I have been reading a book lately about the history of Christian doctrine. In this work, the author comments on the differences between the Gospel of John and the other three Gospel writers. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often called the Synoptic Gospels. The world “synoptic” basically means “seeing together.” You may have noticed that these three Gospels present a great deal of similar material in a roughly parallel format. So these Gospel writers often share the same material but with their individual perspectives and approaches. The Gospel of John, however, is dramatically different from the Synoptics.
One of the chief differences is that John’s Gospel is very explicit in presenting Christ as divine. The deity of our Lord is most clear in John. The author of the book I am reading emphasizes this. Yet, he goes beyond this, and states that it is only in John that we see Christ’s deity. According to him, the Synoptics present Jesus as merely a man, Messiah perhaps, but certainly not divine. Continue reading