Journal Review: What is the Gospel of John? by Marianee Meye Thompson

“What is the Gospel of John?” Marianee Meye Thompson

In this essay “What is the Gospel of John?” Marianee Meye Thompson has raised a literary and historical question, but the very purpose of the essay as Thompson says, is theological question: What is the gospel of John all about? What is it for? How does it serve us? Hence, the main point of the essay is what the gospel is, and how God is the one who determines the gospel’s truth.

The writer starts off her explanation with literary and historical observations. She argues that the distinction between the gospel of John and the Synoptic gospels as ‘John is theology and Synoptic are history’ is not particularly helpful. Firstly, all the gospels present Jesus’ earthly ministry and his mission. Secondly, John is a first-ordered account of the life of Jesus because John has presented the historical significance of Jesus just as it really was: God “dwelt among us.” Thirdly, she adds since “there is no such thing as theology in the abstract, it is not particularly helpful to speak of the gospel as theology versus history” (334, Thompson). Yet the characteristics of John are different from the Synoptic gospels. These characteristics, according to Thompson, ultimately illuminate what a gospel is and what the gospel is.

The writer further shows the distinction between a gospel and the gospel. According to Thompson, John is a gospel because it is a narrative account of God’s encounter with humankind through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. John also shows us that it is the gospel by demonstrating what a gospel does. The gospel presents an interpreted account of God’s encounter with humankind through Jesus and narrates how that embodied encounter engenders both belief and unbelief (335).


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