Biblical People

Biblical People:John (2), the Disciple

The fourth of Jesus’s disciples that we’ll cover is John (not to be confused with John the Baptist). John the disciple is the younger brother of James and is part of Jesus’s inner circle, along with Peter and James. 

However, John may have an even higher standing. Though John never mentions himself by name in his biography of Jesus, five times he refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Consider that Jesus has many disciples and even more followers. He picks twelve of them to be the disciples and three of them to be in his inner circle, but John surpasses them all. He’s the disciple Jesus loves.

Later, in the book of Acts, we see John in tandem with Peter telling others about Jesus, healing people, and getting arrested as a result. When they’re released from jail, they visit the believers in Samaria and lay hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit.

After that we don’t hear much more about John in the Bible’s narrative, but he does write a lot. During the writing of his last book, Revelation, he’s exiled on the island of Patmos.

John contributes much to the New Testament of the Bible. Only Paul and Luke write more. John pens one of the four biographies about Jesus in the Bible.

It’s called the Gospel of John or John for short. Many people cite this biography of Jesus as their favorite for its poetic language and unique content.

John also writes three letters, called 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. His fifth book is an epic vision of the future, called Revelation. Together these five books make up about 20 percent of the content in the New Testament.

We may want to do amazing things for Jesus just like John, but are we willing to suffer exile like he did?

[Discover more about John in John 21:20–24, Acts 4:1–22, Acts 8:14–17, and Revelation 1:9. Explore the five books of the Bible that John wrote: John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.]

Read more about other biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at