Books of the Book: John

The Purpose of John's Gospel

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00004A

00:19 Hello, friends, and welcome to this program,
00:21 "Books of the Book."
00:22 My name is Deyvy Rodriguez, and I'm so pleased
00:24 that you are able to join us in this Bible study.
00:28 We're studying the Gospel of John
00:31 and with us is Dr. Jon Paulien.
00:34 Dr. Paulien, welcome again.
00:36 And I have to tell you, I didn't write this book. Okay.
00:39 You looked like, you're a little uncertain there for me.
00:41 What do you gonna say?
00:43 By the way, your name spelled differently.
00:45 That's right.
00:46 J-O-N. It's J-O-N.
00:48 There is no H in there. What's up with that?
00:50 That's what my mother called me. Okay.
00:52 Actually, it goes back to Jonathan.
00:56 I think the whole thing of,
00:58 you know, David and Jonathan in the Bible intrigued them
01:01 and the name means, "Gift of God."
01:04 But as I became an adult and author I thought,
01:07 you know, I'm gonna have to sign my name
01:08 100,000 times in my life.
01:09 I'd like it to be a little shorter.
01:11 So oddly enough my wife and my daughter
01:15 they both insist on the long version of their names,
01:18 even though everyone calls them the short ones.
01:19 So we're all being difficult and--
01:21 So you've save time even while signing your name?
01:24 Absolutely.
01:26 You know, make it nice and simple, J-O-N.
01:27 2.5 seconds, okay.
01:29 And it catches peoples' attention, too.
01:30 Yeah, that's good. You're unique.
01:34 We all are, you know.
01:36 Did you know that no two snowflakes are alike?
01:39 Sounds interesting.
01:40 If that's true and sciences have are telling us,
01:43 that's why I believe them.
01:45 If that's true then
01:46 no two human beings are exactly are alike.
01:49 And that means you have a unique mission
01:52 and something unique to do for God.
01:54 Amen. That sounds very encouraging.
01:57 I've never seen another person
01:58 that looks like me in this world.
02:00 That is true.
02:01 And then sometimes we say, it's a good thing,
02:03 but in your case, it will be all right to have a twin.
02:05 I don't know about that.
02:08 So today we're continuing now talking on the Gospel of John 1.
02:11 Where are we picking up today?
02:13 Okay, well at the first three programs
02:15 we were looking at the Gospel of John
02:16 as a whole and noticing a lot of its uniqueness,
02:20 but now we're coming into the first chapter
02:24 and that's what called a prologue here.
02:27 The first 18 verses of the Gospel of John
02:31 standout separately.
02:33 They're unique from the rest of the gospel.
02:35 And you might say, "Well, how come verse 19
02:37 isn't chapter 2?"
02:40 Well, it's because the chapters were not decided by John,
02:43 nor by us.
02:45 They kind of happened in the middle ages
02:47 and they were put in there just for convenience.
02:50 But the reality is the first 18 verses
02:53 really are set apart as something separate there.
02:57 And so we're gonna take this program
03:00 to have a look at that. Okay.
03:02 So, where are we picking up then?
03:03 Well, I want to talk about the prologue
03:06 as a whole for a minute.
03:08 Those three things about it that scholars have discovered
03:11 that are really interesting. Okay.
03:13 Why don't you start with the first five verses
03:16 and just read them for us?
03:17 "In the beginning was the Word,
03:19 and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
03:23 He was in the beginning with God.
03:25 All things were made through him,
03:27 and without him nothing was made that was made,
03:31 in him was life, and the life was the light of men.
03:35 And the light shines in the darkness,
03:38 and the darkness did not comprehend it."
03:41 Is that a little bit different than normal writing? It does.
03:45 It sounds like, it repeats itself. Yeah.
03:47 Yeah, there's a lot of repetition here.
03:49 You know, in the English language,
03:52 poetry is usually through rhyme.
03:56 You know, the last word kind of sounds the same.
04:00 But in Hebrew poetry,
04:02 it was rhythm and repetition that made it.
04:06 And scholars have noticed this looks like poetry here.
04:11 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
04:14 and the Word was God.
04:16 He was with God in the beginning."
04:19 This repletion and even in the English translation
04:23 you can feel like, you're getting a cadence going.
04:26 And then something else happens in verses 4 and 5.
04:30 You notice it says, "In it was life,
04:33 and the life was the light of men.
04:36 And the light shone in the darkness,
04:38 and the darkness didn't comprehend."
04:42 I called that "Stair-step parallelism."
04:45 It's like, you know, you have this double mention
04:48 here in verse 4 of life
04:51 and then there's a double mention of light
04:53 and then the double mention of darkness,
04:55 but the life is the light
04:56 and the light shines in the darkness,
04:58 they're linked together like a staircase, climbing up.
05:02 So you have two different forms of poetry here.
05:07 And what do you think is happening here?
05:10 You got a gospel in early book,
05:13 why would there be poetry in here all of a sudden?
05:15 Any idea?
05:16 I don't know, but it sounds also like a song
05:19 you could probably make a song out of this. Okay.
05:21 Yeah, songs-- songs usually start with poetry.
05:25 Where would the early church have songs?
05:27 Well, we know that they sing songs,
05:29 so possibly from the Book of Psalms or no songs.
05:34 Yeah, the Psalms in the Hebrew Bible
05:38 would probably been sung in the synagogues.
05:40 And we know from Paul that early churches
05:43 in their worship would sing songs.
05:46 So that was part of the thing.
05:48 So John seems to have taken an early Christian hymn
05:53 and built it into the prologue of the gospel.
05:57 So something that they were singing
06:00 and there's language in here
06:01 that seems earlier than the time when--
06:03 of the actual writing of the New Testament.
06:05 There's actually four or five hymns in the New Testament.
06:10 Most famous one is Philippians 2:6-11,
06:14 where you know, Jesus is with God in heaven
06:17 and He comes down and humbles Himself
06:20 and then gets exalted again.
06:22 That has all the sound of poetry again to it.
06:26 And all the hymns are similar in the themes.
06:29 You know, about God coming down and going back,
06:32 that's the theme of all the hymns.
06:34 So John takes an early Christian hymn.
06:36 He is connecting with church people
06:39 who would read this gospel.
06:41 He is connecting with them, right at the start.
06:43 So that's the neat part when you see that.
06:47 There's another aspect here it's a chiasm,
06:50 and that may not mean anything to you,
06:53 but it comes from the Greek letter "X."
06:56 You know the idea of like, a pyramid type of thing.
07:00 Notice right at the beginning, it says,
07:02 "In the beginning was the Word,
07:05 and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
07:09 In verse 1 and then if you hold your finger
07:11 then go to verse 18,
07:14 it says, "No one has ever seen God,
07:17 but God the One and Only
07:18 who was at the Father's side, has made him known."
07:22 So it's about the relationship
07:25 between God and the Word in verse 1
07:28 and then again in verse 18.
07:31 But then when you get to verse 3 it says,
07:33 "Through him all things were made."
07:36 And there's a special word about 'made'
07:39 and you go to verse 17,
07:41 "For the law was given through Moses,
07:44 but grace and truths came through Jesus Christ."
07:47 Now that translation misses it completely.
07:50 But what is your say from verse 17.
07:52 Actually, it says the same thing,
07:53 "For the law was given through Moses,
07:55 but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
07:58 This Greek words for "came" and Greek words for "is,"
08:02 this isn't that. It's the word 'becoming.'
08:06 And in Genesis 1,
08:10 it uses the word 'becoming' for creation.
08:13 It came to be, you see.
08:15 So in verse 3, everything came to be through the word.
08:20 In verse 17, the grace
08:24 and truth came to be in Jesus Christ.
08:28 So unfortunately, there is one of those times
08:29 where English translation lets us down
08:31 and we miss the parallels.
08:34 Verse 1 and verse 18 are parallel.
08:36 Verse 3 and 17 are parallel.
08:39 Verse 6 and 15, John the Baptist is mentioned twice
08:43 and those are parallel.
08:44 So it's like a big pyramid.
08:47 The beginning and the end is together
08:49 and then like a stair-step and that points to the middle.
08:54 Now, why is this,
08:55 why even bother telling you this?
08:58 It's because in the Hebrew mind,
09:00 they had a different kind of logic than we have.
09:04 In our Western logic, A+B equals what?
09:09 C. C.
09:10 You see, so there is a linear kind of a thing.
09:13 And it's going somewhere.
09:16 So where is the climax?
09:17 At the end. A+B, there is the climax.
09:21 In Hebrew logic, it's different. A+B equals A enhanced.
09:28 In other words, you go from A to B
09:30 and then you come back to A, but the A is bigger now.
09:35 Like a musical scale.
09:38 You have the A key and when you go through,
09:40 you come back to A,
09:42 but know there's more vibrations.
09:43 You see, that's kind of like that.
09:45 And in the Hebrew logic, the emphasis is not on the end,
09:50 but in the middle.
09:52 In the Book of Revelation I have come to feel
09:55 that the Book of Revelation is a giant pyramid like this.
09:59 And if that's true,
10:00 then the key to Book of Revelation
10:02 is in the middle chapters 12, 13, and 14.
10:06 And that's where the crucial things are happening.
10:09 So when you understand the Hebrew mindset
10:12 then you know where to look.
10:13 And what's in the middle of the prologue?
10:15 It's verses 12 and 13.
10:18 "But as many as received Him,
10:20 to them He gave the right to become children of God,
10:23 to those who believe in His name,
10:26 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,
10:30 nor of the will of man, but of God."
10:34 So it's telling this grand story about how God came down
10:39 and became one of us and then went back to,
10:44 you know, and send it back to heaven.
10:46 And what's the point of telling that story?
10:49 We find that in the middle here.
10:51 The point is so that people can come to God.
10:54 They can become children of God
10:56 and then becoming children of God,
10:59 they are transformed become new people.
11:02 So what God did in Jesus
11:05 as here seen in the Gospel of John for our sakes?
11:08 That we could understand God as He really was
11:12 that we could appreciate
11:13 something different about His character.
11:16 If you ask the average person,
11:18 what God is like? What would they say?
11:22 I don't know.
11:23 The most people think of God as kind of out there,
11:28 scary, maybe judgmental,
11:34 maybe even arbitrary.
11:36 You know, you have all these views of God
11:39 that people who don't know Him, have it,
11:41 and sometimes even Christian people
11:43 think of God in that way.
11:45 How is God gonna disabuse us of all of those views?
11:50 By revealing Himself in a human being.
11:53 And that's what the Gospel of John is all about,
11:55 is this revelation of what God is really like.
11:59 What is Jesus like? What is Jesus mean to you?
12:03 Well, Jesus to me, is a close personal friend,
12:07 He is my-- Not scary?
12:09 No. Okay.
12:11 I don't have any scary friends.
12:13 You know, if somebody scary,
12:15 you don't want to miss the friend.
12:16 Right. It's a logic there.
12:18 What is that say about a relationship to God?
12:21 Right.
12:22 If we have a scary God,
12:24 we're not gonna wanna be close to Him. Right.
12:25 Yeah. Right.
12:27 And that's how I view God that He is a close friend.
12:32 When I pray I open my heart to God as to a friend.
12:36 And I hope that even those who are viewing
12:40 perhaps do not have that view of God.
12:45 That the God is someone up there
12:47 and just pointing fingers at our sins
12:50 and that He's far distant from us,
12:54 but He is not, He is close to us,
12:58 and He wants to draw closer to us more.
13:03 This is good.
13:04 And that's what the Gospel John is all about.
13:07 That view of God is possible for us
13:10 because of the God we saw in Jesus.
13:13 And that's the key to this book.
13:16 Everybody else is experiencing Jesus is a human being.
13:19 It's only the reader through the Holy Spirit
13:22 that sees this deeper dimension who Jesus really is.
13:25 And Jesus came to reveal God's character.
13:28 Is that right? That's right.
13:31 It says a very explicitly
13:32 in this gospel over and over again.
13:34 So in this chiasm then,
13:38 He is connecting with Hebrew minded people,
13:40 Jewish people who may have had a view of God
13:44 as somewhat distance
13:45 and sometimes terrifying like, Mount Sinai.
13:48 And He wants now for them to see
13:50 that God doesn't want them to be slaves,
13:54 He wants them to be friends.
13:56 And you know that's the move
13:58 that happens in the Gospel of John.
14:01 It was good to have you with us again
14:03 and this time we'll take a quick break
14:05 and then we'll come back to the prologue,
14:07 you may want to read it during the break.


Revised 2014-12-17