Edited by Rev. John Adams, B.D.

Belief and Life

Studies in the Thought of the Fourth Gospel

By W. B. Selbie, MA., D.D.



This little volume consists of eight short studies on subjects characteristic of the thought of the Fourth Gospel. They do not in any sense constitute an exposition of the teaching of the Gospel, nor do they raise the many critical questions connected with it. The present writer believes that the Gospel represents the witness of John the son of Zebedee to Jesus Christ as communicated to and set down by a disciple or disciples of His. It is thus at least two removes from the actual life and teaching of our Lord, but in spite of that it very frequently preserves the authentic note. Though the words are often those of the beloved disciple, or his reporter, the ideas are as often those of the Master. In its presentation of the work of Jesus Christ, and His relations both with God and men, it conveys a message that is as needed in these days as when it was fresh delivered. The aim of this book is to set forth some aspects of this message in modern terms.


Oxford, August 1916.


THE FOURTH GOSPEL is the work of one . . . who had long been conscious, we may be sure, of the presence of the Paraclete within him, guiding him into all truth . . . not perhaps without some admixture of ancestral disdain for the materialistic superstition of the masses, both of believers and unbelievers. And now in his old age, when the popular expectations had proved false . . . he finds himself confronted by new dangers from the other side. Other thinkers, more spiritual (as they would consider) than he, are saying that the Son of God was not a real man at all, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. This to the Evangelist was the greatest error: to deny the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh was the doctrine of Antichrist. The Fourth Gospel is written to prove the reality of Jesus Christ. But the Evangelist was no historian: ideas, not events, were to him the true realities, and if we go to his work to learn the course of events we shall only be disappointed in our search.

Prof. F. C. BURKITT                

In The Gospel History and its Transmission