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Know That You Know That You Know
- The Gospel According to Who? - Part 1
The Apostle John generally is given credit for writing the fourth gospel that bares his name - but did he? If not John, then who did?
A Little Background
Recently I was talking to a gentleman and I brought up the question "Who wrote the Gospel of John?" He immediately went on the defensive and began to quote so-called scholars, I asked for biblical evidence. He offered none. I tried to show him from the Scriptures alone that it is impossible for John to have written the book. The Word of God did not matter. He held tenaciously to his misguided beliefs. - not willing to examine any evidence that might contradict his preconceived ideas.
For years I believed that the Apostle John wrote the book that bares his name. I was taught this in church, in Bible college, and just about everywhere else in Christian circles. It was not until I did some independent research that I discovered otherwise. I let the Bible speak for itself, and my conclusion is not what I expected. The Biblical evidence is clear that someone other than John wrote the book.
You may also believe that the Apostle John wrote the Gospel that bares his name. That really is not the issue. The issue is, are you willing to examine the Bible for yourself? Are you willing to be challenged in your beliefs? And if need be, are you willing to change your beliefs?
The Traditions of Men
Colossians 2:8 tells us, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men . . . ." I wonder if we have not fallen from time to time for the traditions of men. Even our Bible-based churches have given in to traditions of men. Have you? We are clearly told in this verse to be careful about accepting philosophies and man-made traditions as truth. You need to know that you know that you know. You need to know where you stand, what you believe and why, and then not move from your position.
Jesus said in John 8:32, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Scripture is truth Jesus is truth. You have no need of anyone but Him. Let Him speak truth into your ears. Let him guide you. Yes, listen to the preacher. Pay attention to books you may read. Hear carefully what is being presented as truth on TV and radio. Then look at it through the lens of the Bible, and it differs, " . . .let God be true, but every man a liar. . . ."
Traditions or Truth?
Examples of tradition versus truth are found in almost every church. I realize many of these traditions which are taken for truth may be innocent. But I do challenge you to consider where you stand on these thoughts. I do not demand or even ask that you agree with me. I only ask, are you following traditions as taught by men; whether they be pastors, priests or kings; whether they be a well known author or an established TV personality or are you following the truth of the one who will make you free. Consider the following - traditions or truth?
Back to our beginning example - who wrote the Gospel of John? I am convinced after weeks of study that John is not the author. Do not just read this and go on? I challenge you to dig for yourself. Find a single verse that points to the Apostle John as the author. I have yet to find one verse that gives the impression that John is the author, but I have found many that point to another. What do you find? I would like to know. Please share your results in the comment section below.
What about the Last Supper? How many attended? Just because Leonardo da Vinci painted a beautiful picture portraying Jesus and the 12 disciples, does that mean only 13 were present? We are taught this as truth, but try to find one verse that says only 13 were present. There were hundreds of disciples that followed Christ. I would appreciate it if you could find me scripture that supports the idea that the Last Supper was only attended by the 13.
How often have we heard that a chariot of fire took the prophet Elijah to Heaven. Is that really what II Kings 2:11 says - "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." The chariot of fire separated Elijah from Elisha - " . . .and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
Does It Really Matter?
You may ask, "Does it really matter? These are small things and really do not make a difference in Bible truth. Who really cares who wrote the Book of John. It is what is written that is important, not the name of the book."
I respectfully disagree. It is important how we portray Scripture. In the case of the authorship of John, many claim that it was John who ran to the empty tomb with Peter. It was John who asked the Lord who was the betrayer at the Last Supper. It was John who was known to the High Priest and allowed entrance at the trial of Christ. You ask, "Is it important?" It most certainly is because if someone other than John did these things, then we have lied. We hold to these teachings as true, yet there is not a shred of scriptural evidence that John was involved in any of these incidents.
Have you ever followed any traditions rather than the truth?
For years I believed that John wrote the Fourth Gospel. For years I believed that Elijah went to Heaven on a chariot of fire. For too long I believed there were only the 12 Apostles and Jesus present at the Last Supper. Why? Because I trusted the traditions of men rather than seeking for myself. But what about this question? Why do we defend the false beliefs we carry even when there is evidence to the contrary? Why do we run when a different idea is revealed rather than weigh the evidence? Why do we claim to believe the truth, but when confronted with something other than what was previously taught we hide in a corner?
My prayer is that you will investigate these and other Biblical teachings for what they are - the Word of God. Know that you know that you know. I Peter 3:15 gives us this instruction - "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you . . . ."
When someone challenges your beliefs can you stand toe to toe and defend them Biblically? It is not about traditions taught by the church. It is not the philosophies of preachers that are passed off as Bible truth. What does the Bible actually say?
The Bigger Issues
The three examples we have discussed may seem small, but in reality it is a matter of truth or error. What about the so-called bigger issues. You need to settle these in your heart once for all based on Bible knowledge.
Can you defend from the Bible your position on salvation? Can you clearly explain to someone how they can know for sure their sins are forgiven and that they have been given new life from Christ? Can you show them from the Bible?
What about eternal security? It is not about what the church teaches. Have you decided for yourself if your salvation can ever be lost, or are you sealed by God forever? Can you sit down with someone and open the Word of God and state your case?
How about the Bible version you use? Do you have a Scriptural reason for your choice, or does anything go?
What do you call sin and why, based on the Bible? What about homosexuality? What about abortion? Do not just parrot some other. Show me Scripture to make your point either way.
The list could go on, but you get the picture. Know that you know that you know, and do not be moved. David writes in Psalm 16:8, "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."