“Could John Have Been Senile When He Wrote His Gospel?”

1) Approximately how old would the Apostle John have been when he wrote his Gospel?

2) I assume he would have been very old; would his age have affected the reliability of his Gospel and thus render it not very reliable, i.e by becoming senile because of old age [sic]?

3) What exactly are the effects of being senile?

4) Does everyone elderly become senile, or is it possible to be old and not senile?

5) Approximately what age do people usually become senile?


John was probably very young when Jesus called him to be His follower. If John was around 20 years old at the time of Jesus’ death, and if Jesus died around 33 A.D., and if John wrote his Gospel around 90 A.D., then John would have been approximately 77 years old when he wrote his Gospel. This is a reasonable estimate.

There is no reason whatever to suppose that John was senile when he wrote his Gospel. The author of John’s Gospel is clearly someone in full possession of his mental faculties. There is absolutely no indication that the author of this Gospel was senile. Please note: Deut. 34:7 says that even at age 120, Moses was still a vigorous man.

As for your questions about senility, I will leave you to explore that on your own. WebMD has a search engine which will allow you to research senility and old age. You can find it at: http://www.webmd.com/.

Hope this helps.

The Lord bless you,

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

Dr. Michael Gleghorn is both a research associate with Probe Ministries and an instructor in Christian Worldview at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University, a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies (also from Dallas Theological Seminary). Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children: Arianna and Josiah. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.

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