Class Presentation on John 20
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Outline of John, Chapter 20 (JT)

Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb early, and finds stone rolled away. (v. 1)

She gets Peter and the "disciple whom Jesus loved." (Apparently, there was no body there, but this is not explicitly stated.) (v. 2)

Peter races "other disciple" to the tomb, and beats him. They look in. (v. 3-9)

The disciples (except Mary) go home. (v. 10)

Mary stays and sees two angels in the tomb & converses w/ them. (v. 11-13)

Mary bumps into Jesus who she mistakes for the gardener. (v. 14 & 15)

Jesus calls her name, and she recognizes him. (v.16)

Jesus sends her out. She tells the other disciples. (v. 17 & 18)

Jesus comes into the presence of the disciples "when the doors were shut." (v. 19 & 20)

Jesus sends out the disciples. (v. 21-23)

They tell Thomas and he doubts. (v. 24 & 25)

Eight days later, Jesus comes to disciples, and addresses Thomas. (v. 26 & 27)

Thomas believes. (v. 28 & 29)

The author explains (as John so often does). (v. 30)

This Pericope is preceded by the crucifixion and burial, and is followed by "breakfast by the sea," the confrontation of Peter, and "the beloved disciple."

Authorship – The Gospel of John (BR)

The verse immediately following our pericope states that the "Beloved Disciple" testified and wrote down "these things". Irenaeus (ca. AD 180) identified this person as John, son of Zebedee. By the 4th century AD this idea of John's authorship was firmly embedded in the church (Freedman, 912). More contemporary scholarship has realized that often authorship was more concerned with the authority behind the writing than with the actual physical writer (Brown, 368). Presumably, if the identity of the "beloved disciple" could be determined, the authorship questions could be settled. There are three approaches here: 1) Some propose a known NT figure (John, Lazarus, John Mark, Thomas). 2) Other scholars see the Beloved Disciple as purely symbolic, created to model the perfect disciple. 3) Still others propose a minor follower during Jesus' ministry, not important enough to be credited authorship (Brown, 369). Whatever the answer it is clear that the author held a prominent enough position in the Johannine community to write the Gospel.
Traditionally the date of the Gospel is in the range of 90-95 AD written from the Ephesus area to the church as a whole (Brown, 334). John sets Jesus' public ministry largely in Jerusalem (in contrast to the Synoptics' use of Galilee). The occasion for writing the book can best be summed up by John 20:31: "But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name".

John 20:1-5 (JT)


Comparison of New American Standard Bible (NASB); Elberfelder (E) and God's Word paraphrased version (GW)

Verse 1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. (NASB) An dem ersten Wochentag aber kommt Maria Magdalena früh, als es noch finster war, zur Gruft und sieht den Stein von der Gruft weggenommen. (E) Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary from Magdala went to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb's entrance.(GW)

Verse 2 So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." (NASB) Sie läuft nun und kommt zu Simon Petrus und zu dem anderen Jünger, den Jesus lieb hatte, und spricht zu ihnen: Sie haben den Herrn aus der Gruft weggenommen, und wir wissen nicht, wo sie ihn hingelegt haben. (E) So she ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, whom Jesus loved. She told them, "They have removed the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they've put him." (GW)

Verse 3 So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. (NASB) Da ging Petrus hinaus und der andere Jünger, und sie gingen zu der Gruft. (E) So Peter and the other disciple headed for the tomb. (GW)

Verse 4 The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; (NASB) Die beiden aber liefen zusammen, und der andere Jünger lief voraus, schneller als Petrus, und kam zuerst zu der Gruft; (E) The two were running side by side, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and came to the tomb first. (GW)

Verse 5 And stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. (NASB) und als er sich vornüberbückt, sieht er die Leinentücher daliegen; doch ging er nicht hinein. (E) He bent over and looked inside the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there but didn't go inside. (GW)

Rough Translation

1. {And on the first day}a (of) b the week c, Mary d the Magdalene goes early (of) darkness, yet being at the tomb, and sees the stone taken away e out (of) the tomb. 2. And runs and goes to Simon Peter and to the other disciple that [the] h Jesus loved and said to them, "Lifted up is the Lord out (of) the tomb, and we know not where they laid him. 3. And [the] f Peter went out and the other disciple, and having gone to the tomb. i 4. The two having run together, and the other disciple ran ahead more quickly than [the] f Peter and went first into the tomb, 5. And stooping sees j , but went not in.

a Greek idiom (also used in Luke) that indicates the first day. Lit – And the day (of)
b "(of)" indicates that the genitive relationship is indicated in the Greek, which is typically translated in English as "of."
c The word "sabbatwn" is used which can be translated either "sabbath" or "week."
d Some ancient witnesses substitute "Mariam" for "Maria" including some Alexandrian texts.
e Some texts, including Sinaiticus and 579 insert "apo thV quraV" here which translates as "from upon the door."
f Sinaiticus adds the definite article to Simon Peter.
h "[the]" indicates that the definite article is present in the Greek, but is awkward in English.
i Sinaiticus inserts the conjunction "kai" here
j Some ancient sources, including some Alexandrian, transpose "keimena" and "oqonia" ("laid out" and linen strips").

John 20:6-10 (NM)

Nancy Marroquin


John 20: 6-10

               NW                   NRSV                   LIVING BIBLE

Verse 6 who was behind                        came, following him, and                        arrived and went inside. He
him, arrived and went into                        went into the tomb. He saw                        also noticed the linen
the tomb. He saw the strips                        the linen wrappings lying                        wrappings lying there,
of linen lying there,                        there,

Verse 7 as well as the burial                        and the cloth that had been                        while the cloth that had
cloth that had been around                        on Jesus’ head, not lying                        covered Jesus’ head was
Jesus’ head. The cloth was                        with the linen wrappings but folded up and lying to the
folded up by itself, separate                        rolled up in a place by itself.                        side.

from the linen.

Verse 8 Finally the other                        Then the other disciple,                        Then the other disciple also
disciple, who had reached                        who reached the tomb first,                        went in
the tomb first, also went                        also went in


Verse 9 (They still did not                        for as yet they did not                        for until then they hadn’t
understand from Scripture                        understand the scripture,                        realized that the Scriptures
that Jesus had to rise from                        that he must rise from the                        said he would rise from the
the dead.)                        dead.                        dead.


Verse 10 Then the disciples Then the disciples returned Then they went home. went back to their homes to their homes.



Rough Translation

6     The Simon Peter arrived, following him, and he entered into the tomb and he saw the wrappings, the ones lying.

7     And the face cloth which was upon the head of him not lying with the wrappings laid but rolled up separately upon a nearby location.

8     The at that time the other disciple came also, the one coming first at the tomb, and he saw and he believed.

9     They not yet understanding the scripture that he must himself to be raised from dead.

10  Then the disciples went back to themselves.


Textual Criticism

In verse 6, a majority of the Alexandrian witnesses chose to omit ,ezo~t Nestle-Aland includes K&L Since it makes for a simpler reading, I chose to omit K&L from my translation.

In verse 10, ai’no~ç is replaced by ~u in a majority of the witnesses. This changes the translation to



6    Who was the one that Simon Peter followed?

7    How did he know it was the head cloth that was lying separately from the other wrappings? What is the significance, if any, of the head cloth lying separately? Is it important that it was folded up? Why were these wrappings lying in the tomb? If they were burial wrappings, who do they belong to?

8    Who is the other disciple? Why did he hesitate to enter the tomb? What made him finally decide to enter? What did he see? What did he believe?

9    What scriputre did they not understand? Who is the “he” that must rise from the dead?

10  Where did the disciples go back to? Why did they leave? Was it just the two disciples or were others with them?




John 20:11-15 (JP)

Step I – Initial Acquaintance

A. Comparison of English Translations. I compared the RSV, the NASB, and the Message
V.11 NASB, RSV stooped
Mess knelt

V.12 NASB, RSV had been lying
Mess had been laid

V.13 NASB, RSV taken away my Lord
Mess They took my Master

V.14 NASB, RSV she did not know it was Jesus
Mess But she didn't recognize him.

V.15 NASB, RSV and I will take him away.
Mess so I can care for him.

B. Textual Criticism

In investigating the textual apparatus, there is no real pertinent information to be found. The text, when challenged, has been heavily supported by the Alexandrian manuscripts. An example of this occurs in v. 14 where the insertion of kai has no Alexandrian support. The one bit of critical apparatus that caught my eye occurs in v. 11, in which en has been added instead of pro , thus changing the meaning of the text from Mary stood at/in the tomb to Mary stood at/to the tomb. The text that Nestle has is supported by a majority of Alexandrian texts.

C. Rough Translation

Mary had stood at the tomb outside weeping. Then as she was weeping, she stooped into the tomb and sees to angels in white sitting, one at the head and one at the feet, where was lying the body of Jesus. And say to her those ones, "Woman, why do you weep?" She says to them, "they took the Lord of me, and I do not know where they placed him." And she sees Jesus having stood, and did not know that it is Jesus. Says to her Jesus, "Woman, why do you weep? Who do you seek?" Supposing that one the gardener he is, she says to him, "Tell me where you placed him, and I will take him."

II. Disposition

How does Mary know that these people are angels? What is her reaction to their presence? Why did they ask her why she was weeping? As if they didn't know? Or was it because they wanted to comfort her? And why didn't she recognize Jesus? Was it this whole transformation thing, or was it just he looked a little disheveled because he had been dead? And why does Jesus ask her the same exact question that the angels had asked? Same sort of rhetorical questioning? And where was Mary going to take the body of Jesus?

John 20:16-20 (BR)

Comparisons of Translations (Issues raised):
v. 17:
KJV: "Touch me not"
NIV: "Do not hold on to me"
RSV: "Do not hold me"
Greek: Mh, mou a[ptou – my best translation is "You be not touching me" Present middle imperative, 2nd person singular

The question that arises here is was Jesus touched and then said "Stop touching me", or did he tell them not to touch him before they had a chance to? The verb a[ptw can also mean harm or injure. Did their touching hurt Jesus in some way? Was he saying, "Ouch!, quit touching me".

v. 19a:
KJV: when the doors were shut
NIV: with the doors locked
RSV: the doors being shut
Greek: qurw/n kekleisme,nwn - my translation is "having shut the doors" Perfect passive participle, genitive feminine plural

In our culture, shut and locked are not the same thing. If I shut my door and come to class, it's much easier for someone to get in then if I locked my door. The second part of this verse reads "for fear of the Jews". How fearful were they? The level of fear would is shown to be heightened by using locked over shut. Shut seems to mean: just in case someone happens by. Locked would lean toward: they're after us, so lock the door.

v. 19b:
KJV: where the disciples were assembled
NIV: the disciples were together
RSV: where the disciples were

v. 19c:
KJV: "Peace be unto you."
NIV: "Peace be with you!"
RSV: "Peace be with you."
Greek: Eivrh,nh u`mi/nÅ - my translation is "Peace to all of you" (the Northern version) u`mi/nÅ is dative 2nd plural

My question is in regards to this as a normal greeting of the resurrected Jesus. It is used in John 3 times (in this chapter) and in Luke 24:36 (It's also used in 1 Peter 5:14). What is the peace that Jesus greets them with? Is he articulating a hope or a proclamation? Or is it just a greeting like "Hi, how are you?", or "Have a nice day".

Textual Criticism

v. 16 has two Alexandrian sources that add "and running toward him to take hold of him" which could help explain why Jesus says in the next verse "You be not touching me". This adds some information to the question of whether or not she touched Jesus before his warning or not, however it does not answer the question, a case can be made for either.

V 18 has some variation in the word Ew,raka (have seen) as to the person. The text had three Alexandrian sources that are 1st singular. There is on variant that has two Alexandrian sources that use the 3rd singular (Ew,raken she, making it narrative, not discourse) and one that has one Alexandrian source that uses 1st plural (Ew,rakamen we). The last one, even though it has the least support begs the question: Who is we?

V 19b: The variant here has more Alexandrian support than the text. Three sources add in autou sunhgmenoi (they assembled). It appears that the KJV and possibly the NIV use the variant, whereas the RSV uses the text. The question is, were they assembled together because of their fear or where they in the house because of their fear (or both)?

Rough translation:

16 – Says to her Jesus, "Mary! Turning, that one says to him, "Rabboni, that is to say, Teacher. 17 – Says to her Jesus, "Be not touching me, for not yet have I ascended to the Father of me. But go to the disciples of me, and say to them, I ascend to the Father of me and the Father of all of you; and the God of me and the God of all of you. 18 – Comes Mary Magdalene bring word to the disciples, that she has seen the Lord, and these things He told her 19 – It being Then evening, on that day, the first of the Sabbaths, and the doors having been locked were the disciples were assembled, because of the fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and says to them, Peace to you. 20 – And this saying He showed them the hand and the side of him. Rejoiced, therefore, the disciples seeing the Lord.

Companion Texts:

Most of this pericope is John only. Verses 19-20 have some relation to Luke 24:36-43 when Jesus appears to them out of nowhere. Matt 28:9 is explicit about the women coming and grasping Jesus' feet.


1. The concept of fear that the disciples had "of the Jews". Who are "the Jews" here, technically? Weren't they all Jews? Did they think they were next in line to be crucified? Were they dead-bolted in, or was the door just shut?
2. The reconciling of John stating that Jesus instructed Mary not to touch him, while Matt saying that the women grabbed his feet. Is this easily reconcilable? Should it be?
3. Peace be to you. What kind of peace is Jesus talking about? How important is this peace? Is this His hope or his proclamation? Was this a greeting used in early Christian circles (1 Peter 5:14 uses it as a closing)?

John 20:21-25 (TT)

Comparison of translations:

Verse 21
NRSV – so I send you
NIV – I am sending you
NLT – so I send you

Verse 23
NRSV – If you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
NIV – If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.
NLT – If you refuse to forgive them, they are unforgiven.

Verse 24
NRSV – But Thomas (who was called the twin), one of the twelve
NIV – Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve
NLT – Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), one of the disciples

Verse 24
NRSV – one of the twelve
NIV – one of the Twelve
NLT – one of the disciples

Textual Variants:

Verse 21:

pe,mpw – the text has 3 Alexandrian sources, PAI 1s – "I send"
pe,myw – this variant has only 1 Alexandrian source, FAI 1s "I will send"
avposte,llw – this variant has 3 Alexandrian sources, PAI 1s – "I will send out"

Verse 23:
avfe,wntai– the text has 3 Alexandrian sources, Perf Pass I 3p – "their sins have been forgiven "
avfeqh,setai– this variant has 1 Alexandrian source, PAI 3p – "their sins are being forgiven"
avfi,entai, – this variant has 1 Alexandrian source, Fpass I 3s – "his/her sins will be forgiven"

Rough Translation:

21 Jesus, therefore, said to them again, 'Peace to you; according as the Father hath sent me, I also send you;' 22 and this having said, he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit; 23 whoever you'all forgive the sins, they are forgiven to them; whoever you'all retain, they have been retained.' 24 And Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came; 25 the other disciples, therefore, said to him, 'We have seen the Lord;' and he said to them, 'If I may not see in his hands the mark of the nails, and may put my finger to the mark of the nails, and may put my hand to his side, I will not believe.'

Immediate Context

All but verse 23 is exclusively associated with John. Verse 23 has a parallel in Matthew. Matt. 18:18 talks of "binding" and "loosing" sins (or forgiving and not forgiving sins).
Verse 21 is parallel with Luke 24:49: sending the disciples out.
Verse 22 has a parallel with Ezekiel 37:9: God breathing life into the dry bones.


1. What does Jesus "breathing" the Holy Spirit into/onto them mean? Does this give credence to the Spirit proceeding from the Father "and the Son" as the West has maintained in the Nicene Creed? Does this relate to John 7:39? How does is relate to Pentecost?
2. What kind of power is Jesus giving the disciples in verse 23? Is this the same as the "binding and loosing" scripture from Matthew? Does this have something to do with the church, the Spirit, both?
3. What is the nature of the sending out of the disciples? Does it make a difference if pe,mpw is used vs. avposte,llw? Where is he sending them? To the cross?

John 20: 26-31 (SB)

John 20:26-31


Step I (Initial Acquaintance)

Verse- Greek from      Revised Standard        New International       The Message
Nestle-Aland xxvii       Version                        Version
emeras okto          Eight Days                     A week                         Eight Days

26b- thuron                   Doors were shut            Doors were locked        The locked doors



27- ginou apistos          Do not be faithless,        Stop doubting and          Don’t be
                                      but believing                   believe                           unbelieving.
alla pistos                                                                                                Believe!

29-   hoti eorakas me    Have you believed         Because you have          So, you believe
                                      because you have           seen me you have           because you have
pepisteukas                                                        seen me?                       believed;      seen with your own
30-   alla semeia            Other signs                    Miraculous signs            God-revealing signs

31- zoen echete en         Have life in his                Have life in his                Have real and

                                      name                             name                             eternal life in the
to onomati autou                                                                                     way he personally
                                                                                                                revealed it



B.   Textual Criticism

Vs. 26:   Insignificant due to lack of Alexandrian and other sources.

Vs. 27:   Insignificant due to lack of sources.

Vs. 28:   Kai, o: Insignificant due to minority of alteration to the text.

Vs. 29:   eipen: Minor significance- change to aorist from present. Omission of Definite Article before Thomas’ name.

Vs. 29:   me: Insertion of”me” changes text to “Blessed are the ones not having seen me and having believed. Support only from Sinaiticus.

Vs. 30:   Omission of autou supported by Vaticanus. Alexandrian family strongly

supports the text.

Vs. 31:   pisteuete: A change from the Aorist active Subjunctive to the Present active

Subjunctive Mood. The Alexandrian documents Sinaiticus and Koridethi and the Miniscule 892 support the change from the text.

Vs. 31:   aionion: Insertion of the word eternal. Support from Sinaiticus, Ephraemi, L, Psi, and Miniscule families 13 and 33.

C.   Rough Translation

26.  And through eight days again his disciples were within and Thomas (was) with them. Jesus came of the door being shut and is into the middle, and said “Peace to you.”

27.  Then he says to Thomas, “Bring your finger here and see my hands and bring your hand and cast into my side, and do not become non-believing but believing.”

28.  Having answered Thomas said to him, “my Lord and my God!”

29.  Jesus says to him, “Because you have seen me you have believed? Blessed are the ones not having seen and having believed.”

30.  Now Jesus made many other signs in the presence of his disciples, it is not being written in this Book.

31.  But He writes these things in order that you believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and in order that you believe you have life in his name.







1.    In vs. 26 was the door shut, or was the door locked? The translations differ. Is the point of the author that the occurrence of Jesus in the. room was supernatural?

2.    I find it interesting that the first message that the Lord gives to the disciples in this passage is “Peace to you.” What is the message that we as a church provide to fellow disciples from our resurrected Lord?

3.    In vs. 27 is Jesus rebuking Thomas for his unbelief or is he telling Thomas that he will do whatever it takes to help him believe?

4.    In vs. 28: What is our response when Jesus reveals the fallacy of our doubt?

5.    In vs. 29: Who are the ones that Jesus is referring to when he says “Blessed are the ones having not seen and having believed?” Is he referring to those outside of the house, outside of the time, or both? Basically, was he referring to me?

6.    In verse 30: What are the other signs?

7.    In verse 31: It seems that the difference in the text criticism is a possible difference between life eternal and life temporal.

In this passage we see the culmination of the prologue at the beginning of John in 1:1-18. The themes of Light and Darkness and well as The relationship of the Father and the Son are prevalent in John 20. In the resurrected Lord we see the glory of the Father.



John 20:16-20 (BR)
Did Jesus tell them not to touch him because of the cleanliness laws about not touching things that are dead?

John 20:11-15 (JP)
When Jesus appeared to Mary, were the angels from before still there, or had they vanished?