Luke wrote for Theophilus and the group of Christians surrounding him in Greece. But John, writing at a much later date, realized that he was addressing the entire Church on earth. In other words, John understood that he was writing a Gospel for the whole Church. This understanding must have had a profound effect what he wrote and how he presented it. This term is a short-hand description of a fairly complex situation. This group may have included some persons who knew John personally and studied the faith under his direction.
It may have included some who heard John preach, but did not know him or receive instruction from him personally; these merely knew John from a distance, yet did hear him speak about the faith. It may have included some who were more like disciples of John's disciples, rather than disciples of John himself; some of these may never have known John, but learned about him from others and sought to imitate him.
John's Gospel was not written by only one person. The text shows that more than one person put their hand to this Gospel. For example, the story of the woman caught in adultery is lacking in some ancient copies of John's Gospel. And some commentators have pointed out differences of language and style in that story. Also, the ending of John's Gospel clearly indicates at least one other person contributed to this inspired book of Sacred Scripture. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
John Furthermore, which verse would John choose as a fitting ending for his Gospel? He begins his Gospel with a clear and piercing note about the Eternal Word of God. Would he then have ended his Gospel with a denial of rumors about his own mortality verse 23 , a statement referring to himself and the truth of his own testimony verse 24 , and a comment about how many books would be needed to put the deeds of Christ into written words verse 25? Clearly, these last verses were added by another hand at a later time. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
Jn John is similar to John ; both verses are later additions by John's disciples. Both are a commentary on the Gospel of John as a whole. An author would not generally add to his own work a commentary on itself. This type of writing shows the hand of a second author.
John probably ended his Gospel with the story about Peter and Christ, where Peter matches his previous triple denial of Christ with a triple affirmation of love for Christ Jn Then Jesus makes a prediction that Peter will suffer imprisonment because of the Gospel Jn Though, even by the late date that John himself wrote, Peter had already suffered martyrdom for Christ. John is an additional story about John added by his disciples, which they had received from him, either directly or indirectly. John would not have ended with a story about himself.
John is commentary by John's disciples. It seems unlikely that John would conclude his Gospel by talking about himself. The Holy Spirit chose to conclude the Gospel with these words, by inspiring these later additions to John's work; but John himself did not make that choice. All such additions or changes made to John's Gospel by his disciples are still the inspired work of God, because they God is their One True Author. John, out of humility and a desire to focus on Christ, would not have emphasized the things that he himself did.
But John's disciples, knowing of these events either from John directly or as these stories were handed down to them, would add these events about him, about someone whom they admired because he lived like Christ and taught them the Faith. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, while Peter stood outside at the door. John was present for this event and wrote about it.
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By comparison, in another passage, John , we have a combination of John's work, with later additions by his disciples. These disciples are also probably the ones who pointed out that John outran Peter and reached the tomb first. John is less likely, and his disciples are more likely, to point out anything superlative that John himself did. The passage in John 21, where the disciples are fishing, presents a similar situation. Other lines which clearly show the work of a subsequent author are those which comment on the text.
This line indicates that a second hand was put to John's Gospel. The later author is counting up events in the text and adding an observation of the text itself; something the original author is much less likely to do. An exception to this rule is the three denials by Peter and the three affirmations also by Peter.
This count is integral to the event itself and obvious to the original author. It is not a commentary on the text. In several places, John's Gospel uses a word, then immediately explains its meaning with one other word.
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These are all examples of the clarification of an Aramaic or Hebrew term by giving the Greek equivalent. This is clearly the work of a translator, not the original author. If John were writing in Greek, he would simply use the corresponding Greek word for each word spoken by Christ or a disciple. Only a later translator would leave in the original wording and then add an explanatory comment, providing the translation of a word which the translator's audience might not know. John's audience knew Aramaic and some Hebrew. But the later audience which John's disciples were addressing, when they translated his Gospel into Greek, might not.
Why would John's disciples make any additions to the Gospel written by the Apostle they admired? Would they not have treasured his words without making any changes?
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Translating John's Gospel into Greek gave them the opportunity to work with this Gospel. This group of disciples admired the Apostle John and sought to imitate him. As they were working on translating his Gospel, it was natural for them to add to John's Gospel those teachings which they had received from John or which had been handed down from John. They did not see this as altering or adding to John's teachings. They were merely writing down more of what John himself taught. Translators often mix their own interpretations and point of view into their translation.
John's disciples, likewise, did not merely translate, they also interpreted, e. Jn a and Jn , and they even added other material, which came directly or indirectly from John, to the Gospel of John. John was writing to much the same audience as with his Gospel.
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First, he was writing again for the churches of Asia i. He also realized that, as with his Gospel, this type of religious writing often found a wider circulation in the Church.
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The book of Revelation is not only about the seven churches of Asia, it is also about the future of the Church and the world. It must have been very clear to John that God intended this message for the whole Church. Therefore, John again chose a language which, at the time, would be understood in each of the seven churches of Asia and also throughout the Church, namely, Aramaic. But this does not necessarily imply that the words were spoken to John by God in Greek. Or God could have spoken to John in Aramaic.
Both Hebrew and Aramaic have similar alphabets. In the first three verses of Revelation, we have a commentary on the work similar to the commentary in the last two verses of John's Gospel. Again, in the third verse of Revelation, we have a comment by John's disciples about the last days, similar to a comment at the end of John's Gospel. Both the end of John's Gospel and the beginning of Revelation refer to John bearing witness and to his testimony. And both refer to the end times. They still had the same mind set.
For example, a writer working on one book might have different ideas, attitudes, and approaches to the same material. On one day, or on consecutive days, he might approach the material from one angle. But, writing for the same work weeks or months later, he might take a different approach and express somewhat different ideas or attitudes. The similarities between the end of John's Gospel and the start of Revelation suggest that there was not much time between the work John's disciples did with the Gospel and their work with Revelation.
If John had originally written Revelation in Greek, then his disciples would have had no reason to work with the book and to make any additions to the material. The continuity between the work his disciples did on the Gospel and their work on Revelation suggests that they were translating Revelation just as they had translated the Gospel.
The ending of Revelation, as originally written by John, is difficult to discern. In Rev. The next verse, Rev , repeats one of the themes of Rev , the nearness of the Return of Christ. These would seem to be additions by John's disciples. The remainder of the book could well be additions by John's disciples, but such additions are not mere inventions of his disciples. Instead, these words and ideas are drawn by John's disciples from John's teachings as they had been handed down to his disciples.
The ancient languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin used letters to represent numbers. In Greek, the number is represented by three letters, the first letter represents , the second letter represents 60, and the third symbol represents 6; it is likewise for the number But, in Aramaic, the representation of the numbers and is different in one important respect. Aramaic represents with two letters, the symbol for and the symbol for ; used together, these two symbols mean The number given in Rev. But, if the number was written as, essentially, , then his first or last?
Some commentators say that this occurred when the last of the Apostles, John, died. But it is clear that John's Gospel and the Book of Revelation were completed, by one or more of John's disciples, sometime after John's death. They write as if John were no longer present among them. And John wrote the book of Revelation towards the end of his life. Also, his disciples were adding to these books at a later time, when there was a need for a Greek translation of the books. The translation occurred some significant length of time after John's death.
The portions of the these books written by John's disciples are a part of Sacred Scripture and were most likely written after John died, therefore the canon of Sacred Scripture was not closed upon John's death, but upon the completion of each of the books within the canon. The latter John is clearly imitating the former, yet he does not mention John the Apostle by name nor does he recount any of the Apostle's recent deeds.
John the elder seems to be writing a significant length of time after John the Apostle's death. But before explaining how this can be done, let me set the stage with a little background. The Gospels we use today—in English or in other languages—are translations from old Greek manuscripts. By contrast, what Christians call the Old Testament—the Hebrew Bible—was written in Hebrew, with a few short sections in a sister language called Aramaic.
Were the canonical Gospels originally written in Greek? Over the centuries, scholars have argued various positions. Some indeed have suggested that one or more of the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew and then translated into Greek. Others have argued that one or more of the Gospels were written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek. Still others have contended that the Gospels were written in Greek, but that their authors used collections of Aramaic or Hebrew sayings or traditions then extant but now lost.