Digest of the Gospel According to John

The following is a very brief digest/outline of the book of John. The goal is to provide a condensed summary of the book–a cursory introduction for the benefit of personal study.

Jesus – The Son of God

John writes to give an account regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ, for the explicit purpose of convincing his readers that Jesus was (1) the promised Messiah, (2) the Son of God, and (3) the source of salvation for anyone who believes in Him (John 20:31).


(1:1-18) The Incarnation of the Son of God

(1:19-4:54) The Presentation of the Son of God

(5:1-12:50) Opposition to the Son of God

(13:1-17:26) The Preparation of the Disciples by the Son of God

(18:1-19:37) The Execution of the Son of God

(19:38-21:25) The Resurrection of the Son of God

Background Considerations:


  • Internal and External evidence strongly support the Johannine authorship

Date and Setting:

  • The gospel give no indication as to the location of its composition. The testimony of tradition points to Ephesus, where John spent time near the end of his life.
  • Establishing the date of writing for this Gospel is difficult. External evidence leans toward a date of between AD 80 and 95. John 11:18 also supports a date after AD 70. However, some internal evidence, such as John 5:2 and 21:24, suggest a date before AD 70.

Special Features:

  • The seven “I AM” statements (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5) clearly declare Jesus to be God in the flesh.
  • John highlights dualistic contrasts in order to emphasize points (life and death, light and darkness, love and hate, from above and from below)

Interpretive Issues:

  • Is the explanation of the stirring of the water in 5:3b-4 part of the original?
  • Is the account of the woman caught in adultery in 7:53-8:11 authentic?
  • Is John chapter 21 a part of the original gospel?

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