I recently edited and was one of six teachers in a DVD Bible study, The Gospel of John: Finding Identity and Purpose, along with teaching from Talbot professors and alumi, Drs. Sean McDowell, Leon Harris, Mark Strauss, Joanne Jung and Jeremy Treat. This video Bible study emphasizes two themes in each of the twelve lessons:

  1. Identity. Who are you? In these tough days, we need to be reminded of our identity in Christ: we are loved, restored, forgiven, a temple of the Holy Spirit, a light, etc.
  2. Purpose. Along with learning our identity in Christ, we will be reminded that we have a purpose as a follower of Jesus, such as believing, belonging, testifying, bearing fruit, loving, witnessing, and shepherding.

The Gospel of John is often said to be the easiest gospel to understand, but we miss so much of the meaning when we don’t fully understand the rich and deep Old Testament and Jewish background. For example:

  1. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. Did you know that Jewish culture thought that the soul remained with the body for three days, so that on the fourth day, there was no possibility that Jesus could raise Lazarus from the dead?
  2. Jesus heals a blind man. Did you know that blind people were thought to have been cursed by God in Jewish culture? When Jesus heals him, he reverses the curse and brings blessing to this man’s life.
  3. Jesus’s first miracle produced the equivalent of about 1,000 bottles of the very best wine. Did you know that one of the Old Testament expectations was that the Messiah would bring wine—a lot of wine, and very good wine? This wasn’t just a miracle; it was showing that Jesus was the Messiah.

After a brief introduction by actor and author Bruce Marchiano to set the historical context, the first part of each lesson examines the meaning of the biblical text by investigating the historical, religious and social background of first-century Jewish culture. In the second part of each lesson, the text is applied to our life today. Life application in the church today is often shallow and unrelated to the real meaning of the biblical passage. In this series, the practical application flows directly from the biblical text.

The Gospel of John: Finding Identity and Purpose contains everything that you need for individual or group Bible study, with no advance prep needed for leading a small group: DVD video sessions, leader’s guide to help facilitate small group sessions, and a separate workbook, which contains room for taking notes from the video, along with discussion and application questions for small group discussion. The workbook also contains a five-day personal Bible study/reflection for after the study to do on your own to go deeper in meaning and application.

A video promo of the series is available, along with a complete sample session on John 7. The DVD video sessions and a separate workbook can be purchased on Amazon.

The goal of this video series to help us find our identity and purpose, and ultimately to find life: peace, love, purpose, hope, forgiveness, removal of shame and joy.