The Book of John-Introduction

The author of this book is John (Yochanon), a talmid of Yeshua and the youngest son of Zebedee and his mother Salome, and was a fisherman by trade. He is the brother of James (Jacob) and he outlived the other talmidim. He wrote this book after the other gospels, and he includes many things not recorded in the others. The main theme of the book is to prove that Yeshua was the Son of God, and includes many signs to refute those who said he wasn’t. It was written after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD and before 90 AD. Now, there are four levels of Jewish interpretation and John is written at the “sowd” level and that is why this book is different than the others. There are many idioms, phrases and concepts in this book and these will be pointed out as we study the book. John was a Galilean and seems to be an “unlearned” man (Acts 4.13) but he was given spiritual gifts that qualified him to have deep insight into the Messiah, his work and prophecy. He will introduce Yeshua as the personification of the “davar” or “word” like words are the “logos” of thought. He introduces to his hearers someone who he will first name seventeen verses into the book, using divine concepts and pictures. He will paint an incredible biblical picture of who Yeshua is by introducing many titles and concepts from the Torah. This technique will be seen in the book of Revelation also, another book authored by John. Many people today love the wording and phraseology of this book, so they give this book to a new believer to read, but that is a mistake because of the level John writes. There are four levels of Hebraic interpretation called “peshat” which is the simple, grammatical level for the common person. This level is found in the book of Mark. The next level is “remez” which is the allegorical, or hint level. It is a little more aristocratic and professional and found in the book of Luke, written by a physician. The next level is “drash” which means to explore and ask, a more parabolic level as seen in the book of Matthew, which contains more parables than any other book. The last level is called “sowd” which means mystical, secret and has deeper meaning. The book of John is written at that level, and that is why a new believer who is not familiar with the Torah and its idioms, phrases and concepts should not be given this book to read at first. The order it should go would be to read Mark first, then Luke next, with Acts as additional reading. Then Matthew, with its parables, and then John. John is writing at the mystical level, the apocalyptic and heavenly level and should be read after the reader has been exposed to and understands Hebraic thought, idioms, phrases and concepts. Of course, any book is good to read, but if one wants to study a book, then there are things that need to be understood so that the message of the writer can be discerned and understood by the reader. We will try to do this and to bring out the meanings that John tried to convey. However, many today have been immersed in an anti-Torah, replacement theology that would have been foreign to John as he wrote this book. So, the task will be to put what he said back into its first century context so that the fullness of John’s message can be fully appreciated.

Sources used in this study include:
NASB and KJV Bible and concordances
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon
Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon
Babylonian Talmud
The Danby Mishnah
John Gill Commentary of John
The Hertz Siddur
The Hertz Pentateuch and Haftorahs
The Interlinear Bible
The Works of Josephus
Understanding the Difficult words of Jesus
Idioms in the Bible explained and the Key to the Original Gospels
Rosh Ha Shanah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come
The Jewish Encyclopedia
Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet by Artscroll

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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