John Chapter 1

Published Aug. 30, 2023, 12:40 p.m.

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

  1.  "In the beginning..."  Makes you think of what?  Luke and Matthew both give geneologies of Jesus.  Is this a geneology of sorts?

  2. "...was the Word."  See Rev. 19:11-16.

  3. "By him was everything made."  Psalm 33:6  Col. 1:16

  4. "In him was life.  And that life was the light of men..."  
  5. What does the passage have to say about God's view of reality?

  6. How does this passage impact my intimacy with Him?

  7. How does this passage impact my relationships with other people and with the natural world?

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own,[b] and his own people[c] did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

  1. What "John" are we talking about here?

  2. John is a witness of the light.  What possible confusion is the gospel writer trying to shut down?

  3. First John calls Jesus "The Word".  Now He refers to Jesus as the "true light".  What kind of contrasts are being set up here about light specifically?  Why does this make such a good metaphor?  Is is more than metaphor?

  4. Follow the progression from vs. 10 to 11 to 12.  How does the 'mood' or 'tone' shift as you go through these verses?

  5. What other contrasts are emerging here? 

  6. Consider the imagery of birth.  What does it mean to "become childern of God"?  What does the will of a creature have to do with its own birth?
    "sons of God" shows up 6 times in the OT usually referning to angels  (Gen. 6,  Deut. 32,  Job 1, 2, 38)  Real meaning?

  7. "Sons of God" is in the NT 5 times (Matt 5:9,  Luke 20:36, Rom. 8:14, 19, Gal. 3:26) "Children of God" is in the NT 10 times (John, Rom. Phil. 1 John) Are christians direct creations from God?  What would it look like to embrace this identity?

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.[e] 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God,[f] who is at the Father's side,[g] he has made him known.

  1. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us"   Unpack this statement.

  1. John uses flesh (sarx) rather than body (soma).    What does "flesh" convey that "body" might not capture?

  2. John uses "made his dwelling" which is like a verb form of tabernacle.
  3. What contrasting statements are present here?

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight[h] the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

  1. What was John the Baptist's testimony?

  2. John says here that he is not Elijah.  Jesus says elsewhere (Matthew 17:11-13) that John was Elijah (as far as the disciples understood it).   Why did the Pharisees think Elijah must come (Malachi 4:5-6).

  3. What contrasting statements are present here?

  4. Any significance to the sandal statement?  Where else does the bible mention sandals?

Behold, the Lamb of God

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son[i] of God.”

  1. John (both John's) Identifies Jesus with the "Lamb" here (and many times in Revelation).  Why do you think?  (Gen. 22:8 , Ex. 12:5, Is.53:7, 1Cor 5:7)

  2. How would you explain vs. 33 "I myself did not know him." since John and Jesus were cousins?  (Luke 1:35-49)

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.[j] 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus[k] was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter[l]).

  1. Who were the "two disciples" of John (vs. 37) who followed Jesus?

  2. Messiah == Christ == Annointed == Promised Coming King == Savior of Israel
  3. Andrew is always pictured bringing someone to see Jesus. (John 1:42, John 6:7-9)  Why is Andrew excited to introduce people to Jesus?

  4. Andrew has "the real thing" to show off.  Are we less excited about introducing people to Jesus than Andrew? 

  5. What is somthing you are unashamedly excited about?  (By "excited" I mean you can talk about, at length, without fear of other people's reactions)

  6. Are there specific actions I should take in response to this passage?

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,[m] you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

  1. Note:  Nathanael is called Bartholomew in the other gospels.  Bartholomew is a family name (starting with "bar" == son of) Bartholomew is almost always associated with Phillip in the other gospels.

  2. What is Philip's Evangelism message?  Is that accessible to us today?
  3. "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" was probably a "proverbial saying".  We might say "Can anything good come out of Washington DC?"
    But would you say that to someone from DC?  I get the impression that Nathnael didn't have much of a filter (let's say "yet").  How does Jesus speak to Nathanel?

  4. Why do you think Nathanael was so impressed?
  5. "Truly, truly" will show up 25 times in the ESV in John's Gospel.  Jesus is really saying "Amen amen" which is Hebrew.  The doubling up adds emphasis.  Amen means "So be it"  "Let it be so"  etc.  (For more check out here:
  6. What might Jesus be referencing in vs. 51?

Interpretation Question:

  1. What seems to be the author's intent for these passages?

  2. Is there a principle or lesson that is communicated to the audience? If so, what is it?

  3. Would these principles or lessons be applied in the same way today as they would have for the original audience?

  4. Are these interpretations consistent with the theme, structure and purpose of the letter/book in which they are found?

  5. Are these interpretations consistent with other scripture?

Application Questions:

  1. What does the passage have to say about God's view of reality?

  2. How does this passage impact my intimacy with Him?

  3. How does this passage speak to the issues and attitudes of my heart?

  4. How does this passage impact my relationships with other people and with the natural world?

  5. What specific actions does God want me to take in response to this passage?

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  • Introduction to John's Gospel

  • John Chapter 1
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  • John Chapter 2

  • John Chapter 3

  • John Chapter 4

  • John Chapter 5

  • John Chapter 6

  • John Chapter 7 (and end of Ch.6)

  • John Chapter 8

  • John Chapters 9 and 10

  • John Chapter 10 and 11

  • John Chapter 12

  • End of John 12 and Chapter 13

  • John Chapter 14

  • John Chapter 15 and 16

  • John Chapter 17

  • John Selections from Ch. 18 and 19

  • John Chapter 20 and 21