This chapter introduces the Gospel of John and focuses on John's reasons for writing his gospel. Peterson notes at least three purposes: to bring people to faith, to strengthen believers in their faith, and to defend the faith. At the end are review questions and questions for discussion.
According to the author, the Gospel of John lays emphasis on both the individual believer and the community of believers. We should not allow either to cancel out the other. What Bauckham indicates as individualism is nothing more than the considerable emphasis this Gospel account lays on the relationship of the individual believer to Jesus Christ. In Chapter 1 he gathers and assesses the evidence for the individual’s relationship with Jesus.
The first section of the Introduction deals with the genre (literary type) of the Gospel of John and the historical value of the Gospel. It considers whether John’s Gospel is folk literature, a memoir, a novel, drama, or biography. John’s distinctive style and adaptation of the gospel form are also considered.
The Gospel of John has been labeled as anti-Judaism, anti-Jewish, and even anti-Semitic. This charge is based on John's presentation of Jesus' relationship to the Jews and how John presents the Jews. In this article the author shows that this charge is false, and that John stands in line with the other Gospels in showing Christ as the replacement of the temple in the fulfillment of the Old Testament.