John 20

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
John 20
P. Oxy. 208 (J 16,14-22).jpg
John 16:14-22 on the recto side of Papyrus 5, written about AD 250.
BookGospel of John
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part4

John 20 is the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament. It relates the story of Jesus' resurrection. It relates how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. Jesus appears to her and speaks of his resurrection and dispatches Mary to tell the news to the disciples. Jesus then appears to his disciples. The events related in John 20 are described somewhat differently in Matthew 28, Mark 16, and Luke 24.

The chapter is seemingly the conclusion to the Gospel of John, but it is followed by an apparently "supplementary" chapter, John 21.[1] Some biblical scholars to suggest that John 20 was the original conclusion of the Gospel, and John 21 was a later addition, but there is no conclusive manuscript evidence for this theory.


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 31 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:


Tradition sites of Jesus' tomb
Left: outside of Garden Tomb; right: inside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The chapter may be divided into three distinct sections. Verses 1-18 describe events at Jesus' empty tomb when it is found empty and the appearance of the risen Jesus to Mary Magdalene (see Noli me tangere). The second section describes Jesus' appearances to his disciples, while the final two verses relate why the author wrote this gospel.[5] The first section can also be subdivided between the examination of the tomb by Peter and the Beloved Disciple and Christ's appearance to Mary.

There are several inconsistencies both within the chapter and between it and the resurrection account in the other gospels. Brown has advanced the thesis that the work is a melding of two different sources. One source originally contained verses 1 and 11 to 18 and described Mary Magdalene's trip the tomb. This information is unique to John. Another had verses 3 to 10 and 19 to the end and dealt with the disciples. This portion is far more similar to the synoptic gospels. To those who doubt that the Beloved Disciple was the author of John this portion is merely the synoptics rewritten to make it seem like it was an eyewitness account. The portion on Mary Magdalene, by contrast, had to have been based on sources that only John had access to.

Theologian C. H. Dodd states[where?] that the crucifixion is the climax of John's narrative and argues that this chapter is written as the dénouement and conclusion. Some scholars argue that John 21 seems out of place and that John 20 was the original final chapter of the work.[6][7] However, ancient manuscripts that contain the end of John 20 also contain text from John 21, so there is no conclusive manuscript evidence for this theory.[8] See John 21 for a more extensive discussion.



  1. ^ Meyer, H. A. W., Meyer's NT Commentary on John 20, accessed 16 June 2019
  2. ^ Philip W. Comfort and David P. Barrett. The Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts. Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers Incorporated, 2001, pp. 74-78.
  3. ^ Gallica, Bibliothèque nationale de France. Département des Manuscrits. Grec 9 (2012). "Codex Ephræmi Syri rescriptus". Folio 85r.
  4. ^ WWU, Institut für Neutestamentliche Textforschung (INTF) /Eng. "Institute for New Testament Textual Research". "New Testament Virtual Manuscript Room - Workspace Doc ID 20004". Folio 1350/85r.
  5. ^ For example the Amplified Bible utilises this structure: John 20:1–31
  6. ^ Paul Minear, writing in 1983, wrote "The jury of modern NT scholars has agreed with unparalleled unanimity on one issue in Johannine research: chapter 21 is not an integral part of the original gospel but was composed separately and probably by a redactor." Journal of Biblical Literature 102, 85-98.
  7. ^ Ehrman, Bart (13 February 2012). "Debate "Is the Original New Testament Lost?"". The Ehrman Project, YouTube: from around 23:40. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
  8. ^ Kok, Michael J. (2017). The Beloved Apostle?: The Transformation of the Apostle John into the Fourth Evangelist. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 32. ISBN 9781532610219.

Further reading

  • Barrett, C.K. The Gospel According to John, 2nd Edition. London:SPCK, 1978.
  • Brown, Raymond E. "The Gospel According to John: XIII-XXI" The Anchor Bible Series Volume 29A New York: Doubleday & Company, 1970.
  • Bruce, F.F. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983.
  • Leonard, W. "St. John." A Catholic Commentary on the Bible. D.B. Orchard ed. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1953.
  • Rudolf Schnackenberg. The Gospel According to St. John: Volume III. Crossroad, 1990.
  • Westcott, B.F The Gospel of St. John. London: John Murray, 1889.

External links

Preceded by
John 19
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 21
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article: John 20. Articles is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.