3 Reasons to Study John
There is always something new to learn.
By J. Keener, BSF Video Producer
How well do you know the book of John?
For many of us, this Gospel account feels familiar. We may remember John as “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” his account of the woman at the well, or the moment when Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water to meet Jesus.
Wait, that account of Peter is not actually in John. What about the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’s birth story, or the parable of the prodigal son?
This is embarrassing. How could I get this wrong? I have read John before many times.
If you are like me, the Gospel accounts often run together. As many times as I read them, my fading memory is just not enough to keep my Bible facts straight.
But what if this reveals a deeper issue? Have I become complacent in my study of God’s Word?
God has something new to tell us every time we open Scripture, even the chapters we know intimately. When we substitute a cheap paraphrase from memory, we miss the life-giving truth of Christ.
If you think you have exhausted John’s Gospel, here are three truths that can offer a new perspective.
God has something new to tell us every time we open Scripture—even the chapters we know intimately.
1. What we return to reveals our hearts.
I remember a quote from my college days: “If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads, but what he rereads.”
Whether a favorite novel, movie, or TV series, we return to what we like. What we spend time reading, pondering, discussing, and hearing influences our preferences, opinions, and behavior. Unconsciously, the things we return to over and over shape our hearts.
The author of Psalm 119 says of God, “I seek You with all my heart… I have hidden Your word in my heart.”
To be a people shaped by God, we must return to His Word again and again. And this year, we can return to the Gospel of John. Through our study, we will read, ponder, discuss, and listen. We will soak in the words of Jesus, hiding them in our hearts and allowing them to shape our lives. Together, we can join in the discipline of reading and rereading His Word.
To be a people shaped by God, we must return to His Word again and again.
2. We have changed since we last read John.
I first read John when I was enrolled in the BSF Children’s Program sometime in the ’90s. Over time, my perspective changed.
I reread John in my twenties, shortly after getting married. When John the Baptist compared himself to the friend rejoicing with the Bridegroom, it impacted me in a new way. And after planning a wedding, I had a greater appreciation for Jesus’s involvement with wedding logistics in John 2.
I returned to John in my thirties after my father passed away. I cannot express how powerful it was to read Jesus’s reaction to Lazarus’s death with the two words, “Jesus wept.” I knew this story well. I had read it before, discussed it, and listened to many lectures and sermons about it. What struck me so intensely, as if it was new information, was the empathy and humanity of Christ. Jesus grieved and I was comforted. During that season, I desperately needed to read the promise in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”
Miraculously, God’s Word relates to every experience life has to offer.
God never changes, but we do. Miraculously, God’s Word relates to every experience life has to offer. Scripture is deeply personal and only becomes more personal each time we return to it.
This year, I am a first-time father. I know God will reveal something new as I study John yet again.
So take a moment to reflect, how have you changed in the past month, year, or decade? What will the Gospel of John reveal to you?
3. We will gain a deeper knowledge of truth.
Do you ever feel bombarded by half-truths, misinformation, or downright propaganda?
In our current age many strive to sculpt their own “truth” from the vantage point of their individual circumstances or emotions. It is hard to cut through the noise. We are left with a daunting question.
Echoing the words of Pontius Pilate in John 18:38, we ask, “What is truth?”
From John 14:6, Jesus’s answer is simple, profound, and life-altering.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
If Jesus is the truth, then our response is clear. We should desire to learn all we can, examining His words and studying His life. Because once we know the truth, Jesus promised, “the truth will set [us] free” (John 8:32).
I have read John before, and I am reading John again. Not to get more head knowledge or to impress my Sunday school teacher. My hope is simple, to grow closer to God and learn even more about His love for those around me.
Whether you have just finished reading John, read it in the past, or never read it before, God has something new to tell you through this amazing book.
To experience the truth of John’s Gospel, go to https://join.bsfinternational.org/ to join a group.
BSF Video Producer
J Keener serves BSF’s Creative Team as Video Producer. He has been involved with BSF since childhood and is a third generation BSFer. He has seen God use BSF to do amazing things in his life and the lives of his friends and family.
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I am interested in BSF
for the study of John
In the fall
Susan – we would love you have you! To join a group go to https://join.bsfinternational.org/. Click “local” to meet in-person. Click “international” to meet online.
Hi! I’m not sure if I have done everything in order to join online. I really don’t want to miss out and want to make sure that I am signed up for a virtual group. When will I know that I am on a group for online? Will I be notified when I can purchase the study materials?
Debria – thank you for asking! You can go here to subscribe for BSF emails: https://bsfblog.org/#subscribe
You will also be contacted by a group leader within a few weeks of signing up for a class.
Thank you! 🙂
We are planning a cruise and I would like to do it around BSF‘s start. Do you have a clue yet? Which week will be week one?
Hi Tom, please contact your local class leadership to ask what date your BSF class will begin. U.S. classes mostly begin the week after labor day. You can contact your class through join.bsfinternational.org.
Thanks so very much for this encouraging message. I wholeheartedly agree, the more we dive into scripture the more we learn and grow – if we allow The Holy Spirit to work in us.
I have done multiple studies of John but look forward to my first one with BSF, I signed up for an international group this time.
I also have seen The Passion Play in Drumheller (Alberta) based on the gospel of John…it was amazing and filled my eyes with tears of joy and love.
Wishing all of us a great and inspiring study of John…see you next time
When can I buy the study guide for the Fall BSF study of John. I love love the printed book we study from.
Hi Lorrie! All members will receive an email in June when study books become available. You can also check back through mybsf.org and visit the BSF Store. Thank you!
When it was announced that John will be the next BSF study, my initial reaction was “I have already studied that book in my first year with BSF, why should I study it again?” The three reasons by J. Keener answered my question and I enrolled in the next semester. Now that I have had a successful work career, raised a family, and now retired, I am excited to see what God is going to reveal to me through the book of John!
Thanks for sharing about the next study of the Gospel of John. I am looking forward to study God’s Word again come fall. I studied the Gospel of John in the year of 2016-2017.
I would like to join the Bible study.
Hi Lynn! You can visit join.bsfinternational.org to find a group near you or to join an online group. Thank you!
Date of the month in May 2023 will the study on the book of John begin?
Hi Imelda! Each local BSF class may begin at different times. You can contact your class leadership to find out when they start. Classes in the US begin after labor day in September. You can find contact information for your class at join.bsfinternational.org.
Thank you for this uplifting message on our next study. I’m looking forward to diving deep into the book of John!
This is M and I’m already registered for the book of John. If possible I would like to be in the same class as C. Thank you, Marti
Hi Marti, that is a question for your local class leadership. If you do not know their information, you can contact your Class Administrator by going to join.bsfinternational.org, searching for your current class, and clicking “contact.” Thank you!
When will I be able to order the study of John?
Hi Connie! Members will receive emails in June/July when materials are released. Thank you!
Thank you for such a thought provoking insight. Our God is amazing. I so enjoyed your script and can take it to heart.
I would love to do this study. Thank you for the opportunity.
My first year of BSF was in 2002-2003. John was the study that year and was the first time I had ever studied the Bible. I always knew that the Lord loved you, but not me. I was too unworthy. By the end of that first year of studying the Bible I knew deep in my heart that I was truly loved by my Lord and Savior. In fact, on sharing day that is exactly what I shared to the wonderful group of women in our class.
In 2016-2017 I studied John again. That year I learned that I must step back from my problems and let God work! What a glorious message to take away from that study. Every problem in my family’s life didn’t need me to try to fix it. Let go, let God!
I am so looking forward to 2023- 2024 study of John once again. God reveals to me what He wants me to learn. What will I learn this time? Only the Lord knows. I am open to the process.
Praise the Lord for BSF! Because of the in-depth studies throughout the years I know He loves me, chose me, saves me and I am His!
I am reading the book of John for the 2nd time. seems like every time you read a book in the Bible you always learn something different.
God is a PERSON. He is the one who drew me to Jesus, my Savior. The book of John revealed that to me. Now I cannot wait to see what will be revealed to me this time around.
I’ve studied the book of John 6 or 7 times with BSF, but the world has changed so much, I think this will be a “fresh new look” at John’s book. Thanks for the encouraging words. Looking forward to the newly gained insights.
Grateful for this article-it helped puts things in proper perspective for me.This will be my second time studying John & I was glad but not excited.But now I’m beginning to see what new thing God is going to reveal to me through the study of John! Thanks for the encouragement.
I am looking forward to study the book of John.
Thanks for the encouragement
Looking forward to study John together with my Online group leaders and members of my new group
An excellent intro to motivate the christians to join John’s study. May God multiply the no.of bsf members.🙏 I too am going to restudy this book the 4th time, with great expectations of transformation & intimacy with God
How do I get the Mark summer study?
Hi Charlane, I’m not familiar with that study but the WordGo app offers a large library of short studies by BSF!