John 1: The Word Made Flesh

How can the Word be with God and be God, always existing?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:1–2 He was with God, and he was God, in the beginning. The Word already existed.
King James
John 1:1–2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

How does John’s description of creation compare with the Genesis account?

Author’s Thoughts
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Genesis 1:1–5 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was a formless void covered by darkness when the Spirit of God began to move over the surface. God said, “Let there be light,” and light exploded into existence. God evaluated the light and saw that it was perfect according to his plan, and he made the light distinct from the darkness. He named the light Day and the darkness Night. From evening to morning made the first day.
John 1:3–4 Everything was created by him. Nothing existed that he did not make. Life itself came from him, and this life gave light to everyone.
King James
Genesis 1:1–5 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
John 1:3–4 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

What is the “light” that God gives to everyone?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:4–5 Life itself came from him, and this life gave light to everyone. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.
1:8–9 John was not the light, but he came to testify that the true light would come into the world to shine on everyone.
King James
John 1:4–5 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
1:8–9 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Why was the ministry of John the Baptizer so important?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:6–7 God sent John the Baptizer to spread the news about the light so people might believe.
King James
John 1:6–7 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

Why do the people God has created not recognize him as their Creator?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:10 Although the Word made the world, people in the world did not recognize him when he came.
King James
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Why did so many people not recognize who Jesus was?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:11 He lived among his own people. Despite his unfailing love and faithfulness, most people did not accept him.
King James
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

What does it mean to become part of God’s family?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:12–13 But he gave those who believed and accepted him the right to become God’s children. They were born again, not physically out of human desire, but spiritually by the will of God.
Romans 8:14–15 All those who are guided by the Holy Spirit are God’s children, but not as slaves obeying out of fear. You are God’s adopted children, who seek to please him.
Ephesians 1:5 In seeing us alienated from him, through his good pleasure in Jesus Christ he sought to adopt us into his family.
King James
John 1:12–13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Romans 8:14–15 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

If some of those who saw Jesus did not recognize his majestic splendor, how can we recognize his glory when we haven’t seen him?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:14 The Word became human and we have seen the majestic splendor of Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, and the glory of the only son of the Father.
King James
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

How long did John the Baptizer preach the coming of the Messiah before pointing him out? How did John’s message change after that?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:15 John the Baptizer pointed out Jesus, then shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming who is far greater than I am, because he existed long before I did.'”
King James
John 1:15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

How blessed do average people think they are? Average Christians? Why?

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John 1:16 All believers can benefit from his rich grace by which he has blessed us repeatedly.
King James
John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

What is the difference between “Law” and “grace and truth”?

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John 1:17 Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus Christ gave us grace and truth.
King James
John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

In what ways does the Son reveal the Father?

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John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. However, his Son, who came from him, has revealed him to us.
King James
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Why were religious leaders interested in John’s identity?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:19 The Jews sent a group of priests and Temple officials to inquire about John’s identity. “Who are you?” they said.
1:22 “Then who are you? We must give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
King James
John 1:19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
1:22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

Who did John say he was? Why did he identify himself in that way?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:20–23 Without hesitation, John said, “I am not the Messiah.”
“Who are you? Elijah?”
“No, absolutely not.”
“Are you the Prophet, the one foretold by Moses?”
“No, I am not.”
“Then who are you? We must give an answer to those who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?”
Quoting from Isaiah the prophet, John said, “I am the one who is shouting, ‘Clear a path in the wilderness, because the Lord our God is coming.’ “
King James
John 1:20–23 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

In John’s ministry, what was the importance of baptism? What was his perception of the Messiah?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:24–27 Some of the Pharisees said, “If you are not the Messiah, Elijah, or the Prophet, why do you baptize?”
“I only baptize with water. One stands among you whom you do not recognize. Although his ministry follows mine, I am not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.”
1:31 “I did not know who he was. I only knew that I must baptize people so he might be revealed to Israel.”
King James
John 1:24–27 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
1:31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Where was John when he saw the Messiah?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:28–30 This encounter happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan River, where John was baptizing.
The next day, John saw Jesus coming and shouted, “Look! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is much greater than I am’ because he existed long before me.”
King James
John 1:28–30 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

With what difficulty did John recognize the Messiah?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:31–34 “I did not know who he was. I only knew that I must baptize people so he might be revealed to Israel.”
John gave this proof: “I saw the Spirit of God descend from the sky like a dove and remain upon him. I would not have known him, but the one who sent me to baptize said, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ With my own eyes, I saw it and can testify without reservation. He is the Son of God.”
King James
John 1:31–34 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

What reasons might two of John the Baptizer’s disciples have had for following Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:35–38 The next day, John was again at the Jordan River, this time with two of his disciples. When he looked up and saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God.”
So the two disciples decided to follow Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following. “What do you want?”
“Rabbi,” they said, meaning Teacher, “where are you staying?”
King James
John 1:35–38 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

What did Jesus say that caused Andrew and John to stay the entire day?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:39 “Come and see.”
It was about ten o’clock in the morning, so they went to where he was staying and spent the day with him.
King James
John 1:39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

Where were Andrew and John’s brothers and what were they doing when they were found?

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John 1:40–41 One of the two disciples who heard John and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Before John reached his brother James, Andrew reached his own brother Simon and said, “We have found the Messiah, the Anointed One.”
King James
John 1:40–41 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

How did Jesus recognize Simon and then call him Peter?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:42 Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus.
“You are Simon, son of Jonah.” Jesus looked intently at him. “You will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter, meaning Rock.
King James
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Where was Philip and what was he doing when he met Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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John 1:43–44 The next day, Jesus left for Galilee.
On the way, he met Philip and said, “Follow me.”
Like Andrew and Peter, Philip was from the town of Bethsaida.
King James
John 1:43–44 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

What was the situation that caused Philip to follow Jesus?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:43–44 The next day, Jesus left for Galilee.
On the way, he met Philip and said, “Follow me.”
Like Andrew and Peter, Philip was from the town of Bethsaida.
King James
John 1:43–44 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

What was Nathanael doing when Philip found him? Why was Nathanael skeptical?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:45–46 Philip ran ahead and found Nathanael sitting under a fig tree, meditating on who the Messiah would be: Behold, a true Israelite in whom is no deceit— Philip interrupted his thoughts. “We’ve found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one described by the prophets—Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
“Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?”
Philip said, “Come see for yourself.”
King James
John 1:45–46 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

What caused Nathanael to suddenly change from skeptic to believer?

Author’s Thoughts
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Author’s Paraphrase
John 1:47–51 As Nathanael approached, Jesus said, “Behold, a true Israelite in whom is no deceit.”
“How can you know what I was thinking?” Nathanael said.
“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree, before Philip called you.”
“Teacher!” Nathanael said. “You really are the Son of God, the King of Israel.”
“Do you believe just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this. Without a doubt, you will see the skies open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man.”
King James
John 1:47–51 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.