8. The Parts of the Book are five. I. Description of the Person and coming of Christ (chapter 1:1-18). II. The ministry of John the Baptist (chapter 1:19-36). III. Christ’s actions, teaching, and miracles (chapters 1:37-12:50). IV. Christ’s Sufferings (chapters 13-19). V. The Glory of the resurrection (chapters 20, 21). Interpreters Ancient, Reformed, Lutheran, and Roman Catholic, and also a Synoptic Table of the Book.
This book, like those of the preceding Evangelists, is resolved into five parts. For, first, the person and coming of Christ is described, Chapter 1:1-18. Second, the ministry of John the Baptist is set forth, Chapter 1:19-36. Third, Christ’s actions, teaching, and miracles are narrated, Chapters 1:37-12:50. Fourth, His sufferings are related, Chapters 13-19. Fifth, the glory of His resurrection, Chapters 20, 21, are related.
I. The description of the person and coming of Christ, Chapter 1:1-18.
That Word, which was in the beginning with God, was God, the creator of all things, in whom was life and light, of whom John bore witness (verses 1-9); He was in the world, not being known by it, but known by those regenerated (verses 10-13); having been made flesh, He dwelt among us, as the author and revealer of grace alone (verses 14-18): chapter 1:1-18.
II. The ministry of John the Baptist, Chapter 1:19-36.
John, having been asked by the Jews, denying that he is the Christ, professes that He is the voice of one crying in the wilderness (verses 19-24); he explains his baptism, points out Jesus as the lamb of God, and testifies that He is the son of God (verses 25-36): chapter 1:19-36.
III. Christ’s actions, teaching, and miracles, Chapters 1:37-12:50. See:
1. The calling of Andrew, Peter, and Philip (verses 37-44); and His conversation with Nathanael, who did not think that anything could come from Nazareth, but at last professed Jesus to be the Son of God, the King of Israel (verses 45-51): chapter 1:37-51).
2. The beginning of the signs of Christ, water turned into wine at Cana of Galilee (verses 1-12): chapter 2:1-12.
3. The sayings and deeds of the first three Passovers: chapters 2:13-12:50. See:
a. The sayings and deeds of the first Passover: chapters 2:13-4:54. Namely, Christ,
α. Going up to Jerusalem for the Passover (verse 13), and entering the Temple, drives out those buying and selling there with a whip (verses 14-17), and, as a sign of His authority, pronounces that the Temple of His body is going to be destroyed by the Jews, and raised by Himself (verses 18-22); and, with miracles performed, and with many believing upon Him, He does entrust Himself to them (verses 23-25): chapter 2:13-25.
β. Instructing Nicodemus in the mystery of regeneration, faith in His death, and the condemnation of unbelievers (verses 1-21); proceeding into Judea, baptizes (verses 22-24), with John teaching his disciples concerning his office and the excellency of Jesus (verses 25-36): chapter 3.
γ. Passing over into Galilee (verses 1-3), leads a Samaritan woman near the city of Sychar, and the inhabitants of Sychar, unto the knowledge of Himself (verses 4-42); and He, having been received by the Galileans, with great notoriety preaches in their Synagogues (verse 43-45), and in Cana heals the son of a Nobleman, being sick at Capernaum (verses 46-54): chapter 4.
b. The sayings and deeds of the second Passover: chapters 5, 6. In which Christ,
α. Healing a man sick for thirty-eight years, lying beside the pool at Bethesda (verses 1-15), to the Jews seeking to destroy Him, because He had done those things on the Sabbath, and had called God His Father, He sets in opposition an altogether Divine defense (verses 16-47): chapter 5.
β. Feeding about five thousand with five loaves and two small fish (verses 1-13), when the Jews for this reason want to make Him King, He orders His disciples to go before Him to the other shore, and settles a rising tempest (verses 14-21); He preaches at Capernaum to those coming to Him concerning the bread of life (verses 22-40); to the murmuring Jews He asserts Himself to be the bread of life (verses 41-65); and, with many of the disciples withdrawing, but with the Apostles unwilling to depart, He pronounces one of them to be a Devil (verses 66-71): chapter 6.
c. The sayings and deeds of the third Passover, of which mention is made in John 6:4: chapters 7-12. Namely, Christ,
α. Proceeding secretly to the feast of tabernacles (verses 1-10), with a crowd seeking Him, and murmuring concerning Him, He teaches in the Temple (verses 11-14), and to those reviling Him responds that that doctrine is not His own, but His Father’s, and many other things (verses 15-36); on the sixth day of the feast He invites all to come to Him, whence a disagreement arises, and the ministers sent to seize Him defend His cause (verses 37-53): chapter 7.
β. Refusing to judge the woman taken in adultery (verses 1-11), He asserts Himself to be the light of the world, and teaches many things concerning the Father; concerning Himself, whither He goes, who He is; concerning Father Abraham; concerning the servitude of sin, the Devil; concerning Himself not having a devil; concerning not tasting death, if one keeps His word (verses 12-58), with the Jews preparing violence against Him in vain (verse 59): chapter 8.
γ. Passing by, He restores a blind beggar (verses 1-7), who, having been made to see, and often examined together with his parents, defends Christ, and is removed from the Synagogue (verses 8-42): chapter 9.
δ. He preaches concerning Himself, the gate of the sheepfold, that good Pastor, thieves and hirelings (verses 1-21); He asserts Himself to be the Christ, and one with the Father (verses 22-30); He refutes the charge of blasphemy, and many believe upon Him (verses 31-42): chapter 10.
ε. Lazarus, dead and already stinking, He restores to life (verses 1-46), from which time, with counsel furnished by Caiaphas, that it is better that one die than the people, the most carefully constructed snares are laid for His life (verses 47-57): chapter 11.
ζ. At Bethany, with Mary anointing His feet, He sits with Lazarus at supper (verses 1-11); carried by the colt of an ass, He enters Jerusalem (verses 12-19); with the Greeks desiring to see Him, He preaches concerning His passion (verses 20-26), and, by invoking the Father, He receives a response from Heaven (verses 27-30); and, treating again His lifting up from the earth, He responds to those that were inquiring further concerning this (verses 31-36); and, even with so many signs performed, they believed not, except certain chief rulers, who did not dare to profess faith (verses 37-43); whence Jesus, crying out again, preaches concerning faith in Himself (verses 44-50): chapter 12.
IV. Christ’s Sufferings, endured on the fourth Passover: Chapters 13-19. See:
1. The things preceding the passion: chapters 13-17. Namely, Christ,
a. With Supper finished, arises from it, and put off His garment, and, girding Himself with a towel, washes the feet of His disciples, and also of Peter, refusing at first (verses 1-11); by His own example He commends to them charity and humility (verses 12-17); He indicates him as traitor, to whom H would give the dipped cake, even Judas (verses 18-29), who immediately went out to betray Him (verse 30); with His departure at hand, Jesus speaks of His glorification and mutual love, and predicts the fall of Peter (verses 31-38): chapter 13.
b. Against the sadness conceived from His death, from the advantage of the same He consoles His disciples (verses 1-4); He responds to the questions of Thomas, Philip, and Judas (verses 5-15); He promises the Holy Spirit as teacher (verses 16-26); He leaves His peace (verse 27); and He again discourses concerning His impending death, and the joyous fruit of it (verses 28-31): chapter 14.
c. By the similitude of the vine and the branches He exhorts them to bear fruit (verses 1-8); He stirs them up to continue in the love of God, to bear mutual love to one another, and the hatred of the world (verses 9-27): chapter 15.
d. He fortifies them against persecutions (verses 1-4), and sorrow on account of His departure, with the Spirit promised as advocate, and by the conversion of mourning into joy, after the example of a woman giving birth to a child (verses 5-22); He promises the answering of their prayers (verses 23-27); He foretells His departure from the world, and the dispersion of His own (verses 28-33): chapter 16.
e. In an altogether divine prayer to the Father, He intercedes for the mutual illustration of His and the Father’s glory (verses 1-5), for the Apostles (verses 6-19), for the whole flock of the faithful (verses 20-26): chapter 17.
2. The suffering itself: chapters 18, 19. Christ,
a. Having been arrested (verses 1-11), is led away to Annas and Caiaphas (verses 12-24), and, with Peter denying Him (verses 25-27), He is delivered by the Priests to Pilate, who exerts himself to free Him (verses 28-40): chapter 18.
b. Having been scourged, crowned with thorns, and mocked, He is condemned (verses 1-15); He is crucified, and, with His garments divided by lot among the soldiers, and also with His mother commended to John’s care, He, having received the vinegar, dies (verses 16-30); and, with His side pierced after His death (verses 31-37), He is buried (verses 38-42): chapter 19.
V. The Glory of the resurrection: Chapters 20, 21. Christ,
1. Having risen from the dead, appears to Mary Magdalene, who bears the joyful announcement to the disciples (verses 1-18); then He appears also to the disciples, and entrusts their office to them (verses 19-23); and to Thomas, calling into question His resurrection, He demonstrates the same, with his unbelief reproved (verses 24-31): chapter 20.
2. He appears to seven disciples while fishing (verses 1-14); He restores Peter, having been asked concerning his love for Christ (verses 15-17); He predicts future sufferings for him, and reproves his curiosity concerning the fate of John (verse 18-23), with John at last professing himself to be the author of the book, and concluding the same (verses 24, 25):chapter 21.