Who was the Apostle John in Scripture?
- John was one of the 12 apostles, the author of the fourth gospel, three letters, and the book of Revelation.
- He refers to himself as “the other disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus love” because of his close friendship with Jesus.
- Jesus called John and his brother James “son’s of thunder” (Mark 3:17; Mark 10:35-40; Luke 9:49-56).
- John, and his brother James, were fisherman like their father, Zebedee (Matthew 4:21). James is thought to be the older because his name often comes first.
- His mother, Salome, appears to have been the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25-27), making John a first cousin of Jesus.
- John and James lived in Bethsaida and worked on Sea of Galilee in partnership with another pair of brothers, Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18-21; Luke 5:10).
- Most likely John, James, Peter and Andrew first responded to the teaching of John the Baptist (John 1:35-40), before becoming followers of Jesus (Matthew 4:22).
- Peter, James and John formed an inner circle of disciples who were particularly close to Jesus (Mark 5:37; Mark 9:2; Mark 14:33). They alone witnessed the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:27), Jesus’ transfiguration (Mark 9:2), his agony in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-33), and along with Andrew, heard Jesus speak of the signs of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:3).
- As Peter became increasingly more prominent, James, John and their mother asked Jesus to give the top two positions in his kingdom to them. They received a rebuke for their selfish ambition and a promise of persecution ahead (Matthew 20:20-28).
- John was present at the crucifixion (John 19:35). Jesus entrusted the care of his mother to John (John 19:27).
- John was also one of the first to reach the empty tomb.
- After the resurrection, Peter and John were clearly the two leading apostles (Luke 22:8; John 19:26-27; John 20:2-9; John 21:20).
- In the early church, Peter and John provided the main leadership for the Jerusalem Christians (Acts 1:13; Acts 3:1-4; Acts 3:11; Acts 4:13-20; Acts 5:40).
- John & Peter were the first Christian leaders to show publicly that God accepted non-Jewish converts into the church equally with Jewish converts (Acts 8:14-17).
- With James the Lord’s brother, they expressed the Jerusalem church’s fellowship in the mission of Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:9).
- According to tradition, John lived to a very old age (as Jesus had foretold; John 21:20-23).
- He stayed in Jerusalem after the ascension. In his later years he moved to Ephesus, where he wrote his Gospel and the three letters that bear his name.
- At the end of his life, he was imprisoned on Patmos, an island off the coast from Ephesus, where he wrote the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:9).
- Tradition says he was the youngest of the apostles.
- According to Epiphanius, John died at Ephesus, in the third year of Trajan (100 AD) at the age of 94. He was buried near that city, and several of the early church fathers mention his sepulchre as being there.
John in Scripture
Mat 4:21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.
Mat 9:14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Mat 10:2 The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Mat 17:1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
Mar 1:19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.
Mar 1:29 And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
Mar 3:17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder);
Mar 5:37 And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
Mar 9:2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,
Mar 9:38 John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”
Mar 10:35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”
Mar 10:41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John.
Mar 13:3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Mar 14:33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
Luk 5:10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”
Luk 6:14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew,
Luk 8:51 And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.
Luk 9:28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
Luk 9:49 John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.”
Luk 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
The Gospel of John does not mention James or John by name, and it contains only one reference to the sons of Zebedee (John 21:2). However, John refers to himself indirectly.
Joh 13:25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?”
Joh 18:15-16 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.
Joh 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Joh 20:2-4 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
Joh 20:8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
Joh 21:7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
Joh 21:20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”
Joh 21:23-24 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
Luk 22:8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”
Act 1:13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.
Act 3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
Act 3:3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
Act 3:4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
Act 3:11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s.
Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,
Act 8:14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
Act_12:2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword,
Gal 2:9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
Rev 1:9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
Rev_22:8 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me,
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
- Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: John, Theology Of
- American Tract Society: John
- Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: John the Apostle
- Easton’s Bible Dictionary:
- Fausset Bible Dictionary: John the Apostle
- Holman Bible Dictionary: John
- Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: John, the Apostle
- Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: John the Evangelist
- Morrish Bible Dictionary: John the Apostle
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:John the Apostle
- McClintock and Strong: John, the Apostle
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia: John
- John means “the grace or mercy of the Lord” – Hitchcock’s Bible Names