Sunday School Bible Survey:      JOHN

Theme: The Son of God is God the Son.

Key word: believe. The words "believe, believeth, believed, believest, believing" are found 91 times in the Gospel of John.

Key verses: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31).

From the Scofield Study Bible:

WRITER: The fourth Gospel was written by the Apostle John (John 21:24). This has been questioned on critical grounds, but on the same grounds and with equal scholarship, the early date and Johanean authorship have been maintained.

DATE: The date of John's Gospel falls between A.D. 85 and 90. Probably the latter.

THEME: This is indicated both in the Prologue (1:1-14), and in the last verse of the Gospel proper (20:31), and is: The incarnation of the eternal Word, and Son of God, Himself God, Jesus Christ, (1) to reveal God in the terms of a human life; (2) that as many as believe on Him as "the Christ, the Son of God" (20:31) may have eternal life. The prominent words are, "believed" and "life."

The book is in seven natural divisions:

  1. Prologue: The eternal Word incarnate in Jesus the Christ (1:1-14).
  2. The witness of John the Baptist (1:15-34).
  3. The public ministry of Christ (1:35—12:50).
  4. The private ministry of Christ to His own (13:1—17:26).
  5. The sacrifice of Christ (18:1—19:42).
  6. The manifestation of Christ in resurrection (20:1-31).
  7. Epilogue: Christ the Master of life and service (21:1-25).

The events recorded in this book cover a period of 7 years.


  1. It has been said that the Gospel of Matthew was written primarily to the Jews, and Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, and King of the Jews.
  2. Mark emphasizes that Jesus was the Servant of the Lord.
  3. Luke stresses the fact that Jesus was the perfect Man.
  4. John presents the fact that God became a Man. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (1:1; cf. 20:28).
  5. The deity of Christ is seen in the various titles given to Jesus in the book of John.
  • the Word (1:1, 14).
  • the Lamb of God (1:29, 36).
  • the Messiah/Christ (1:41).
  • the Son of God (1:49; 5:18).
  • the Saviour of the world (4:42).
  • Lord and God (20:28).
  1. Our Lord's deity is also asserted in His "I am" discourses (cf. 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).
  2. In other "I am" statements, our Lord made implicit and explicit claims to be the "I AM" JEHOVAH GOD of the Old Testament (cf. 4:24-26; 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; Exodus 3:13, 14).
  3. The first eighteen verses of John chapter 1 are referred to as "the Prologue," and they set the stage for the entire book of John.
  4. John's Gospel is different from the Synoptic Gospels in many ways:
  • There is no genealogy in John.
  • There is no manger scene or boyhood information about Jesus. John begins with the ministries of John the Baptist and our Lord.
  • There is no mention of our Lord being tempted in the Wilderness.
  • The Gospel of John lacks certain key features found in the Synoptic Gospels, such as the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet Discourse, the Transfiguration, the parables, etc.
  1. John's Gospel emphasizes the deity of Christ, and what it means to believe in Him.
  2. The great evangelist, R.A. Torrey, used to give out little Gospel of Johns to unsaved people, and he would ask them to read John carefully. He testified that upon following up with these individuals, many of them were genuinely converted to Christ.
  3. John calls our Lord's miracles "signs." "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30, 31).
  4. These signs signified that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. John makes it clear that by claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus was claiming that He was "equal with God" (John 5:18; 10:30-33; 19:7).
  5. The discourses in John are much different than those recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.
  6. In John the well-known parables are all missing. The words "parable" and "parables" are found 46 times in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but only once in John (10:6).
  7. John concludes with the fascinating statement that the world itself could not contain all the books which could have been written about the Lord Jesus Christ, and His sinless life, and His wonderful teachings, and His amazing miracles, and His vicarious death, and His glorious resurrection.
  8. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25).

Some of the Highlights of the Gospel of John

  1. Our Lord's Deity (1)
  2. The marriage at Cana of Galilee (2)
  3. Nicodemus (3)
  4. The woman at the well (4)
  5. The healing of the impotent man (5)
  6. The feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-14)
  7. The Bread of Life Discourse (6:22-59)
  8. Our Lord's prophecy regarding the filling of the Holy Spirit (7:37-39)
  9. The woman taken in adultery (8)
  10. The man born blind is healed (9).
  11. Discourse on the Good Shepherd (10).
  12. Lazarus raised from the dead (11)
  13. The supper at Bethany (12)
  14. Jesus washes His disciples' feet (13)
  15. Teaching on the Holy Spirit (14, 15, 16)
  16. Teaching on the Second Coming (14:1-4)
  17. Jesus is the true vine (15)
  18. The Holy Spirit will come after our Lord goes (16)
  19. Our Lord's prayer to God the Father (17)
  20. Gethsemane, Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial, Pontius Pilate (18)
  21. The crucifixion and burial of our Lord (19)
  22. The resurrection of our Lord (20)
  23. The epilogue (21)

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —