At the beginning of his gospel, Luke states that (1:3):

3 With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you..."

If Luke had written his gospel after investigating what all the eyewitnesses had said, wouldn't he have collected information on Jesus's sayings from the apostles? What kind of eyewitnesses is he talking about otherwise?

If he investigated what Peter had said, then he should have been able to investigate what John had said, since Peter and John preached together in the early days (Acts 4). It was to John, Peter and James that Paul submits his petition to convert the gentiles, which shows that John and Peter did meet from time to time, and that they might have exchanged counsel on key doctrinal matters. Therefore, Luke had to have known what John was preaching if Luke was close to Peter.

So why are the "I am" statements not in Luke? Did Luke decide not to write down everything, after declaring that this is his orderly account of what happened? Or did Luke think the "I am" statements were not important? Or was it that Luke had never heard of the "I am" statements? Surely while being a student of Peter's, Luke would have heard of the eyewitness account of John.

Why then is so much of the key elements of the Gospel of John missing from Luke? Did Peter and Paul not think them part of the theology? Luke clearly would have studied what the apostles had preached. Why would Luke claim that he is collecting all of the information available, but leave out the key material that our Johannine Christianity rely on to this day?

I am starting to think the only way this makes sense is if John himself never mentioned the "I am" statements. Peter would have heard it if John had. John was PREACHING, not sitting silent with his knowledge kept secret inside him. He was preaching with Peter, with other apostles. They would have shared their recollections with each other, during dinner time, or during quiet moments. They would have talked about Jesus amongst themselves. So why does no one except the author of the Gospel of John mention these statements? For certain Luke would have, had he heard of these statements, since Luke said he compiled everything that he found out.

I am thinking that John never wrote the Gospel of John. I already knew a scribe had written this gospel, but John would not have allowed the scribe to write something that did not happen. And the "I am" statements did not happen. Luke had probably never heard about them.

This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. (John 21:24)

That would also make John 21:24 an outright lie, and that is a verse we put a lot of faith on. Maybe John did not testify, and no disciple did either.

Does anyone else believe that John did not write the Gospel of John? What are your reasons?

I hope that only those who are interested in a historical Biblical study would pay attention to this post. I do not want to offend those who firmly believe in Biblical inerrancy.

  • 1
    It would help if you actually quoted John 21:24 at least once. I don't see how Luke not including something John included makes either of them a liar! That's not logical.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 11:57
  • 3
    To answer your question. No. I do not agree with you.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 15:21
  • 1
    The question seems a bit argumentative and inflammatory, as well as offtopic. The idea of hermeneutics is to understand what the text is trying to say, not to get into a debate about whether you find it believable. It's important to separate out the notion of accepting the message of the text with that of understanding what the message is.
    – Robert
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 3:30
  • 1
    @RaeRae I amended the wording of the question in an effort to help those who found it too abrasive. It can be rolled back if you think this materially alters the question you were asking. I saw that this question was closed on SE-Christianity and thought it a shame to have it closed here too. If people genuinely wonder about this I'd rather they find a good answer here than remain perplexed. Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 22:50
  • Hold to the Rod, thank you!
    – RaeRae
    Commented Mar 16, 2021 at 8:25

5 Answers 5


A defense of Johannine authorship

Although I do not agree with the conclusion suggested by the OP, I think it is a reasonable question to ask—so the question should not simply be dismissed. Outright dismissing the question because we don’t like its implications would be as much a historical mistake as dismissing eyewitness authorship—as scholars of the 19th century did—because they didn’t like those implications.

I will provide a brief survey of the evidence in favor of eyewitness authorship, and then consider the specific question raised by the OP.


A trove of links for further study

For arguments that the Gospel of John was written by an eyewitness (regardless of whether or not his name was John), see books here and chapter 9 here. For a discussion of the historical validity of the Gospels in general see this book by Wallace, this video by Williams, and if you really want an extensive discussion of the relationships among the Gospels, see my video series in development here.

For a quick but scholarly review of the evidence of Johannine authorship, Erik Manning covers both the internal and external evidence.

For related, relevant posts on this site regarding Johannine authorship see:

  • John’s use of a scribe discussed here

  • Who are the “we” in John 21:24, including a discussion of the very early attestation of authorship in the Muratorian Canon here

  • External evidence of Johannine authorship here

  • Conclusions that can be drawn from early manuscripts here


Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus is arguably our most important external witness to Johannine authorship. He was from the part of the world where John lived in his later years (Irenaeus only moved to Gaul later in life), and was a pupil of Polycarp of Smyrna, who was a disciple of John. Irenaeus is just one link removed from apostolic testimony and, crucially, only one link removed from the author he claims wrote the Gospel of John.

Irenaeus grew up in a world saturated with John’s influence. He studied the works of Papias (another disciple of John). If Irenaeus believed John wrote John, that is enormously important historical evidence.

So did Irenaeus believe John wrote John or was he just saying that to further an agenda? The OP asks about lying. In a trivial sense, anything written past or present could be a lie. The words you’re reading right now could be outright lies. I’m making arguments and citing sources in the hopes that you’ll believe my comments are both reasonable and honest.

Irenaeus has often been misrepresented by those who do not appreciate his method of argumentation. Irenaeus argues from premises to conclusions. The premises are things that are generally known, the conclusions are the things he wants to prove. His conclusions could be garbage (I think some of his conclusions are clearly not garbage, but certainly some of his conclusions do appear to be false), but that doesn’t matter for our analysis here. We really don’t care about the process of reasoning Irenaeus used to get from his premises to his conclusions—because his attestation of Johannine authorship is used as a premise!

It may take a minute for the impact of that last statement to sink in. Irenaeus uses John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel as a premise (see Against Heresies Book 3 chapter 1). This means in his day and age (circa 180), John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel was generally known. Irenaeus is tearing apart (no joke, read Against Heresies) his opponents’ beliefs; if he cites an obviously false premise, he leaves himself open to a devastating counter-argument.

That Irenaeus can get away with baldly stating that John wrote John, without having to argue for it, in a world just 1 generation removed from John, indicates that this was a statement that was nearly incontrovertible at that time.


The specific question raised by the OP

The OP notes the fact that Luke & John both claim to be based on eyewitness testimony, yet they include a substantial quantity of unique material. How can this be?

I will respond to this question two ways:

  • The Synoptic Problem
  • The Audience


The Synoptic Problem

The Synoptic Problem explores the relationships between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which do indeed appear to have some form of literary relationship with each other. (see further discussion on this site here, here, and here, and a series of presentations I have given on the subject here)

Regardless of which of the Synoptic Gospels was written first, second, or third, whoever came second and whoever came third both excluded some of the contents of the prior Gospel(s) and added additional material as well. The Synoptic problem proves that Gospel authors were willing to leave things out.

But why would Luke do that? Doesn’t his preface suggest otherwise? Well, Luke had a problem—regardless of how much he may have wanted to include, there were physical constraints. A commercial roll of papyrus at the time was roughly 35 ft in length, and the Gospel of Luke was written to fill one scroll (suggesting Luke really did try to include everything he could fit). (see here p. 8) A scroll would become unwieldy if they tried to make it too long.

Incidentally, Matthew’s Gospel takes up nearly as much space, suggesting that that both Matthew & Luke (and the book of Acts if anyone is counting) had to limit their content based on the space available to them. (this may in fact be why Matthew’s post-resurrection narrative is so brief—they ran out of space!)

What does this mean? The Gospel authors had more material to work with than they could fit on a scroll, and so they had to pick and choose what to put in and what to leave out.

What about the shorter Gospel of Mark? My thoughts here.



We can make several reasonable inferences about the intended audience of each Gospel. Matthew & Luke do include a lot of the same content, but Matthew was written principally for Jews and Luke principally for Gentiles (see here). I am in fact of the opinion that Luke was written to provide a Gentile-friendly version of Matthew.

Both Matthew & Luke appear to be evangelizing texts—the kind of document missionaries would take with them to teach people about who this Jesus of Nazareth was. They spend remarkably little time discussing theology (which is one of the reasons so much Christian theology has been derived from Paul). In fact, the Alexandrian scholar Origen explicitly indicates this was the purpose for which the Gospels of Matthew & Luke were written (see here)

John’s Gospel is very different. He goes into deeper concepts and skips over an immense amount of the material covered by the synoptics. This had led many (myself included) to conclude that John was aware of the synoptics and was deliberately trying to cover material they had left out. This is attested by Clement of Alexandria as recorded by Eusebius (see HE 3.24.1–13)

Thus, we can conclude that the synoptics were designed as introductions to Christianity, but John appears to be written to people who already know and believe the basics.


Milk before Meat

The “I am” statements of John are theologically potent; they carry huge ramifications and would be likely, along with other statements in John, to be over-the-top or offensive to those who did not already have a belief in Jesus.

This principle, that has been experienced by anyone who has done much work in proselyting, was expressed very well by Paul:

I gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet. (1 Corinthians 3:2)

If the synoptics are milk, John is the meat. Much of what Jesus said would have been overwhelming to those who did not have the foundation to understand who Jesus was and why He could say these things.

This is in fact expressly noted by John in chapter 6, during and after the bread of life sermon:

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (verse 35)

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. (verse 41)

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (verse 66) (see John 6:26-69 for the full context)

Thus we see that people being overwhelmed—by the profound nature of Christian doctrine—has been a reality for a long time. The synoptic authors tended to stick to the basics—their message of who Jesus is develops over time and climaxes with the resurrection. In John, a much more exalted portrayal of Jesus comes right in the very first chapter.

The fact that John taught more profound doctrine (“a spiritual gospel”) than did the synoptics does not indicate one or the other author did not know what Jesus said, but rather that the Gospels were written for different audiences.



If John 21:24 were a lie the original recipients of the 4th Gospel could have called the bluff. That John’s Gospel spread so effectively and so fast (it was already in Egypt ~125, see here)—and all of that with almost no early voices ever challenging or even questioning its authenticity—suggests that whoever “we” is in John 21:24, their credibility was pretty solid.

(quick explanatory aside--I do not suggest that there weren't groups who didn't use the Gospel of John--I'm saying that they didn't question that John wrote the Gospel. Whether they liked the Gospel is another matter. There are plenty of Christians today who believe the Bible but have never read many of its books. Literally the only early Christian group known to have doubted that John wrote the 4th Gospel was the Alogi, a very small movement, who raised the doubt not on historical grounds, but because of theological goals)

I conclude that the evidence for John’s authorship of the 4th Gospel, with the assistance of a scribe, is quite good. John’s Gospel was not written to repeat what Luke had already said, but to cover (some) of the details Luke and the others left out. None of the Gospel authors could record everything Jesus said and did, so each had to pick and choose what would be of greatest utility for their intended audience.

The answer then to the OP’s question about John 21:24 is found in the very next verse:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25)


The assertions in the question are based on the false assumption that Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded ALL the events in Jesus' life - in fact they carefully selected events and write them for the audiences they wrote them for. Note the last verse in John:21:25 -

There are many more things that Jesus did. If all of them were written down, I suppose that not even the world itself would have space for the books that would be written.

There are many, many more events and instances that they could have selected but were inspired to select.

John wrote for a very different audience and very different purpose from that of the other evangelists - John is known as NOT John the evangelist, but John the theologian. John's gospel is supremely theological rather than historical. This is why more "I AM" statements are included (there are a few in the other gospels but not many).

I see so reason to suggest that the last two verses of John are anything but wholly truthful.

  • The 'Johannine Thunderbolt,' as they call it, is evidence that Jesus really did say many things like, and including, the I am statements in John. Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 17:41

There is great debate about the authorship of the Gospel of John. Richard Bauckham argues in Jesus and the Eyewitnesses that it is John the Elder who produced the work (see especially Chapter 20), not John of Zebedee to whom you refer in the OP. I don't believe this John the Elder has any specific connection with Peter, so that would decouple the Petrine from Johannine witness.

That said, Mike Licona notes in Why are there Differences in the Gospels that the gospels fit into the genre of ancient biography. Ancient biographies were usually 10,000-25,000 words long in order to fit on a single scroll and be read aloud in one sitting (p. 4). This would naturally limit the scope of material a writer could include. Everything was handwritten back then and paper wasn't cheap!

Most notably, the author would not necessarily have been considered a liar for attributing the "I am" statements to Jesus even if Jesus never said them. Even "conservative" scholars like Craig Evans and Craige Keener don't believe Jesus literally said the "I am" statements (https://jamesbishopblog.com/2018/06/06/why-theres-doubt-on-the-jesus-i-am-statements-in-the-gospel-of-john/). It was the common historical practice in Greco-Roman biography to paraphrase the teachings or accomplishments of their subjects. In fact, some manuals encouraged biographers not to write chronologically and purposely compress multiple events or teachings into a single one (Why are there Differences in the Gospels pp. 2-20). John can call himself a faithful source (John 21:24) not because all he attributes to Jesus was literally done or said in the exact way he is writing, but rather that he was an eyewitness to Jesus and acts as an authoritative source for the remembrance of Jesus' life and teaching (see Jesus and the Eyewitnesses Chapter 14). Jesus truly is the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, etc. because his life and teaching demonstrate this, even if Jesus didn't expressly use that terminology. Much of Jesus's earthly ministry kept his messianic identity a secret. It should be no surprise that looking back on Jesus' teachings after his resurrection, one better understands Jesus's unique messianic mission and identity as the true "I AM"--Yahweh the God of Israel and Lord of lords.

P.S. Then there's so-called 'Johannine Thunderbolt', which may be another avenue to explore. Peter's confession and Jesus's reply ego eimi (the same words in the Septuagint for "I AM" in Exodus 3:14) when calming the storm in Mark and Matthew parallel the "I am" Christology of John.

  • Excellent except for the misleading Exodus 3:14 remark in the end. I need to know the books or scholars to read on the literary nature as the narrative agenda, as mentioned by Licona.
    – Michael16
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 5:52

The response given by Hold to the Rod was so well done and had so much effort put into it, that I spent quite a while studying what he had written. Thank you! It helped me learn more. It also raised new questions.

But let me start properly.

I will first explain my perspective on what led me to ask my question. Then I will write any additional comments I have for Hold to the Rod.

The Problem with History

History is written by the victors. History is often re-written and changed over the years. These two have repeatedly occurred in history. I am investigating my religion. I think history changes with time. I also think that the gospels show a curious progression from Mark to John. I think the author of John’s gospel accidentally changed history.

How the Gospels Seem to Change

Mark’s author describes Jesus as the Messiah, whose story begins when the adult, Jewish Jesus comes from Nazareth to be baptized by John. He urges the people he heals to keep silent and tell no one who healed them. He teaches using parables. He calms a storm, walks on water, multiplies food. He uses the “prophet without honor” statement regarding himself. Jesus teaches very little about himself. Peter tells Jesus he must be the Messiah. Jesus begs God to be rescued from his crucifixion. In the end, Jesus dies alone in anguish at his abandonment by God.

Matthew’s author and Luke’s author say something similar. They also add genealogies and add that Jesus was born of a virgin mother.

John’s author writes a very different story. It starts at the beginning of time when Jesus existed as the Word, and ignores any earthly relationships, such as a virgin mother or a baptism by John. Here, Jesus waits for crowds to form before enacting a miracle and makes “I am” statements before the Jewish crowds. He makes extremely long speeches. Jesus talks extensively about himself. His personality is different. In the end, Jesus dies not anguished but victorious and glad.

Questioning Johannine Authorship

When I try to speak to others about whether Mark, Matthew, Luke and John wrote the gospels named for them, the response I get is that of course they did. Also, I am told that every word is divinely inspired and perfectly accurate. That is not what scholarly sources say. You can read more on this matter here, here and also here. It can be understood that none of the authors are “authors” of the gospels, but collectors of the gospel stories, instead. They each collected what information was available to them, and with each successive writers, material was added or eliminated. Hence the extreme similarities between the synoptic gospels.

It seems that the early Christian communities used the gospels regardless of who the author was, and did not feel threatened by the fact that the gospels were not written by apostles necessarily.
So why must we be so determined to have the gospels authored by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John?

The Need for Apostolic Authorship

Apparently, that started once Christianity met Greek philosophy. I am still studying this concept.

The fact that the Gospel of John might not be written by John raises the question of why the author changed the narrative so much. One possible answer could be that the author was trying to answer the questions raised by Greek philosophy and non-Christians.

“The earliest Christians had been content to believe in God and to worship Him, without endeavouring to define precisely the conception of Him which lay beneath their faith and their worship. They looked up to Him as their Father in heaven. They thought of Him as One, as beneficent, and as supreme. But they drew no fence of words round their idea of Him, and still less did they attempt to demonstrate by processes of reason that their idea of Him was true.” (here)

But once the Christians were meeting more and more questions from outsiders about what Christianity believes, writers started writing about theology more often than writing epistles to each other regarding church conduct. If you wish to investigate this yourself, try comparing the epistles and gospels of the first century with the Gospel of John and the church preoccupation with doctrine in the second century.

The Gospel of John’s New Additions to the Doctrine

  1. He takes out some of the key defining events of Jesus’ ministry, such as the baptism and the virgin birth.
  2. More than 80% of his material is not in any of the other gospels.
  3. Most importantly, most of the Trinitarian doctrine is based on John’s gospel.

This last point made the historicity of the gospel very important for me to study. I started to wonder if what the gospel said happened did not actually happen. In which case, I am going to go through the same crisis that the early Christians did and struggle to try to define what exactly my doctrine is.

And so I came to Hermeneutics to see if others could find something about the authorship of John that I could not.

Thank you for bearing with me. That explanation was longer than I meant to make it.

To Add to What Hold to the Rod Said:

Unexplainable Differences between the Synoptics and John

To say that John wrote new material into his gospel because he wanted to make sure we understood the theology is to make light of the other gospels. The synoptics were the first written down, and they were not written to only include some information. They were written to record the most important information.

In a world where few people could read and most information was transmitted orally, to claim that the authors of the gospel wrote some events down, but not important information about the identity of Jesus such as the “I am” statements, is not giving enough credit to the effort someone had to put in to get a scribe, have them write all of this down, then send copies out. They could have orally transmitted the information. But they wanted to record the message in a more permanent form. I find it difficult to believe that the authors wrote about Jesus walking on water, but not the identity of Jesus as a pre-existent being. One of these details is inferior in importance to the other.

Again, to say that the authors were just interested in writing down some events rather than teaching theology, makes light of the authors. The gospels were redacting previous gospels (Mark using his own source, Matthew and Luke using Mark as well as other sources) to compile a large collections of events. Had there been too much important information to include in one scroll, one or another writer could and did simply leave out some of the miracles that Mark or the other synoptic had, and simply include more stories or theology that the author felt needed to be included in order to preserve the true teachings of Jesus and the true identity of Jesus.

Had the concern been, as Hold to the Rod identifies, that the scroll sizes were too small to contain everything, there was no need to include so much of the same information as the other synoptics (which were available for study and copying already to the church as proven by the next gospel using them as sources) and rather more space could have been given to teaching the identity of Jesus. You cannot write a collection of Jesus’ good news and not elaborate on the “I am” statements that tell us so much about how Jesus understood himself!

Who Jesus was and the “I am” statements are very closely linked. However, while studying the reason behind why John is so different from the synoptic, I learned that most historical scholars do not consider John to be historically accurate, and believe instead that the sayings in John were never spoken by Jesus. You can read more on this matter here.

What about Hold to the Rod’s References to Johannine Scholarship? Just as you are able to show sources that argue that the Gospel of John was written by an eyewitness, there are also sources which argue that the gospel was not written by an eyewitness at all. So your sources are good to have, but did not manage to negate the opposite arguments. But I thank you for helping me reach these resources. (The opposing views can be found here.)

One problem with how we argue internal and external evidence of the gospel authorship is that we give reasons that are too vague and easily refutable. For example, the internal evidence you cite state that the author was a Jew from Palestine who was in the inner circle of Jesus. Any author could be a Palestinian Jew, and how do we know that he was writing the truth and not making up the details of his inner-circle observations, if his eye witness accounts are not mentioned and seconded by any other writer?

What about Irenaeus?

The problem with his witness is that it hinges on Polycarp actually being John’s disciple. Also, what about Justin Martyr making no mention of the Gospel of John, and Eusebius claiming that Polycarp was not the student of John? I will definitely dive into your reasoning regarding Irenaeus, but I think this post is already too long!

What about the Milk and the Meat?

“If the synoptics are milk, John is the meat. Much of what Jesus said would have been overwhelming to those who did not have the foundation to understand who Jesus was and why He could say these things.”

I am afraid that in a historical context, the milk and the meat analogy does not work. Were I to write the history of WWII in 1950 and then again in 2010, I would need the two accounts to match each other. If the two accounts describe completely different aspects of the war, then there is actually no way to tell if the later account is historically accurate, since there is so little information overlap between the two accounts.

In such a case, I do not feel comforted that John wrote completely new ideas (meat) due to my now being ready to understand what happened 60 years ago when Jesus was preaching. In fact, the reason I am here on Hermeneutics in the first place is because John tried to give me meat, after all the earlier accounts saying Jesus only preached milk. This is why I doubted John’s historicity in the first place: the appearance of a new story that does not match the prior story.

As I had written in my initial question, since Peter and John were supposed to be working together to preach Jesus’ good news, there should have been more mixing of theology between them, more mixing of the milk and the meat. The theology of John should not differ so much from the theology of Peter.


I have to point something out.

“If John 21:24 were a lie the original recipients of the 4th Gospel could have called the bluff. That John’s Gospel spread so effectively and so fast (it was already in Egypt ~125, see here)—and all of that with almost no early voices ever challenging or even questioning its authenticity—suggests that whoever “we” is in John 21:24, their credibility was pretty solid.”

Early voices DID challenge the authenticity of these gospels. Irenaeus himself states in Against Heresies, 3.11.7, that “the Ebionites use Matthew's Gospel, Marcion mutilates Luke's, the Docetists use Mark's, the Valentinians use John's”. These communities were not using their gospel of choice because they did not have access to the other gospels. They were using their gospel of choice because they doubted the integrity of the other gospels.

In my conclusion, I would like to say that I still need to go through the evidence and counter-evidence of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr and Eusebius regarding the authorship of the Gospel of John.

Thank you so much, Hold to the Rod! Your response was refreshingly detailed and although I differed in my opinion a

  • Thanks for expanding on your thoughts and taking the time to read mine. I amended my post to address your 3rd-to-last paragraph--it is possible that my original comments (re early Christians not doubting John) were too vague; I've clarified this. I have taught Sunday School to students ranging from 2 to senior citizens--I altered the depth of my message based on the audience. It doesn't surprise me that the Gospel authors may have done the same thing, especially if the synoptics were written to new converts. Separately, I think you might be mixing up Polycarp & Papias. Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 23:00
  • Lots to discuss, probably too much for comments =). I opened a chat discussion here if you'd like to discuss in greater depth: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/120803/authorship-of-john Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 23:01
  • Hold to the Rod, hello! I have been reading your chat. I will add shortly; I was sidetracked into another topic of research.
    – RaeRae
    Commented Mar 17, 2021 at 19:54

Its impossible for the author of Gospel of John to be a disciple of Jesus who wrote it for many reasons, I list a few below;

  1. Uneducated: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. [Acts 4:13]

  2. The others have many of the same stories but not John

  3. A lot is written in the third person such as; 21:24 - “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. [John 13:23]

  4. Date of John Gospel (after Mark and others) : The letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, generally thought to be from around 135 CE, never quotes from John, and never even alludes to it. Yet other New Testament writings are quoted abundantly in his letter. According to church history, Polycarp studied under the disciple John and yet doesn’t once quote the Gospel of John in his writings, even though he quotes the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. This is incredible, the one person whose Gospel he should have written about and he didn’t. There’s really no explicit attestation for John until the bishop Irenaeus, late in the 2nd century.

  5. The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11, a very important aspect.

  6. The Synoptics paint the picture of Jesus that is reluctant to be crucified. For example, they all mention Jesus’ begging God to be saved from death when he is in the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke even has Jesus sweating drops of blood just before his arrest. All of this is in stark contrast to John, who portrays Jesus as willingly handing himself over to the authorities - John 18:3-6.

  7. Many contradictions between John and the other Gospels – one being Mary Magdalene visit to the Tomb; Matthew 28:1-2, Matthew 28:5-7, Matthew 28:8-9 & John 20:1-2. Another one being Last Supper/Passover meal - Mark 14:12-18 confirms they ate - . yet John “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress…” [John 13:1-2].

  8. John, 1:1-18 - The passage is written in a highly poetic style that’s not found in the rest of the Gospel of John. These verses also contain key concepts not found in the rest of the Gospel, such as Jesus being “the Word” made flesh. Jesus is called the “logos” twice in the prologue and never anywhere else in the Gospel of John (or even the entire New Testament for that matter).

Gospel of John was written by someone else long time after Jesus and therefore its reliability is very questionable.

  • Thanks for presenting a different take--it helps further the discussion when we don't all say the same thing. I do think "impossible" is pretty strong though. #1 hasn't ever really carried much force to me, since in antiquity people who were uneducated wrote documents all the time: they used scribes. Even those who could write often preferred a scribe (e.g. see discussion here: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/55203/… ) Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 23:49
  • I opened a chat to share some thoughts on other points you raised. Feel free to join in if you're interested in a discussion back and forth: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/120803/authorship-of-john Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 23:50

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