• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Senior Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@gmail.com

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurer: Ann Guan

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Willa Hui, Donglan Zhang and Alfred Zhou.

The structure of John’s Gospel…

As this year got under way, I began a sermon series on the gospel of John for our Sunday morning services. I had already been working my way through John’s gospel in my devotional  – Lectio Divina – reading. Aspects of my reading in the first few chapters piqued my curiosity, especially as relates to the figures of John the Baptist and Peter. An intriguing thought then emerged from my times of centering prayer. And so, I decided to explore an hypothesis: That John’s gospel is written as a chiastic structure. 

To check out my hypothesis, I listed all the chapters and against each one wrote out the headings included in my NRSV translation. I then began to see if there were any obvious matches, and I believe there are. For example, one can match the feeding of the 5000 in John chapter 6 with the account of the Last Supper in John 13. Another match is that between the call of the first disciples in John 1 and the resurrection appearance of Jesus to the disciples in John 21, both stressing the importance of seeing.

At the heart of this chiastic structure is John chapter 9. This chapter starts with the healing of the man born blind, and finishes with Jesus teaching on sightedness versus blindness. Within this context other important themes from John’s gospel emerge: Belief in Jesus, Jesus as one sent from the Father, obedience to the Father’s will as more important than ritual observance. (The illustration below shows my take on the chiastic patterns in the middle part of the gospel.)

Chiasm John 2.2.14 copy

Now, a simple investigation via your favourite search engine will show that chiastic structures are found everywhere in the Bible. Arranging text in chiastic patterns seems to be a common technique for writing memorable text. But no-one, from my research of a number of commentaries, has ever claimed that John’s gospel has been arranged chiastically. Am I seeing patterns where in fact none exist? I don’t think so. And the preaching series has certainly made the gospel of John come alive in a new way for myself and my listeners. Maybe you could check out my hypothesis for yourself, and see if the gospel doesn’t open with new horizons of vision.

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