In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of
life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake;
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. And the Lord God said,
Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden
Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 1,2, & 3 KJV - Redacted)
Unpermitted to carry with him even one day's provision when he walked through the closing gate of the Garden into a new hostile world, one cannot help but wonder if, as Lot's wife, this first Adam did not look longingly over his shoulder at a sealed and vanishing home of cherished memories. If he did, then he had to have seen a lonely
Figure standing in the doorway in the distance in heart-broken agony, just as the prodigal's father, watching the departure of a loved son lost through his own desires -- and with the expectant look of a hope to see him someday return. And if this errant son had looked closer, he would have seen standing beside this Father another Son, a Second Adam yet to be born,
One who would later enter this fallen world outside that Garden to show the first Adam's descendants the way to this Eternal Home's hidden entrance.
As recorded in Genesis, the drama of the origin and fall of that first Adam had just concluded in unparalleled tragedy. But John tells us there is a sequel to that sad story, one that begins with his Gospel and concludes in triumph with his final chapter called Revelation. What lies between the end of that first story and its final conclusion
is a mere parenthetical expression of Adam and his sons' wayward wanderings and this Father's Introduction to His grandsons. And so John begins, as did the first, "In the Beginning," and proceeds to introduce the Earthly Coming of God's Second Son, this time as His Only Begotten. Born to a virgin granddaughter of the woman He fashioned from the first,
He has come to walk the dusty and lonely trails of a fallen planet for one purpose -- to search out and tell Adam's descendants they must be born through Him to see clearly Eden's opening, and by their own choice, choose to re-enter it, or remain in the darkness of a doomed world. This is John's story, as God chose him to tell it.
Although one may have eluded me (and may still), when I began my own walk with this Second Adam back into the Home of His Promise, I looked for one book that would be a companion to His Word, one that would help me to understand the significance of this transforming process He had begun in me. It was one that I desired to contain several things
that I could have at my ready disposal, for example: a general history of man, specifically Biblical man; an aid to understanding who this Guide is that I was entrusting my eternal future, that I could grow in my personal relationship with and love for Him; and some information on how I was to live and share Him with others. Many wonderful separate
works existed, but not one that served all the purposes I desired. It became a dream to produce such a helpful tool for myself and those He would lead my way to disciple. The following is an attempt (albeit inadequate) to fulfill this purpose.
Born originally from the need for a study guide in teaching a Bible course on the Gospel of John, while in the process of discipling a group of men, this work is a revision to provide each student, or reader, a personal background and limited commentary on John's Gospel. Although expanded for the reader's use, its class outline form was retained for
popular referencing by students and for classroom instruction. It is written in such a way that hopefully the new believer, or any who wish to examine its content, will find it a helpful tool in discovering and developing a deeper understanding, appreciation, and love for this Second Adam, called Jesus.
In keeping with John's own stated purpose for his writing (20:31
), the basic theme of this study is found in the truth seen in Chapter 3: Christ, who is the light of the world, has now appeared unto all who live in darkness that all
might come to Him, but each must be received personally. To choose to remain in darkness since the Light has appeared is to choose to remain in death with no hope of the new life He promises. Thus each man who so chooses is responsible for his own condemnation to that eternal darkness and death, as Jesuis instructed Nicodemus. This theme will be evident throughout the study. This writer acknowledges there are many other approaches to John's work, but for this purpose this approach was chosen. Its intention certainly was not academic nor a complete and final word on this subject. Therefore, it is hoped that the reader
will approach this work with the same purpose and spirit it was produced.
It is also hoped that the reader's own interest and imagination will be stirred to a deeper thirst for and personal search into their own knowledge of Scripture. For this reason, many related Old and New Testament references are given alongside a thought as one beginning point into that study. Serious effort was made not to stretch the limits
of context in any particular area, but in some cases references were provided to provoke further thought. Though the intent is to limit the writer's own opinions in areas of uncertainty, personal interpretations will be evident throughout. No infallibility is claimed in this work, and if any error in content or reference is discovered, the reader
is assured that it receives continuing revision through personal and classroom scrutiny.
Before proceeding into the textual study, it is recommended the reader familiarize him or herself thoroughly with the studies and separate time-tables found in both the Introduction and Appendix. Included in the Introduction will be a short study of the major Jewish groups in Jesus' day: the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and Essenes;
a brief look at the first major heresy within the early church: Gnosticism; a chapter by chapter summary for a quick overview before beginning the textual study; and finally a working outline of the gospel. Timelines are provided in the Appendix for a quick look at the general history of both Old and New Testament times. And a disciple study is provided
collectively at the end for convenience, rather than piecemealing each throughout the text as the individual is introduced by John.
Finally, no specific reference was routinely cited on information gleaned from other works for this study. Instead, a selected bibliography of those works is produced in conclusion to render such credit. Although knowledge is certainly gained through the work of past and present lives who were then and are now dedicated to its study, preservation,
and transmission for the benefit of future generations, our greatest indebtedness, however, lies with its original author -- God Himself -- who, through His Holy Spirit, inspired a man like John to pen his first-hand account of this wonderful record of His Only Begotten Son, this Second Adam. In this, John is without equal; his work has a unique way of
speaking to the heart of one searching in darkness for the answer to his or her life, its satisfying fulfillment, and eternal implications.
Therefore, it is with great gratitude that God has allowed this opportunity to share with the reader this work produced through many hours of meditation and prayer for guidance (and subsequent thanksgiving for that which He did show), all for the purpose He intends to accomplish in the heart and life of the individual reader or student. It is further hoped
the reader will also approach these pages with that same spirit of prayer, and if anything is learned or gained in the process, then to Him be all credit and glory.