Church tradition maintains that John, the last of Jesus’ disciples left alive, wrote his gospel from the Island of Patmos at the end of a long life. Was his memory still vigorous and clear? Was he tempted to enhance events or even introduce miraculous ones in order to present a more appealing Jesus? Are there inconsistencies between John’s narrative and the other gospels that suggest that all of them may have historic inaccuracies? These are questions frequently asked.
On the other hand, if Jesus was simply a good teacher who performed no authentic miracles, why did it take three years to arrest and convict him? What made the authorities hesitate? And if the gospels are partially exaggerated or fictionalized, why are they so candidly unflattering about the failings of Jesus’ followers? These are questions not frequently asked.
Stuart Hayes has advanced degrees in both science and divinity, so he brings a rigorous but respectful approach to the gospel of John. This book combining reflection and commentary is intentionally written with laypeople in mind using careful, but commonsense thought. That is not to say it will be dismissed by, or is dismissive of, the work of scholars. Instead, it is a book written to people genuinely wrestling with doubts about the authenticity of the work of the gospel writers that often go unaddressed by, or made inaccessible by scholars. In an unusual approach, this book examines John’s Gospel to find internal evidences of historical dependability and also reconciles passages where skeptics think there are errors. There has been much valuable and helpful work examining the historicity of scripture using both textual criticism and higher criticism. However, there is a need for a careful reading and reflection of the gospels themselves, by themselves, in order to uncover and focus on internal authenticities in the narratives.