We are using Kay Arthur's book, the The God Who Know You and Cares, an inductive study of the book of John (check out my last blog post for more about the inductive study style). So far, I have been disappointed with the book. It is not as thoughtful as some of them -- the questions and comments don't seem nearly as thought provoking. However, it does help provide structure to our study.
Here is the brief introduction to the book of John that I shared on our first night in this new study.
John explicitly states his purpose for writing this book in John 20:30-31. Knowing his reason for writing this book can help us understand this scripture better.
"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
John 20:30-31 (NIV)
We will see this theme repeated throughout the book of John: Jesus did this sign, and the disciples believed. John's entire book is focused around giving us the proof that we need to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
John is a deeply theological book, focusing on the diety of Christ and the meaning of faith in him. The early church was heavely dependent of this book for much of its theology. John is always careful to interpret what he is reporting with key theological terms.
He introduces key theological term -- know, world, Word, glory -- and uses them again and again. The biggest key word in John is belief / faith. He uses this term 98 times in his gospel. A careful study of these terms can give us a clear understanding of basic New Testament revelation.
John teaches his lessons primarily through contrast -- life & death, light & darkness, belief & unbelief, love & hate, etc. As we read through this book, we will see these contrasts and this teaching method used repeatedly.
John 1:1-5 reminds us of our primary focus as we study the life of Christ as recorded by John.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.Jesus is the Word of God, God himself, the one through whom God has always chosen to express himself.
John 1:1-5 (ESV)
Check out the next post in this series: John 1