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. 

J. Keener

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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  1. Hello,
    I’d like to order the book for the John study. I don’t see how I can do it. Please help. Thank you!

    • Hi Leslie! If you are a local BSF attender, please visit mybsf.org and click “BSF Store” in the lefthand menu. If you are an online member, go to bsfonline.org and click on the lessons page to find the store link. Thank you!


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