John does not teach a replacement theology whereby the church takes the place of Israel. As a closer look at John 15 indicates, it is not believers in Jesus who are depicted as the vine. Rather, the vine is Jesus. Jesus himself is therefore the new Israel, just as he has already been portrayed as the replacement of the temple and the fulfillment of the symbolism of various Jewish festivals. Jesus thus embodies and fulfills God’s true intentions for Israel; he is the paradigmatic vine, the channel through whom God’s blessings flow and who bears much fruit. Indeed, by dying Jesus will prove... Read More
NOTE: Dr. Andreas J. Köstenberger delivered this address at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego, CA, on November 19, 2007. The address is adapted from his essay in the book What We Have Heard From the Beginning: The Past, Present, and Future of Johannine Studies (ed. Tom Thatcher;Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007).
Stephen Neill famously stated that the Germans never bury their scholarly corpses or, as he puts it, “no ghosts are ever laid in Germany.” He remarked that in the writings of Bultmann, for example, “we encounter the full procession of... Read More
When I wrote my BECNT commentary on John, I surveyed a considerable amount of literature on John’s Gospel in general and on people’s views on Jesus’ messianic “signs” in John in particular. I found that commentators widely agree on six Johannine “signs” but beyond this the consensus crumbles. The six undisputed Johannine “signs” are:
(1) The turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana (2:1–11)
(2) The healing of the official’s son (4:46–54)
(3) The healing of the lame man (5:1–15)
(4) The feeding of the multitude (6:1–15)
(5) The healing of the man born blind... Read More
First of all, I apologize—I did not mean to misrepresent you. I accept that you have good reasons for preferring a pre-AD 70 date for John’s Gospel other than the present tense form of eimi in John 5:2. Also, let me express my great respect for your expertise in the area of NT Greek grammar. Your Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics and its abridgment have been indispensable resources in my writing and teaching. In the matter at hand, too, I agree that discussions have too often proceeded without scholars adducing actual evidence, and, as you noted, this has been my desire in... Read More
In several previous publications Daniel B. Wallace, professor at Dallas Seminary, has argued for a pre-AD 70 date of composition for John’s Gospel on what may appear to be a fairly inconspicuous feature: the use of the present tense form of the verb “to be” (eimi) in John 5:2: “Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades.” According to Wallace, the present tense indicates that the structure here described was still standing at the time of writing. Since archaeological evidence suggests... Read More
Very likely the best book written in New Testament studies in 2006 is Jesus and the Eyewitnesses by Richard Bauckham. In this magnum opus Bauckham argues persuasively that the Gospels reflect (named) eyewitness testimony. According to Bauckham, the ideal source in ancient Greco-Roman literature was not the dispassionate observer, but the eyewitness. The written Gospels, so Bauckham, contain oral history related to the personal transmission of eyewitness testimony, not merely oral tradition which is the result of the collective and anonymous transmission of material. On page 93 of his book,... Read More
NOTE: The following is an actual sermon preached by Dr. Köstenberger at Christ Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
When we think about Christmas and the Bible, we naturally think of Matthew’s account of the virgin birth and the visit of the Magi or Luke’s account of Gabriel’s visit to Mary and of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. We think of the decree going out from Caesar Augustus, of Joseph and Mary going up from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and of Mary giving birth to Jesus in a manger. We think of the shepherds in the field, of the heavenly host announcing peace on earth to those of... Read More
In my BECNT commentary on John’s Gospel, I propose that John follows a chronological arrangement in his Gospel. The specific dates listed below are predicated upon a A.D. 33 date for [tag]Jesus[/tag]’ crucifixion. As is well known, the two major possibilities for the crucifixion are A.D. 30 (the traditional date) and A.D. 33. Harold Hohner, among others, in Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ and in his Dictionary of Jesus & the Gospels entry on chronology, has set forth (in my view) highly persuasive arguments for the latter, A.D. 33, date, including the fact that Luke’s... Read More
In a previous post, I have tried to make a case (thoroughly unoriginal) for the apostle John as the author of the Gospel that bears his name. Assuming John wrote the Gospel, why did he write it? The best place to start is with his own purpose statement in John 20:30–31: “But these [signs] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John selected several startling signs of Jesus (seven, I believe; see my BBR article cited below) to convince his readers that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah (or, as... Read More
From time to time scholars suggest the divinity of Jesus is a later invention of the Church. Jesus, they claim, did not believe himself to be God, nor did he claim to be. His first followers, and the early church, likewise did not believe he was God but rather thought of him as a good teacher and moral example. The Da Vinci Code echoes such sentiments by declaring that “Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet . . . a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.” He was not considered to be God until the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.
The problem with this... Read More
Who wrote John’s Gospel? James Charlesworth says, “The apostle Thomas.” Ben Witherington believes it was Lazarus. And Esther de Boer contends the author of John’s Gospel was Mary Magdalene! Many others believe the author was in fact a committee of unknown authors, editors, and redactors—the Johannine community. The traditional view of the Church has been that this is the “Gospel according to John,” John the apostle, that is, as in John the son of Zebedee. How can reputable scholars dealing with the same evidence come to such drastically different conclusions? And where does the... Read More