Publishing The Fourth Gospel -- By: Hans C. Juell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:288 (Oct 1915)
Article: Publishing The Fourth Gospel
Author: Hans C. Juell

Publishing The Fourth Gospel

Hans C. Juell


This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and- we know that his witness is true” (John 21:24). Dr. James Moffatt says of this verse that this as “an editorial note vouches for the beloved disciple as the authority and author of the Gospel,” and “opens up at a stroke the problem of the Gospel’s origin and authorship.”1 In reference to the same verse, Professor William Sanday says: “I accept this last verse as weighty testimony to the autoptic character of the Gospel. It is easy to see that the two concluding verses are added on the occasion of its publication by those who published it. They, as it were, indorse the witness which it had borne to itself.”2 These two high-class authorities on the Fourth Gospel, though they differ on the value of the evidence, agree as to the testimony borne by this verse. The testimony is that the Gospel was published by other parties besides the author, and that these publishers declare that the beloved disciple was its author.

Who these publishers were we are not told; nor do we know whether or not they signed the first copy that was is-

sued. It would seem reasonable to suppose that they did. And if the publishers were some of the officers of the Ephesian church they would probably give their official position.

The question may be raised as to the reason for this indorsement of the Gospel. It may be argued that if “the disciple” was John, he would need no indorsement. His own testimony would be stronger than the testimony of the elders of the Ephesian church.

The time had come when those who had witnessed what Jesus said and did in the flesh were very few. The testimony of an eyewitness was considered very valuable. Men had risen in the Ephesian church who had falsely claimed to be apostles (Rev. 2:2). Since the first qualification of an apostle was to have seen Jesus (Luke 24:48; Acts 1:8, 22; 1 Cor. 9:1),3 this their claim to being apostles must have been based on their assertion that they had seen Jesus. This their deception had, however, been discovered; but it may be that they had caused some harm before the fact that they were false was discov...

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