1.Compare translations. What words are so different across translations that it is essential to know the original Hebrew and/or Greek word?
2.Cultural context. What elements in the story (e.g., scene, characterization, what people say or do) seem unclear to you, where knowing cultural context would shed light? Be aware of two different, but often overlapping cultural contexts: a) that within the story world around 30 CE) and that of the author(s) time (around 90 CE).
3.Narrative context. Where does this particular piece of narrative fit within John’s Gospel?
4.Structure of the section. Does the passage have a particular internal structure that helps to reveal its meaning (e.g., chiasm, inclusion, other forms of repetition)?
5. Intratextual echoing and foreshadowing: Does this passage either recall or anticipate other passages a) in how it is structured (e.g., “well courtship” stories); b) what is assumes or anticipates as knowledge about characters, including God, places or situations; c) that reveal how plot conveys meaning?
6. Details within the passage. What do you notice about how 1) the characters are portrayed; 2) characters engage with each other, including with Jesus; 3) setting (including place, time of day, season of year) shapes the story; surprise, twists or other plot elements generate a response in either the characters or you as a reader?
7.Anything else. What else do you notice and have questions about that might not fall into one of the categories above?
8. Insights from the general readings. What do the interpreters whose writing is assigned for this passage have to say that shapes your understanding?
9.Insights from your chosen, additional reading.
10.Effect on your own presuppositions. How does the unfolding meaning challenge you to reconsider your own presuppositions about God, Gods purposes and/or the meaning of human life? What about who you are as a reader (i.e., the elements within the circle of you as a reader) are you challenged to rethink?