Structural Outlines of the Fourth Gospel
by Rev. Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Various Outlines of the Fourth Gospel


The Gospel according to John (the basic outline accepted by most scholars)
Prologue:  1:1-18  (Logos Hymn: The Word with God; Believers become Children of God; The Word becomes Flesh; The Son Reveals the Father)
"The Book of Signs":  1:19—12:50 (Wedding at Cana; Temple Incident; Dialogue with Nicodemus; Royal Official's Son; Samaritan Woman at the Well; Healing at the Bethesda Pool; Feeding 5000 & Bread of Life Discourse; Conflicts in Jerusalem; Man Born Blind & Good Shepherd Discourse; Raising of Lazarus; Anointing at Bethany; Plots to Kill Jesus; etc.)

"The Book of Glory":  13:1—20:31 (Last Supper: Washing the Disciples' Feet, Fortelling Judas' Betrayal & Peter's Denial, Farewell Discourses; Jesus' Great Prayer; Passion Narrative: Arrest, Hearings & Trials, Crucifixion, Death & Burial; Resurrection Appearances, esp. to Mary Magdalene and Thomas)

Epilogue:  21:1-25  (Another Resurrection Appearance at the Sea of Tiberias/Galilee - added later)


Chapter-by-Chapter List of the Contents of John
(by F. Just, S.J. - emphasizes geography and characters; click on each chapter number for an outline of each chapter)
1 - Prologue (Logos Hymn);  The Witness of John (the Baptizer);  The First Disciples of Jesus
2 - The Wedding Feast at Cana;  Jesus' First Passover in Jerusalem: The Cleansing of the Temple
3 - Jesus' Conversation with Nicodemus;  John (Baptist)'s testimony
4 - The Samaritan Woman at the Well;  Healing of a Royal Official's Son
5 - The Sabbath Healing of a Sick Man at the Bethzatha Pool in Jerusalem;  Ensuing Controversy
6 - The Second Passover in Galilee:  Feeding of 5000;  Walking on Water;  Bread of Life Discourse
7 - The Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem;  Jesus Teaches in the Temple;  Diverse Reactions to Jesus
8 - [Adulterous Woman 7:53—8:11];  Jesus as "Light of the World";  Truth;  Origin & Identity of Jesus
9 - The Sabbath Healing of a Man Born Blind near the Pool of Siloam; Ensuing Controversy
10 - The Good Shepherd Discourse; Feast of Dedication; Jesus Retreats across the Jordan
11 - The Raising of Lazarus at Bethany; Final Plot against Jesus; Jesus Retreats to Ephraim
12 - The Third Passover in Judea; Anointing at Bethany; Final Entry into Jerusalem; "the Hour"
13 - The Last Supper: Washing of Disciples' Feet; Foretelling of Judas' Betrayal & Peter's Denial
14 - The Farewell Discourse (Part I),  incl. Fear Not, Paraclete, Peace
15 - The Farewell Discourse (Part II),  incl. Vine & Branches, Love & Hate, Paraclete
16 - The Farewell Discourse (Part II - cont.),  incl. Persecutions, Paraclete, Joy, Prayer, etc.
17 - The Great Prayer of Jesus
18 - The Passion Narrative: incl. Arrest in Garden, Meeting in Annas' House, Peter's Denial, Jesus' Trial before Pilate
19 - The Passion Narrative (cont.): Trial continues, Crucifixion, Death, Burial
20 - The Empty Tomb;  the Risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene, to the Disciples, to Thomas;  First Conclusion (20:30-31)
21 - Epilogue:  Breakfast Appearance by Sea of Tiberias; Peter's Love & the Beloved Disciple; Second Conclusion (21:24-25)


Division of John from "The Jerusalem Bible"
(emphasizes the Jewish Feasts)
O. Prologue: 'In the beginning.' (1:1-18)
I. First week of the messianic ministry: Jesus revealed as the Messiah. The week ends with the first 'sign' at Cana (1:19—2:11)

II. First Passover with its accompanying events, ending with the second 'sign' at Cana (2:12—4:54)
III. Sabbath 'of the paralytic': Jesus cures the man at the Bethzatha pool (5:1-47)
IV. The Passover 'of the bread of life': miracle of the loaves and the subsequent discourse (6:1-71)
V. The feast of Tabernacles with the cure of the man born blind (7:1—10:21)
VI. The feast of Dedication and the resurrection of Lazarus (10:22—11:54)
VII. Week of the Passion and the crucifixion Passover (11:55—19:42)

VIII. The resurrection and week of apparitions (20:1-29)

IX. Appendix: concerning the Church and the expectation of Christ' return (21:1-25)
Division of John from "The New Jerusalem Bible"
(still mentions Jewish Feasts, but emphazises conflicts & Jesus' death even more)
A. Prologue (1:1-18)
B. Jesus' Ministry (1:1912:50)
     I. Proclamation of the New Order: The Ministry of Jesus (1:19—4)
    II. The Second Feast at Jerusalem: First Opposition to Revelation (5)
   III. The Passover of the Bread of Life: Further Opposition to Revelation (6)
   IV. The Feast of Shelters: the Great Rejection (7:1—10:21)
    V. The Feast of Dedication: the Decision to kill Jesus (10:22-42)
   VI. Jesus moves towards his Death (11:1-12)
C. Jesus' Hour Comes: the Passion and the Resurrection (1320)
     I. Jesus' Last Meal with his Disciples (13—17)
    II. The Passion (18—19)
   III. The Day of Christ's Resurrection (20:1-29)
    IV. First Conclusion (21:30-31)
D. Epilogue (21)
     I. The Appearance on the Shore of Tiberias (21:1-23)
    II. Second Conclusion (21:24-25)


Outline of the "HarperCollins Bible Dictionary"
(by D. Moody Smith; emphasizes Jesus' actions)

I. Introduction (1:1-51)

A. Prologue (1:1-18)
B. Encounter with John Baptist and call of disciples (1:19-51)
II. Jesus' manifestation of God's glory to the world (2:1—12:50)
A. Wine miracle (2:1-11)
B. Cleansing of the Temple (2:12-22)
C. Discussion with Nicodemus on birth from above (2:23—3:21)
D. The second appearance of the Baptist (3:22-36)
E. Conversation with Samaritan woman (4:1-42)
F. Healing of official's son (4:43-54)
G. Healing at Pool of Bethzatha and related discourse (5:1-47)
H. Feeding of 5000 and related incidents and discussions (6:1-71)
I. Jesus at Feast of Tabernacles (7:1-52)
    [Woman taken in adultery 7:53—8:11 - a later addition]
J. Jesus the Light of the World (8:12-59)
K. Restoration of sight to blind man (9:1-41)
L. Jesus the Good Shepherd (10:1-42)
M. Raising of Lazarus from the Dead (11:1-44)
N. Condemnation of Jesus (11:45-57)
O. Triumphal entry and related events (12:1-50)
III. Jesus' manifestation of God's glory to his disciples (13:1—20:31)
A. The Last Supper: Jesus washes disciples' feet (13:1-38)
B. First farewell discourse to disciples (14:1-31)
C. Second farewell discourse to disciples (15:1—16:33)
D. Jesus' final prayer (17:1-26)
E. The Passion narrative: Jesus' arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial (18:1—19:42)
F. Discovery of empty tomb and resurrection appearances in Jerusalem (20:1-31)
IV. Appendix: Jesus' appearance by Sea of Galilee to Peter and others (21:1-25)


Plan of John from "The Gospels and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary"
(by Raymond E. Brown;  emphasizes characters and feasts)
1:1-18       THE PROLOGUE
                    An introduction to and summary of the career of the incarnate Word
1:1912:50    PART ONE: THE BOOK OF SIGNS
                     The Word reveals himself to the world and to his own, but they will not accept him.
13:120:31    PART TWO: THE BOOK OF GLORY
                     To those who accept him, the Word shows his glory by returning to the Father in death,
                        resurrection, and ascension. Fully glorified, he communicates the Spirit of life.
21:1-25        EPILOGUE
                    A series of resurrection appearances in Galilee of theological import.
PART ONE may be subdivided into four sections:
    1. seven days of gradual revelation of Jesus (1:19—2:11)
    2. themes in 2:1—4:54
        a) the replacement of Old Testament institutions:
            CANA - replacement of Jewish purifications (2:1-11)
            JERUSALEM - replacement of the Temple (2:13-25)
            NICODEMUS - replacement of the birth into the Chosen People (3:1-36)
            SAMARITAN WOMAN - replacement of worship in Jerusalem (4:1-42)
            Second Cana Miracle closing the section (4:43-54)
        b) reaction to Jesus by individuals representing a class:
            OFFICIAL JUDAISM (at Jerusalem)
                Temple authorities (2:13-25)
                Nicodemus the Pharisee (3:1-36)
            SAMARITAN (4:1-42)
            ROYAL OFFICIAL (Galileans; 4:43-54)
    3. themes in 5:1—10:42
        a) the replacement of Old Testament feasts:
            THE SABBATH - Jesus, the new Moses, replaces the Sabbath ordinance (5:1-47)
            PASSOVER - the Bread of Life (revelatory wisdom and the eucharist) replaces the manna (6:1-71)
            TABERNACLES - the Source of living water, the Light of the world, replaces the water and light ceremonies (7:1—10:21)
            DEDICATION - Jesus is consecrated in place of the Temple altar (10:22-42)
        b) the theme of life (begun in 2:1—4:54) is developed in 5:1—7:52; the theme of light is developed in 8:1—10:42
                (particularly in the healing of man born blind)
    4. the Lazarus theme (11:1—12:36)
        The raising to life of Lazarus leads directly to the condemnation of Jesus. Lazarus is present at the anointing of Jesus
        for burial (12:1-8), and enthusiasm over the miracle performed in his favor occasions the Palm Sunday scene (12:9-36).
        The raising of Lazarus is the culmination of the life-light themes.
PART TWO may be subdivided into three sections
    1. the Last Supper (13:1—17:26)
        a) the washing of the feet and the betrayal (13:1-30)
        b) Jesus' Last Discourse:
             Introduction (13:31-38)
          Part One (14:1-31; duplicated in 16:4-33)
          Part Two (15:1—16:3)
             Part Three (17:1-26)
    2. Jesus' passion and death (18:1—19:42)
        a) the garden scene (18:1-12)
        b) inquiry before Annas; Peter's denial (18:12-27)
        c) trial before Pilate (18:28—19:16)
        d) crucifixion, death, and burial (19:17-42)
    3. the resurrection, ascension, and conferring of the Holy Spirit (20:1-31)


Outline of the Structure of the Gospel from "Sacra Pagina: The Gospel of John"
(by Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B.;  emphasizes different structures in different sections)
I. THE PROLOGUE (1:1-18)
II. THE BOOK OF SIGNS (1:19—12:50)
        A. The First Days of Jesus (1:19-51)
        B.  From Cana to Cana (2:1—4:54)
            i. The First Miracle at Cana (2:1-12)
                       ii.    Jesus and "the Jews" (2:12-22)
                       iii.   The narrator's comment (2:23-25)
                       iv.   Jesus and Nicodemus (3:1-21)
                       v.    Jesus and John the Baptist (3:22-26)
                       vi.   Jesus and the Samaritan woman (4:1-15)
                       vii.  Jesus and the Samaritan woman (4:16-30)
                       viii. Jesus comments (4:31-38)
                       ix.    Jesus and the Samaritan villagers (4:39-42)
            x. The Second Miracles at Cana (4:43-54)
        C. The Feasts of "the Jews" (5:1—10:42)
            i.    Jesus and the Sabbath (5:1-47)
            ii.   Jesus and the Passover (6:1-71)
            iii.  Jesus and Tabernacles, I (7:1—8:59)
            iv.  Jesus and Tabernacles, II (9:1—10:21)
            v.   Jesus and Dedication (10:22-42)
        D. Jesus turns toward "the hour" (11:1—12:50)
            i.    A resurrection that will lead to death (11:1-54)
            ii.   The hour has come (11:55—12:36)
            iii.  Conclusion to the ministry of Jesus (12:37-50)
III. THE BOOK OF GLORY (13:1—20:31)
        A.  The Last Discourse (13:1—17:26)
            i.   Making God known: the footwashing and the morsel (13:1-38)
                      ii. Departure (14:1-31)
                            iii. To abide, to love, and to be hated (15:1—16:3)
                     iv. Departure (16:4-33)
            v.  Making God known: Jesus' final prayer (17:1-26)
        B.  The Passion (18:1—19:42)
              i. Jesus and his enemies in a garden (18:1-11)
                      ii. Jesus' appearance before "the Jews" (18:12-27)
                              iii. Jesus before Pilate (18:28—19:16a)
                     iv. The crucifixion of Jesus (19:16b-37)
             v. Jesus buried in a garden by his new-found friends (19:38-42)
        C.  The Resurrection (20:1-29)
              i. Scenes at the tomb (20:1-18)
                       (a) Visits to the empty tomb (20:1-10)
                       (b) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene (20:11-18)
IV. THE CONCLUSION TO THE GOSPEL (20:30-31)
V. EPILOGUE: Further Resurrection Appearances (21:1-25)
              i.   Jesus appears to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias (21:1-14)
              ii.  Jesus, Peter, and the Beloved  Disciple (21:15-24)
              iii. A second conclusion to the Gospel (21:25)


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