Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gospel Thesis (John 20:31)

According to John 20:31, what is John’s stated purpose in writing the Gospel? “That you might believe in Jesus Christ and have life through His name”

Of all the gospels, John has the most clear purpose statement. The author writes “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name (John 20:31 NASB).” Given this statement at the conclusion of chapter 20, John’s twenty-first and final chapter has often been viewed as an epilogue.

John 20:31 is an example of a thesis statement. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina advises “state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper (“Thesis Statements”).

Were you to write a life of Christ, what would the thesis statement be?

Each gospel was written to a different audience with a different agenda and as such each has its own thesis statement. Scholars have unanimously determined the thesis statements to Mark’s and Luke’s gospels:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NASB)

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10, NASB)

While scholars have reached a consensus on the thesis statements of three of the gospels, Matthew’s key verse is subject to debate with numerous verses offered (Matthew 2:2, 4:17, 5:17, 16:16, 21:39, 27:37). While Matthew’s thesis statement is not clearly defined, the gospel’s message is: Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the long awaited king and Messiah.

Which verse would you pick as Matthew’s purpose statement? Which gospel’s thesis statement do you prefer? Why? What was the purpose of Jesus’ life?

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