Potential test question:

    The Gospel of John is in some ways very different from the synoptic gospels, so different that many have maintained that the events and teachings described in it have little relationship to the historical Christ.  However, a close examination of this gospel shows that picture of Jesus and his teachings given in this gospel does not conflict with that of the synoptics but complements and supplements it--sometimes in surprising ways.

1.  Why does John begin his gospel where he does?  How is this beginning different from that of the synoptic gospels?

2.  How is John's treatment of John the Baptist different from that of the synoptic gospels?  Why these differences?

3.  Why does the Gospel of John include the calling of Philip and Nathaniel--but not the calling of John?  Why does this gospel seemingly make so little reference to John?  (But cf. 1:40)

4.  John places the "cleansing of the temple" early in Jesus ministry.  The synoptics place it late.  Is this a contradiction?  Why the seeming conflict?

5.  John includes many episodes in the teaching of Jesus the synoptics leave out, e.g. the conversation with Nicodemus, the story of the woman at the well, the turning of water into wine, the healing of the lame man at Bethesda, the healing of the man born blind, and the raising of Lazarus.  Why does John include these episodes?  Why do the synoptics leave them out?

6.  Notice the questions put to Jesus in the Gospel of John and the answers he gives.  Is this consistent with the synoptic picture of Jesus' technique in dealing with questions?

7.  What about the miracles Jesus performs?  Are the miracles described in the Gospel of John consistent with the miracles of the synoptics? (cf. John 7:21-23 and Matthew 12:9-14).

8.  Is the christology of the Gospel of John consistent with the christology of the other gospels, i.e. does John seem to have the same view of who and what Jesus is as the synoptic writers?

9.  In ch. 13-17 John includes many words of Jesus not found in the other gospels.  Are the teaching here consistent with the rest of Jesus' teaching?  How do you explain the fact that the other gospels do not include any direct reference to these ideas?

10.  How does John's treatment of the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus differ from that of the synoptics?  How do you explain these differences?