Willmington's Bible at a Glance

John at a Glance

This book records the earthly life of Jesus. It begins with the ministry of John the Baptist and concludes with Jesus’ appearance at the Sea of Galilee.

Bottom Line Introduction


This report was prepared by John the theologian. In it the doctrines of Christ are emphasized.

Facts Regarding the Author of this Book

1. Who. John. Known as the “beloved Disciple” (Jn. 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7; 20, 24), and brother of James (Lk. 5:10). John was a follower of John the Baptist (Jn. 1:35-37), before being called to become one of Jesus’ twelve apostles (Lk. 5:10, 11; Mt. 10:2).

2. What? The books of John, 1, 2, and 3 John, Revelation.

3. When and where?

a. John: 90 A.D., from Ephesus.

b. 1, 2, 3 John: 92 A.D., from Ephesus.

c. Revelation: 95 A.D., from Isle of Patmos.

4. Why?

a. John: To present Christ as the eternal Son of God.

b. 1 John: A family letter from the Father to His children concerning the subject of fellowship.

c. 2 John: To an elect lady concerning the subject of truth.

d. 3 John: Concerning right attitudes in the local church.

e. Revelation: The final action on the stage of divine prophecy.

5. To whom?

a. John – to the world.

b. 1 John – to the Father’s children.

c. 2 John – to the elect lady.

d. 3 John – to Gaius.

e. Revelation – to the seven churches in Asia Minor.

KEY EVENTS (With chapter reference)

1. Deity of Jesus declared; witness of John the Baptist, conversion and call of Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael

2. First miracle at Cana; first Passover in Jerusalem

3. Conversion of Nicodemus; testimony of John the Baptist

4. Conversion of the Samaritan woman; healing of the nobleman’s son

5. Healing of the impotent man by the Pool of Bethsaida; the Source of Life sermon

6. Feeding of the 5000; the Bread of Life sermon

7. Jesus’ unbelieving half-brother; Water of Life sermon; Nicodemus’ defense of Jesus

8. Woman taken in act of adultery; Light of Life sermon

9. Healing of a man born blind

10. Shepherd of Life sermon

11. Raising of Lazarus from the dead; plot of the Pharisees to kill Jesus

12. Anointing of Jesus at Bethany; triumphal entry; Jesus previews His impending death; rejection by the Jewish rulers

13-14. Events in the Upper Room; Father’s House sermon

15. Abundance of Life sermon

16. Sender of the Spirit of Life sermon

17. Jesus’ Great High Priestly prayer

18. Betrayal and arrest in Gethsemane; trials before Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate; denials by Peter

19. Scourging, condemning, crucifying, death, and burial of Jesus

20. Resurrection appearances before Mary Magdalene, the ten apostles and finally, before Thomas

21. Resurrection appearance before seven apostles at the Sea of Galilee; restoration of Peter and prediction of his future martyrdom

Key Individuals

1. John the Baptist, Nazarite son of Zacharias and Elisabeth (Lk.1:13-25) who both introduced and baptized Jesus, and would later be martyred for his fearless preaching (Mt. 14:1-12)

2. Andrew, brother of Peter whom he brought to Christ, a former disciple of John the Baptist and one of the twelve apostles of Jesus

3. John, brother of James, apostle of Jesus, and author of five New Testament books

4. Simon Peter, brother of Andrew and the most outspoken of the twelve apostles

5. Philip, apostle who brought Nathanael to Jesus

6. Nathanael (also called Bartholomew), an apostle of Jesus, brought to the Savior by Philip

7. Mary, mother of Jesus, at whose request water was turned into wine at the wedding feast in Cana

8. Nicodemus, rich Jewish religious leader who came to Jesus by night seeking eternal life

9. Samaritan woman, immoral woman who met Jesus at Jacob’s well, accepted Him as Savior and immediately introduced many of her hometown citizens to Him

10. Nobleman of Capernaum, whose great faith in Jesus resulted in both the healing of his son and the salvation of his entire household

11. Cripple at Bethesda, a cripple for 38 years whom Jesus healed beside a pool in Jerusalem

12. Judas Iscariot, evil apostle who betrayed Jesus, and, according to the Savior, one influenced by Satan from the very beginning

13. Woman taken in adultery, forgiven and cleansed by the Savior after He had condemned her accusers, the wicked Pharisees

14. Man born blind, who received his sight after obeying Jesus’ instructions to wash in the Pool of Siloam

15. Lazarus, a man dead for four days, raised by Jesus at Bethany

16. Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha, who would later anoint Jesus at Bethany just prior to His death

17. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus, who along with Mary witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus

18. Thomas, apostle of Jesus who at first doubted His resurrection until the Savior appeared to him in the Upper Room

19. Caiphas, wicked Jewish High Priest who led the plot to crucify Jesus

20. Malchus, servant of the High Priest whose ear was cut off by Simon Peter but immediately restored by Jesus (Lk. 22:51)

21. Annas, wicked ex-High Priest before whom Jesus was tried prior to the crucifixion

22. Barabbas, insurrectionist, robber, and murderer who was released by Pilate in place of Jesus by demand of the Jewish leaders

23. Pilate, Roman governor who ordered Jesus scourged and crucified

24. Joseph of Arimathaea, wealthy Jewish believer who secured the lifeless body of Jesus and placed it in his own new tomb

25. Mary Magdalene, former demon-possessed woman (Lk. 8:2) who became the first person to see the resurrected Christ

Key Places

1. Aenon: a place on the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized his converts

2. Jordan River: body of water which connects the Sea of Galilee on the north to the Dead Sea on the south

3. Bethsaida: a city on the shore of the Sea of Galilee from which Philip, Andrew, and Peter came

4. Cana: a city in Galilee where Jesus performed His first two miracles, that of changing water into wine and the healing of a nobleman’s son

5. Capernaum: a city in Galilee chosen by Jesus to serve as His northern headquarters

6. Samaria: the region occupied by the Samaritans, located between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north and the place where Jesus met the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well

7. Sychar: a town in Samaria and home of the woman who met Jesus by Jacob’s well

8. Galilee: the Jewish region north of Samaria which included such towns as Nazareth, Capernaum, Cana, Bethsaida, etc.

9. Judea: location of the Jewish province south of Samaria

10. Jerusalem: capital city of Israel where Jesus would eventually be crucified outside its walls

11. Bethesda: a pool in Jerusalem where Jesus healed an invalid man

12. Sea of Galilee: a lake in the valley of the Jordan, some 7 miles wide and 14 miles long, where Jesus would preach and perform many of His sermons and miracles

13. Pool of Siloam: a pool in Jerusalem where Jesus healed a man born blind

14. Solomon’s porch: a colonnade on the east side of the temple where the Jewish leaders attempted to stone Jesus because of His claims to be equal with God the Father

15. Bethany: a village some 20 miles from Jerusalem on the Mt. of Olives where Jesus would resurrect Lazarus from the dead and also Himself be anointed just prior to Calvary

16. Ephraim: a town Jesus took refuge in after raising Lazarus, upon learning of a plot to kill Him for doing this

17. Kidron Brook: the brook crossed by Jesus en route to Gethsemane

18. Gethsemane: a garden located at the western base of Mt. Olivet where Jesus prayed His prayers of agony

19. Gabbatha: the paved area where Pilate tried Jesus, thought to be near the site of the Antonia (Roman fortress) just north of the temple

20. Golgotha: literally, “a skull,” where Jesus was crucified

21. Arimathaea: home of Joseph, wealthy Jewish believer who secured the lifeless body of Jesus and buried it in his own new tomb

Unique Features

1. One could quickly summarize the gospel of John by these three words:

Miracles, or signs (semeion, dunamis), found 14 times in John, and only 17 other occasions in the entire New Testament.

Belief (pisteuō), found 90 times in John, and only 29 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Life (zoē), found 34 times in John and only 14 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

2. Most of the action centers in Judea, as opposed to the other 3 gospels which describe Jesus’ Galilean ministry.

3. John’s emphasis is upon the King Himself, and not His Kingdom.

4. It is the only gospel to refer to Jesus as the word (1:1).

5. It alone records Jesus’ first (2), second (4) and final (21) miracles.

6. It contains the most well-known verse in all the Bible (3:16).

7. It includes the only reference to Jesus writing something (8:6-8).

8. It details the most lengthy account of two of Jesus’ miracles (9 and 11).

9. It records the only instance where Jesus Himself claims to be the Son of God (9:35-37).

10. It provides more information in regards to the following:

The Holy Spirit

The Father

The Father and Son relationships

Jesus’ pre-existence

The early ministry of both Jesus and John the Baptist

The final 24 hours of Jesus leading to and including His death

11. John’s gospel contains the most limited vocabulary of the 4 gospels, but none makes a better usage of what he has. Significant words used only by John, but all of which tell a story in and by themselves are:

Waterpots (2:6, 7; 4:28)

Born again (3:37)

Sychar, Jacob’s well (4:5)

Messiah (1:41; 4:25)

Spittle (9:6)

Wept (11:35)

Stinketh (11:39)

Towel and basin (13:4, 5)

Sop (13:26)

Pavement (19:13)

Woven (19:23)

Spear and pierce (19:34)

Gardener (20:15)

12. John records the only occasion where a crowd of Jews attempted to crown Jesus as their King (6:14, 15).

13. John’s gospel is at once both the simplest and most profound book in the entire Bible! The following two verses would beautifully summarize this great truth:

“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Psa. 119:130).

“O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep” (Psa. 92:5).

14. Two well-known authors have described John’s gospel in similar fashion:

“A river deep enough for an elephant to swim, with shallows where a lamb may wade” (Owen).

As compared to the first three gospels: “Thou hast kept the good wine until now” (Wordsworth).

15. John places great emphasis on the Jewish feasts.

Three Passovers (2:23; 6:4; 13:1)

Feast of Tabernacles (7:2)

Dedication (10:22)

Unnamed festival (5:1)

16. Some believe his is the first biblical book to hint at the Rapture (14:2, 3).

17. There are no parables or instances of demon possession in John’s gospel.

18. In describing the life of Christ, John makes comparisons with the pieces of furniture in the tabernacle of Moses. Note the similarities between the language of Moses and John:

Moses describes the brazen altar (Ex. 27:1-8; 38:1-7). John describes the Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29).

Moses speaks of the brazen laver (Ex. 30:18; 38:8). John speaks of the Water of life (Jn. 4:14).

Moses writes of the table of showbread (Ex. 25:23-30; 37:10-16). John writes of the Bread of life (Jn. 6:35).

Moses talks of the lampstand (Ex. 25:31-40; 37:17-24). John talks of the Light of the world (Jn. 9:5).

Moses presents the altar of incense (Ex. 30:1-10; 37:25-28). John presents the great prayer of Christ (Jn. 17).

Moses witnesses of the mercy seat (Ex. 25:10-22; 37:1-9). John witnesses of our mercy seat, Christ (1 Jn. 2:2).

19. John employs the number seven on numerous occasions:

Seven “I Am’s”

I am the Bread of life (6:35)

I am the Light (8:12)

I am the eternal One (8:58)

I am the Good Shepherd (10:11)

I am the resurrection (11:25)

I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6)

I am the true Vine (15:1)

Seven witnesses of Christ

John the Baptist (1:34)

Nathanael (1:49)

Samaritan woman (4:29)

Peter (6:69)

Martha (11:27)

Thomas (20:28)

John the apostle (20:31)

Seven pre-crucifixion miracles

Water into wine (2:1-11)

Healing of the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)

Healing of a man at the pool of Bethesda (5:1-47)

Feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-14)

Walking on the water (6:15-21)

Healing of the man born blind (9:1-41)

Raising Lazarus (11:1-57)

20. New Testament scholar Merrill C. Tenney has observed that each of these seven miracles revealed seven specific characteristics of Jesus’ power and person.

Water into wine: master of quality

Healing of nobleman’s son: master of distance and space

Healing of lame man: master of time

Feeding of the 5000: master of quantity

Walking on water: master of natural law

Healing of blind man: master of misfortune

Raising of Lazarus: master of death itself (John, the Gospel of Belief, pp. 30, 31)

21. Material found only in John:

The eternality and pre-incarnate work of Jesus (1:1-18)

John’s testimony before the Jewish leaders (1:19-20)

Jesus introduced as the Lamb of God (1:29, 34)

The meeting with Jesus’ first followers (1:35-51)

Jesus’ first miracle (2:1-11)

His first temple cleansing (2:13-25)

Meeting with Nicodemus (3:1-21)

Final witnesses of John the Baptist (3:22-36)

Meeting with the Samaritan woman (4:1-42)

Healing of the Nobleman’s son (4:46-54)

Sermon on the Bread of Life (6:22-71)

The unbelief shown by His half-brother (7:2-9)

Sermon at the Feast of Tabernacle (7:11-53)

Episode of woman taken in adultery (8:1-11)

Sermon on the Light of the World (8:12-18)

Healing of man born blind (9:1-41)

Good shepherd sermon (10:1-21)

Feast of Dedication sermon (10:22-39)

Raising of Lazarus (11:1-44)

Caiaphas’ plot to kill Jesus (11:45-54)

Request of the Greeks to see Jesus (12:20-50)

Events in the Upper Room (13)

The way, the truth, and the life sermon (14)

The vine and the branches sermon (15)

The sermon regarding the Holy Spirit (16)

Jesus’ great High Priestly prayer (17)

Initial reaction of the guard who attempted to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane (18:4-9)

Explanation by Jesus to Pilate in regard to His mission (18:36-38)

Pilate’s final plea to the Jews and last words to Jesus (17:4-16)

Casting of lots for Jesus’ garment (19:23, 24)

Jesus’ statement to Mary and John (19:25-27): Woman, behold thy son!... behold thy mother.”

Jesus’ 5th and 6th statement on the cross: “I thirst” (19:28); “It is finished” (19:30)

Breaking of the thieves’ legs and the piercing of Jesus’ side (19:31-37).

Jesus’ appearance to Mary (20:1, 11-18)

Jesus’ appearance to Thomas (20:26-31)

Jesus’ final miracle (21)

22. Miracles found only in John:

Turning water into wine (2:1-11)

Healing a Nobleman’s son (4:45-54)

Healing a lame man at Pool of Bethesda (4:46-54)

Healing a man born blind (9:1-7)

Raising of Lazarus (11:17-44)

Second miraculous catch of fish (21:1-11)

Comparison with Other Bible Books

1. Matthew, Mark, and Luke: their presentation of Jesus can be contrasted as follows:

Matthew presents Jesus as King and emphasizes His sermons

Mark presents Jesus as a servant and emphasizes His miracles

Luke presents Jesus as the prophet and emphasizes His parables

John presents Jesus as the mighty God and emphasizes His doctrine

2. Genesis:

Genesis opens with an earthly beginning: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).

John opens with an eternal beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1).

3. First John:

John begins his Gospel account by proving the deity of Christ (Jn. 1:1).

John begins his epistle by proving the humanity of Christ (1 Jn. 1:1-3).

John ends his Gospel account with the following words: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing ye might have life through his name” (Jn. 20:31).

John ends his epistle with the following words: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5:13).

4. First, Second, and Third John and Revelation

Gospel of John

Speaks of salvation

The past

Christ the Prophet

The cross

Epistles of John

Speak of sanctification

The present

Christ the Priest

The koinonia (fellowship)

Revelation of John

Speaks of glorification

The future

Christ the King

The crown

Titles for and Types of Jesus

1. The Word (1:1)

2. The Light (1:7)

3. The only begotten of the Father (1:14)

4. Jesus Christ (1:17)

5. The only begotten Son (1:18)

6. The Lamb of God (1:29)

7. The Son of God (1:34)

8. Rabbi (1:38)

9. The Messiah (1:41)

10. Jesus of Nazareth (1:45a)

11. The Son of Joseph (1:45b)

12. The King of Israel (1:49)

13. The Son of man (1:51)

14. A teacher from God (3:2)

15. The brazen serpent (3:14)

16. The bridegroom (3:29)

17. A prophet (4:19)

18. The Savior of the world (4:42)

19. The bread of life (6:35)

20. The Son of the living God (6:69)

21. A good man (6:12)

22. Lord (8:11)

23. The light of the world (8:12)

24. A demon possessed Samaritan (8:48)

25. The great I AM (8:58)

26. A Sabbath breaking sinner (9:24)

27. The door of the sheep (10:7)

28. The Good Shepherd (10:11)

29. The sacrificial shepherd (10:15)

30. The resurrection and the life (11:25)

31. The humble servant (13:13, 14)

32. The way, the truth, and the life (14:6)

33. The true vine (15:1)

34. The King of the Jews (18:33)

35. The man (19:5)

36. A gardener (20:15)

Dr. H. L. Willmington
Founder & Dean, Willmington School of the Bible
Founder & Dean, Liberty Home Bible Institute
Professor, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

Copyright © 2007 by Harold L. Willmington. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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