Some excellent points by brother John Stewart on why the Gospel of “John” could not have been written by the “beloved disciple” John:
1. No claims in the entire book to be authored by John
Nope, not once.
2. The use of third person instead of first person
If I’m telling a story to my wife, for example, about my day at work I go: “Well I went to the office, Jim was giving me a rough time over the Henderson account.” I don’t go: “And John walked in. Jim his nemesis of 3 years berated him over the Henderson account.”
The one whom “Jesus loves” is referred to in the third person so the author obviously can’t be John:
One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. (John 13:23) It should read like:
“I was the one who Jesus loved. While I was reclining next to him…”
3. John is said to be illiterate :
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned (agrammatos) and ignorant (idiōtēs) men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
from Strong’s Bible Dictionary:
Agrammatos – illiterate, without learning.
Idiōtēs – an unlearned, illiterate, man as opposed to the learned and educated: one who is unskilled in any art.
Even if for the sake of argument he learns to read and write (which is unlikely but still possible). Why would he compile his narrative in Greek instead of Aramaic his mother tongue? This same disciple is the author of the Gospel of John, a text that is written in highly eloquent Greek (and tackles complex theological issues such as the nature of the Logos, is unreasonable.
4. Multiple authorship throughout the text
There are very strange switches throughout John for example, Chapter 20’s ending:
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” [John 20:30-31]
These last verses of chapter 20 seem to wrap up the Gospel. In the next chapter another miracle is told (John 21:4-6).
So, chapter 21 is odd. Toward the end of it two verses seem to close the Gospel again:
“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” [John 21:24-25]
Compare those verses with the closing verses of the previous chapter – the Gospel effectively has two endings, which are both very similar. Which makes one of them redundant.Also note the use of the third person usage again: “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. WE know that his testimony is true.”
This shows the author didn’t write this particular statement. The word “we” comes into play, which indicates that the author is no longer one person.
5. You’ll notice whenever Muslims ask Christians: “Where did Jesus(as) declare to be God?” They’ll almost exclusively quote ambiguous verses from John and VERY rarely any of the Synoptics.
Interestingly enough it is the latest in the Christian tradition. The gospel of John, if you want to quote conservative view, was written around 90-100CE. Admittedly I was lazy and used Wikipedia (somebody can double check for me the actual dates) but it said John died in 100CE. Let’s go with the earliest view that he wrote it in 90CE. That means he was 87 years old when this was compiled. Again very strange time to decide to write a gospel as opposed to when you were younger and could remember better but whatever.
Acts is said to have been written anywhere between AD 60 and 100 according to the blueletterbible:
This is a SERIOUS issue if it was written later as that means John would’ve still been illiterate into his 70s and 80s which we can almost say for sure now that he didn’t write it. Even if we accept the earlier dating following Christian timelines he would be around 30 at the beginning of Jesus’s(as) ministry. 33 when he’s (as) taken up to heaven. That means we add 30 years to get to Acts timeline which means at 63 years old he is still illiterate. Christians essentially have a little over a 20-year gap for a 63 old man to learn how to read and write eloquent GREEK which realistically he would have had no reason to learn.