Functional Christology in the Fourth Gospel:
Implications for African Christianity.*

Dr. George O. Folarin

 comment.gif© 2003, G.O. Folarin. All rights reserved


Wright defines "theology" as "the teaching about God and His relation to the world from creation to consummation particularly as it is set forth in an ordered, coherent manner."1 This is a broad definition; it fits the definition of theology in any religion (either Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, or African Traditional Religion). This definition builds on the etymology of "theology" which is a compound of two Greek words, Theos, which means "God", and logos, which means "word", or "discourse". "Theology", according to this definition, therefore means "a discursion on God's view about certain things". When the discursion is on the explanation of God's revelation found in the Bible, it is called "Biblical theology". Some African scholars adopt this approach.2

Tillich's definition of "theology", however appears to be most appropriate for the present work. He (Tillich) defines theology as "the statement of the truth of Christian message and interpretation of this truth for every generation".3 Imasogie4 agrees with Paul Tillich that theology "moves back and forth between two poles, the eternal truth of its foundation and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received". Tillich's definition has found widespread support among many African scholars like Ohusani5 and Ikenga-Metuh.6 This kind of definition allows them to take seriously the Christian message, and the experience of Africans. It is however not all African scholars that adopt Tillich's approach. Tillich's definition of theology influences this study.

"Christology" is one aspect of theology. In this work, a brief survey of Christological study up to the present day would be presented. This would be followed with the study of functional Christology in the Gospel of John. The implications of this study for African Christianity are then discussed. The work ends with a suggestion on the hermeneutic relation between theology and biblical interpretation.

Review of Christological Debate

Scholars who refuse to study history of doctrine and biblical interpretation are likely to make mistakes, which are avoidable. History of the past constructions would help subsequent scholars avoid the faults of earlier generations. In this section a survey of how Christological study reached its present stage is attempted.

Through the ages, Christological controversies have centered either on the person,7 the picture,8 or the deeds9 of Christ. The controversy on the person of Christ is on the following issues: Was Christ fully God or fully man, or both, or neither? Ebionites, Alogi, and Dynamic Monarchians deny the deity of Christ. Docetists, Gnostics, and Modalists reject His humanity. Nestorians accept the full humanity, but reject the full divinity of Christ. To the Nestorian party, Christ was only God-bearer, theophoros. Cyrillians emphasize the unity of divinity and humanity in Christ. Euthychians maintain either that the human nature of Christ was absorbed by the divine nature or that the two natures fused together to form a new nature, which was neither divine nor human.

Another controversy on the person of Christ is the "wills controversy". Put in question form, the issue is: "Has Christ one or two will(s)?" Monothelites argue that Christ has a single will. Their explanation takes two forms: one that the divine will acted alone in Christ. Or, two, that the human and the divine wills formed a composite in Christ so that Christ was neither truly man nor truly God. Berkhof rightly points out the implication of such view: "To say that there is but one will is to rob Christ of true human volition, and therefore detracts from the integrity of His humanity".10 Duothelites on the other hand support the dual natures and the dual wills of Christ. Adoptionists argue that Jesus was human, and that He was only adopted as God's Son either at baptism, or transfiguration.11 

Lutheran theologians hold to the doctrine of the two natures and their inseparable union in the person of Christ. Luther and his followers argue that each of the two natures of Christ permeated the other. The implication of this assertion is that the humanity of Christ participated in the attributes of the divine and vice versa. This raises some problems for Lutheran theologians: one, if the human nature received divine attributes, then how can the humiliation of Christ be explained? Did God also suffer in the humiliation of Christ? Two, if the divine nature of Christ received human attributes, was the divine nature in Christ also subjected to human limitation? Lutheran theologians are reluctant to ascribe human attributes to the divine nature of Christ. A group says that Christ laid down the divine attributes at the incarnation. Another group responds that Christ possessed the full divine attributes even at incarnation but concealed them and used them secretly.12

"Picture controversy" took place in the 700s. It was on the rightness or otherwise of representing God with pictures and images. The seventh General Council of Niceaea "settled" the issue. According to Boer, the Council decreed that,

Pictures, the cross, and the Gospels should be given due salutation and reverence… for the honour which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who shows reverence to the image shows reverence to the subject represented in it.13

Moody points out that certain scholars explain the unity of the divine and the human in the same Jesus in three ways: the gnosis, the kenosis, and the skenosis.14 The proponents of gnosis Christology see Jesus as exclusively human in nature, but that He had a unique knowledge (and not nature) of God. Though this model is built on a Q passage (Matthew 11:25-27 = Luke 10:21-22), the idea is also allegedly found in the Gospel of John (see 10:15).15 R. Bultmann admits that gnosis plays a big role in the Fourth Gospel, especially in explaining the relation between the Father and the Son.16 This is also the view of F.D.E. Schliermacher.

The kenosis Christology focuses on how the eternal Son of God allegedly emptied Himself of divine attributes when He became man. This model is built on a faulty interpretation of Philippians 2:7. The model does not deny that Jesus has divine nature, but states that He (Jesus) laid down His divine attributes at the time of incarnation. Moody identifies the strength of this model thus: "This enabled theologians to recognize a limitation to the knowledge of Jesus on many matters without a denial of the unity of diety and humanity in Him".17 Lutheran theologian, Gottfried Thomasius subscribes to this view.

Skenosis Christology is the opposite of, and a reaction to kenosis Christology. While kenosis Christology emphasizes "emptying," skenosis Christology emphasizes, "divine indwelling" in incarnation. The biblical basis for skenosis Christology is the Gospel of John, especially 1:14. The verse states that in incarnation the Logos "indwelt" (translation on contextual ground) the flesh (or indwelt humanity). This indwelling is the relationship where God graciously indwelt man (in Christ), and he in turn fully submitted to Him (God).

Two Christological models are pointed out by Barrett.18 The first is the "Prophet-Priest Christology". This model views Jesus the Christ as "the greater Moses". This theme is developed in John 6, but it is controversial if it is a major proposition in John. While Barrett thinks that it is not a major proposition, Burge holds otherwise19. The other model is the semeia Quelle ("a sign source") Christology. This Christological model (at times called "the Christology of source") views Jesus as a miracle worker.

Milne20 rightly reduces all Christologies to two: the ontological, which deals with the person (nature and will) of Christ, and functional, which deals with the activities of Christ. Jesus, the miracle worker fits into functional Christology.

The Christological models often proposed by African scholars are functional. They are "Christologies from below." They focus on the deeds (or works) rather than the person or nature of Christ. The names of some of these models are revealing. The models include "Christ the Witch-Doctor", "Jesus the Medicine man", "Christ the Nganga", "Christ the Chief", and possibly, "Christ the Are Onakakanfo!21 All these names underscore the power of Jesus to deliver from oppressive situations. This is the type of Christology that is meaningful to Africans, but care should be taken not to turn Christ, the Lord of the whole world, into a local champion. 

Another important advice is that ontological and functional Christologies should be complementary, rather than exclusive. If ontological Christology is given up, the person of Christ and His ability to meditate on man's behalf would be under estimated. In any case, the Gospel of John combines the two aspects. In my study of Johannine Christology, I focus on a functional Christological model: Jesus the Healer. The concept of healer is both universal and comprehensive. The developed and the developing countries are familiar with it. Again, healing can be spiritual or / and physical, personal or / and social.

Functional Christology in the Gospel of John

Critical issues on the Gospel of John are well treated in books and articles like those written by Ladd,22 Barrett,23 Morris,24 and Folarin.25 They would therefore not be treated here except where the issues raised have direct bearing on the focus of this work.

Christology is central to John.26 The Gospel opens (1:1ff) and closes (20:29-30) with a clear Christological note.27 Guthrie,28 Barrett,29 and Ladd30 represent scholars who apply ontological Christology to the Fourth Gospel. This is generally the approach of the West. Of course, themes of Logos (1:1f), Son of God (3:16; 20:31), and Son of Man (9:35) can be interpreted ontologically. Further more, the seven ego eimi (" I am") utterances of Jesus lend credence to ontological Christology.31

Functional Christology emphasizes the role of Jesus the Christ as the true mediator between God and man, the true liberator from all forms of human and demonic oppressions, and the true healer from all forms of sicknesses.32 The miracles in the Gospel of John provide the data for constructing this Christology. The writer of the Gospel states that Jesus did many miracles among which the ones enumerated in the Fourth Gospel are chosen to show that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (20:29-30). Ryken et. al.33 agree that the Gospel of John is structured around the miracles. In all, nine miracles are recorded in the Gospel. Seven of the miracles were performed before the death and resurrection of Jesus. These are the turning of water to wine (2:1-11), the healing of the official's son (4:46-54), and the curing of the paralytic (5:1-18). Others are the feeding of the five thousand (6:5-13), the walking on water (6:16-21), the healing of the blind man (9:1-17) and the raising of Lazarus (11:1-44). Jesus performed one other miracle after His resurrection. This is the miracle of the great catch of fish (21:4-14). Resurrection of the Christ stands in a class of its own. It is the greatest miracle, and it was performed on, rather than, by Jesus (20). But whenever scholars discuss the Gospel of John, they speak of seven, rather than nine miracles of Jesus. Every miracle in the Gospel reveals something of Christ (and His Father). The miracles also show that God is able to deal with various aspects of human fear.34

In constructing functional Christology from the miracles in John, I have limited myself to the healing of the blind man in chapter 9. Justification for my decision can be multiplied. Firstly, it would allow for a more thorough work. Secondly, the two commonest words used for miracles in the Gospel are employed in this chapter. The words are semeia ("signs") and erga ("works"). Thirdly, the chapter reveals the two opposite reactions that always accompany the miracles of Christ. These reactions are those of acceptance and rejection of Jesus. Finally the miracle is representative because it follows the Johannine pattern of miracle-discussion (or more accurately here, the event in John 9 is linked to discourses on Jesus as the light of the world in John 8 and to us as the good shepherd in John 10).

John 9 is the record of and the reaction to the healing of a blind man. The first thing to note in this connection is that blindness was a common sickness in Palestine at the time of Christ. But other sicknesses were also common. The second thing is that there were many miracle-workers among the Jews and non-Jews who reportedly treated and healed the blind. Barrett35 narrates the story of how Asclepius healed the blind Valerius Aper, a soldier. In this case, the blood of a white cock and honey (rather than clay and spittle, which Jesus used) were rubbed on his eyes, and he was told to wash in a specified water to regain his sight. Hofius concludes, after comparing the miracles of Jewish and pagan miracle-workers with those of the Gospels, that "…the N(ew) T(estament) miracles and traditions have adopted certain narrative forms and motifs from their milieu".36 There are however, remarkable differences between them too. Jesus did not use magic and did not carry out miracles of punishment. These similarities should not lead to the conclusion that the miracle of healing in John 9 is simply a myth. The story is treated below as a genuine miracle of Jesus.

John 9 can be analyzed variously. Howard's37 analysis is helpful. He outlines the chapter into five: (a) the healing and its effect on the neighbors of the man healed (verses 1-12); (b) the division of opinion among the Pharisees (verses 13-17); (c) the examination of the parents of the man healed (verses 18-23); (d) the recall of the healed man and his debate with the Jews (verses 24-34); and (e) the leading of the healed man to fullness of faith in Jesus and the condemnation of the obstinate Pharisees (verses 35-41). This outline is adopted here.

Six textual problems appear in the first section (1:1-12). They are in verses 4, 9, and 11. Only one of these variant readings posits any serious exegetical problem. The problematic variation is in verse 4. Does the text say "I (Greek:eme) must do the works of Him who sent me" or "We (Greek: emas) must do the works…"? I agree with scholars like Metzger38 that "we" rather than "I" is the correct reading.

A close look at 1:1-12 reveals that the name of the man healed, and the time of the healing are not mentioned. They are not important to the theological purpose of John. The healing however, probably took place in Jerusalem.39 The story goes thus: Jesus found a blind man whom He healed. The man probably did not ask Jesus for help for two reasons. Firstly, the blind man did not recognize the true identity of Jesus. This is why he called Him "a man called Jesus" (9:11). Secondly the man perceived that his situation was "hopeless": He was "born blind" (cf 9:32). The neighbors of the healed man reacted differently to the miracle: some agreed that he was the blind man that was healed, but others doubted that he was the same man. But the healed blind man testified that he was actually the one.

Three further issues in 1:1-12 call for attention: The significance of ta erga ("the works") to describe the miracles of Jesus, the problem of suffering, and the issue of apostolic participation in the on going ministry of Christ. The significance of ta erga would be examined in the next section. The theological issue raised in 9:2 was common in the time of Jesus (and it is definitely common today). The disciples held that suffering exclusively results from sin. But the case of the blind man embarrassed their theology. And since the man was born blind, then, he was either suffering for the sin he committed before he was born, or for the sin committed by his parents. Jesus took the time to correct their theology: The suffering of this man is not for sin but is an opportunity to display the works of God (verse 3). The work of God is displayed, not in the blindness of the man, but in healing him (and ultimately in saving him). Apostolic participation in "the works of God" (whatever that is) is introduced in verse 4. "We" (Greek: emas) indicates that the disciples of Jesus the Christ "must" (Greek: dei) also do the work of God, which, according to the present context, includes healing. Arndt and Gingrich,40 and Moody41 make this same conclusion. A similar claim is apparently made in 14:12.

There is no textual problem in 1:13-17. The section recounts the cross-examination of the healed man by the Pharisees. The healed man narrated his testimony (verse 15). This divided the Pharisees into two. Hendriksen42 reduces the arguments of the two camps to syllogisms. The first syllogism is a deduction from 16a: " This man is not from God because he did not keep the Sabbath". The first syllogism states 

Major premise: All people who are from God keep the Sabbath 

Minor premise: The man (Jesus) does not keep the Sabbath.

Conclusion: This man is not from God.

But the major premise is questionable. It was not all the people of God that kept the Sabbath according to pharisaic interpretation. Morris 43 cites McClymont with approval that there was "a common Jewish belief that a prophet had authority over the law of the Sabbath."

The other camp of the Pharisees argued that a sinner could not do such signs that Jesus did. The argument is deducted from verse 16b: "How can a sinner perform such signs?" Reduced to syllogism, it states 

Major premise: Only people from God can open the eyes of those born blind. 

Minor premise: The man Jesus has opened the eyes of one born blind. 

Conclusion: This man Jesus is from God.

Even though this line of argument is faulty (because false prophets also performed miracles), the exact point that John is trying to make is that this miracle shows Jesus to be the Messiah. 

Three words are used in the Gospel of John for miracles: teras appears once, semeion appears 17 times, and ergon appears 27 times. Of these three words, ergon (verse 3) and semeion (verse 16) are applied in John 9 to include the healing of the blind man. In John, ergon includes (but is not limited to) semeion. In this Gospel, the word "sign" is full of meaning. Both semeion and ergon are used to point observers to spiritual truths. As I pointed out in another place, signs of Christ in John have four possible significances: "To accredit Jesus as sent of God, to show that Christ is able to meet men at their various points of needs (this could be physical or spiritual), to effect action, or to induce faith". 44

Burge is right that John makes " miracles intensely Christological".45 In John 9, the healing of the blind man points to Jesus as the expected messiah.46 This is the conclusion that the Pharisees wanted to prevent. One of the significant implications of the healing of the blind man is that Jesus is able to set men free from oppressive and hopeless situations. But the claim that He (Jesus) is willing to heal everybody at all times cannot definitely be justified from this Gospel.

John 9:18-23 contains only one textual problem. The problem is in verse 21. The transposition of auton erotesate ("ask him") to follow elikian echei ("he is of age") in some (but not in other) manuscripts creates no exegetical problem. This section relates the cross-examination of the parents of the healed man. The Pharisees wanted clue from them to discredit the healing of their son, but the parents could not help them. Verse 18 introduces the term " the Jews" to this chapter. It is a technical term in John for the unbelieving Jews who were hostile to Jesus and His ministry. From here, their attack became more bitter and destructive.

John 9:24-34 is the account of the re-examination of the man healed. The phrase "give glory to God" is a technical term telling the man being examined to tell the truth. "The Jews" then suggested to him that Jesus was a sinner. The healed man did not debate the issue, but he doubted their judgment (verses 30-33) 

The last section is 9:35-41. The account ends with the salvation of the blind man, and the declaration of judgment on the obstinate Pharisees. The story is a happy one. The physically blind had his sight restored and he also received his spiritual sight. Ehusani's picture of Johannine's Christ is challenging. He (the Christ) is the one who brought life to His people (10:10). He healed the sick, exorcised the demonic, fed the hungry, and challenged the oppressors. " He does not abandon …(His people) to their plight, nor does He simply prepare them for heaven". 47 

Implications of Functional Christology to African Christianity.

At the beginning of this paper, I pointed out that both ontological and functional aspects of Christology are found in the Fourth Gospel. The ontological aspect addresses the person of Jesus Christ. This aspect is well treated in regular commentaries. Functional aspect of Christology should however complement the ontological aspect.

Africans are existentialists and the theological model that would appeal to them must be functional. Since theological activity moves between two poles: the Christian message (primarily found in the Bible, and secondarily explained in creeds and confessions, the tradition of the interpretation of the texts, and the fresh interpretation of the texts by the particular scholar), and in the experience of the people, a relevant and dynamic theological activity must take the two hermeneutical poles into consideration. De Gruchy clearly makes the point that

Theological insight often arises out of struggling with the meaning of Christian faith at critical moments in the life of the Church, moments when biblical tradition and its symbols come alive with new transforming power. 48

It is the role of the academic community to critically examine the genuineness, the interpretation, and the application of biblical texts in theology. The crises to be addressed however belong to the community of faith.

The Christ of John is interested in all the affairs of men. He is not only interested in the salvation of their souls but also in their deliverance from suffering. While it is true that Jesus did not heal all the sick in Palestine, He nevertheless demonstrated in John that He is able to heal whenever He wants. While it is also true that the healed in John probably became sick and died later, the "signs" of Christ indicate that the temporary healings are foretaste of the permanent healing that is the lot of those in the kingdom of God when it finally consummates. At present, Christ can (and does) break in at will into human situation to save from sin and deliver from sickness.

Suffering in forms of sickness, poverty, and oppression is common in Africa, just as it was common in Palestine at the time of Jesus. Some Christian groups have interpreted the African experience as punishment for the sin of the afflicted. John 9 clearly corrects this line of reasoning 

African scholars have proposed myriads of Christological models. Charles Nyamiti proposes the ancestor model. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, staurological model. John Egbulefu the proverbial model. E.E. Uzukwu, the hospitality model. Francis O.C. Njoku proposes the covenant model.49 Some other models are liturgical, and the healer.50 The most convincing of the models to me, and the most relevant and comprehensive to the African society is Christ the healer. John shows Christ in this light. Primarily, He heals spiritual sickness. Secondarily (and also importantly) He heals physical disabilities. The superior healing of Jesus does not only indicate to Africans that He (Jesus) is powerful, dependable, and compassionate, the healing also enables the freed to respond to God. Wallis puts the issue thus:

Jesus's healing ministry is … an aspect of evangelism, which anchors the call to discipleship, and God's offer of communion with himself within the concrete possibilities of human experience. Where the outworking of evil inflict such physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual wounds that God's love is rendered meaningless and out of reach, there needs to be a prior act of liberation by God before there is freedom to respond.51

Africans are under the bondage of fear. Demonic power threatens them. They suffer from hopelessness and they need deliverance. It is only the compassionate Christ of John that can save them.


Both Parratt52 and Quarshire53 have clearly made the point that the Bible should be at the center of African Christian theology. Not all African theologians accept this. Failure to keep the Bible at the center of theological activity has made many of the theological works in Africa less than Christian. It has led to the questionable approach where foreign models are forced upon the Bible and strange doctrines and ideas Christianized. In many cases, the Bible has been reduced to proof - text.

The approach recommended in this work is that theology should begin with the critical study of the Bible. This should be followed with a critical study of African culture (which is largely found in contemporary experience). The findings from the two studies should then interact critically. This would produce a new brand of African theology. The interpretive circle continues as the new theology re-interacts with the texts of the scripture. This would lead in turn to refined interpretation of both the scripture and the developing African theology. This should be a continuing activity.


1 D.F. Wright, "Theology", in New Dictionary of Theology, edited by S.B. Ferguson et. al. (Leicester: IVP, 1988), p. 680.

2 Justin S. Ukpong, "Can African Old Testament Scholarship Escape the Historical Critical Approach?" Newsletter on African Old Testament Scholarship, 7(1999), p.2.

3 Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology (3 volumes in one) (Maryknoll: Harper and Row, 1969), p.3.

4 Osadolor Imasogie, Guidelines for Christian Theology in African (Achimota: ACP, 1983), p. 20. Imasogie quoted Paul Tillich with approval.

5 George Ohusani, "Theology at the Service of the People", Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology, 7 (1995: 1-2): 110.

6 E. Ikenga-Metuh, "Christianizing the Worship of God in African Religions", African Inculturation Theology: Africanizing Christianity, edited by E. Ikenga-Metuh (Onitsha: IMICO Books Company Limited, 1996), p. 91.

7 Lois Berkhof, The History of Christian Doctrine (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1937) pp. 110, 117. See also J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrine (London Adam and Charles Black, 1977), pp. 138-162, 280-343.

8 Harry Boer, A Short History of the Early Church (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1976), pp. 122-123.

9 Ibid

10 Ibid, p. 109.

11 Ibid, p. 111.

12 Ibid, p. 116.

13 Boer, p. 175.

14 Dale Moody, The Word of Truth (Grand Rapids: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981), pp. 421-426.

15 Ibid, p. 421

16 R. Bultmann, "Gnosko, gnosis, epignosko, epignosis", Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, abridged in one volume, edited by Gerhard Kittle and Gerhard Friedrich, translated by G.W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdman, 1985), p. 122.

17 Moody, p. 422.

18 C.K. Barrett, The Gospel According to Saint John, 2nd edition (London: SPCK, 

1955), p. 74.

19 Gary M. Burge, The Anointed Community (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdman, 1987), pp. 107-109.

20 Bruce Milne, Know the Truth (Leicester: IVP, 1982), pp. 147-148.

21 Aylward Shorter, "Folk Christianity and Functional Christology", African Ecclesial Review (AFER), 24 (3): pp. 135-136.

22 George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), pp. 213-222.

23 Barrett, pp. 3-148.

24 L. Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdman, 1971), pp. 8-70.

25 G.O. Folarin, The Gospel of John in African Perspective (Ilorin : His Love Publishers, 2001), pp. 27-66.

26 Burge, p. 32. See also S.S. Smalley, "Johannine Theology", New Dictionary of Theology, edited by S.B. Ferguson et. al. (Leicester: IVP, 1988), p. 353.

27 Morris surveys the position of those who hold that the Gospel of John ends with chapter 20. The problem with this view is that a single manuscript of John's Gospel that ends with chapter 20 has not been found.

28 D. Guthrie, New Testament Theology (Leicester: IVP, 1981), pp. 222-224.

29 Barrett, pp. 70.75.

30 Ladd, pp. 237-253.

31 "I am the bread of life" (6:35), "I am the light of the world" (8:12), "I am the door of the sheep" (10:7), "I am the good shepherd" (10:11), "I am the resurrection and the life" (11:25), "I am the way, the truth and the life" (14:6), and "I am the true vine" (15:1). The "I am" sayings underscore the divinity of Christ.

32 Compare with Kofi Appiah-Kubi, "Christology, A Reader in African Christian Theology, edited by John Parratt (London: SPCK, 1997), pp. 65-74.

33 Leland Ryken et. al. (Editors), "Gospel of John", Dictionary of Biblical Images (Leicester: IVP, 1998), p. 456.

34 Folarin, pp. 97-98.

35 Barrett, p. 353

36 O. Hofius, "Miracle", The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (in 3 volumes) edited by Colin Brown (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), p. 630.

37 W.F. Howard, "The Gospel According to Saint John: Introduction and Exegesis", The Interpreter's Bible (in 12 volumes), edited by G.A. Buttrick et. al. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1980), 8: 610.

38 B.M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (London: UBS, 1971), p. 227. Two things led to my decision, emas has a superior external support, and copyists would likely alter emas to eme than vice versa. Scholars such as Morris, p. 479, and Barrett, p. 357 support the reading with emas.

39 According to John 8 Jesus was around to celebrate the feast of tabernacles, and the pool of Siloam, where the blind man washed his face was in Jerusalem.

40 W.F. Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, "dei", A Greek - English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: the University of Chicago Press, 1957), p. 171.

41 Morris, p. 479.

42 W. Hendriksen, The Gospel of John (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1959), pp. 81-82.

43 Morris, p. 486.

44 Folarin, pp. 96-99.

45 Burge, p. 81

46 I.H. Marshall, "Gospel of John", New Bible Dictionary, 2nd edition, edited by J.D. Douglas (Leicester: UCCF, 1982), p. 607. See also D.M Smith, "Gospel of John", Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary volume, edited by G.A. Buttrick et. al (Nashvile: Abingdom Press, 1962), p. 483, K.H. Rengstorf, "semeion", The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Abridge in one volume) edited by G. Kittel and G. Friedrich (Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdman, 1985), p. 1020, and Ryken et al., p. 456.

47 George Ohusani, "Theology at the Service of the People", Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology, 7 (nos 1-2), p. 105

48 J.W. De Gruchy, Theology and Ministry in Context and Crisis: A South African Perspective (London: Collins, 1986), p. 146.

49 Francis O.C. Njoku, "Some Indigenous Models in African Theology and an Ethics Of Inculturation", Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology, 8 (2, 1996): 4-33.

50 See Aylward Shorter, "Folk Christianity and Functional Christology," African Ecclesia Review, 24(3,1982): 133-137.

51 I.G. Wallis, "Christ's Continuing Ministry of Healing", The Expository Times, 104(2,1992): 44.

52 John Parratt, "African Theology and Biblical Hermeneutics," African Theological Journal, 12 (2, 1983): pp. 88-89.

53 B.Y. Quarshire, "Significance of Biblical Studies for African Christian Theology", Journal of African Christian Thought, 3 (1, June 2000): 19.


* This paper was first presented at the 15th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association for Biblical Studies (NABIS), which held at the University of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria between 9th and 12th July 2002.

Dr. George O. Folarin serves as Provost, International Institute of Missions and Biblical Studies, Enugu, Nigeria.