Individual Books

How John Works

Storytelling in the Fourth Gospel

SBL Resources for Biblical Study 86
Douglas Estes and Ruth Sheridan
Hardcover or Softcover
9780884141488 or 9781628371314
Year of Release
About the Book

In this book, a group of international scholars go in detail to explain how the author of the Gospel of John uses a variety of narrative strategies to best tell his story. More than a commentary, this book offers a glimpse at the way an ancient author created and used narrative features such as genre, character, style, persuasion, and even time and space to shape a dramatic story of the life of Jesus.


  • An introduction to the Fourth Gospel through its narrative features and dynamics
  • Fifteen features of story design that comprise the Gospel of John
  • Short, targeted essays about how John works that can be used as starting points for the study of other Gospels/texts
  • Contributors include: Harold Attridge, Frank Moloney, Dorothy Lee, Mark Stibbe, James Ressesguie, Chris Skinner, Mickey Klink, Alicia Myers, Susanne Luther, Kasper Bro Larsen, Dan Nässelqvist, Rekha Chennattu and Charles Hill.


    An Outstanding Collection

    This volume is an outstanding collection of fifteen essays that address the issue of “how John works,” ... It is thoughtfully designed, carefully edited, and the essays are of high quality and consistency. Each introduces a different element of the gospel’s “narrative dynamics,” surveys recent literature, and offers illustrations of how this element functions in John. The essays not only introduce these various elements; in many cases they contribute fresh interpretations and insights.

    R. Alan Culpepper, Dean of the McAfee School of Theology, Professor of New Testament, Mercer University

    Ultimately, It Works

    Even so, How John Works ultimately works, with insights emerging on every page ... Since literary theory and narratological studies are changing fields of study subject to shifts and new trends, this collection of essays is a welcome addition into the shifts and new trends ever emerging in biblical scholarship.

    Andrew J. Byers, Free Church Tutor and Lecturer in New Testament of St John's College, Chaplain of St. Mary’s College, Durham University

    Experience First Pages

    Download the first pages to How John Works ...

    Douglas' Other Books

    • Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament offers vibrant examples of all the major categories of questions to aid the reader in grasping how questions work in the Greek New Testament. Special emphasis is given to the way questions persuade and influence readers of the Greek New Testament.

    Literary Approaches to the BibleDouglas Mangum & Douglas Estes

    • This book introduces the various ways the study of literature has been used in biblical studies. Most literary approaches emphasize the study of the text alone—its structure, its message, and its use of literary devices—rather than its social or historical background. The methods described in this volume are focused on different ways of analyzing the text within its literary context.
    • Douglas Estes crafts a theory of question-asking based on insights from ancient rhetoric and modern linguistics in order to investigate the logical and rhetorical purposes of Jesus' questions in the Fourth Gospel.