Two Books in One (Box 9.1)

John’s Gospel divides neatly into two parts:

The first part is called the “Book of Signs” because it relates stories of remarkable things Jesus did, which are repeatedly called “signs.” The word “sign” (sēmeion) is used sixteen times in this part of John’s Gospel, and then it is not used again until the end (20:30) in a passage that scholars think might have originally come at the end of chapter 12, as a conclusion to John’s Book of Signs.

The second part of John’s Gospel is called the “Book of Glory” because it deals with the last week of Jesus’s life, when, in the words of this Gospel, the time for Jesus to be “glorified” had come (17:1; cf. 13:1; see also 7:39; 12:16, 23–24).

John’s Gospel also opens with a prologue (1:1–18) and closes with an epilogue (21:1–25).