"What is the best way to study the gospel of John?"

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Answered by: David, An Expert in the Studying the Bible Category
The key for successfully studying the gospel of John is to first understand that this gospel is not like the other three. As many are aware, the gospels of the New Testament are made up of four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Many readers of the Bible will quickly come to realize the gospel of John deviates from the path laid out by the other three gospels. John's gospel focuses on miracles. You won't find many parables here! John goes through the life of Jesus with a clinical eye, which isn't surprising; he was a physician.

The gospel itself is composed of twenty-one chapters. This would easily be broken down into three chapters a night for one week, perhaps culminating at a weekly Bible study. Anytime someone wishes to study the Bible--any book--it is advised that the study is done in groups. This will help everyone work through the material and have others with whom one can ask questions. For someone without access to a Bible study group and without the free time for study, a chapter a night before bed is advisable. The gospel would be done in less than a month.

There is a lot of rich information online for anyone who has questions about the Bible but cannot attend a study group. Like any study, the material should be read more than once, but the material should be read at least once--completely--before attempting to delve further into the nuances of the signs and symbolism contained within.

As with all books, one should have at least a passing knowledge of the author. As mentioned before, John was a physician, and as such, one should notice the way in which he writes. For instance notice how specific he is in John 21:11, notice the "one-hundred and fifty three" fish in the boat. John could have said "a lot of fish," or "about one-hundred and fifty fish," but as a man of science, he dictates the exact figure. The purpose of this information is twofold: (1) this shows to clear eye for detail John shows in his writing, so the gospel of John should be read slowly and carefully. (It's not long so this isn't as painful as it sounds!) (2) This shows a great intersection between science and faith. A man of science is writing this beautiful gospel, now more than ever people should be studying the gospel of John to see how even a rational-thinking man can be a believer. This book is a great inspiration for people who are struggling with their Christianity, as well as those who have never read the Bible.

In the end, a careful study of the gospel of John can be very successful if the student understands who wrote the book and slowly takes in all the rich details found within the text. While it may be the final book of gospels in the New Testament, the gospel of John is one of the best sources to begin one's study of the life and times of Jesus.

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