The Gospel of John and Greek Literature: Tracing the Theme of Friendship

Essay by nesUniversity, Master'sA+, July 2004

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The New Testament contains four Gospels: three which are labeled the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and one which stands alone (John). While the Synoptic Gospels over lap in many ways, the primary idea that is evident throughout the Gospel of John is the theme of friendship. The author of the Gospel of John often quotes Jesus in how he describes friendship and what true friends do for one another. There are many responsibilities that go along with being a friend that cannot be overlooked. Jesus states what many of these responsibilities are and they are quoted in the Gospel of John. The idea of friendship not only applies to the Christian religion but also in the world of the New Testament. Many parallels and examples of friendship, including the many responsibilities of friendship, are evident and more thoroughly explained in Greek literature. Such examples include Lucian's Toxaris and Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe. The commandments and teachings of Jesus in regards to friendship are found in numerous places in the Gospel of John, with remarkably similar and applicable examples in Greek writings, showing that Jesus' word spread quickly to many people in the world of the New Testament.

The love commandments are some of the most important commandments in the Bible. The two commandments are to love God and neighbor and to love one another. The very first command in the Bible is to be pious and philanthropic. The term philanthropia, or philanthropy, literally means "to love mankind." It is a good attitude towards everyone without distinction or is considered a limited number of responsibilities for an unlimited number of people characterized by three things: greeting everyone; helping anyone in need; and enjoying and attending the symposium. This definition therefore explains the commandment to love God...