How to study John (NASB)

    1. Although the author of John is not identified by name, tradition holds that it was the apostle John. Read John 21:20-25 and note how the author identifies himself. You might want to put this reference or information under "Author" on the John at a Glance chart.

    2. To understand the propose of John read John 20:30-31. Record this on Structure of John . Keep John's purpose in mind as you study this Gospel.

Chapter 1-12

    1. Carefully read this segment chapter by chapter, observing what the author includes to accomplish his purpose.

a) Mark the following key words and their synonyms: believe, life, sign, judge (judgment), witness, love, sin, true (truth), Spirit, and King (kingdom). (NASB)

b) Write the key words on an index card and mark them in the same way you mark them in your Bible. Use this as a bookmark.

c)Also mark any other repeated key words that are pertinent to the message of the chapter.

2. As you read each of the first 12 chapter, ask the "5 W's and H": Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? Observe the events and the people.

a)Events: What is happening? For example, "Nicodemus come to Jesus by night."

b) Geographic locations: Where is this event taking place? For example, John was baptizing at Bethany beyond the Jordan. Double-underline in green all geographical locations.

c) Time of events: When is this event taking place? For example, "on the third day," or before the Feast of the Passover." Mark time phrases with a green clock. When Jesus attends a feast, put a clock in the margin and write the name of the feast.

d) Portrayals of Jesus Christ: How is Jesus picture or described? For example: "the Word," "the Lamb of God," etc. You may want to note this in the margin.

e) Signs and Miracles: The signs John recorded were for the purpose of leading people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Look for these signs or miracles and note them with a special symbol in the margin. For example, Jesus turned water into wine. The text says this was the beginning of His signs.

f) References that show the deity of Jesus (references that show that Jesus is God, such as "I am"). Each time you note such a reference, write Deity in the margin, and under it, record the next reference to His deity. This will give you a good chain of cross-reference.

g) Witnesses: Throughout his Gospel, John refers to those who bear witness to Jesus. We are these witnesses and what is their witness? For example, John said "I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God" (John 1:34).

3. Determine the main subject or theme of each chapter and then record on Structure of John .

Chapter 13-17

    1. This segment brings a change in Jesus' ministry as He draws away with the disciples in order to prepare them for what is to come. Make a new list of key words on a bookmark: believe, love, works, commandments, fruits, abide, ask, truth (truly), witness, and devil (Satan), ruler of this world). (NASB) (Go back to chapter 12 and mark the references to ruler of this world.)

    2. Mark in the text in a distinctive way all reference, including pronouns, to the Holy Spirit. Then list in your notebook everything your learn about the Holy Spirit. This is especially important in chapter 14 through 16.

    3. List in your notebook any specific instructions or commandments that Jesus gives the disciples.

    4. Record the main theme of each chapter as you did before.

Chapter 18-21

    1. The final chapters of John give an account of the events surrounding the arrest, trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and the post resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ. As you read each chapter:

a) Mark the following key words and their synonyms: witness, believe, love, truth (true), life, signs, and king (kingdom). (NASB)

b) Record the progression of events from Jesus' arrest through His resurrection and post resurrection appearances, noting the chapter and verse. Remember that since Luke gives the chronological order of the events, it becomes a plumb line for the other Gospel records.

a) Review your chapter themes of John and determine the theme of the book. Record this in the appropriate place on Structure of John

b) You will notice a section titled "Segment Divisions" and two lines where you can record "Signs and Miracles" and "Portrayals of Jesus Christ" Review the information you have recorded in the margins. Record your observations on the appropriate segment division line. For example, in chapter 1 Jesus referred to as "the Lamb of God". Record that fact at chapter 1 under "Portrayals of Jesus Christ". This will give you a visual picture of the structure of John.

Key Words in the NIV and KJV

Key doctrines in John

  1. The divinity of Jesus Christ - who Jesus really is (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5; 20:28-32; Is 9:6; 40:9; Jer 23:5, 6; Zech 13:7; Matt 1:23; Mark 2:7-10; Rom 9:5; 1Cor 1:30; Phil 2:6; Col 2:9; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20; Rev 22;13)

  2. Salvation through Jesus Christ - how people should respond to Jesus (1:1-18; 6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11-14; 11:25; 14:6; 17:3; Gen 3:15; Pss 3:8; 37:39; Is 45:2-22; 49:6; 59:16; 63:9; Luke 1:69; Acts 4:12; 16:31; Rom 5:18; 10:9; Eph 2:8; 5:23; 2Tim 1:10; Heb 2:10; 5:9; 1Pet 1:5; 1 John 1:1-4)


Studies on John