Adesola Akala



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The relationship between Jesus the Son and God the Father plays a crucial role in the Johannine revelation of Christ. The Gospel of John symbolically portrays Jesus as the Son of God who is relationally inseparable from his Father. This research proposes that the Son-Father Relationship (SFR) is at the center of the network of Christological symbols in the Fourth Gospel. The SFR serves to fulfill the author’s stated purpose of John 20:31 and acts as an organizing principle that integrates and structures the Gospel’s unique symbolism. The uniqueness of Johannine symbolism is illustrated in the definition and theory of symbol formulated in this research using principles from theories propounded by Paul Ricoeur and Wilbur Urban.

Two key passages in this study are the Prologue (John 1:1-18) and the Prayer (John 17:1-26). These passages are strategically positioned in the Gospel narrative and contain similar clusters of symbols, symbolic language, and themes centered on the SFR. The Prologue subtly and symbolically introduces the SFR; both SFR and symbolism are then developed through the words and actions of Jesus’ teaching ministry. The Prayer culminates Jesus’ teaching ministry and elevates the SFR to its highest point in the narrative, utilizing most of the symbolism introduced in the Prologue. This research unveils a symbolic network referred to as John’s Christological Symbology, through which the Gospel presents Jesus the Son in close relationship with God the Father. The Symbology, commencing in the Prologue and culminating in the Prayer before ending in the remainder of the Gospel, reveals the centrality of the SFR in Johannine symbolism.



Publication Date



Bible, John, God, Son, Jesus, Christ


Biblical Studies | Other Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Call Number

BT203 .A33 2012

The son-father relationship and christological symbolism in the gospel of John