Course D: The Gospel of John
Lesson 1 – John’s Prologue , John 1:1-18
Getting Started The gospel of John begins differently than the three “synoptic” gospels. Matthew begins with Jesus’ genealogy. Mark jumps right into Jesus’ ministry. Luke lays the background for Jesus’ birth through the angel’s announcements to Zechariah and Mary. John, however, elevates his writing to a different level. He trusts that his readers are familiar with the other three gospels, so he does not repeat their material. He rather begins with a theological treatise on Jesus’ origin and the purpose of his coming to earth. He does this to dismiss some of the false notions of Gnosticism (“gnosis” = “knowledge”) that were affecting the church at the time he wrote these words. In so doing, he introduces the reader to the purpose of this book – to see that Jesus is God’s true Son, the Word made flesh, who came to give life to the believer.
起头：約翰福音的开头與其它三個福音書不同。馬太福音以耶穌的家譜開始。马可福音開始于耶穌的事工。路加福音以天使向Zechariah 和马利亚 宣告耶穌降生的訊息為背景展開。約翰福音卻是從另一個更高的層面來講述的。他從神學的角度論述耶穌的出身以及他來到世間的目的。他以這樣的方式來消除诺斯替教的錯誤觀念對當時教會的影響。如此他便向讀者介紹了此書的目的 – 認識耶穌為神的兒子，他道成肉身，他来到世上为的是要将生命赐给信他的人。。。。。
A. The Word was God 1:1-3
- What would John’s first readers have thought of when they read the words in the beginning?
- How do we know John is talking about Jesus Christ when he speaks of the Word?
- Gnosticism was an attempt to use biblical terms to teach an intellectual philosophy. This philosophy rejected the notion that Jesus was God or that people needed a Savior from sin. The Greek term for “word” is “logos.” The following paragraph is how a Gnostic understood “logos.”
Logos: often translated as “word”, its true meaning is much more multifunctional (a better translation would be “reason”). The Logos is the light that gives Gnosis via communication. It is the Christ (not to be confused with Jesus). First there was a thought, then the word. We pass on knowledge in this world through words. It is something that gives us guidance by “seeing” or a certain amount of comprehension. (from Gnostic Glossary by Karl Nygren)
What is John saying by referring to Jesus as the Word (logos)? 约翰称耶稣为道（Logos）是什么意思？
- How does John emphasize that the Word is distinct from the Father?
- Summarize what verses 1-3 say about who the Word is, what the Word is like, and what the Word has done.
概括1－3節里所說的 誰是“道”， “道”是甚麼樣子，以及“道”成就了甚麼。
B. The Word was the true Light 1:4-13
- Gnostics sought spiritual enlightenment similar to some forms of today’s Hinduism. How does John explain the connection among the Word, life, and light?
- How does verse 5 apply to the world in John’s day and to the world today? How have you witnessed this truth in your own life?
- Which “John” is referred to in verse 6? John the Baptist
- How do verses 7-9 describe John’s ministry and its relationship to Jesus’ ministry?
- Give examples from the gospels that show what John means in verses 10-11.
- How do verses 12-13 describe the relationship one has with God through Jesus Christ?
- What other passages do you think of when you read the words born of God?
C. The Word Became Flesh 1:14-18
- What other passages of Scripture would help us understand the statement the Word became flesh?
- In Greek the word for “lived” means “pitched his tent (or tabernacle).” Why is that a good way to describe the earthly ministry of Jesus? How might that also describe our life on this earth?
- How did the apostle John see the glory of God’s “one and only”? (“One and only” refers not merely to number but to uniqueness; “one of a kind.”)
- Why is it so significant to say that God’s Son is full of grace and truth? (See Ephesians 2:9; John 8:31-32, 44-46; 17:17; 18:37)
- How does verse 15 say the same thing as verses 1-2?
- A literal translation of verse 16 says, From his fullness we have all received grace in exchange for grace. Use verse 17 to explain what verse 16 means.
- What is the contrast John is setting up in verse 17? What does he mean by grace and truth?
- Verse 18 contains a variant reading. Some manuscripts read “God the only Son,” but the better reading seems to be this: The one and only God, who is in the Father’s lap, that one has told the whole story.
What is John emphasizing in this verse? (This underscores the book’s theme.)
- Give a summary of how this introduction has prepared us for reading the story of Jesus.