Lazarus Wrote the Fourth Gospel?

Are you kidding me? No, I reckon not.

The fourth gospel’s beloved author called himself the “other disciple” – “Other” than who? The answer to this question is found in this free Bible study on the beloved disciple. And this book cites only evidence from the Bible, so it also shows why paying attention to “every word of God” is important. If you love the truth, then this book is for you.

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved eBook is free so please encourage others to consider this study and post links to this book when the subject comes up online. Email this site to friends. Suggest the beloved disciple as a topic for your Bible study group. The printer-friendly version makes it easy to share this free printable Bible study. Copies are permitted so long as they contain the full, unedited text of the book and provided they are freely given to others.

A bit of history – the Gospels were not titled by their authors, but became so through Tradition; however, a strong literary, and very early Tradition, states that Papias was either John’s scribe in writing it or he saw John write it.

A while ago, Nick reviewed Bauckham’s book, A Testimony of the Beloved Disciple.

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59 Replies to “Lazarus Wrote the Fourth Gospel?”

    1. Cough, cough, I included that link at the top of the post…

      I was surprised to read it, really. It seems to me to hang on a thread more than anything else.

  1. Oh, this should be a fun read. I suppose I could, if the evidence seems good, accept the theory, because the gospels are traditionally ascribed to authors but internally anonymous. So at least bibliologically the idea should be compatible with even a hyper-traditional view of Scripture.

  2. Lazarus pffftt. ‘The’ beloved disciple pffftt. Methinks there were several authors of John… If you have time someday, have a peek at ‘Is John’s Gospel True?’ by M.Casey … one of the reasons I travelled 12 thousand miles to be here in this blinking awful country!

    1. I would love too, but my goodness it is expensive!

      I take it then that Dr. Casey would disagree with Witherington?

  3. witherington also believes the shroud of turin is the authentic burial cloth of jesus and that the ‘james ossuary’ is actually the ossuary of james, jesus’ brother. he and shanks made a killing off that one. so his idiosyncratic view of lazarus as author of john pales in comparison to some of his other strange ideas.

  4. yeah but ‘proof’ of Jesus’ brothers (as if we needed it) is a slap in the Pope’s face… and mammon, yes you’re right, filthy dirty lucre… never trust a pale blue suit – it’s too blithering blousy.

    1. It is a thread to which he appeals and a light colored one at that.

      I have that book by W and S, couldn’t finish it.

  5. Joel: I think you mean ‘it is a thread which appeals to him’… yes, pale and insipid, like…

    The pope wears pretty dresses, Jeremy. Well they might be if they weren’t shaped like potato sacks. He does look a heluva lot prettier than Blitherington in bleu threads though.

  6. I never thought about Lazarus but I bet he had a fabulous testimony!being raised from the dead,How could he Not worship and believe in our wonderful savior …

  7. I’ll go with the Apostle John still and the Johannine, and Westcott’s Commentary of John, (I like also E.C, Hoskyns, The Fourth Gospel) these still have never been out done spiritually in my opinion. And see also a classic work: The Spiritual Gospel, The Interpretation Of The Fourth Gospel In the Early Church, by M.F. Wiles, Cambridge 1960).

    1. I don’t mind questioning the authorship, but to assign it to Lazarus, and the Epistles as well, is haphazard at best.

      1. Switching all the epistles to Lazarus does seem a bit of a leap. (I say this, of course, as someone whose sole qualifications for commenting on the New Testament consist of reading it acoupla times.)

  8. If there is a man in jail who has been convicted of a crime and we later uncover videotape or DNA evidence that prove we’ve identified the wrong man, then we let him go. We don’t keep him in jail until we find out who did do it. Likewise, if Bible evidence can prove that John was not the “other disciple, whom Jesus loved”, then we need to admit our mistake and let go of this erroneous tradition whether or not we can identify the actual author.

    The more important point in the whole discussion seems to be missed by many in the first instance, and that point is that the hand-me-down tradition of men that says t John was the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” has fooled so many despite the fact that that there is not (and never was) a single verse that would justify teaching that John was the “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” (the man who wrote the fourth gospel) — and that is why non-Bible sources must ALWAYS be used to sell the John tradition.

    While non-Bible sources may say that John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved”, what happens when one subjects that claim to biblical scrutiny, will it hold up? No it will not because two things are true:

    1: No one can cite a single verse of scripture that would justify promoting the idea that the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” was anybody named John — not the Apostle John, nor any other John. Moreover, the reason that this cannot be done is that no such verse exists, which is the reason that no such verse is ever cited by those who put forth the unbiblical John tradition.

    2: The facts in the plain text of scripture can prove that WHOEVER the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus loved” was he could not have been John — because that idea forces the Bible to contradict itself, which the Bible cannot do if it is true.

    Two good rules of respect for the authority of God’s word: A) One should not be presenting an idea AS IF IT WERE BIBLICAL if they cannot cite a single verse that would justify teaching that idea – and – B) If the facts in the plain text of scripture prove that an idea is false, then those who love the truth will reject that false idea — no matter how many people believe it, no matter how loud some may shout it, no matter if a big-wig so-and-so believes it, no matter how long the false idea has been around, etc.

    One can surely find a NON-Bible source to cite if they want to justify their belief in the idea that the unnamed “other disciple whom Jesus loved” was John. But what no one has ever done is cite a single verse that would justify teaching that the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” was John — not those who originated the unbiblical John idea and not those who repeat their error to this day.

  9. Time and space will not permit to get into this subject more deeply. As I have said, people that are open minded and also in submission to the Biblical witness, should read the Anglican Bishop B.F. Westcott’s commentary on John, his defense of St. John as the writer of the Gospel, both his “indirect evidence” and his “direct evidence” (internal) are profound! And history and the biblical witness are not at odds either.

  10. Those who love the truth will seek to honor God’s word by always aiming to be biblically accurate in their statements. Since people believe a LOT of false ideas when it comes to Bible issues, it is not what someone THINKS (i.e., what they have been told) that the Bible says that matters, rather what matters is what the Bible ACTUALLY says. For those who love the truth will conform their ideas to what the Bible says, rather than trusting in men and the traditions of men and imposing those ideas on the text.

    And since it is TRUE that there is not a single verse that would justify teaching that John was the unnamed “other disciple, whom Jesus love” those who want to continue to promote this unbiblical tradition AS IF IT WAS BIBLICAL, have to change the subject, dodge the issue, or otherwise dance around the request for even ONE verse of scripture — pretending, for example, that “time and space” is the hurdle that prevents them from quoting even one verse.

    So, while CLAIMING to have scripture on their side, they will not bother to quote even ONE verse of the evidence that they claim to have. But again the truth IS that there is not a single verse that would justify teaching that John was the unnamed “disciple whom Jesus loved” (the author of the fourth gospel) — and that is why NON-Bible sources must ALWAYS be used to help sell and prop-up the John tradition.

    And the claim that the biblical witness is “not at odds” with the man-made John tradition is spoken by someone who is either ignorant of or who refuses to acknowledge the MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE facts that are recorded in the plain text of scripture about both the one whom “Jesus loved” and John. Those Bible facts (not opinions from NON-Bible sources) are presented in the free eBook, The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, that was cited in the opening statements of this post above.

    Promoters of the John tradition will often try to brush aside any biblical scrutiny of that tradition with claims like ‘there are ‘lots of verses’ that show John was the beloved disciple’, but the best response in all such instances is two simple words, ‘Show me’. For with these two words we can both seek the correction that scripture may have to offer us, but we also note that the authority of God’s word is the determining factor is seeking to correct disagreements on biblical issues.

    One should not allow claims of biblical proof to go unchallenged. Unfounded claims (like the claim to have ‘lots of verses’ without ever actually quoting them) are often used to brush aside sincere Bible questions without actually providing a scriptural answer. Note that if this claim were true, then it would be easy to produce at least one such verse – so ask them to do so. If someone says that there are lots of verses that prove that the beloved disciple was John, then it should be a fairly simple task for them to quote just one of the many verses that they claim teaches this idea. But when they are unable to do so, then what does that tell you about their claim?

    Moreover, in regards to ANY topic, it reveals something about one’s method for determining truth on biblical issues when people decide that they can add their ideas/traditions to scripture since THEY have decided to trust the opinions of men in NON-Bible sources on a matter (BECAUSE THEY CANNOT JUSTIFY THAT IDEA FROM SCRIPTURE). But verses like Ps. 118:8 and many others warn against making the choice to place one’s trust in NON-Bible sources and the opinions of other men. Clearly, when it comes to the John idea, if men could have cited scripture to justify their belief in the John idea then they would do so and wouldn’t need to encourage people to trust in this–or-that NON-Bible source.

    “Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:5-6

    1. John,
      The Bible did not drop out of the sky! It too has its own historical aspect even with its being canon. So much of your argument is sadly a waste of time, or poor ad hoc. One wonders what your arguing for? It does not make much sense, and does not “protect” the Holy Scripture. Also proof texting does almost nothing. One must seek to understand and interpret Scripture. We call it “exegesis” in theology. Do you even do theology?

    2. John–I think we all understood the point of your first comment, which you reiterate at great length in the second lengthy comment: no single verse proves John wrote John, and you believe there are certain things in the book which seem incompatible with Johannine authorship. And I’ll admit there’s even a chance you’re right on Lazarus. But constantly capitalizing words and writing at length isn’t swaying anyone for one simple reason: almost all of us believe that at least some historical facts can be found outside of Bible verses. So until you either become willing to talk about non-biblical sources or you convince the rest of us to abandon all non-biblical sources, this basic disagreement will make constantly repeating your claims rather similar to addressing a wall.

  11. PS: Did you know the Bible wasn’t originally written in verses? So we also must consider the possibility that God exercised some sort of personal influence over titles as well as just the stuff in verses.

  12. Just reading that Mary Magdalene may have been the “beloved disciple”! Her Catholic feast day is 22 July. The first reading at Mass that day is from the Song of Songs / Song of Solomon:

    All night long on my bed
    I looked for the one my heart loves;
    I looked for him but did not find him.

    I will get up now and go about the city,
    through its streets and squares;
    I will search for the one my heart loves.

    So I looked for him but did not find him.
    The watchmen found me
    as they made their rounds in the city.
    “Have you seen the one my heart loves?”

    Scarcely had I passed them
    when I found the one my heart loves.
    I held him and would not let him go
    till I had brought him to my mother's house,
    to the room of the one who conceived me.
    Song of Solomon 3:1-4 (NIV)

    While not married nor in a relationship, Jesus and Mary did have a close relationship. Closer I think than comes through in the Gospels, and that she had a far greater influence in the very early church – as is referred to in the apocrypha gospels. Far greater than the role played by Mary the mother of Jesus.

  13. Are you for real? You talk about the chapters 11-12…what happened in chapters 1-11? Was Lazarus present? Why don't the other Gospels talk about Lazarus as a Disciple…they never even
    mentioned him at all. Do yourself a favor…read William Barclay's 2 books on the Gospel of John Volume 1 and 2….maybe you will educate yourself! If exposes your fraud.

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