The Gospel of John
"Main Outline"

J. Deering,

The Gospel of John
A Grand Overview of the book

One of the leading commentaries on the Gospel of John used at biblical schools [Bible College, Bible Seminaries, Biblical Christian Schools] is The Gospel of Belief, An Analytic Study of the Text by Merrill C. Tenney. We'll use His master outline as we move along in our study of The Gospel of John.

The Gospel of John[i]


       I.                        THE PROLOGUE, 1:1-18


    II.                        THE PERIOD OF CONSIDERATION, 1:19-54

        a.       The Witness of John the Baptist, 1:19-34

        b.      The Presentation of John’s Disciples, 1:35-51

        c.       The Wedding at Cana, 2:1-11

        d.      The First Appearance at Jerusalem, 2:12-22

        e.       The Interview with Nicodemus, 2:23-3:21

        f.       The Confession of John the Baptist, 3:22-36

        g.      The Samaritan Woman, 4:1-42

        h.      The Nobleman of Capernaum, 4:43-54

 III.                        THE PERIOD OF CONTROVERSY, 5:1-6:71

        a.       The Man at the Pool, 5:1-18

        b.      The Claims of Jesus, 5:19-29

        c.       The Witnesses, 5:30-47

        d.      The Feeding of the Five Thousand, 6:1-15

        e.       The Walking on the Water, 6:16-21

        f.       The Discourse on the Bread of Life, 6:22-71

 IV.                        THE PERIOD OF CONFLICT, 7:1-11:53

        a.       The Unbelief of the Brethren 7:3-9

        b.      The Bewilderment of the People 7:10-13

        c.       The Public Appearance 7:14-19, 21-24, 33, 34

        d.      The Popular Response 7:20, 25-32, 35, 36

        e.       The Climactic Appeal of Jesus 7:37-52

        f.       The Woman Taken in Adultery 7:53-8:11

        g.      The Address to the Pharisees 8:12-30

        h.      The Discourse to the Believing Jews 8:31-59

        i.        The Healing of the Man Born Blind 9:1-41

        j.        The Discourse on the Good Shepherd 10:1-18

        k.      The Division Among the Jews 10:19-21

        l.        The Argument in Solomon's Porch 10:22-42

        m.    The Raising of Lazarus 11:1-53


V.                        THE PERIOD OF CRISIS 11:54-12:36

        a.       The Retirement to Ephraim 11:54-57

        b.      The Return to Bethany 12:1-11

        c.       The Entry into Jerusalem 12:12-19

        d.      The Visit of the Greeks 12:20-36a

VI.                        THE PERIOD OF CONFERENCE 12:36b-17:26

        a.       Transition 12:36b-13:30

                i.      Author's Parenthesis 12:36b-43

                ii.      The Appeal of Jesus 12:44-50

                ii.      The Last Supper 13 :1-20

                iv.      The Dismissal of the Traitor 13:21-30

        b.      Conference with the Disciples 13:31-16:33

                i.      Conference on Preparation 13 :31-14:31

                    1.      The Introductory Announcement 13:31-35

                    2.      The Question of Peter 13 :36-38

                    3.      The Discussion of Destiny 14:1-4

                    4.      The Question of Thomas 14:5-7

                    5.      The Question of Philip 14:8-11

                    6.      The Instruction Resumed 14:12-21

                    7.      The Question of Judas 14:22-24

                    8.      The Discourse Completed 14:25-31

                             ii.      Conference on Relationships 15 :1-27

                                1.      The Relation of the Believers to Jesus 15 :1-11

                                2.      The Relation of the Believers to Each Other 15:12-17

                                3.      The Relation of the Believers to the World 15:18-27

                             iii.      Conference on Revelation 16:1-33

                                1.      The Revelation Explained 16:1-6

                                2.      The Consequence of Revelation 16:7-15

                                3.      The Revelation by the Resurrection 16:16-24

                                4.      The Revelation by Proclamation 16:25-33

                             iv.      Conference with the Father 17:1-26

VII.                        THE PERIOD OF CONSUMMATION 18:1-20:31

        a.       The Betrayal 18:1-11

        b.      The Trial Before Annas 18:12-27

        c.       The Interview with Pilate 18:28-19:16

        d.      The Crucifixion 19:17-37

        e.       The Burial 19:38-42

        f.       The Resurrection 20:1-29

        g.      Analysis

                i.      The Evidence of the Resurrection

                ii.      The Effect of the Revelation

VIII.                        X.  The EPILOGUE, 21:1-25

The purpose of the Epilogue is to show how the belief which the disciples had achieved should be applied. The witness of the risen Lord to His followers had been completed, and they were ready to undertake the responsibilities of discipleship. Consequently, the last chapter of the Gospel opens the door to the suture and shows how belief should be translated into terms of daily activity.


The Fourth Gospel concludes with the note of active faith. Having brought its reader to the realization of what belief is and how it grows, it leaves him, like Peter, with a challenge to put that belief into action. In this was the fulfillment of the purpose of John becomes the responsibility of the individual believer.


[i] Tenney, Merrill C., John – The Gospel of Belief, An Analytic Study of the Text, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1953