We’ve been “setting the table” throughout August by studying important background information for the Gospel of John, an extended study that we will start the first week of September.
There are a couple of “whys” behind all this preparation.
Why do we need background information? The Gospel of John was written by a follower of Jesus at a specific time in history. We can miss important nuances that the author didn’t need to explain because he and his audience shared a common understanding of recent historical events. One of the key events for the Gospel of John is the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 a.d. This rocked the religious world and forms an important, but often unspoken, element in the Gospel of John. So, throughout August, we looked at some of the history and people that John’s original readers already knew.
Why are we spending so much time in a single book of the Bible? (We plan to be in John until Easter, with a break for the holidays). Each book of the Bible was written to address the needs of an audience. When we consider the whole book, we can look for similar needs in our time and see how the Bible speaks to that need. Often a preacher develops a “series” based on different verses from various places in the Bible. This isn’t “wrong,” necessarily, but speaking from a single book of the Bible looks for God’s voice to speak through His word. Topics are raised and considered as they come up in the Word, not the preacher’s head.
Why John? John has been called “so shallow that a child can play in it, and so deep that an elephant can swim.” And that’s true. John is amazing. Come and see! Sundays at 10:30!