The Synoptic Problem
& John 8:1-11
Sectional Outline: John

from: thread (2007)

Page Index

Last Updated: Jan 2, 2008

Section 1: - Introduction to John

Section 2: - Sectional Outline for John


John And Sources

While it is conceded that John used sources, both written and possibly oral, for the greater part he presents material that is 'new' and cannot have been derived from the Synoptics (Mark, Luke, Matthew).

His purpose, as well as establishing a bulkhead against heretical teachings or confusion regarding the events and the message and identity of Jesus, seems to have been to preserve some eyewitness accounts that were not used by Mark.

The search for John's sources has been largely fruitless, for the obvious reason that he is one of the most primitive (early) surviving Gospel sources himself.

John: Outline

Sectional Outline for John

The basic structure of John is actually very simple and straightforward. He offers his gospel in seven basic 'Chapters' (John himself did not write and does not follow the modern chapter/verses), along with a Prologue and an Epilog.

John and the Synoptics

Each of John's "Chapters" showcases a piece of standard (famous) tradition about Jesus, usually also found in the Synoptics:

Prologue: "Proem" - Catechism about Jesus
Chapt I: The Temple Cleansing (Mark 11:15-19)
Chapt II: The Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)
Chapt III: The Annointing at Bethany (Mark 14:3-9)
Chapt IV: The Triumphal Entry (Mark 11:1-11)
Chapt V: The Great Commandment (cf. Mark 12:28-34)
Chapt VI: The Passion
Chapt VII: The Resurrection
Epilogue: The Restoration & Headship of Peter

Each central episode is expanded and supplimented by many other incidents and discourses. The Gospel of John also touches base with or makes reference to the stories and teachings found in other Gospels in many places.

It should be noted however, that even the main incidents John relates are 'out of order' with Mark and the other evangelists. This may not be that significant however, since Luke and Matthew simply follow Mark, while Mark himself may not be relating things in strict chronological order.

Detailed Sections and Subsections

Each 'Chapter' also divides into seven Sections. These in turn are sometimes expanded as required into several subsections.

Two Chapters are actually 'double-sections' of 14 sections. (The almost magical significance of 'seven' is a common theme, and is also found in Matthew's treatment of the genealogy: Matt. 1:17).

As well, John's sections fall into several well defined categories: there are Seven Signs, and Seven Discourses by Jesus. These are sometimes accompanied by extra support-sections.

The final 'Sign' is not a miracle by Jesus, but rather the beginning of the gathering of the Diaspora, the Lost Israelites scattered among the nations (cf. John 12:12-29).

Sectional Outline

PROLOGUE (1.1-1:51)

1. Introductory Proem (1:1-13)
2. Interpretive Thesis (1:13-18)
3. Testimony of John the Baptist (1:19-34)
4. Day 1 of Jesus' Ministry: Calling of Disciples Andrew, John (1:35-42)
5. Day 2: Calling of Philip and Nathanael (1:42-47)
6. Testimony of Nathanael: Son of God and King of Israel (1:48-49)
7. Foreshadowing from Jesus (1:50-51)


1. 1st Sign - at Cana on Third Day: Marriage (2:1-11)
2. Cleansing of the Temple at Jerusalem (2:12-25)
3. 1st Discourse with Nicodemus: Born of Spirit (3:1-21)
4. Testimony of John the Baptist (2nd time) in Judea (3:22-36)
5. Ministry in Samaria (4:1-42)
   2nd Discourse: Samaritan Woman - Living Water (4:1-30)
   Disciples ask about Food, Jesus expounds Harvest (4:31-39)
   Ministry in Samaria completed (4:40-42)
6. 2nd Sign in Galilee: Healing the Nobleman's Son (4:43-54)
7. 3rd Sign in Jerusalem: Healing Cripple by Pool of Bethesda (5:1-47)
   Jesus Heals Cripple on Sabbath (5:1-9)
   Judeans interrogate Healed Cripple (5:10-13)
   Judeans seek to kill Jesus and confront Him (5:14-18)
   3rd Discourse: Jesus on Son of God - His Authority (5:19-47)


1. 4th Sign in Galilee: Feeding of the 5000 (6:1-14)
2. 5th Sign in Capernaum: Walking on the Water (6:15-21)
3. 4th Discourse: Jesus is the true Bread from Heaven (6:22-58)
4. People Divided: Many murmur and turn away (6:59-66)
5. Testimony of Peter: Jesus has words of Eternal Life (6:67-71)
6. 5th Discourse on Feast of Tabernacles: the Water of Life (7:1-39)
7. People Divided by Disputes: Jesus withdraws (7:40-8:1)

The Pericope De Adultera (8:2-11) "At Dawn He Came..."


1. 6th Discourse: The Light of the World (8:12-59)
2. 6th Sign in Jerusalem: Blind Man Healed (9:1-34)
   Blind Man Healed (9:1-12)
   Blind Man interrogated, cast out (9:13-34)
   Testimony:Jesus is the Son of God (9:35-38)
3. 7th Discourse: The Door into the Kingdom (9:39-10:21)
   Parable of the Door of the Sheepfold (9:39-10:6)
   Parable Explained: Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom (10:7-18)
   People Divided: Judeans argue among themselves (10:19-21)
4. Dispute: Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem: the Christ? (10:22-42)
   Jesus is Only the Messiah for His Believing Sheep (10:22-30)
   Judeans attempt to stone Jesus, Jesus argues (10:31-39)
   Jesus escapes and returns to the Jordan (10:40-42)
5. 7th Sign in Bethany: Lazarus Raised from Death (11:1-57)
   Lazarus falls sick, dies (11:1-16)
   Jesus arrives and talks to sisters (11:17-37)
   Jesus prays and raises Lazarus (11:38-46)
6. The Council: High Priest 'prophecies' Jesus' death (11:47-54)
   Chief priests and Pharisees plot to kill Jesus (11:55-57)
7. Annointing at Bethany by Mary, sister of Lazarus (12:1-8)
   Chief priests plot to murder Lazarus too (12:9-11)

"8th Sign" and Discourse (12:1-50)

1. The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (12:12-19)
2. The Greeks (the Diaspora) Seek Jesus! (12:12-22)
3. The Hour Has Come: The Dying Seed of Wheat (12:23-29)
4. The Judgement of This World has Come (12:30-33)
5. Walk in the Light (12:34-36)
6. They do not believe in Him (12:37-43)
7. Jesus' Last Call: He represents the Father (12:44-50)


1. Footwashing Ceremony & Judas' Treachery (13:1-20)
2. Judas' Iscariot's Departure (13:21-30) "And it was Night..."
3. The Great Commandment (13:31-35)
4. Exchange with Peter: On Departure (13:36-14:4)
5. Exchange with Thomas: Corrections (14:5-7)
6. Exchange with Philip: Promise of Spirit of Truth (14:8-21)
7. Exchange with (loyal) Judah: Keeping the Word (14:22-31)

8. "I AM the True Vine": abiding and producing (15:1-8)
9. The Great Commandment II: More detail (15:9-17)
10. The World's Hatred Against Jesus explained (15:18-25)
11. Persecution Fortold: Hate prophecied (15:26-16:6)
12. The Holy Spirit: More on action of Holy Spirit (16:7-15)
13. The End of Parables: Plain talk for the future (16:16-33)
14. Jesus' Final Prayer: for His disciples (17:1-26)


1. Betrayal and Arrest (18:1-14)
2. Peter's First Denial (18:15-18)
3. Caiaphas interrogates Jesus (18:19-24)
4. Peter denies twice more (18:25-27)
5. Pilate Questions Jesus (18:28-37)
6. Pilate offers Barabbas (18:38-40)
7. Jesus Mocked and Beaten (19:1-7)

8. Pilate Questions Again (19:8-12)
9. Pilate Orders Crucifixion (19:13-16)
10. Jesus is Crucified (19:17-24)
11. Jesus arranges care for His mother (19:25-27)
12. Jesus dies (19:28-30)
13. Jesus body examined by Romans (19:31-37)
14. Jesus is Buried by Nicodemus and Joseph (19:38-42)


1. Jesus' Body Missing (20:1-10)
2. Jesus Appears to Mary (20:11-19)
3. Jesus Appears to disciples (20:19-23)
4. Jesus Appears to Thomas (20:24-29)
5. First Summary Ending (20:30-31)

   EPILOGUE (21:1-25)
6. Jesus Appears Again (21:1-14)
7. Jesus prophecies Peter's Future (21:15-24)

Final Summary (21:25)

Note also that these hidden structures vouchsafe and protect other key passages that have been erroneously called into doubt as 'additions' to the gospel, such as the famous 'epilogue' of chapter 21.

Particularly stunning is the parallel sets of Double-Sevens (14) parts to Jesus' speech at the Last Supper, and 14 sections to the Passion account. These are clearly meant to resonate with one another. One only need put the two groups of 14 passages in two columns side by side to see their amazing correspondence.

Again, it seems John has carefully planned his Gospel from one end to the other with tamper-proof safeguards to prevent the ignorant from mutilating or otherwise altering his original work.