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John 1

John 1
John 1:21-28 on Papyrus 119, written about AD 250.
Book Gospel of John
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 4
Category Gospel
This article is about the chapter of the Bible. For people named John 1, see John I (disambiguation).

John 1 is the first chapter in the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that John composed this Gospel.[1]

File:Papyrus 75a.gif
The page containing the end of Gospel of Luke (chapter 24:51-53) followed by the beginning of Gospel of John (chapter 1:1-16*) in Papyrus 75, written in AD 175-225.
File:Codex Vaticanus end or Luke.jpg
The end of Gospel of Luke and the beginning of Gospel of John on the same page in Codex Vaticanus



The first chapter of the Gospel of John can be divided in two parts:

The first part (v. 1-18) is an introduction to the Gospel as a whole, stating that the Logos is "God" (divine, god-like, a god[2] according to other translations) and acts as the mouthpiece (Word) of God "made flesh", i.e. sent to the world in order to be able to intercede for man and forgive him his sins (The Good News of the Gospel). This portion of John's gospel is of central significance to the development of the Christian doctrine of Incarnation. Comparisons can easily be drawn from this part to Genesis 1 where the same phrase In the beginning first occurs along with the emphasis on the difference between the darkness (such as the earth was formless and void, Genesis 1:2) vs light (the ability to see things not understood/hidden by the darkness, John 1:5). The summation of this comparison occurs in the statement, the law given through Moses... grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Here John successfully bridges the gap for the reader – including Jewish readers well-versed in the Torah – from the Law to the One who would fulfill the Law (such as the requirement of animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, Hebrews 9:22), Jesus.

File:Codex Bezae 0202a.JPG
Codex Bezae, John 1:1-16, ca. AD 400.
John 1:25-28 on Papyrus 120, written in 4th century.
File:P106-Joh-1 29-35-POxy4445-III.jpg
John 1:29-35 on Papyrus 106, written in 3rd century.

The second part (v. 19-50) shows the preparation that John the Baptist was in the process of doing for the coming of the Messiah, the Messiah's arrival and the Messiah's first disciples. First, John consistently denies being the Light himself and instead to be making the way for the Light to come (v. 19-28). John the Baptist then reveals that when the One comes he would be unfit to even so much as untie his sandals – let alone baptize Him like the many he had up to that point. No sooner than the next day the Messiah appears before John the Baptist and he then acknowledges Jesus as the Lamb of God (v. 35) of whom he spoke. As the chapter progresses further Jesus picks his first disciples and changes Simon's name to Cephas (Peter). Cephas, original word Κηφᾶς, means "rock" This provided a powerful analogy as to the role Peter would have after the crucifixion and be the lead the development of the church. Name changes occur other places in the Bible and demonstrate God's authority as well as what that person would become/do/ or had done, such as Abram to Abraham and Jacob to Israel. Jesus' first active sign of power was to Nathaniel who was thoroughly impressed by Jesus' foreknowledge of his personal character.


  1. Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  2. Duff, Jeremy, The Elements of New Testament Greek - 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-75550-6. "[W]e can't tell if the author meant the word was θεός [a god] or ό θεός [God]," says in p. 63, ft. 3.
Preceded by
Luke 24
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 2