Study Notes and Personal Bible Study Activities
for the Gospel of John
As is the case of each of the books of the Bible, God is the Author. Here He uses John as His “pen.” As in the case of the other Gospels, the writer does not use his own given name to indicate authorship. Four times he describes himself as “the disciple Jesus loved.” What a beautiful way to see yourself! It’s the way John and God want each of us to see ourselves – loved by Jesus.
John 1:1-28 John uses a wonderful name for our Lord, Jesus. He calls Him “the Word,” an especially apt name because in the Person of Jesus, through His words and works, the true God communicates vividly about Himself and our salvation. Take time to thank God for His revelation.
John 1:29-51 Both Andrew and John the Baptist immediately point people or lead people to Jesus. Question - What do we need to do so that we can imitate them? Answer – Learning to know Jesus better ourselves, following Him and staying close to Him will naturally lead to wanting others to know Him. That too will help us to become increasingly ready and confident to share Him with others. Remember that Jesus perfectly knows everyone that we know. He understands all of their needs just as He has met their greatest need. He uses us to bring people to Him, so that they too can discover all their longings fulfilled in Him. Doubt, skepticism, even outright rejection are not uncommon responses people receive when they seek to share Christ with others. While we can always learn how to better approach people in respectful, considerate ways, we can’t control their response. At the same time, God’s Word shared by us has the power to shatter that resistance and create acceptance. Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for honoring me with the joyful privilege and duty of sharing the good news about Yu. Help me to seize opportunities, respectfully share Your Truth, and then prayerfully “get out of the way” leaving the results to You. Amen.
John 2:1-25 How can we apply what Jesus did in both the events described in this chapter to our own lives?
John 3:1-21 To be born again means to have become spiritually alive through faith in Jesus. (See 1 Peter 1:23) Interestingly, the word translated “again” can also mean “from above.” Jesus deliberately uses this word to indicate the heavenly Source of the new birth.
Read John 3:16 aloud slowly…savor it! Ask the Holy Spirit to astound you again with the enjoyment of this amazing truth! Listen to this song: “For God So Loved the World”.
John 3:22-4:3 John the Baptist displays the true spirit of Christian service: to magnify Christ, not to make a name for ourselves. Think about your own life. How might you magnify Christ? Listen to this song: “Less Like Me”.
John 4:4-42 The Samaritan woman had no clue who Jesus was and what blessings He had to give to her. It is the same way today – people who don’t really know Jesus have no idea of the blessings that we as Christians have to share with them. What can we learn from Jesus about how to make connections with them and to help them have a connection with Jesus? (Where is your mission field? Who is in that field? What are some things about their life and yours that you might use to begin that connection?)
John 4:53-54 Word about Jesus’ first miracle in Cana spread through town. His power raised hope in the heart of an official there whose son was ill. If Jesus could change water into wine couldn’t he change illness into health?! The answer was YES!! What can He do for you? Through you? Think of specific answers to these questions.
John 5:1-23 Jesus is God. His works back up His words. The closing verse of this reading (23) is absolutely essential in our pluralistic world that wants everyone’s concept of God to be accepted as equal: if you do not honor Jesus as God, you don’t know God! It’s that simple. We need to respectfully but firmly testify to this in our post-Christian society and unchristian world – we need to do this for God’s glory, for their salvation, and for our own conviction’s sake.
John 5:24-47 When interpreting Scripture, it is always imperative that we understand individual verses in the light of the entire message of God’s Word otherwise we will perpetrate all manner of wrong interpretations, false teachings! A good example would be verse 29 – taken alone, you might think that eternal life is a reward for “doing good”; but, from the rest of Scripture we clearly see that for a deed to be good it needs to be done by a believer. Faith comes first. It leads to good works. Here Jesus refers to the works as proof of saving faith. (see Romans 14:23b; Hebrews 11:6; John 15:5) Please enjoy John 5:39 too; it lets us know that we should “look for Jesus” in every Word of Scripture. Finding Him we shall find life!
John 6:1-21 These historical events are written for our learning. Savor them. Apply them to your life and needs today. What a difference they make in every circumstance when we do! Use this devotion to savor Jesus’ promise to provide everything we need: “Portrait of a Provider.”
John 6:22-42 Our fallen nature is more concerned about its stomach than its soul – about physical food than spiritual. It fails to see that its physical needs will be met by God’s gracious providing so that it should focus on having its spiritual needs met in Jesus, v. 35. (See Matthew 6:33!!).
Read this sermon “I AM: The Bread of Life,” (from Light of the Valley Lutheran Church, Layton, UT)
John 6:43-71 These verses complete Jesus’ “Bread of Life” message to Israel. While Jesus speaks of “feeding on His flesh” and “drinking His blood”, which we do in the Lord’s Supper that He would later institute, that is not of what He is speaking here. The “feeding” and “eating” refers to believing in Him, as Jesus Himself says in verse 47. Do you live “in Christ?” Do you give every aspect of your life to Jesus -- to operate in dependence upon His wisdom, His supply of grace, His forgiveness, to be constantly connected to Him? --That is what he is after.
John 7:1-29 These verses give a sampling of the adversity that Jesus experienced as He carried out God’s eternal plan of salvation – from the Jews in Judea plotting to kill Him; to His blood brothers (very likely sons of Mary and Joseph or possibly His cousins) trying to tell Him what to do and when; to the general public at the feast in Jerusalem offering their opinions about Him. Thankfully Jesus didn’t let their adversity and foolishness dissuade Him from doing the Father’s will! A great lesson for our lives too.
John 7:30-52 The opening verses of this chapter showed the opposition to Jesus; notice in these verses how impartial persons who simply listened to His words and witnessed His works believed that He had indeed come from God.
John 7:53-8:20 Jesus treats the “woman caught in adultery” with compassionate forgiveness. He urges her to “sin no more” which fits perfectly with His next famous words: “whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. Jesus is the Light that triumphs over darkness. Can you think of some ways in which this is true?
John 8:21-30 The words of verse 24 are a two-edged sword: they clearly promise pardon and life to those who believe; they clearly state that those who don’t believe in Jesus’ work of redemption will have to bear responsibility for their own sin.
John 8:31-59 In stern love, Jesus straightforwardly confronts the unbelief of those Jews who didn’t believe in Him. He shows they are not children of God while at the same time claiming that He Himself is God. What is one of the fundamental marks of being a disciple of Jesus and what is the result of possessing this authentic mark of discipleship? (Read Romans 12:1-2 MSG)
John 9:1-41 By the power of Jesus the blind man receives sight and then sees Jesus for whom He obviously is, the Son of Man come to save. Meanwhile, those who think they see but don’t see Jesus, reveal their true blindness.
John 10:1-21 The Good Shepherd chapter -- rejoice in what Jesus says to us here. Jesus, as always, is a revealer of hearts. Psalm 115:1-18 Note the contrast between the real God and the so-called gods.
John 10:22-42 What is an essential characteristic of Jesus’ sheep? What is an essential characteristic of Jesus as our shepherd? Read Psalm 23. Listen to this song: “The Lord’s My Shepherd; I’ll Not Want” “ Enjoy this family devotion: “Listen to Your Shepherd’s Voice.”