The Gospel According to Who? - Part 1
Some of you may have noticed that I rather abruptly did not finish my series on The Gospel According to John even though we did not come close to finishing the book study. There is a simple reason for this. That is because I fear that some of the material I may have covered is inaccurate. I do not take lightly my responsibility with the words I share, whether they be spoken or written, especially when it comes to sharing Scripture.
My error stems from misrepresenting the author of the book. We are told of the Bereans n Acts 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." They studied the Scriptures for themselves to see if God's written word agreed with the spoken word of God's preacher.
Unfortunately I must admit that I have not done that when it comes to the question, who wrote the gospel of John? So who wrote the gospel of John? Obviously John the apostle, right? That is what I always believed. That is what I was always taught.
Please do not tune out just yet, but John the apostle did not write the gospel that bares his name. I know many of you are already ahead of me in this quest. No doubt, there are also many who would cry, "heretic" without hearing the evidence. Please be open-minded enough to consider that something new could be learned if we just turn to the Scriptures rather than the teachings of man.
We must realize that there is always something new to learn. If not, Paul would have never written to Timothy, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Again I Peter 3:15 tells us to ". . . be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."
The Eye-Witness Author
We know that the fourth gospel is an eye-witness account (have you checked that fact for yourself or are you just taking my word for it?), so if John is not the author, the facts of the book must necessarily change. I take this very seriously. The very meaning of many verses in the gospel are no longer true if we teach John (the eye-witness) wrote the book.
We must follow the path of Scripture and determine for ourselves what they say apart from what may have been taught for hundreds of years. I believe if you stay with me through this study you will come to the same conclusion that I have. John simply did not write the book.
So what? Who cares who the author is? Is it really important to know? I have no doubt the answer is yes. The truth of who the author is or is not shapes the way the book is taught. Was it John that leaned on Jesus' shoulder at the last supper? Was it John who ran to the tomb with Peter? Was it John that Peter asked, ". . . Lord, and what shall this man do?" in John 21:21.
Am I not a bit arrogant to reject as truth things that have been taught as truth for hundreds of years? I have already admitted my error. Hopefully that is not a show of arrogance, but we must realize that just because a thought has been around for a while - or even a very long time does not make it true. Truth does not change no matter how long a fallacy is perpetuated as truth. People have believed in evolution for over a century, but it still is not true. Neither does it become true just because the majority of people believe it.
Were you taught that the Aposple John was the author of the Gospel that bares his name?
"Well, so and so taught in seminary that John wrote the book, and he must know because he is smart." Oh, really? One of the last places I would want to go to learn truth is a seminary. Most scholars teach it as true, but the mere fact that most scholars might teach a thing is true, does not make it so.
Didn't the early church claim John as the author? There is no evidence of that, but even if they did, does that make a statement true? We know from Scripture itself that the early church committed errors. Consider Galatians 3:1 - " O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth . . . ." Add to that Hebrews 5:12 - " For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."
You may "just know" that John is the author of the fourth gospel and feel you do not need to check the Scriptures as the Bereans did. If that is the case, then why not take the challenge anyway. There is nothing to lose knowing that you could not possibly be wrong. Maybe, just maybe there is something new to learn. One of the things that I learned from this study is that if I hold on to beliefs just because they are my beliefs, and I become too proud to consider another thought, many people are hurt, but I take the most weight. The Truth will make you free - not burden you and weigh you down.
We know that we can trust God's Word. We know that humans can and do make mistakes. Therefore it becomes necessary for us to study for ourselves and not be spoon fed all the time. Psalm 18:8 tells us, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." So let the Lord speak to you through His Spirit. Even as we continue in this study, if I give you something that is not biblical, be cautious. Consider it for yourself. Let God have the final word. When you Consider non-biblical sources, you need to especially be wary.
When we are sick we call the doctor, we take medicine, we get rest, and nothing seems to make us feel better. Maybe we should have gone to God first. Should not He be the first stop in all things. We are so quick to turn to outside sources for truth; things like seminaries, traditions, "Bible scholars. Sometimes the last place we check is the Bible. In reality, it ought to be the first place we go. If we want Bible answers, the Bible makes the most sense to turn to. Therefore, as we study this topic, we will use only Scripture - no outside sources, no traditions; only what the Bible says.
May I give you an assignment? Be like the Bereans of old and study the scripture for yourself.Go through the gospel with a fine tooth comb. Dig more than usual. Stretch your comfort zone. See if you can find a single verse that would point to John as the author of the fourth gospel. If we can determine together that there is not a single verse in the entire Bible that teaches this, are you willing to be open-minded enough to reject the false teaching and replace it with the truth.
Secondly, if Scripture can actually prove an idea false, are you willing to let it go and search for the truth. We will continue to deal with the author of what is commonly referred to as the Gospel of John in Part 2. It is time the walls come down.
- The Gospel According to Who? - Part 2
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?