Weekly Bible Study

Journeying with John – travelling through Lent with the fourth Gospel

The fourth Gospel has traditionally been associated with the eagle, considered to be “the king of the birds”. Each of the four Gospels have traditionally been associated with the “four living creatures” that Ezekiel saw in the opening vision of his book: a human being (Matthew), a lion (Mark), an ox (Luke), and an eagle (John) (see Ezek 1:4–14).

In attempting to combat the proliferation of Gospels that were being written in the second and third centuries, Irenaeus of Lyon argued that there were only four Gospels, because there were four corners of the earth and four winds (Against Heretics 1.11.8). Noting how different the fourth Gospel was from the three others, Clement of Alexandria (recorded by the 4th century historian Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.14.7) said that John wrote “a spiritual Gospel”.

Later, Augustine of Hippo maintained that “John spoke about the Lord’s divinity in a way that no one else ever did”; he quoted an unnamed writer who declared, “the eagle flies higher than any other birds and alone sets its unblinking gaze upon the rays of the sun” (Tractate 36.1 on John).

In this series of studies on John’s Gospel, however, we will be exploring not only how the author viewed Jesus, but also what he tells of how Jesus, “the Word [who] became flesh and lived amongst us” (John 1:14), interacted with other people during his time as a human being. This eight-week series begins with an overview of this Gospel and a look at the grand opening prologue of 1:1–18, before then following the Gospel passages set by the lectionary during the season of Lent. Click here to download flyer.

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