I had the wonderful opportunity to study John 10-12 for a teaching opportunity at my church. This experience reminded me again of the difference between simply reading the Bible and studying the Bible, especially studying the Bible for the purpose of teaching it. In our daily reading of the Bible, we can miss such rich theology. That is why I appreciate what is called expository preaching (verse by verse through a book of the Bible), which is what my pastor does. In expository preaching, you pick up the theology and doctrines that are there in the text that you could easily overlook if you were preaching or listening to topical sermons, such as “5 Keys to a Great Marriage”.
Some of the doctrines you will encounter just in John 10 are:
- Perseverance/preservation of the saints (eternal security)
- Substitutionary atonement
- Authority of Scripture
- Limited atonement
- Deity of Christ
Now, some people will say that they have no interest in theology, indicating “Just give me Jesus”. Well, the truth is that theology is the study of God. You may want to keep it simple by saying Jesus is all you need, but what if your understanding of God or Jesus and his message differs from mine? How do we resolve that? Truly, we are all theologians. The question is whether we will be good theologians or bad theologians.
Again, just looking just at John 10, I was amazed at how many doctrines come out in this chapter, indicative of what you will find in all of scripture. For example:
Verse 3: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Jesus’ sheep, the elect, hear his voice and follow him. (election).
Verse 11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” This is a reference to Jesus’ substitutionary death for his elect on the cross. (substitutionary atonement)
Verse 15: “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus lays down his life not for all, but for his sheep, the elect. (election, limited atonement, substitutionary atonement)
Verse 26: “But you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. They do not believe because they are not Jesus’ sheep, they do not belong to God, they are not among the elect.” The Jews do not believe. Why not? Jesus’ answer is simple, they are not his sheep. (election, limited atonement)
Verse 28: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” We are secure not because we hold tightly to Jesus, but because he holds tightly to us. (Perseverance/Preservation of the saints, eternal security)
Verse 30: “I and the Father are one.” This is a clear declaration from Jesus that he is God (deity of Christ)
Verse 34: “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” In what can be a difficult section to understand, Jesus does not hesitate to base his entire argument with the Jews on one word (“gods”) in Psalm 82, a minor psalm of Asaph. (Accuracy and authority of scripture)
Verses 37-38: “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Here, Jesus makes it clear, he is God’s Son. The Father is in him and he is in the Father. Clearly Jesus is claiming sonship and oneness with God the Father. (Deity of Christ)
I encourage you to read the Bible each day. Even more than that, I encourage you to actually study the scriptures. Look for a good Bible Study to join and really engage with the text. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about God when you do.