The Prologue of John

The full question:

How helpful is it to read the Prologue of John’s Gospel as a summary introduction to the rest of the Gospel?

ABSTRACT

The Prologue of the Gospel of John has been somewhat entitled a summary introduction. There is some helpfulness with this view in understanding the content that later transpires. At the same time, some unhelpful results can come about if this view is taken too far. Determining the overall weight between its unhelpfulness and helpfulness seems to lean further to the latter, yet perhaps the view that it is an ‘excellent introduction’ is still a more productive alternative.

Introduction

The Fourth Gospel is ‘one of the world’s true treasures’[1]. Unique from the other Gospels, Clement refers to it as the ‘spiritual Gospel’[2] and Powell notes it to be the most ‘overtly interpretive’[3]. The first eighteen verses of this document are startling in their ‘richness and breadth and depth’[4] as well as ‘formulated with this great and grand simplicity’[5]. Brown claims that ‘no passage in the New Testament compels more interest than the prologue of John’s Gospel’[6]. Some consider it to be ‘an awkwardly connected passage that can be eliminated without loss to the message of John’[7] while others not only see it as the Gospel of John in ‘miniature’[8] but a summary of all ‘Johannine theology’[9]. This paper will seek to ascertain how helpful it is to read the first section of John’s Gospel as a summary introduction to the rest of the book. In order to ascertain this goal we will first consider what is helpful with such a view and then what is unhelpful followed by a prognosis that answers the question more completely.

The Helpfulness of Such a View

The helpfulness of the Prologue being considered a summary introduction is vast. In particular, there is some benefit in seeing the introductory verses as a foundation that other significant topics are built upon through the rest of the Fourth Gospel. Many of the themes are repeated which is a strong support for it being a summary introduction and its helpfulness.

Content of Prologue

Most scholars divide the prologue of John’s Gospel into two parts. Verses one to thirteen can be seen as ‘a capsule summary of the Gospel story’[10] particularly ‘the coming of the λόγος and its consequences’[11]. Then verses fourteen to eighteen being the response or reflection of believers.[12] Essentially it uniquely ‘grounds the history of Jesus in the eternity of God’[13]. To observe the helpfulness of the summary introduction claim it is necessary to explore this ‘pearl’[14] of a Prologue in greater detail while comparing it to the rest of the book. The following are thirteen major ideas within the Prologue that are reflected in other parts of John’s Gospel and can be helpfully highlighted through the view of it being a summary introduction.[15]

Jesus is God

The very beginning of the book identifies the Word as divine (1:1) who is later identified as Jesus Christ (1:17)[16]. ‘The divine glory of Christ’ is ‘the first, and most distinctive, feature of John’[17]. Brown considers this point to be a summary of the rest of the Gospel as he points out ‘all that is set forth concerning the ministry of Jesus in the subsequent chapters of this work must be understood in terms of his eternal relationship with God’[18]. This designation of Jesus as God occurs once again at the end of John’s Gospel forming, in effect, an inclusio of the entire Gospel account (20:28).[19] Furthermore the charges of blasphemy that run throughout the book supports this idea that was identified at the beginning (5:18; 8:58; 10:31-39; 17:5; 19:7).[20]

Life

Another main idea that occurs in the beginning and consistently arises throughout is the concept of Jesus having life (ζωή). He ‘embodies life’[21] (1:4; 5:21; 6:57; 11:25; 14:6) as he has life in himself (5:26). This concept ties together a significant component of John’s Gospel – ‘eternal life’ (3:16; 5:40; 6:47; 10:10, 28; 11; 14:6; 17:2). John ends as he began by interweaving the concepts of Jesus and life (20:31).[22] By comprehending the beginning and seeing it arise throughout, there is a certain helpfulness in understanding the entire concept being joined together from the beginning to the end.

Light

Light (φῶς) is also a main idea that traverses the pages of John’s historical account.[23] The divine life is light and enters the world (1:4, 9; 8:12; 9:5). It is in opposition to darkness (1:5; 3:19; 12:35-36, 46). This light is ‘not mere reason or insight, it is the light of salvation, the light that points to God’ (3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5) in contrary nature to the darkness that symbolises ‘rebellion, conflict, and hostility’.[24]

World

In the prologue there is also ‘the basic contours for the construction of a systematic consideration of the κόσμος theology of John’[25]. Jesus enters the world (1:9, 11; 3:19; 12:46)[26], the ‘object of God’s love (3:16; 4:42; 12:47)’[27], to save it (4:42; 6:33; 8:12; 12:46). It is through the Word that the world was made yet it ‘has fallen in alienation from the creator’[28] (1:10; 1 John 5:19). Salier goes so far as to observe ‘a story involving the world and the word which will echo throughout the Gospel, informing its narrative structure’[29]. Another main idea that is summarised in the Prologue and is useful to comprehend and explore the Gospel further.

Witness of John the Baptist

Bultmann and others believe the Prologue was adapted from ‘a pre-Christian gnostic hymn’ and that verses on John the Baptist were inserted later.[30] On the other hand, if these popular eighteen verses are a summary introduction one would expect there to be mention of him as a witness (1:6-8, 15, 19-37; 3:22-30; 5:31-36; 10:40-42).[31] These references do not merely contain the idea of the Baptist but also the thread of witness, ‘one of the key words in the Gospel’[32]. Even John the Baptist is not the greatest witness (5:36). Other witnesses to Jesus are his works (3:11, 32; 5:36; 8:14, 18; 10:25, 32, 37-38; 14:11; 15:24; 18:37), the Father (5:32, 37; 8:18), Jesus himself (8:14, 18), the Spirit (15:26), the Scriptures (5:39, 46) and the beloved disciple (19:35; 21:24).[33] By opening this theme at the commencement of the Gospel, it helps enlighten the reader to what is coming.

Response

Three verses (1:10-12) in the Prologue can be seen to ‘encapsulate the drama of the whole Gospel’[34]. Burge believes the first half of the Gospel (chs. 1-12) reflects the rejection of Jesus (1:10-11) and the second half (chs. 13-21) reflects those who ‘believe in his name’ (1:12).[35] This theme of unbelief (e.g. 6:64; 7:5; 10:25; 12:37) and belief (e.g. 2:11; 4:39, 41; 8:30) carries on throughout the Gospel.[36] This theme of belief appears to be the purpose of the book (20:31) and it is presented as a main idea at the beginning helping the readers attune to John’s purpose.

Children of God

The idea of being born of God and becoming his child also begins in the Prologue (1:12-13) and continues in the Gospel (3:3, 5-8; 8:31-47; 11:51-52).[37] Becoming a child of God is a ‘privilege’ that can only be brought about by God.[38] While verse twelve contains the concept of becoming God’s child, being born of God is not inferred until verse thirteen and this concept continues in the Fourth Gospel (3:1-8).[39] Reference to this concept and others appear to end before the ‘second half’ of the book yet this does not diminish the question at hand and is not always true as seen in these sections. There is a sense that the concept of children of God is provided as a main idea in the introduction, making it a possible summary of the whole and thereby beneficial.

Flesh

The flesh (σὰρξ) of Jesus is emphasised in the Prologue (1:14). He was in the world (1:10). It directly refers to the incarnation of the Word, the humanity of Christ. Morris notes ‘the principle topic in these verses is the incarnation’[40]. This emphasis on his human nature flows throughout the Fourth Gospel (1:45; 2:12; 4:6, 7; 6:1; 11:35; 19:28, 42; 20:20, 27).[41]

Glory

The glory (δόξᾰ) of the Word of God is a main idea at the ‘foyer’[42] of the Gospel (1:14).[43] Again it carries throughout the penned account of Jesus Christ (2:11; 7:39; 8:54; 11:4, 40; 12:23, 41; 13:31; 17:5, 24). The glory of Christ is John’s ‘first and most distinctive feature’[44]. Carson sees this theme of glory being expanded throughout the rest of the book.[45] The concept that the Son was sent so that the glory of the Father might be revealed is also pertinent within this theme.

The One and Only

In the ‘overture’[46] of the Gospel the uniqueness of the one and only (μονογενής) is stated (1:14, 18). Especially the emphasis on the one and only Son[47] ‘sets the stage for the Gospel’s characteristic emphasis on the Father-Son relationship between God and Jesus’[48]. This same word is used in the famous verses of chapter three (3:16, 18).

Truth

The concept of truth (ἀλήθεια) is mentioned at the commencement of the Gospel (1:14, 17). John then expands on this concept as Jesus is the truth (14:6; 18:36-37), ‘communicates truth’ (1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 8:31; 18:37) ‘and leads to truth, which makes man free (8:32; 14:17; 15:26)’.[49]

The Law

The comparison John offers between Jesus and the law also begins in the first section of the Gospel (1:17). Thompson demonstrates how this theme continues throughout the Gospel:

‘by showing his superiority to the patriarchs of the Jewish faith (4:12; 6:32; 8:53-58), the replacement in his person of Jewish feasts and religious institutions (2:1-11, 19-22; 6:32-41; 7:37-39), and the relationship between the Law and Moses on the one hand and Jesus Christ on the other (1:17; 5:39-40, 45-47; 7:19-23).’[50]

Köstenberger also sees how ‘Jesus transcends limitations of Jewish law’ and ‘delivers farewell discourse (2:6; 5:10, 45-47; 7:19; 9:14-16; 13:1-17:26)’[51]. It seems clear that throughout the Gospel and the Prologue ‘in Christ we have not symbol but substance, not the shadow of bliss but its reality’[52]. The law paves the way for grace and truth to come through Jesus Christ. [53]

Reveals the Father

The personal relationship of the Word and God is ‘epitomized in John 1:18’[54]. He is the only one who has seen the Father (6:46). This ‘Word’ reveals the Father, ‘in the beginning God expressed himself’[55]. Jesus ‘reveals the Father’ (8:38; 15:15; 17:25-26).[56]. So much so that he can say ‘whoever has seen me has seen the Father’ (14:9). This concept of revelation pervades the gospel as one would expect with an opening that uses the term ‘Word’ – ‘audible revelation’[57].

With each of these examples building upon each other evidence of the Prologue being a summary introduction begins to snowball. The helpfulness of such a view appears to be confirmed. Despite this, there are some reasons to question such a conclusion.

The Unhelpfulness of Such a View

There are a number of scholars such as Harnack who believes the Prologue was not originally part of the book and was added as a ‘postscript’ at a later date.[58] Two areas that would reveal the disconnect between the Prologue and the rest of the Fourth Gospel and thereby negate the idea of a summary introduction and thereby its helpfulness will now be considered. Firstly, significant content within the rest of the Gospel that is not in the Prologue and secondly, ideas that are in the Prologue and not in the rest of John’s account of Jesus. If either of these points are made apparent, then the helpfulness of one seeing it as a summary introduction may be questioned.

John but not Prologue

There are a number of critical aspects that are evident in the rest of John but appear to be difficult to find in the Prologue without some imagination. One significant area is the theme of the Paraclete. In the Fourth Gospel there is ‘much of the Paraclete-inspired truth’[59] yet this concept is not explicitly present within the first eighteen verses. Trudinger believes the ‘traditionally defined Prologue is incomplete’[60] and that ‘it falls far short of fulfilling its aim comprehensively, since it fails’[61] to address key ideas in the rest of the text. He considers eternal life to be one of these concepts, yet as noted above it seems this could be linked to a certain extent with the Prologue. Other points he provides such as the gift of the Spirit appears legitimate. Trudinger also points to the death and exaltation of Jesus as missing within the Prologue. Although Trudinger’s solution[62] may undermine the infallibility of Scripture, his observation seems accurate. It is true that the glory of Christ could be seen to lead ultimately to the big idea of the cross and ascension of Christ, yet it is not explicitly stated. Verse eleven could also allude to the cross as it is a ‘recurring theme throughout’[63] yet there is a lack of clarity for it to refer specifically to the crucifixion. Other minor ideas could be tied back to the Prologue such as the ‘I am’ statements as they support Jesus’ divinity but these two significant themes of the Paraclete and Christ’s crucifixion in John’s Gospel seem to be devoid in the introduction. Based upon these points, perhaps viewing the Prologue as a summary introduction is slightly flawed and the idea of it being an ‘excellent introduction’ would be more astute to the entire text.

Prologue but not John

Some vocabulary that appears in the Prologue does not continue in the rest of the Fourth Gospel.[64] Perhaps the most significant word in the beginning that is not restated through the rest is, Word (λόγος). This at first seems to be evidence pointing to the idea of a summary introduction being flawed yet it is not so. Wood clarifies that ‘the influence of the Logos theme…is present throughout the Gospel’ and ‘should enhance understanding of the whole Gospel’.[65] Morris does well in following the trajectory of the concept of the Word crisscrossing throughout the Gospel by noting the ‘good deal of stress on “the word(s)” of Jesus or of God’[66] (3:34; 5:24, 47; 6:63, 68; 8:31, 51; 14:23, 24; 15:3, 7, 20; 17:6, 8, 14). Valentine also agrees by explaining that ‘the idea of Jesus as the incarnate Word as expounded in the first section, is developed throughout the following chapters’[67]. The other word not repeated in the rest of the Gospel is grace (χάρις) yet it is stated four times within the Prologue. Again, this word can be seen as still having ‘a specific meaning and importance in the Gospel as a whole’[68]. This word appears to be an equivalent for the Hebrew word חֶ֖סֶד (steadfast love).[69] This idea tied in with the concept of truth refers to God’s covenant faithfulness which is ‘found ultimate expression in God’s sending of Jesus, his one-of-a-kind Son’[70]. It seems the concept of grace is transparent in the very nature of the incarnation to the cross and indeed everything that transpires throughout (ie. 2:1-12; 4:14 4:43-54; 5:19-30; 6:1-15, 27; 9:1-6; 10:11, 15, 28; 11:38-44; 15:26; 16:7 17:2).

It seems as though there is evidence of key themes in John not appearing in the Prologue. Important words that are not repeated, do appear to be developed further as the Gospel progresses. This supports the idea that it is an ‘excellent introduction’ rather than a complete summary of everything to come.

Prognosis

By developing the information above, a number of conclusions leading to a prognosis upon the helpfulness of the Prologue being seen as a summary introduction can be made. In this section we will further consider what is explicitly unhelpful from the details above and then what is helpful.

Not Helpful

Ways in which viewing the Prologue as a summary introduction can be unhelpful must be considered carefully. Even though there is much ease in comparing one idea at the beginning and how it flows throughout, Carson warns that the theology of John is ‘so wonderfully integrated…that attempts to compartmentalize his thought by itemizing its components are destined in some measure to misrepresent it’[71]. This seems a legitimate critique as it may be tempting to separate the key ideas of the introduction and the rest of the Gospel as it has been shown above. There have been some scholars that may have overemphasised the idea of a summary introduction by attempting to ‘fit’ the rest of the Gospel in the Prologue. Deek for example may go too far in his thesis of dividing the Prologue into four sections (1:1-5, 6-8, 9-13, 14-18) that then correlated to four sections within the rest of the Gospel (1:1-19; 1:19-4:54; 5:1-12:50; 13:1-20:31). Staley concludes ‘that his argument ultimately fails to convince’[72]. Perhaps forcing the text to fit a schema may provide a thesis that attempts to integrate John’s Gospel into a box in which not everything completely fits. It may be possible to learn from some of these hypotheses, but it is important to not rely solely on them.

Another possible unhelpful result with considering the Prologue as a summary introduction is the temptation to merely see it as completely similar to the rest of the document. Although the similarities are vast, such a view may take away from its unique qualities, as partly mentioned above. Carter makes an important distinction when he notes how ‘the narrative (1.19ff.) will express the same understanding and experience but will do so in a different literary form and with a host of different expressions and metaphors’[73]. He goes on to comment, ‘it is precisely in the recognition of these similarities yet differences that a key dimension of the Prologue’s function can be discerned’[74]. It may be possible to minimalise the significance of the Prologue if a view of it being a summary introduction requires everything to be similar and there to be no differences. Both compartmentalising and minimalising are important to beware of with such an outlook.

Helpful

Despite these points that are important to take into account, such a view can still be helpful. The wonderful way in which it summarises what is to come and provides a whetting of the appetite alone points to its beneficial use. By seeing the Prologue as a summary introduction, greater study will be given to this section and then ‘should enhance understanding of the whole Gospel’[75]. This emphasis helps readers realise its importance and provides awareness of ‘how the evangelist wishes his readers to approach his presentation of the Lord’s work and Person’[76]. Many scholars have likened it to an ‘overture to an opera’.[77] Salier summarises this view well in describing it ‘where…snatches of tunes to come are heard, moods are introduced, and the appetite of the reader generally whetted with a view to what is to come’ yet it ‘is more than an overture…in that it provides a fundamental perspective to accompany [the] reader into the rest of the Gospel’[78]. The interweaving understanding of the Prologue and the rest of the Fourth Gospel is a definite strength of it being seen as a summary introduction.

This ‘tightness of the connections between the Prologue and the Gospel’ also provides evidence against ‘the view that the Prologue was composed by someone other than the Evangelist’.[79] This is an important point in an age where much of the research contradicts this idea. The connection between the Gospel and the Prologue provides an understanding of ‘a mutual relationship…so that when the reader has completed the Gospel and returns to the prologue it is re-read with greater depth than before’[80]. By viewing the Prologue as a summary introduction, the content and the themes are treasured more deeply and provide greater insight to all that follows.

Conclusion

There are many topics and themes that are summarised in the introduction of John’s Gospel. Although some words are not repeated and themes in the rest of the Fourth Gospel are not contained in the Prologue, it does not negate the idea that the first eighteen verses can constitute a summary introduction. At the same time an ‘excellent introduction’ may be a better conclusion. Valentine astutely describes the Prologue as ‘the first rays of sunlight at dawn pierce the sky, anticipating the brightness of the mid-day sun’[81]. It is possible to overemphasise this view and thereby render some unhelpful conclusions by compartmentalising and possibly minimlising the content. Overall this view is more helpful than unhelpful.

 

 

 

  1. Richard D. Phillips, John (Reformed Expository Commentary; Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Pub, 2014), 1:5.

  2. Stephen C. Carlson, ‘Clement of Alexandria on the “Order” of the Gospels’, New Testament Studies 47/1 (2001), 118–125.

  3. Mark Allan Powell, Fortress Introduction to the Gospels (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998), 124.

  4. Galen L. Miller, ‘Life and the Glory: Some Reflections on the Prologue to John’, Brethren Life and Thought 22/ (Autumn 1977): 211.

  5. Herman N Ridderbos, ‘Structure and Scope of the Prologue to the Gospel of John’, Novum Testamentum 8/2–4 (April 1966): 200.

  6. Raymond Bryan Brown, ‘Prologue of the Gospel of John: John 1:1-18’, Review & Expositor 62/4 (September 1965): 429. The exhaustive amount of literature has much to do with critical scholarship and various theories proposed. Ridderbos does well in explaining that downfalls of critical scholarship on the Prologue. Ridderbos, “Structure and Scope of the Prologue to the Gospel of John.”

  7. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 429.

  8. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 429.

  9. M. E. Boismard, St. John’s Prologue (Westminster: The Newman Press, 1957).

  10. J. Ramsey Michaels, John (Understanding the Bible Commentary Series; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 20.

  11. Bill Salier, ‘What’s in a World? Kosmos in the Prologue of John’s Gospel’, The Reformed Theological Review 56/3 (September 1997): 110.

  12. Michaels, John, 20; Salier, “What’s in a World?,” 110.

  13. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 429.

  14. Sheri D Kling, ‘Wisdom Became Flesh: An Analysis of the Prologue to the Gospel of John’, Currents in Theology and Mission 40/3 (June 2013): 181.

  15. These themes are significant throughout the Fourth Gospel and contains many elements that would be a joy to further investigate yet due to the word limitations a brief summary demonstrating it being within the prologue and continuing in the rest of the gospel is the intention of these thirteen points.

  16. This compound of Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ occurs twice in John (17:3) yet the word χριστός occurs seventeen times.

  17. Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey (2nd ed.; Encountering Biblical Studies; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2005), 110.

  18. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 431.

  19. M. M. Thompson, ‘Gospel of John’, in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (eds. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and I. Howard Marshall; Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 377.

  20. Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2004), 586.

  21. Elwell and Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament, 111.

  22. Life (ζωή) occurs thirty-six times in John’s Gospel. The New Testament book in which this word occurs the second most amount of times is Revelation and it is used seventeen times.

  23. This is another unique word to the Fourth Gospel as it is used more than double the amount of any other New Testament book.

  24. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 432. Light and darkness also presents the idea of contrasts in the Fourth Evangelist’s Gospel. This understanding is reflected in other concepts such as life and death; from above and from below; sight and blindness; flesh and spirit; temporal and eternal; love and hate. Harry Hahne, ‘Gospel of John: Dualism and Eschatology’, in New Testament Introduction I (S1312), 2017, http://www.balboa-software.com/nt1/, (accessed April 26, 2018).

  25. Salier, “What’s in a World?,” 107.

  26. Murray J. Harris, John (eds. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Robert W. Yarbrough; Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament; Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2015), 15.

  27. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 435.

  28. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 435.

  29. Salier, “What’s in a World?,” 107.

  30. Köstenberger, John, 19.

  31. This could also be considered as beginning to present the idea that John the Baptist was not the great one but Jesus was the greater one. An anti-Baptist polemic. Simon Ross Valentine, ‘The Johannine Prologue – a Microcosm of the Gospel’, EQ 68/3 (1996): 302–303.

  32. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 434.

  33. Köstenberger, John, 33; Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 434.

  34. Harris, John, 16.

  35. Gary M. Burge, John (The NIV Application Commentary; Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2000), 52. Harris agrees and sees a similar division. Harris, John, 16.

  36. Gundry believe that ‘preeminently, John writes to engender believing’. Robert H. Gundry, A Survey of the New Testament (4th ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003), 260.

  37. D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1998), 111.

  38. Herman N. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John: A Theological Commentary (trans. by John Vriend; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1997), 46–47.

  39. Ridderbos, The Gospel According to John, 46.

  40. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1971), 71.

  41. Valentine, “The Johannine Prologue,” 295.

  42. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 111.

  43. ‘Possibly alluding to the Shekinah, the Targumuic expression for the presence of God’ Valentine, “The Johannine Prologue,” 299.

  44. Elwell and Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament, 110.

  45. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 111. This view of the glory of the cross is distinct within John’s presentation of Christ’s death.

  46. Burge, John, 52.

  47. Particularly in vs. 14 and in some later manuscripts vs. 18. The earlier manuscripts contain μονογενὴς θεὸς (ie. 𝔓66 𝔓75) rather than μονογενὴς υἱὸς which Metzger considers ‘to be the result of scribal assimilation to Jn 3.16, 18; 1 Jn 4.9’. Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Corrected ed.; Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1975), 198. There is also a good deal of ‘patristic evidence’ for this conclusion. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 113. Such an extraordinary statement that reinforces the very first that ‘the Word was simultaneously God and with God’. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 134.

  48. Michaels, John, 19.

  49. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 437.

  50. Thompson, “Gospel of John,” 74.

  51. Köstenberger, John, 586.

  52. G. H. C. Macgregor, The Gospel of John (n.p.: Harper and Brothers, 1928), 21.

  53. J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub, 2010), 90.

  54. Elwell and Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament, 112.

  55. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 96.

  56. Thompson, “Gospel of John,” 378.

  57. Michaels, The Gospel of John, 46.

  58. Cited in Valentine, “The Johannine Prologue,” 291. Valentine also points to B. Lindars, A. H. McNeile, A. T. Robinson and W. Baldensperger as having theories that are similar to Harnack’s understanding. This view does not necessarily make the Prologue entirely separate from the rest of the Gospel but it does suggest a certain separation that could lead to it being far from a summary introduction. It certainly takes away from the concept that it is an introduction that the rest of the Gospel was formed out of because they suggest it was written later. Carter responds to Harnack’s claims insightfully observing that the ‘claim that the Prologue was an introduction added for Hellenistic readers minimlizes the literary unity of Prologue and Gospel, and fails to consider the Prologue’s function in relation to the Gospel’s socio-historical context’. Warren Carter, ‘The Prologue and John’s Gospel: Function, Symbol and the Definitive Word’, JSNT 39/ (1990): 36.

  59. Thompson, “Gospel of John,” 382.

  60. L. Paul Trudinger, ‘Prologue of John’s Gospel: Its Extent, Content and Intent’, The Reformed Theological Review (January 1974): 12.

  61. Trudinger, “Prologue of John’s Gospel,” 11.

  62. He proposes an extended Prologue using 3:13-21, 31-36. Trudinger, “Prologue of John’s Gospel.”

  63. Colin G. Kruse, John: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 67.

  64. Thompson, “Gospel of John,” 373.

  65. Darryl Wood, ‘The Logos Concept in the Prologue to the Gospel of John’, The Theological Educator (September 1988): 85. Scott also agrees saying, ‘it pervades the Gospel and supplies the key by which its teaching must be interpreted’. E. F. Scott, The Fourth Gospel (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1906), https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.188952, (1906), 146.

  66. Morris, The Gospel According to John, 125.

  67. Valentine, “The Johannine Prologue,” 294.

  68. Brown, “Prologue of the Gospel of John,” 429.

  69. Kruse, John, 70. George Raymond Beasley-Murray, John (Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, Tex: Word Books, 1987), 36:14.

  70. Köstenberger, John, 44–45.

  71. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 95.

  72. Jeff Staley, ‘The Structure of John’s Prologue: Its Implications for the Gospel’s Narrative Structure’, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 48/ (1986): 241.

  73. Carter, “The Prologue and John’s Gospel,” 50.

  74. Carter, “The Prologue and John’s Gospel,” 50.

  75. Wood, “The Logos Concept,” 85. Barrett sees the Prologue as ‘specially written…to introduce the gospel – and, it may be added, to sum it up’. C. K Barrett, The Gospel According to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2009), 151.

  76. R. H. Lightfoot, St John’s Gospel, 1956, cited in Morris, The Gospel According to John, 71.

  77. Bruce Milne, The Message of John: Here Is Your King! (The Bible Speaks Today; Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993), 29–30.

  78. Salier, “What’s in a World?,” 107.

  79. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 111–112.

  80. Salier, “What’s in a World?,” 107.

  81. Valentine, “The Johannine Prologue,” 303.

 

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