jesus’ public and private revelations of himself, revelations of His grace and glory, into the Gospel of John. The Bible reports that Jesus privately taught His closest disciples, and in Luke 10:23, we read, “Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’” Blessed are our eyes as we see Jesus through the eyes of John and believe in Him.
As we study the Gospel of John, you will discover how wonderful it is for us to experience and enjoy the continuity of studying through a book of the Bible verse-by-verse with each study building upon the one before to give us a beautiful understanding of Jesus Christ; an understanding that will buildup our faith in Him or give us the faith in Jesus that we need.
Invite others to study the Gospel of John with you. Invite them to “Come and see” Jesus as Jesus invited His first disciples.
May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!
Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,