Gospel of John


Is there a authoritative information on who the author of the Gospel of John is? I have read that one thought is that it is John the Apostle but (not that I would know!) it just doesn’t seem like him given his relationship with Jesus because I would think he would speak more directly as to his relationship, identity, and background, if he were the author. It just has a touch of a 3rd party witness sound to me.

If we do know who it was, do we know his background?


Not if you read the intros in the New American Bible or NABRE. The intro from the NABRE states:

Critical analysis makes it difficult to accept the idea that the gospel (sic) as it now stands was written by a single person

Elsewhere in the NAB and NABRE those scholars state that the identity of the author of Matthew is unknown, and even worse, suggest that Luke fabricated Mary’s Magnificat. And we wonder why the Church is in trouble. Pure deconstructionism, as I see it.

However, go back a single generation in Catholic bibles (and Catholic scholars), and the picture is considerably more clear. From the 1953 Confraternity bible intro to John:

St. John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” was the last to write his Gospel.

It goes on to flesh out the bio of St. John and of his relationship with Jesus and his assumptions in writing the Gospel.

Modernism, combined with a substantial infiltrate of secular “scholars” has contributed to the sudden and rather serious change of tone in the introductions and notes. In many cases, they have overturned almost 2,000 years of consistent Catholic and Orthodox belief.


Read this:

The Book of John is not meant to be an historical document.
He is looking back, and connecting the dots, so to speak.


John’s gospel never really seriously questioned or disputed until after the reformation.

What was questioned was the book of Revelation, repeatedly, because of the supposed different writing styles. Some thought this was a different John.

Not sure why he chose to not be more direct about himself. Keep in mind he was in the company of the most humble woman to ever exist, our Lady (John 19:27), so maybe this had a effect on him overall? Jesus spoke often of humility (the last will be first, sit at the end of the table, not the front etc) And it is my personal belief that this is why his gospel account differs so much from the synoptics. He was in the company of the mother of God, the one who had the encounter with the angel Gabriel and the Holy Spirit. She knew who Her Son was and I believe she relayed this very clearly to John(just reaffirmed, not that he didnt already know)…so when we open up his gospel we see from the very beginning he is informing the reader that Jesus is 2nd person of the Godhead. That’s my personal opinion, anyway…

Don’t know of anything official or authoritative, but his followers spoke of him/the fourth gospel. From New Advent:

The evidence given by the early ecclesiastical authors, whose reference to questions of authorship is but incidental, agrees with that of the above mentioned sources. St. Dionysius of Alexandria (264-5), it is true, sought for a different author for the Apocalypse, owing to the special difficulties which were being then urged by the Millennarianists in Egypt; but he always took for granted as an undoubted fact that the Apostle John was the author of the Fourth Gospel. Equally clear is the testimony of Origen (d. 254). He knew from the tradition of the Church that John was the last of the Evangelists to compose his Gospel (Eusebius, Church History VI.25.6), and at least a great portion of his commentary on the Gospel of St. John, in which he everywhere makes clear his conviction of the Apostolic origin of the work has come down to us. Origen’s teacher, Clement of Alexandria (d. before 215-6), relates as “the tradition of the old presbyters”, that the Apostle John, the last of the Evangelists, “filled with the Holy Ghost, had written a spiritual Gospel” (Eusebius, op. cit., VI, xiv, 7).

Of still greater importance is the testimony of St. Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons (d. about 202), linked immediately with the Apostolic Age as he is, through his teacher Polycarp, the disciple of the Apostle John. The native country of Irenaeus (Asia Minor) and the scene of his subsequent ministry (Gaul) render him a witness of the Faith in both the Eastern and the Western Church. He cites in his writings at least one hundred verses from the Fourth Gospel, often with the remark, “as John, the disciple of the Lord, says”. In speaking of the composition of the Four Gospels, he says of the last: “Later John, the disciple of the Lord who rested on His breast, also wrote a Gospel, while he was residing at Ephesus in Asia” (Adv. Haer., III, i, n. 2). As here, so also in the other texts it is clear that by “John, the disciple of the Lord,” he means none other than the Apostle John.

We find that the same conviction concerning the authorship of the Fourth Gospel is expressed at greater length in the Roman Church, about 170, by the writer of the Muratorian Fragment (lines 9-34). Bishop Theophilus of Antioch in Syria (before 181) also cites the beginning of the Fourth Gospel as the words of John (Ad Autolycum, II, xxii). Finally, according to the testimony of a Vatican manuscript (Codex Regin Sueci seu Alexandrinus, 14), Bishop Papias of Hierapolis in Phrygia, an immediate disciple of the Apostle John, included in his great exegetical work an account of the composition of the Gospel by St. John during which he had been employed as scribe by the Apostle.




In Pope Benedict’s book, “Jesus of Nazareth”, he writes that a Church historian , Eusebius of Caeserea (d. ca. 338) tells of a five volume work of the bishop of Hierapolis, Papias, who died around 120. Papias mentions that he had not known the holy Apostles himself, but he had received teaching from those who had been close to the Apostles. He speaks of others who were likewise disciples of the Lord. This is where Papias mentions “Presbyter John”, and he goes on to distinguish between the Apostle John and Presbyter John.

Benedict goes on to say, this is likely the case with Second and Third letters of John.


Gospel of John is like Pope John Encyclicals written by a group of priests.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us - that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete.


Here my friend is an AWESOME and reliable source


God Bless you



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Well, as the link from PJM shows, the Gospel is clear that John was the “apostle whom Jesus loved” as seen in several passages. :slight_smile: Given this, one might think that your point about humility could indicate that he isn’t the author. :slight_smile:


In John 21:24 we see the author referring to the testimony of John the Apostle as “his testimony” so this would indicate that the author is not John but did receive (some? all?) of the information in the Gospel from John.


Perhaps he feels as though he was closer to the Lord than the others but doesnt want to boast about it? Would explain the indirect language.


I’m continuing to study (and pray) about this but my best understanding thus far is that the Gospels including John were likely (sometimes? generally?) transcribed by “helpers” who were guided and given information by the actual sources such as John himself (and/or possibly others?) in the case of the Gospel of John. In this sense these sources are the sacred “authors” but often they may not have been the ones taking the pen to the paper. For example, St. Paul if I’m not mistaken sometimes had helper(s) who put his words to print. After all, some were Church leaders such a bishops and may have been busy with liturgical and evangelistic duties and activities.

Perhaps sometimes even the early Church (recognizing the need to preserve the deposit of faith) would interview authorities or their associates and transcribe the sacred oral teachings - but I don’t know. I have also read that the title of a Gospel doesn’t mean (necessarily) that the name in the title is the actual author. Perhaps the name could correspond to a source in some cases. I’m still learning more about this. Thanks for responses and further thoughts welcomed.


Which is acceptable if they are under the authority of the apostles as we know Luke was not a Apostle. And speaking of Luke, that kind of coincides with your theory as this author has the nativity seen that the other synoptics lack. Obviously Luke was interviewing the blessed Mother or whoever else and gathering these details.


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