Spirit, Learning and Life

Forming character through the insights of literature, contemporary culture and Scripture.

Invitation to John

John is so unique among the four gospels of the New Testament that a commentator once gave it the nickname “maverick”. All tell the same basic story of Jesus, but the fourth one is distinct in tone and content. John is all about Jesus explaining his nature and purpose in the world. Jesus was God in human form, a king who looks like anything but as he washes his students’ feet as though he were a common servant. He said he did it as a symbol of his entire life’s purpose — to reveal God’s true self-giving nature.

Our nearly two years of studying it together touched our lives deeply, and kept inviting us into a deeper relationship with Jesus. Who exactly is Jesus in our 21st century, post-Christendom world? Just as it did for the 1st century readers, the book of John taught us that Jesus is alive and real and can change your life forever.

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The Bible Project has excellent free videos and other resources on John and many other books of the Bible — thebibleproject.com


How John Tells a Story” by Craig Koester
“Characters in John” by Craig Koester


Reading John by Christopher W. Skinner - both scholarly and accessible, with lots of clear examples; an excellent intro

A Retreat With John the Evangelist: That You May Have Life by Raymond E. Brown - a good 7 day study, this book is short, creative, to the point and even humorous

The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel by Craig R. Koester - Koester is always a reliable guide and this deeper study of John is a rich overview

Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community by Craig R. Koester - this book will help you realize there’s a lot more going on in John than you thought!

John: That You May Believe by R. Kent Hughes - a great read for devotional purposes

John for Everyone, Part 1 & 2 by Tom (N.T.) Wright - excellent scholarship in a very readable, devotional format with helpful illustrations

John, the Maverick Gospel by Robert Kysar - this book offers more of a scholarly study of John as well as theological interpretation and preaching insights

Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel by Sandra S. Schneiders