Jan 9, 2011

09 Did the Apostle John write John

For a variety of reasons, the Apostle John may not have been the author of the Gospel of John. John's Gospel is the work of a trained mind who wrote good Greek. But the New Testament Book of Acts states that John was unlearned or uneducated

Acts 4:13 The members of the Council were amazed to see how bold Peter and John were and to learn that they were ordinary men of no education. They realized then that they had been companions of Jesus.

One could always argue that a ghost writer helped the Apostle to compose the Gospel of John. Or that the Apostle schooled himself in Greek as he grew older. 

He may have been personally schooled in the doctrine Jesus taught, but that doesn’t answer where he learned to write good Greek.

Another curiosity about the disciple John is found in the Gospel of Mark. John, along with two other disciples, was a privileged witness when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from death

Mark 5:37 Then he did not let anyone else go on with him except Peter and James and his brother John. ... 39 He went in and said to them, "Why all this confusion? Why are you crying? The child is not dead--she is only sleeping!" 40 They started making fun of him, so he put them all out, took the child's father and mother and his three disciples, and went into the room where the child was lying.

But the story was left out of the Gospel of John although the disciple John was supposed to have been there when it happened.

The Gospel of Mark informs us that John was an eyewitness to the transfiguration of Jesus, too, when Jesus met with Moses and Elias on a mountain

Mark 9:2 Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain, where they were alone. As they looked on, a change came over Jesus, 3 and his clothes became shining white--whiter than anyone in the world could wash them.

But strangely, the Gospel of John fails to mention the miracle even though the disciple John was supposed to have been there. 

The Gospel of John fails to give an account of the ascension of Jesus, too--it was a central event. John and other followers of Jesus were supposed to have been witnesses to Jesus' levitation to heaven. But only Luke reports it and he wasn't an eye-witness to it

Luke 24:33 The two followers of Jesus got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others. ... 51 As Jesus was blessing them, he departed from them and was taken up into heaven.

To repeat, the Gospel of John leaves out the telling of the event. 

It even appears that John was co-authored. That is, some mysterious person penned the ending, which it says: 

John 21:24 He is the disciple who spoke of these things, the one who also wrote them down; and we know that what he said is true.

The text doesn’t give “the disciple” a name. It just says it’s “he.” So it’s a mystery who “he” was supposed to be.  

Further, it's ambiguous who the “we” were supposed to be, where the text reads “we know that what he said is true.” I ask how the “we” group knew what he said was true.  

Recap: The author of the Gospel of John remains a mystery.

Related post:
42 Did the Gospels come from eyewitnesses

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