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Bible Commentaries

F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' CommentaryMeyer's Commentary

- John

by Frederick Brotherton Meyer

Outline of the Gospel according to John

Jesus Is the Christ

Prologue, John 1:14

The Incarnation of the eternal Word

I. The Witness of John the Baptist, John 1:15-51 ; John 3:22-36

The voice of one crying in the wilderness; “Behold the Lamb of God;” James, John, Andrew, Simon, Philip and Nathanael meet Jesus; He must increase but I must decrease

II. The Witness of Jesus’ Ministry, John 2:1-71

First miracle, in Cana; Cleansing of the Temple; Visit of Nicodemus; Talk with woman by Jacob’s well and work in Samaria; Nobleman’s son healed; Lame man healed by pool of Bethesda; Feeding of the five thousand; Jesus walks on the sea; Discourse on the bread of life

III. The Witness of Jesus’ Conflict with the Jewish Leaders, John 7:1-50

Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles; Dispute as to Jesus’ origin; Jesus’ claims contested by the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am;” Healing of man born blind; The Good Shepherd; liaising of Lazarus; Plot of the Pharisees to put Jesus to death; Jesus anointed in Bethany; Greeks meet Jesus; The voice from heaven; The commandment of the Father

IV. The Witness of Jesus’ Sufferings, Death and Resurrection, John 13:1-31

The Feast of the Passover; Jesus washes the feet of the disciples; A new commandment; Withdrawal of Judas; The Father’s house; The Comforter; The true vine; The Spirit of Truth; The high priestly prayer; The betrayal; Trial before Caiaphas, before Pilate; The Crucifixion; Burial; Visit of the women to the tomb; Appearances of the risen Lord; Purpose of the Gospel

Epilogue, John 21:1-25

Jesus’ manifestation to His disciples by the Sea of Galilee; Draught of fishes; Special commission to Peter; Author’s final note


This is the “eagle” Gospel. It soars into the empyrean with steady wing and searching gaze. The Church has attributed it with consistent tradition to the hand of the Apostle John. The style and spirit and method of thought are so evidently his. There was, indeed, no one else in the first century who could have written it and remained unknown.

Clement of Alexandria says that it was written by the Apostle at the earnest solicitation of his friends; and that he was led by the Spirit of God to compose a spiritual Gospel, which would unfold much that the Synoptic Gospels had omitted.

It was probably written during the last decade of the first century, at Ephesus. It is evident that Jerusalem had already fallen, and that Gnostic heresy was already rife; and it fell to the lot of the Apostle to give this last conclusive demonstration that Jesus was the Son of God, John 20:31 . It is interesting to study the development of the strife between faith and unbelief, as they became more and more pronounced in respect to the person of our Lord.

e-Sword Note: The following material was presented at the end of John in the printed edition

Review Questions on the Gospel according to John


( a ) What is the theme of this Gospel?

( b ) What is the fourfold witness by which the theme is established?

( c ) What is the purpose of the Epilogue?


( d ) What special name is applied to this Gospel?

( e ) How does it differ in purpose from the Synoptic Gospels?

( f ) When was it probably written?

John 1-6

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.

1. What purposes of Jesus’ life are revealed by the titles given Him in the prologue of John’s Gospel?

2. What was the mission of John the Baptist?

3. By whom was the voice heard at the time of Jesus’ baptism?

4. What disciples of John early became followers of Jesus?

5. How was Nathanael brought to Jesus? What did Jesus say of him?

6. What was Jesus’ first miracle?

7. How did Jesus show His regard for His Father’s house?

8. What universal need did Jesus declare to Nicodemus?

9. How are we judged by God’s greatest gift to us?

10. How did John the Baptist view the growing popularity of Jesus?

11. What did he testify regarding the divine authority of Jesus?

12. To whom did Jesus promise the gift of “living water?”

13. How did Jesus define true worship?

14. How did the woman of Samaria respond to Jesus’ appeal?

15. What were the results following Jesus’ brief visit in Samaria?

16. How was the son of the Capernaum nobleman healed?

17. What miracle was wrought at the pool of Bethesda?

18. To what accusations by the Jews did the miracle lead?

19. What did Jesus say of His power in relation to His Father?

20. How did He compare His witness with that of John the Baptist?

21. Why did Jesus declare that Moses himself accused the Jews?

22. What festival was bringing to Jerusalem the multitudes whom Jesus fed? How does this fact add meaning to His words?

23. What was the effect of this miracle upon the crowd?

24. What is the first and chief work that God requires of us?

25. What does Jesus say He was sent from heaven to do?

26. How did Jesus answer the demand for a sign?

27. How does He express the idea that His followers must partake of the “living bread?”

28. In what words did Simon Peter express his belief in Jesus when many were turning away?

John 7-12

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.

29. What historic events were recalled by the ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles?

30. How can the truth of Jesus’ teaching be tested?

31. What tradition was there about the origin of the Messiah and how did Jesus answer it?

32. What is implied in Jesus’ promise about springs of living water?

33. How was Jesus’ Galilean home used as an argument against Him?

34. What is the contrast between the attitude of the Jews and that of Jesus toward the sinful woman?

35. What symbol of the Feast of Tabernacles called forth Jesus’ teaching about the “light of the world?”

36. How did Jesus realize the constant presence of the Father?

37. How did Jesus point the way to real liberty?

38. What does Jesus make the test of sonship?

39. How did Jesus compare Himself with Abraham?

40. What part did the man born blind have in his own healing?

41. What was the testimony of the man before the Pharisees?

42. What was Jesus’ teaching about suffering as suggested by the affliction of this man?

43. To what Eastern customs is reference made in the parable of the sheepfold?

44. What is Jesus’ promise about His “other sheep?”

45. How did Jesus meet the challenge, “If thou art the Christ, tell us?”

46. Why was John’s witness to Jesus recalled by the crowd beyond Jordan?

47. What danger did Jesus face in returning to Bethany?

48. What great assurance of the Resurrection did Jesus give to Martha?

49. What expression of sympathy with human grief did Jesus show at Lazarus’ grave?

50. Why did Jesus offer a prayer of thanksgiving at the tomb?

51. How did Caiaphas unconsciously declare the meaning of Christ’s death?

52. What supreme value was there in Mary’s anointing of Jesus?

53. What old prophecy was recalled by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem?

54. Why did Jesus declare the great law of sacrifice at the time when the Greeks came seeking Him?

55. What did Jesus promise would come to pass if He were “lifted up?”

56. What motives kept some would-be disciples from acknowledging Jesus?

John 13-21

Each question applies to the paragraph of corresponding number in the Comments.

57. How did Jesus illustrate the lesson of humility? Why was there special need of this lesson?

58. How did Jesus warn His disciples of Judas’ coming treachery?

59. What oriental customs are recalled by Jesus’ last meal with His disciples?

60. By what sign would all men be able to recognize the disciples of Jesus?

61. How did Jesus answer Philip’s question about the Father?

62. What various meanings are suggested by the word “Paraclete?”

63. What does Jesus say about His last gift to His disciples?

64. How may we be sure of fruitful living?

65. What does it mean to be called “friends” of Jesus?

66. Why did Jesus believe His disciples must face suffering and hatred?

67. How is the work of the Spirit described?

68. What consolation did Jesus promise His disciples in the face of coming sorrow?

69. Why were they to be of good cheer?

70. How does Jesus define “life eternal?”

71. What were Jesus’ chief petitions for His disciples in His last prayer?

72. What was His prayer for the work they were to do?

73. Where did Jesus go with His disciples after the supper?

74. Where was Jesus first examined? Which of the disciples followed Him?

75. How did Jesus defend Himself before Annas?

76. How did Pilate attempt to shift responsibility?

77. What did Jesus declare to Pilate about His kingship?

78. What may have been Pilate’s motive in the scourging of Jesus?

79. What motive finally determined Pilate’s decision?

80. What was the inscription above Jesus’ cross?

81. What friends stood beside the cross of Jesus?

82. Why was Jesus’ side pierced by the soldiers?

83. What were the circumstances of Jesus’ burial?

84. What purpose seems to underlie John’s account of the Resurrection?

85. What message did Jesus give Mary for His followers?

86. How did He reassure His disciples at their first reunion?

87. What further confirmation did He grant to Thomas?

88. How did Jesus manifest Himself to the fishermen in Galilee? Who were present?

89. What test of love did Jesus give Peter? What did He tell him of his future?

90. With what observation does the Gospel conclude?

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