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John 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John.

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Presentation on theme: "John 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John."— Presentation transcript:

1 John 1 Introduction: Prologue and Witness of John

2 Broad Outline of Fourth Gospel Ch. 1Introduction Prologue (1:1-18) Witness of John and His Disciples (1:19-51) Ch. 2-12Jesus Before the World (“Book of Signs”) Ch Jesus Before the Disciples (“Book of Passion/Glory”) Ch. 21Appendix: Appearance in Galilee

3 Prologue (1:1-18) Jesus as Incarnation of God’s Eternal Word Setting and Structure of Prologue 1.Sets story in eternal, cosmic frame of reference. 2.Probably based on an early Christian hymn. a.Has pronounced poetic structure. b.V. 6-8, 15 (13, 17-18) are prose additions by Evangelist. c.Cf. Phil. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1: “Step-parallelism” based on interlocking chain of key words. a.Second term of each line becomes first term of next line. b.“Beginning…Word; Word…God; God…Word;” etc. c.Key words: Word, God, life, light, darkness, world, his own, receive, glory, full. d.Provides a kind of “overture” to Fourth Gospel.

4 Prologue (1:1-18) Jesus as Incarnation of God’s Eternal Word Setting and Structure of Prologue 4.Rich background of Logos concept. a.Stoicism – divine principle giving coherence, rationality to cosmos b.OT: Gen. 1 – creative word of God ; prophets – divine communication c.Philo – personified Logos as intermediary between God and world d.Jewish Wisdom – personified being; preexistent; agent of creation and revelation; Wisdom = Torah = Word (Prov. 8:22-36; Wisd. of Sol. 9) 5.Outline of Prologue – 4 (or 5) "strophes": a.Word and God (v. 1-2) b.Word and Creation (v. 3-5) c.Word and John the Baptist (v. 6-8; cf. v. 15) d.Word and Human World (v. 9-13) e.Word and Believing Community (v )

5 Theological Message of Prologue (1:1-18) Strophe1: Word and God (v. 1-2) 1.Logos is “pre-existent” (v. 1-2). a.Jesus embodies what God has always been saying/doing. b.John has a “3-stage” Christology: heaven – earth – heaven. c.Not a “2-stage” Christology: earth – heaven. 2.Logos is “divine” (v. 1-2). a.Distinct “being” alongside God (“with God”). b.Some degree of unity with God (“was God”). c.Lack of definite article with “God.” 1)Grammatically marks “God” as predicate nominative rather than subject (can’t translate “God was the Word”). 2)Implies something less than full identity of Logos and God. a)Moffatt: “Word was divine.” b)NEB: “What God was, the Word was.”

6 Theological Message of Prologue (1:1-18) Strophe 2: Word and Creation (v. 3-5) 3.Logos is “agent of Creation” (v. 3). a.Refutes Gnostic negation of world (not inherently evil, but fallen). b.Creator and Redeemer are one (redemption is a New Creation). 4.Logos is “agent of revelation” (v. 4-5). a.Infuses Creation with life; life becomes "light of all people," medium of revelation; presence of life gives witness to a Life-giver. b.“Light shines in the darkness” (v. 5). 1)Is this pre-Christian revelation (in creation, through prophets, etc.) or incarnation in Jesus? 2)Scholars debate where incarnation is first mentioned (v. 5, 9, 10, 14): a)Käsemann: v. 5. b)Brown: v. 10 (v. 9 is transition to it). c)Bultmann: hinted at from v. 5; first explicit in v )V. 5 has timeless quality: light which shone in Jesus is “none other than that which had always shone in creation” (Bultmann). 4)Has implications for theories of universalism or exclusivism. c.“Darkness did not overcome ( NRSV ) / understand ( NIV ) it.” 1) Katalambanō is ambiguous: overpower or comprehend. 2)World in darkness does not comprehend the light, but does not overpower it either (there is conflict, but light ultimately prevails).

7 Theological Message of Prologue (1:1-18) Interpolation: Word and John (v. 6-8) 5.Logos is “superior to John” (v. 6-8; cf. v. 15). a.Prose interpolation into hymn by Evangelist. b.Emphasizes subordination of John to Jesus. c.Placement of these verses here may suggest that, for Evangelist, v. 5 already refers to incarnation.

8 Theological Message of Prologue (1:1-18) Strophe 3: Word and Human World (v. 9-13) 6.Logos “provokes division in the world” (v. 9-13). a.Pre-Christian revelation or revelation in Christ? 1)V sound universal – revelation to pagans apart from Christ? 2)V. 11 may allude to revelation to Jews – pre-Christian or Christian? a)First “his own” (neut.) = world, which he created. b)Second “his own” (masc.) = people (humans in gen. or Jews in part.?). b.Presence of Revealer provokes division. 1)World did not know him; “his own” did not accept him. 2)Some believed – empowered to become “children of God” (v. 12). a)“Pivot” verse in Culpepper’s “chiastic” structure (p. 116). (Chiasm = ABB’A’ structural pattern) Chiasm b)Essence of the incarnation: He became as we are so that we might become as he is (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21). c)Being a child of God is not a matter of natural generation but of faith decision (v.13).

9 Theological Message of Prologue (1:1-18) Strophe 4: Word and Believing Community (v ) 7.Logos is “incarnated in Jesus” (v ). a.“Word became flesh” (v. 14) – most explicit statement of incarnation. b.“Dwelled” among us – skēnoō = “pitched a tent; tabernacled.” 1)Recalls OT tabernacle, where “shekinah glory” of God dwelled in midst of his people. 2)That glory is now embodied in Jesus. c.Shifts to 1 st person pl. – believing community bears witness to the “glory,” “grace,” and “truth” revealed in the incarnation (v. 14, 16). d.Jesus’ revelation is superior to Moses’ – “law” vs. “grace and truth” (v. 17). (Note first explicit naming of Jesus.) e.Jesus’ unique relationship to the Father makes his revelation superior (v. 18). 1)“God the only Son” – monogenēs = only; unique; one of a kind; only begotten; only son. 2)“In the bosom of the Father” = place of honor (cf. 13:23; Lk. 16:22). 3)“Made him known” – exēgeomai = explain; make known – technical term for rabbinic exegesis of Torah.

10 Witness of John and His Disciples (1:19-51) “He must increase; I must decrease” (3:30) Witness of John the Baptist (v ) 1.John plays different role in FG. a.Not eschatological prophet and preacher of repentance. b.Does not report that John baptized Jesus. c.Role is to give "testimony" to Jesus; "bears witness” to Jesus. 2.Emphasizes subordination of John to Jesus (v ). a.John is not the Messiah; not Elijah; not “the Prophet.” b.John is only: 1)The voice of one crying in the wilderness (Isa. 40:3). 2)One who baptizes with water (not Spirit). 3)Not worthy to untie sandals of One coming after (slave’s task). 3.John’s witness to Jesus (v ): a.“Lamb of God who takes away sins of the world.” b."He ranks ahead of me because he was before me." c.Saw Spirit descend/remain on him; baptizes with Holy Spirit. d.“This is the Son of God.”

11 Witness of John’s Disciples (v ) John fades from picture; his disciples transfer allegiance to Jesus – "He must increase; I must decrease" (3:30). 1.Jesus’ first disciples come from John’s followers (v ). a.Andrew and unnamed disciple “follow” Jesus. They call him Rabbi (teacher of law), become his disciples. Note pregnant lang.: 1)What do you “seek” (cf. Mt. 6:33). 2)Where are you “abiding” (cf. Jn. 15:4). 3)Come and “see.” b.Andrew finds brother Simon; announces "we have found the Messiah;" brings Simon to Jesus, who renames him Cephas/Peter. 1)Cf. Mk. 1:16-20 – Simon and Andrew called together. 2)Cf. Mk. 8:29 – in FG, Andrew "steals" Peter’s Confession. 3)Cf. Mt. 16:18 – Peter’s renaming follows Peter’s Confession. 2.Calling of Philip and Nathanael (v ). a.Jesus calls Philip to "follow me;" Philip calls Nathanael. b.Nathanael’s skepticism is answered by Jesus’ divine insight. 1)“An Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (alludes to Jacob). 2)“I saw you under the fig tree” (image of Messianic Age of peace). c.Nathanael’s confession: Rabbi; Son of God; King of Israel. d.Jesus: You will see angels ascending/descending upon Son of Man (recalls Jacob’s ladder). 3.Whole passage is full of messianic titles – no “Messianic Secret.”

12 Chiasm(us) Line 1:AB Line 2:B'A' Chiastic structure of Prologue (cf. Culpepper, p. 116): A B C D E F G H G' F' E' D' C' B' A'


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