Edits On Your Draft of “The Gospel of John”

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 7.41.58 PMDear John,

Thanks for submitting your manuscript, The Gospel of John, for consideration for publication. I think this is a very interesting story that will have a lot of appeal for our readers! I made a few edits to your initial draft. Get back to me with your thoughts and we’ll move forward. Thanks!

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Love this opening, but might be a little vague? Our readers like to keep it practical.

1:24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

A little nervous about this portrayal of our spiritual leaders. Let’s stay respectful.

1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God,who takes away the sin of the world!”

We’ll just need to clarify that he doesn’t take away the sin of the whole world here. Really love the dramatic entrance though!

10 Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

Not comfortable with the allusion to drinking “too much” here. Could you have Jesus address the dangers of getting drunk?

2:15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

Probably going to have to cut this part 🙂 Love the passion though!

3:4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Let’s keep it PG.

3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Love this!

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

Don’t love the idea of Jesus going one-on-one with a woman here. Maybe write in an accountability partner.

4:9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

I’d like Jesus to address her attitude. Seems a little disrespectful.

4:17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Maybe Jesus should also address her loose morals? We may just have to cut this whole part.

5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study[c] the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

Jesus seems pretty dismissive of the Scriptures here. Also just a little harsh in general. Remember to have him respect authority please 🙂

6:11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

Fun story but I don’t love the idea that everyone else profits from one person’s lunch. Maybe work in Jesus saying something about the importance of personal responsibility.

6:53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

Let’s keep it PG.

45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied. 47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

Seems a little disrespectful of our spiritual leaders. Maybe tone down the rhetoric.

8:3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

I’d like to see Jesus take a little stronger stance against adultery here. (Also, still seems very disrespectful of our spiritual leaders.)

8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Still seems a little soft. Let’s put a pin in it for now.

10:24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.

Would love Jesus to take this opportunity to share the good news with these people instead of being vague. Good chance for some practical application here.

11:32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept.

Not comfortable with this woman’s attitude towards Jesus here. Would love for him to take a stronger stance here. Also not totally comfortable with the idea of Jesus crying. Let’s rework this.

11:57 But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.

Again, we need to be respectful of spiritual leaders here.

12:47 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

Would love to see Jesus take a stronger stance here.

13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.

Let’s keep it PG.

14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Don’t love the idea of people doing things greater than Jesus. This part may have to go.

15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Not sure Jesus would say this. This part may have to go.

17 This is my command: Love each other.

Would love to see Jesus take a stronger stance against sin here.

15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.

Love this!

22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

Not sure about us getting the same glory as Jesus. Would love to see him take a strong stance against sin here.

18:11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!

Let’s rework this.

18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Would love to see Jesus take this opportunity to tell Pilate the good news.

19:7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die,because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

Let’s be respectful of our spiritual leaders, please 🙂

19:31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

Love the imagination and storytelling here, but a few concerns. First, concerned about all the talk about “prophecy”—sound a little New Age-y. Second, I’m worried that the violent imagery is a little graphic for younger readers. I don’t want to lose any readers who might be upset by some of the imagery—maybe soften it down a little.

I know I’m harping a lot on you here, but I really think this Jesus character has a lot of potential and I want to make sure this manuscript is streamlined for maximum impact. We just have to focus on the right things. You’re doing a great job!

20:11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

Let’s write in an accountability partner here.

30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

Fun last sentence, but let’s strike it. I don’t love the idea of making people think there might be more to Jesus than just this book. 🙂

Again, thanks so much! Hope these edits weren’t too overwhelming, but looking forward to seeing where this one goes. In the right hands, I think it has a lot of potential.

-Sincerely,

Tyler Huckabee

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4 Comments

  1. watchman

     /  March 14, 2015

    Brilliant. Shows your homeschooled heritage.

    Reply
  2. Loved the call for writing in an accountability partner. 😆

    Reply
  3. Rebecka

     /  March 15, 2015

    Nice job,sir, this was fantastic.
    “Not sure Jesus would say this. This part may have to go.”

    Reply
  4. This is the best thing I’ve ever read.

    Reply

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