With content gleaned from Halleys Bible Handbook (Zondervan, 2014)the most popular Bible handbook of all time and available as one of more than 40 study resources with your membership in Bible Gateway PlusHalleys Study Bible (Zondervan, 2020) helps you understand the Bible through articles, study notes, charts, maps, and photos next to related Scripture.
Here are examples of reference articles from the first chapter of the Gospel of John.
ETERNITY AND THE DEITY OF JESUS
These verses remind us of the opening words of Genesis. Jesus is called God and Creator. John is very positive that Jesus was a personality who existed from eternity, and that he had had a hand in the creation of the universe. Jesus is here called the Word. In Genesis we read again and again, And God said.
In John 17:5, Jesus is quoted as referring to the glory he had with the Father before the world existed. Thus Jesus is Gods expression of himself to humanity. He is Gods message to us.
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JESUS: THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus said this again and again (8:12; 9:5; 12:46). It is one of the keynotes in Johns writings about Jesus (1 Jn 1:57). It means that Jesus, as light of the world, is the One who makes clear the meaning and destiny of human existence.
Verse 6 introduces John the Baptist, who was sent from God, not as the light, but as a witness to the light. All references to John in this Gospel refer to John the Baptist and not the author.
Johns Gospel emphasizes that membership in Gods family is provided to all who receive him and believe in his name (v. 12). Salvation is received through Gods grace and never through human works.
God became a man in order to win humanity to himself. God could have made human beings with an instinct to do his will, but he chose rather to give them the power to decide for themselves their attitude toward their Creator. But God is Spirit, and we are hedged in by the limitations of a material body and have little conception of what a spirit is. So the Creator came to his creatures in the form of one of them to give them an idea of the kind of Being he is. God is like Jesus. Jesus is like God.
After brief statements about the deity of Jesus and his pre-existence and incarnation, Johns Gospel, passing over Jesus birth, childhood, baptism, and temptation, starts with the testimony to the deity of Jesus given by John the Baptist to the investigating committee from the Sanhedrin.
The Prophet (v. 21) was a descriptive title of the Messiah and was generally understood as such by the people in Jesus day (6:14).
Note Johns profound humility in his devotion to Christ (v. 27)he did not consider himself worthy even to untie Jesus shoea servants job. This is so noteworthy that it is recorded in all four Gospels (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7; Lk 3:16). What a powerful statement to the world if all Christians could exhibit the same humble adoration of the Lord!
SON OF MAN
This was Jesus favorite name for himself. It occurs about 70 times in the Gospels: 30 times in Matthew, 5 in Mark, 25 in Luke, and 10 times in John. It was used in Daniel 7:1314 and verse 27 as a name of the coming Messiah. Jesus use of it to refer to himself may have amounted to a claim that he was the Messiah.
On the other hand, it suggests that Jesus rejoiced in his experience as God in human form, sharing the life of humankind. He carried the title with him to heaven (Ac 7:56; Rev 1:13; 14:14). Ezekiel was addressed about 90 times as son of man (Eze 2:1,3,6,8, etc.), implying the lowliness of man compared with God.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Halleys Bible Handbook: A Classic, Relevant, and Handy Resource]
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