The term Bible study is a phrase that needs some interpreting. You must not approach the Bible merely academically, as if it were some textbook we are required to read for an examination. We read and study a Bible because this is a means appointed by God by which we can encounter him. It is vital that we seek the Lord and desire to know his will as it applies to us. Otherwise, answering the question can become an end in itself and instead of a joyful meeting with our God our Bible study will become either a rather boring duty, or, at best, nothing more than an intellectually absorbing past time.
Background Information AUTHOR: The author of this gospel is John, one of Jesus’ disciples. John in his humility does not refer to himself in the first person. He calls himself “the one whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 20) or simply “another disciple” or “the other disciple” (John 18:15, 20:2-4, 8). When he mentions a person named John, he is usually referring to John the...
Read John 15; 16:1-15
– People think of the Christian life as a joyous observance of rules. What answer to this idea is contained in verses 9-25? Is it your experience?
– If we are disciples of Jesus, why must we expect hatred from the world? Why did many hate and persecute Jesus?
– Love not only feels, but acts. By what action is (a) the love of the Father show to the Son, (b) the love of the Son to his disciples, (c) the love of the disciples to one another? Cf. 3:35; 5:20; 1 John 3: 16–18.
– What evidence do you find in 16:1-7 that the disciples were down cast by Jesus’ words? Why did He say that He had not spoken of these things before, and why did He speak of them now? Notice however, that He did not lighten in any way the dark picture He had drawn, but rather shaded it more deeply. (16:2)
– What new force, does Jesus say, will be brought to bear upon the world, and through whom (see 15:26, 27)? What threefold result will follow (16: 8-11)? How would this make Jesus’ departure an advantage instead of a loss?
– What results ought the situation to have upon the disciples, (a) in their dependence on the holy spirit, and (b) in the place of the holy spirit and the person of Jesus Christ in their thinking? Is this true of us? See 16:14, 15
Note: 16:8-11. the Holy Spirit will convince men of their false standards of sin, righteousness and judgement (cf. Isaiah 55:8, 9). He will show them that the essence of sin is unbelief in Christ; that true righteousness is not that of the Pharisees (works of the law) but the righteousness seen in Christ, and declared in the gospel; and that judgement awaits all who follow the ruler of this world. At Pentecost the heavens were convinced by the Spirit’s witness through the Apostles, exactly as Jesus says here.
16:13. “Declare to you the things that are to come:” i.e., interpret the significance of Christ impending crucifixion and resurrection, as well as other divine actions.
Read John Chapter 1
- Why is Jesus called the Word and how is this related to God; to the world; to men?
- v9-13 Consider what Jesus means in these verses, pay particular attention to v13, what does this mean for you? Consider what it was that drew you to Jesus and how you knew he was the Christ of God.
- v16 what do you think it means; from His fullness we have received grace upon grace.
- v26-29 – Explain the testimony that John the Baptist brings concerning Jesus? How much of this did John learn about him through his experience at Christ’s baptism?
- v35-51 – Described what it was that brought each of these men to Jesus. How much did they understand concerning who he was? Look at v41 What account of him can you give to others? Consider writing out your testimony in the shortest form you can, Andrew used just 5 words to Peter.
- v47-48 Why did Jesus’ answer bring the response of Nathanial? (see 2:25) what do verses 47-50 reveal about Nathanial’s character?
Read John Chapter’s 2-3
- v1-11: presents the first of the severn signs which reveal the identity of Jesus which stimulate’s faith in the disciples. What particular aspect of Jesus’s glory does this miracle display? What change in our lives does turning water into wine represent. (see 2 Corinthians 5:17) what can we learn from Mary’s responce?
- 2:12-25: Jesus’ first major confrontation with the Jewish leaders as He clears the temple during the Jewish Passover. Why did Jesus clear the temple, in light of the true purpose of the temple? What does this scene teach us about Jesus?
- After cleansing the temple, Jesus speaks with the Jewish leaders and makes a statement, that reflects his approaching death and resurrection as well his identity as the true and better temple for God’s people. read through Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (2 Chron. 6:12–42). In what ways do you see Jesus as the ultimate answer to this prayer?
- 3:1-36: Nicodemus is a Pharisee, a respected scholar among the Jews, What was right and what was lacking in Nicodemus’ assessment of Jesus? How did Jesus’ answer correct him? What is involved in being born of the Spirit?
- 3:16: is probably the most known verse in the bible. If this was the only verse we had, what would we know about God and salvation?
- 3:22-36: A statement is made to John in verse 26, consider Johns response. What character traits and principles are on display? How does that apply to your life?
- Concider what is said in v 31, 32, 34, 35, how do these statements set Jesus apart from all others? v33, 36 concider your responce to Jesus’ testimony and how it has changed you.
Read John Chapter’s 4-5
Jesus Teaches a Samaritan about Salvation (4:1–45) In this scene Jesus does something scandalous for a first-century Jewish rabbi: he enters into compassionate dialogue with a Samaritan woman with a questionable past. Jesus frequently crosses boundaries to show that God’s grace is not limited to a certain type of person. According to Jesus, salvation is for sinners. In other words, salvation is for everyone. What does this story teach us about what Jesus is like, and what does it teach us about salvation?
– What did Jesus mean by living water v10? Why won’t he cause the woman to desire it did he not once give her what she requested? What was necessary before he could do that?
– What does the woman do after her encounter with Jesus? What do we learn from this?
– In John 4:46-54 Reflecting on the three different people Jewish teacher, Samaritan woman, and Roman official, consider how they each respond to Jesus. What do their responses to Jesus teach us about how we should respond to the Son of God?
– How did Jesus heal your officials son? What is John communicating to us about the power of Jesus‘s words?
– In chapter 5 the conflict escalates between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. Along the way, Jesus defends his ministry and reveals more about the aims of his mission. In his defence Jesus further reveals His identity, perform more signs, and sites several major witnesses on His behalf
– 5:1-17 consider how Jesus healed the lame man, he asks a question and brings a command what is unique to these two bits of dialogue? What does it teach you concerning how Jesus heals in this context?
– 5:17-29 how is Jesus’ relationship with God described? What functions concerning judgement has God-given to Jesus and why? How do these truths concern us?
– 5:30-47 What are the 4 different testimonies about himself does Jesus refer too? Which does Jesus regard as the least important and why? (cf. 8:14)
– v 39,40 is it possible to study the Bible without finding life? If so, what is lacking? What reasons does Jesus give for the Jews Failure? (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16)
Read John 6
– During the Passover, Jesus turns five loaves and two fish into a feast for thousands. What does this sign teach us about Jesus?
– What old Testament account might form the background of this miracle?
– Consider why people were attracted to Jesus. What does this account tell us about Jesus’ attitude toward people?
– In what way did Jesus test his disciples faith through their cooperation in the feeding program?
– V15 why did Jesus not wish to be made King by these people? What do we learn from his withdrawing from the place of success to be by himself? (CF Luke 5:15-16)
The miracle of verses 4-13 is the basis of the dialogue between Jesus and the Jews in verses 25-59.
– The people saw the outward form of the miracle, but failed to discern what it signified spiritually v26 Why? What motive did people use to seek Jesus?
Consider for yourself the importance of spiritual development rather than material prosperity.
– The word labour in v27 is literally “work for”. How did the people relate this word to the work they were expected to do v28?
– How did the people relate this word to the work of Moses compared with Jesus v30, 31?
– What work did Jesus require from them v 29 and offer from himself v32-40? What, therefore, is the answer to the question in verse 28?
– How does v 35-40 present Gods answer to man’s hunger? What did Jesus mean when he says “I am the bread of life” v35?
– Consider the aftermath of this miracle v 22-71. What does it teach us about the human heart and mankind’s ultimate need?
Read John 7
V 1-24 these passages give an account of Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles six months before his death. The story portrays the various attitudes toward Jesus among different groups. These groups fall into two main classes. 1. The Jews, who include the chief priests, Pharisees, rulers and the people of Jerusalem 2. “The people”, that is, the general multitude from all parts, who were attending the feast. The first of these two classes were, in the main, hostile to Jesus.
– How do the words of Jesus’ brothers in v 3-8 show that they did not understand him? What did Jesus mean by “my time”?
– The worlds attitude to Jesus prevented him from showing himself to them, as others might. Can you expect any different reception from the world? (cf John 15:18-21) how do you feel about this and how does it affect your desire to reach others?
– V 17-18 what two tests does Jesus suggest by which a man can discover whether Jesus’ teaching was true and of divine origin? What will it cost you to apply these tests?
– V 25-52 what illustrations are found in these verses (A) of the deep impression made by Jesus on many; and yet (b) how their faith was checked by ignorance (v 27-29) or prejudice (v 35,36), or pride (v 48-52)? Are one of these relevant too or hindering you?
– The chief priests and the Pharisees by no means saw eye to eye in most matters, but they were united against Jesus. What action did they take at this time, and what prevented its success?
– Read Proverbs 4:23 and Isaiah 58:11. Jesus is likely referring to these two Old Testament passages when he likens himself and the work of the holy spirit to “rivers of living water”. John says for as yet the Spirit had not been given (v39) he doesn’t mean that there was no work of the Holy Spirit in the world prior to Jesus’ resurrection. John is simply stating that the Holy Spirit had not been given in the full and powerful sense as promised in Joel 2:28-29, and as later experienced on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11).
– How do these supporting passages from Joel and Acts help illuminate John 7:37-39?
– Consider what difference the holy spirit makes to your life in the following categories:
Witness – Understanding of truth – Character – Relationship to our heavenly Father – Your understanding of the future.
Read John 8
– The earliest manuscripts of the gospel of John do not contain John 7:53-8:11. It seems best to view the story as something that happened during Jesus’ ministry but was not an original part of what John wrote. What does this chapter teach us about how Jesus treats sinners who are aware of their sin and how Jesus treats sellers who are unaware of their sin?
– What two different types of sinner can you see in the Pharisee and in the woman? Why did Jesus treat her so gently? How would his words to her bring conviction of her sin?
– v 13-29 what does Jesus say about his origin, His ultimate destination, His relation to the world, and His relation to God?
– What was lacking in the Pharisees which prevented them from recognising the truth of Jesus’ words? How can we see the light of truth? How does light lead to life? See verses 12, 24.
Note: 8:12 this is an allusion to the pillar of fire which guided the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness (see Numbers 9:15-23), and which was commemorated during the feast of Tabernacles by brilliant lighting of the temple.
Verses 13, 14 there is no contradiction with 5:31. There Jesus says that if he had been the sole witness of his own cause, his witness would not have been true. But in both passages, he goes on to point out that he is not alone in his witness, see verses 17, 18.
– v 30-59 the form of expression in Greek in verse 31 shows that the Jews here did not commit themselves to Jesus as much as the many in verse 30. What steps leading to full freedom are seen in v 31-36? What is this freedom? In what sense did the Jews claim to be free? Are you truly free?
– v 39-59 this section is concerned with the real meaning of parentage. For what reason did Jesus argue that these Jews were not truly the children of Abraham or of God, but of the Devil? What evidence did Jesus give that he is God’s Son? Why were they not able to see this?
Note: V 56 “My day”: Abraham in faith saw a head to the day of Christ’s incarnation, and anticipated his saving work. V 58 “I Am”: this is the divine name, as in Exodus 3:14.
Read John 9; 10:1-21
– In John 9-2 Jesus’ disciples ask an important question about suffering. How does Jesus answer the question? What do you think of this answer, and how does it help us make sense out of the suffering we see and experience?
– In how many ways is the opening of this man’s eyes to be compared with the giving of spiritual site?
– Does your personal experience of Jesus’ power give you the same assurance in answering His critics as this man had?
– Review and explain v 39-41. Detail the ways in which the words and actions of the Pharisees in v 13-34 illustrate this passage.
Note. V 14 the work for which the Pharisees condemn Jesus as breaking the sabbath was making clay, as well as healing. The latter was allowed, but only in an emergency.
Compare Jeremiah 23:1-4. By their attitude the blind man of chapter 9 the Pharisees, who claimed to be the spiritual guides of Israel as the people of God, had shown themselves to be thieves and robbers (verses 1, 8), like the false prophets of the old Testament.
– V 1-10. Why does Jesus call himself the door of the sheep? What are the privileges and blessings of those who enter in? How did the sheep recognise the true Shepherd? What does He do to them? Do you know his voice?
– What are the marks of the good Shepherd? Can you find in verses 11-18 (a) Proof that Jesus’ death was not a mere martyrdom, (b) the purpose of His life and death, and (c) an incentive to mission work? Cf revelation 7:9, 10, 15-17.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD THOUGHTS. In john 10-11 Jesus announces, “I am the good shepherd. the good shepherd lays down his life for His sheep”. With these two sentences Jesus brings to a climax the longing of Gods people. “God has been my shepherd all my life long” said Jacob (Gen 48:15). “The Lord is my Shepherd”, wrote David (Psalm 23:1) God will tend his flock like a Shepherd, prophesied Isaiah ( Isa 40:11).
Over time, these descriptions of God as the truth Shepherd fuelled the longing for a Shepherd-leader, a Shepherd-King, a Messiah, who would lead God’s sheep in wisdom and restoration. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, who is coming forth is from of old, from ancient days…. And he shall stand and Shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord. (Mic 5:2, 4; Num 27:16-17; Jer 3:15; 23:4). In this section of John, the feeding of the 5000, the healing of the sick, the forgiving of sinners, and the claim to be the good Shepherd, we see Jesus fulfilling this ancient longing and promise.
Read John 10:22-42
Throughout our study so far Jesus constantly reveals Himself as the ultimate answer to the world’s problems. Jesus is the “Bread of life” (John 6) who relieves our true hunger, a hunger that food cannot fix. Jesus offers “Living water” (John 7) that quenches the thirst we cannot quench on our own. Jesus is the “Light of the world” (John 8) who takes away the darkness that engulfs us. And Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” (John 10) who tenderly cares for us. And unlike bread and water, it requires no money or effort to know Jesus. All we need to do is admit our hunger and ask for this free “bread of life”.
– As John’s Gospel progresses, Jesus more explicitly reveals His identity and His mission. What do we learn here about who Jesus is and what He came to do?
– V24 why would a plain answer to the Jews’ question have been useless? What indications of the nature of Jesus’ person were already being given? See verses 25, 32, 37, 38.
– Why were the Jews incapable of saying this? Do your works corroborate your words?
– In the statements of verses 27, 28 how is the sheep’s relation to the Shepherd described and how the shepherd’s relation to the sheep? On what grounds given in verses 28, 29 can you be sure that you will never perish?
– In what terms does Jesus describe his relationship with God, and what evidence does He give in support of His claim?
– How far are the words of the Jews at the end of verse 33 correct? What ought they to have done?
Read John 11:1-27
– Compare verse 4 with 9:3. Explain the apparent contradiction both in verse 4 and also in verses 5, 6. See verses 14, 15. Can you see why God sometimes seems to delay in answering your prayer?
– What direction and assurance do verses 9, 10 give for the conduct of your life? Cf. 9:4-5
– In verses 21, 22, 24 Martha makes three correct but limited statements. In respect to each of them Jesus’ answer in verses 25, 26 reveals that He has within Himself infinitely greater powers than she knew. What are they?
Note verse 26. “Shall never die:: for the believer death is no longer death. It introduces them into a new state of life.
Read John 11:45-57 & 12:1-36
We come to a pivotal section in John’s Gospel. Everything changes as Jesus performs his final and ultimate sign namely raising a man from the dead. This incredible miracle, which is only recorded by John, foreshadows Jesus’ own resurrection and significantly escalates Jesus’ conflict with the Jewish leaders. The raising of a man from the dead triggers the Jewish leader’s determination to have Jesus arrested and put to death.
– Caiaphas the high priest, was involved in the discussions about whether or not to pursue Jesus’ death. In 11:49-50, how does Caiaphas preach the gospel without knowing it?
– 12:1-8. What insights does Mary’s action reveal? How far does your love for the Lord lead you to understand him, and to serve him without counting the cost?
– 11:47-53 and 12:12-16 there are two examples of God over ruling men’s words and actions to fulfil his own purpose. What is the real purpose of God to which each example points?
- Note. Jesus enters Jerusalem for the Passover, seated on a donkey and hailed by the people. This scene draws on a prophecy in Zachariah 9:9-17, read this passage to get a sense for the expectation that were in the people’s minds as the King of Israel entered Jerusalem.
– Look at John 19:14-16 which was one week later and noticed the change in how people treated Jesus.
- Note. The Greeks who wanted to see Jesus were a token of the world of people beyond Israel who will be saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Their coming therefore introduces the consummation of Jesus’ work.
– Give examples of the ways in which you can love your life, or hate it. To whom does Jesus primarily refer to in verse 24? In view of this, what is involved in following him (verse 26)?
– In what sense did the coming hour (verse 23) bring about the glorifying of the Son Of Man and of the Father (verse 28)? How did His being lifted up involve the judgement of this world (verses 31-34)?
– Verse 35, 36 give Jesus’ last appeal to the nation what is meant by walking and believing in the light? How is this reflected in your own life?
Read John 12: 37-50
This passage presents the problem of unbelief in the face of the manifest evidence of Gods power and presence.
– Both quotations from Isaiah in verses 38-40 speak of Christ, the latter because Christ’s glory is included in the vision of Gods glory in Isaiah 6. Who has and who has not believed our report? Why has God blinded their eyes? does this apply today to (a) Jews, and (b) non-Jews? Why do you believe?
– The seriousness of rejecting Jesus is the subject of verses 44-50, in which John summarises the teaching of Jesus concerning this matter. Why is it so serious to reject Jesus? See specially verses 45, 46, 50, and compare Proverbs 1:20-33. Why will Jesus’ words be the judge (verse 48)?
Note. Verse 42. Put out of the synagogue: cf. 9:22. This was a very severe punishment, involving separation from public worship and from social interaction. Verse 45. “sees”: here is the concept of careful observation leading to spiritual insight.
Read John 13:1-20
Chapter 13 marks the transition into the second half of John’s Gospel. John 13-21 focuses on Jesus’ final few days leading to his death and resurrection. Having been rejected by the Jews, Jesus turned his attention to his new messianic community (his disciples). He prepares his disciples for the time to come after his resurrection and Ascension to the Father. Jesus cleanses His disciples, teaches His disciples, and prays for His disciples. John 13-17 is unique to Johns Gospel.
– Verse 13. “teacher and Lord” what degrees of lordship are revealed in verses 1 and 3? Did Jesus perform the task of a servant in spite of, or because of, His relation to the father? Cf. Philippians 2:5-8.
– What important lesson did Jesus teach in response to Peters interruptions? See verses 8 and 10.cf. Titus 3:5; 1 John 1:7.
– What further application did Jesus make of His actions as an example to his followers? Cf. Luke 22:22-27. Are you giving sufficient attention to this matter? See verse 17.
Note. Verse 10. “Bathed”: the disciples had been cleansed; all except Judas (verse 11). Cf. 15:3
Read John 13:21-38
– Trace the action of Satan on the heart of Jesus as shown in this gospel. See 6:17; 12:4-6; 13:2, 27.
– If the giving of the morsel to Judas in verse 26 was Jesus’ last appeal of love, what state of heart does verse 27a indicate? What connection has v30 with 12:35, 36 indicate?
– Compare verses 31, 32 with 12:23, 28. Verses 31 and 32a point to the picture of the Son and 32b to that of the Father. What impending events did these words point? How can the father be glorified in you?
– Trace the connection between 13:33-37 and 14:1-6. Where was Jesus going? Why could they not follow him until later? To what event does “I will come again” refer?
– In what respect were the questions of both Thomas and Philip short sighted? How is Jesus the way, the truth and the life, especially in relation to the father?
– What prospect does Jesus set before his disciples as a consequence of his return to the father? See verses 12-14.
– Do you know anything of this in your own experience?
– Because the work of Jesus is about to be accomplished on the cross and because God would send his Spirit to the church after Jesus’ ascension, Jesus tells his disciples that they will, in a sense, exercise a greater ministry than his. What do you think Jesus means by this statement?
– From what you know about the book of Acts, what takes place in acts and in the early church that did not take place in Jesus’s ministry?
– According to John 14:15 what would Jesus’ disciples do if they loved him? According to 14:24 what is the identifying mark of those who do not love Jesus?
Read John 14:15-15:8
In this section of John, Jesus talks repeatedly about the Holy Spirit. As Jesus instructs his disciples on how to live and minister after His Ascension, He emphasises the point that only through the power of the Holy Spirit can His disciples carry out their mission to the world.
Jesus refers to the holy spirit as a helper (John 14:16) who will dwell in, guide, and empower his disciples. The entire new Testament emphasises what Jesus emphasises here: the Christian life cannot be lived apart from indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
– Three times in this passage Jesus speaks of loving him (verses 15, 21, 23). How does our love for the Lord Jesus show itself? Is this true of you? Since Love is personal, can you see to what personal relationship this love leads?
– In what sense does Jesus come to us (verse 18)? How is this related to the coming of another advocate give examples of ways in which Jesus proved to be the first advocate.
– Why can the world not see the Spirit or Jesus (verses 17, 19)? Cf. 1:11; 3:19; 5:37; 7:34; 8:19, 47; 12:37-40. What explanation did Jesus give here in answer to Judas? How can the eyes of men be open to see Him?
Note: verse 16. Counsellor: literally, one called to one side to plead on one’s behalf. Advocate is a better translation. Cf. 1 John 2:1. Verse 22. Cf. 7:4. The disciples also naturally expected that the Messiah will display his power to the world.
– The disciples were distressed at the thought of Jesus going away and leaving them alone in a hostile world; cf. 16:6. What promises does Jesus give in verse 25-29 to answer their fears? Why does His going to the Father bring greater benefit than if He had remained as He was? What also does verse 31 teach about Christ’s reason for facing the cross?
– What does the parable of the vine teacher about (a) the purpose for which the branches exist, (b) the vinedressers dealings with the branches, and (c) the dependence of the branches upon the vine? With verse three and seven compare 14:15, 21, 23; see also 8:31, 32. What kind of fruit do you bear? Cf. Galatians 5:22, 23.
Note. 14:28 “the Father is greater than I”: cf. 10:29, 30. He is not greater in being more divine, but in the eternal Father-Son and God-Man relationships.
14:30. The ruler of this world: cf. 12:31; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; there is nothing in Jesus over which the devil can claim possession and therefore domination.