One Great Way To Start Or Continue Reading The Bible (ESV)
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- Format: Folded Tract
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- Size: 3.5 inches x 5.5 inches
- Pages: 8
- Version: ESV
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The full text of this tract is shown below in the ESV version. (Do you want to print this tract in a different version than the one listed? Contact us and let us know what you're looking for—we may be able to create the alternate version for you at no charge.)
More people in the world have read and reread the book of John in the Bible than have read any other book that exists in the world. Why? The main reason is that the book of John reveals—more than any other book—that Jesus is the heart and mind of God reaching out to save and help the people of the world. The book of John includes five core chapters about the Last Supper when Jesus builds up His friends, the disciples. In other chapters we see how Jesus also blossoms life-building relationships with others from diverse cultural backgrounds. We read how to receive the abundant life Jesus offers all of us. Jesus reaches out to each one of us with something specific to our individual life challenges from Jesus’ ways and words found in the book of John. The following is a guide to help you get the most from reading the book of John:
Ch. 1 – “In the beginning was the Word” (1:1). Jesus is called God’s very living “Word” made flesh (1:14). Much as our words communicate our hearts and thoughts to others, so Jesus is God’s “Word” to reveal God’s heart and mind to His beloved (all of us).
Jesus gives the right to anyone who believes in Him [Jesus] to become a family member in the family of God, “But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his [Jesus’] name, he [Jesus] gave the right to become children of God” (1:12).
Note how Jesus initiates a relationship with John the Baptist to build up those whom are seeking to turn to God. Next the disciples discovered God’s heart, mind, and will for their lives through starting to follow the life and instructive words of Jesus.
Ch. 2 – Notice Jesus’ first miracle of turning water to wine at a wedding. This miracle enhances the wedding relationships with fresh joy. Jesus fills us with joy and celebrates when we believe in Him [Jesus] and become part of His family. By observing this miracle, the disciples follow Jesus more earnestly (2:11). Jesus then cleanses the temple to tear down the Jewish leaders’ hypocritical religious walls which were keeping common people from accessing God’s love.
Ch. 3 – Jesus offers salvation to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. Jesus tells Nicodemus that every worthy spiritual effort must be “birthed” by a relationship with God through belief in God’s Son, Jesus (3:5). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him [Jesus] shall not perish but have eternal life” (3:16). Jesus details the spiritual essentials of how only Jesus can begin eternal life during His extensive discussion with Nicodemus.
Ch. 4 – Jesus reveals the secret shameful sin in a Samaritan woman. Notice how lovingly Jesus offers her His “living water” for the thirst of eternal life and righteousness in her soul (4:13-15). Jesus accepts her as she is, lovingly forgives her and offers her abundant life. Through the conversation they had, the Samaritan woman became convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and told her whole village. Then many of the villagers get help from Jesus and many believed in Him (4:39-42). Jesus then builds trust with a government official and his family by healing his ill son. The whole family rejoices by becoming followers in Jesus the Messiah.
Ch. 5 – Records Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath day who had been paralyzed for 38 years because Jesus wanted to reach out not only to the handicapped, but also to the broken hypocritical Jewish leaders. Through this setting Jesus is showing each and every one of us that He [Jesus] can set us free from our own handicapping sin nature such as believing in our own distorted religious or nonreligious way of relationship with God. The healed paralytic believed and started building relationship with Jesus and told the Jewish leaders it was Jesus who healed him (5:15).
Ch. 6 – Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 to give them the desire to get spiritual nutrition from His [Jesus’] words and ways. Reading the Bible daily will help us “feed” on the words and ways of Jesus. Jesus strengthens His relationship with the disciples by rescuing them at sea during the storm. Jesus will come to us in our storms, too.
Ch. 7 – Contains Jesus’ second loving appeal to the Jewish leaders to remove their barrier of sin to God and believe in Him [Jesus] (7:37, 38). Some do believe (7:40-41).
Ch. 8 – Jesus rescues an adulterous woman from being stoned to death by the Jewish leaders. Then Jesus warns the Jewish leaders that they will die in their sins if they do not believe in Jesus as Son of God (8:24). Many do believe (8:30). Then Jesus said, “If you abide in my words, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (8:31-32). Jesus promises He can set us free from sin when we build a solid relationship with Him. How? By abiding in and being saturated with Jesus’ life-giving words and ways.
Ch. 9 – Reports how Jesus heals (on the Sabbath) a man born blind, after which Jesus gives His fourth loving appeal for relationship to the Jewish leaders. The healed blind man believes and starts building a relationship with Jesus by worshiping Jesus and then appeals to the Jewish leaders to do the same (9:27, 38).
Ch. 10 – Jesus gives a fifth loving appeal to start building relationships with the Jewish leaders by clearly telling them that He [Jesus] is the gate of salvation (10:9). This salvation includes: (1) eternal life, (2) an endless future, and (3) permanent protection from any who would try to destroy a fresh, newborn relationship with Jesus (10:28). Jesus states that He [Jesus] and God are One (10:30), emphasizing Their inseparable Father-Son deity relationship.
Ch. 11 – Records how Jesus compassionately mends a family tragedy. Two believing sisters come to Jesus because their brother Lazarus was sick. After Lazarus was dead for four days, Jesus raises Lazarus and in doing so reveals His [Jesus’] tenderness toward family relationships and grief. When Lazarus comes back to life, many believe in Jesus as the Son of God (11:43-45).
Ch. 12 – Many continue to put their faith in Jesus while celebrating Lazarus’ resurrection. The next day the huge crowd welcomes Jesus into Jerusalem with honorable praises and ceremony. Now the Jewish leaders feel the whole world wants to build relationship with Jesus (12:19). Many even among the Jewish leaders believe in Jesus secretly (12:42)!
Ch. 13 – At the Last Supper gathering, Jesus gives His disciples a “hands on” practical demonstration of how much He wants the disciples to focus on lovingly serving one another by washing the disciples’ feet. Jesus also offers to help us learn to lovingly serve others (13:14-15).
Ch. 14 – Jesus solidifies His commitment to all disciples by promising the disciples that Jesus is going to heaven to prepare a place for them (and us) and will return to take them (and us) to heaven one day. Jesus emphasizes that going to heaven is exclusively through belief in Jesus—not any good work, belief or faith in any other religiosity, higher power or philosophy when He [Jesus] states “I [Jesus] am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me [Jesus]”(4:6). Jesus also promises us that while we live here on earth and keep Christ’s commandments and obey Him that God and Jesus will make Their home in us to help us here and now (14:23).
Ch. 15 – Jesus emphasizes that we must be connected to the Vine [Jesus] to live a productive life. Apart from Jesus we cannot do anything (15:5). To abide in Jesus is to be found in relationship with Jesus in all we are and do.
Ch. 16 – Jesus builds the disciples’ hope by giving them great news that He [Jesus] will send the Holy Spirit to guide them (and us) in all truth and to even guide their (and our) future. Jesus explains in this chapter that in life we will all have difficult times. But Jesus tells the disciples (and us) to press close to Him [Jesus] during our challenges that are inevitable in life and to never give up. Jesus anchors this thought by saying “take heart! I [Jesus] have overcome the world” (16:33).
Ch. 17 – Jesus prays relationship-building for Himself with God, with the disciples and for the disciples with each other. Jesus defines eternal life as coming to know the true God and Jesus (17:2, 3). He prays for the disciples to be unified and protected (17:11). Jesus also prays that the “full measure” of His [Jesus’] joy and holy help be given to His disciples. Jesus prays that this prayer be enlarged to cover not only Jesus’ current disciples but also Jesus’ future disciple believers (17:20). Jesus prays that the love He has enjoyed with God that has been shown to the disciples would be planted in deep relationship within them and that He [Jesus] would be planted in them as well (17:26).
Ch. 18 – Peter put up a big barrier in his relationship with Jesus when he denies Jesus 3 times (see how Jesus removes this barrier in chapter 21). Jesus is arrested but still tries to present truth as a tool to stir thoughtful contemplation within the Roman governor Pilate.
Ch. 19 – Jesus is crucified between two others and in an act of loving compassion, Jesus assigns the care of His [Jesus’] mother Mary to the disciple John (19:26, 27). Then Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who had come to Jesus in chapter 3 above, helps bury Jesus—demonstrating the faith Nicodemus has placed in Jesus (19:39).
Ch. 20 – Jesus rises from the dead and comes back to life to first visit Mary and then to visit the disciples to strengthen relationships with them. The resurrected Jesus returns to the disciples the first time and builds them up by breathing the Holy Spirit on them (20:22) as Jesus promised to do in chapter 16. Jesus returns to the disciples a second time to bring Thomas (the doubting disciple) to faith.
Ch. 21 – Jesus comes to Peter to forgive and build Peter up. Again Jesus initiates His forgiving love. Jesus commissions Peter to serve the followers of Jesus by telling Peter to strengthen (feed) His followers (lambs) 3 times. The forgiving love of Jesus changes Peter so much that Peter recommits himself to lifelong relationship building with the followers of Jesus. The book of Acts tells how Jesus and the Holy Spirit work together with Peter to build up disciples around the world.
Summary – Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, and if you commit yourself to Him, He will give you eternal life, starting now (20:31). “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him [Jesus] from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
If you desire Jesus to start building a loving relationship with you, I encourage you to put your trust in Him today. You might want to express your heart’s desire in a prayer like this: “Dear Jesus, I give my whole heart and life to You, Jesus, now. Please forgive me of all my sins and come into my life forever. Jesus, I sincerely want to be part of Your family. Thank You Jesus.”
If you put your trust in the Lord Jesus, tell someone. Go to a Bible-accurate church, read the Bible daily—obeying what it says to you, and pray more than you think you need to. Then enjoy building relationship with Jesus and tell others about how God is interacting with you—how Jesus is blessing you with life’s joys and helping with life’s challenges.
Please read John over and over again, waiting for God to speak to your heart. Keep praying to God, because He will answer in His own time. Please view “Gideon Testimonies” on YouTube to see how reading the Bible has helped many others believe.