I. THE CONTENTS OF TilE GOSPEL. in striking contrast to the first three. or Synoptic Gospels, the fourth Gospel states explicitly the apologetic motive controlling its author in writing it (cf.xx. 30-31). It is in the light of this statement that the outline of contents should be constructed. Understanding. then. that the author intended so to depict the person and work of Jesus that saving faith in Him as the Son of God would result to his readers, the contents may be out lined as follows: The Prologue (1. 1-1S). in which the profound significance of the historic Christ is set forth; Ile was the divine Logos incarnate, the life and light of man, who alone has re vealed God. but who, when lie came to 'His own,' was not received, though to receive Him makes one a child of God. In the Prologue we find the fundamental ideas which the history following is intended to illustrate and prove: The divine glory of Jesus; the nature of the reception accorded Dim. faith OR the part of some with its necessary results, and unbelief on the part of others; and the Fignificance of it all for the world. In accordance with these conceptions the contents are arranged thus: (1) The beginnings of faith in Jesus as 3lessiah (i. 19; iv. 54) ; how the first public appearances of .Tesus in Judea and Galilee were received by many with faith and the reasons for this: incidentally, in accordance with the Prologue. it is noted that, even at the first. Jesus was met by unbelief. The whole sec tion may be further subdivided: (a) The testi mony of John the Baptist to .Tesus (i. 19-34). (b) In consequence of this the first disciples are gained. and, in turn, lead others to the same step (i. 35-51). (c) The first miracle (at Cana) confirms the faith of these disciples (ii. 1-12). (d) At Jerusalem Ile asserts His authority, but is rejected (ii. 13-25). (e) In conversation with Ni•odemus the nature of faith in TIim is ex plained (iii. 1-21). If) Further testimony by the Baptist (Hi. 22-361. (g) The faith of the woman of Samaria (iv. 1-42). (h) The second miracle, in Galilee (at Cana), with faith as its result (iv. 43-54). (2) The great conflict of Jesus with the unbelief of the Jews (v.-xii.) is
told in detail: a) At a feast in Jerusalem, the evidence of a miracle is rejected by the Jews (chap. v.). (1)) in Galilee, His claim to he the Bread of Life after the miracle of feeding the five thousand is rejected; by way of contrast. the faith of the disciples is noted (chap. vi.). (c) Further claims and testimony at Jerusalem. at the Feast of Tabernacles. are not accepted (vii. i.-x. 21). (d) Jesus' claims. made at the Feast of Dedication. arouse only anger (x. 21-42). (e) Even the great miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead only serves to bring about the definite decision to put Jesus to death (chap. xi.). (f) The final assertion of His claim—on Palm Sunday in Jerusalem—is also rejected; Jesus (xii. 1-36, 44-50) ; reflections by the Evangelist (xii. 37-43) ; incidentally, in this whole section. netny instances of faith are noted. (3) The .self-re rclut ion of Jesus to Ilis disciples, in the conversations at the supper, and on the way to Gethsentaiw and in the mediatorial player (4) The culmination of the life of Jesus (xviii.-xx.). (a) His resignation to the manifested against Him; the narra tive of the arrest, trial. crucifixion, and burial (xviii.-xix.). (b) His glorification in His resur rection (xx.). The Gospel concludes with an Apiend;.r (chap. xxi.), written mainly to correct a false understanding of certain words of Jesus. It is evident that we have here no ordinary biog raphy; nor is it an attempt to give a full ac count of Jesus' public ministry. Aluch is pre supposed, as already known to the readers, and many months are passed over in silence. (Oily a few selected occasions are dealt with, and these are described from certain well-defined points of view. The happenings of but few days. not many more than twenty, are told. The interest of the writer was, evidently, not that of the mere his torian. All this is in marked contrast with what we find in the first three Gospels. Because of these peculiarities, and of others which are revealed by a close study of tire work, the fourth Gospel has been subjected. during the past hun dred years, to a lire of criticism perhaps unparal leled in the history of literature.