When you read a book, it’s nice to know why it was written. Some books are for entertainment; some are practical how-to manuals; others seek to change your mind on some issue.
The Bible is a collection of the 66 divinely-inspired books we need for knowing God and knowing how to live a life that pleases Him. There are particular reasons that each of the books was penned. Some books take a lot more “reading between the lines” than others to discern the exact purpose, but others come out and state their purpose in no uncertain terms. One such book is the Gospel of John.
He goes beyond any of the other gospel writers when presenting Jesus as the eternal Word and Creator from the outset, whereas the other gospels start with the time frame of the incarnation of the Son of God. John recorded signs, sayings, and doings of Jesus. By necessity, John had to be selective, stating that there would be no end to the books written, were all of Jesus’ deeds recorded (John 21:25)!
Toward the end of the book, in John 20:30-31 (NKJV), the human author states:
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
When you understand the purpose of this Gospel is to persuade readers to trust Jesus and have life in His name, you have a framework for understanding everything else you read in the Gospel.
From learning of the Son of God’s eternal existence in chapters 1 and 17, to His creative power manifested in His incarnation when He turned the water into wine in chapter 2, to the “I am” sayings (Bread of life, Light of the world, etc.), to finding that Moses wrote of Him (chapter 5), and many other examples, we learn about the Person of Jesus. He truly is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised Savior, the Son of God.
We also see the importance of believing in Jesus, from calling His first disciples (chapter 1), to His instruction to Nicodemus (chapter 3), to the ministry to the woman at the well (chapter 4), to the negative example of those who reject Him (chapter 8), to His own disciple, Thomas (chapter 20).
Don’t underestimate the importance of finding the purpose of the book you are reading. Apart from it, you will miss the significance of much of the book. With it, you will find connections and treasures that help you see even more of its life-changing truth. And there’s nothing more life-changing than having life through trusting Jesus, as you come to understand Who He is.