The Key to Understanding the Gospel of John: The Seven Signs

Seedbed - Seven Minute Seminary

The Gospel of John is celebrated for its accessibility and often used as an entryway for new Christians to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. In comparison to the other Gospels, it refers less to the kingdom of God/heaven and more to eternal life. It has a remarkably high and easily recognizable divine identity of Jesus. It also contains several unique literary and theological elements based on the Jewish perfect number seven—seven signs and seven “I AM” sayings. In today’s Seven Minute Seminary, Dr. Ben Witherington III shares how recognizing the seven signs are key to understanding our fourth Gospel.

  1. Transforming water into wine (2:1-2)
  2. Healing the son at Cana (4:46-54)
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (5:1-15)
  4. Multiplying fish and loaves (6:1-15)
  5. Walking upon the sea of Galilee (6:16-21)
  6. Healing the blind man in Jerusalem (9:1-41)
  7. Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-53)

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More seeds to explore: Craig Keener shares about water imagery in the Gospel of John; all of our resources relating to Gospel of John or the Gospels in one way or another; our OneBook Bible Study line that you can go through with a small group or Sunday School.


Dr. Witherington joined the Asbury Seminary faculty in 1995. A prolific author, Dr. Witherington has written more than 40 books and six commentaries. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. In his leisure time, Dr. Witherington appreciates both music and sports. It is hard to say which sound he prefers: the sophisticated sonance of jazz sensation Pat Metheny or the incessant tomahawk chant of the Atlanta Braves faithful. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he is a dedicated Tar Heels basketball and football fan. He and his wife, Ann, have two children.