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Recommended Commentaries for John

I will be recommending commentaries for the book of John with this post.


The Gospel According to John, by Leon Morris.  Morris has written a good commentary on John.  There are two things I really like about his commentary.  First, it is an easy and enjoyable read.  Second, he offers a lot of extra insights in the footnotes.  Morris does a fine job making connections with the Old Testament and post-resurrection events; however, the draw back to this commentary is that it is a bit outdated in comparison with other volumes discussed below. 


The Gospel of John, by F. F. Bruce.  Bruce is one of my favorite authors.  He was one of the few scholars who was an expert in both Old and New Testament studies.   I recommend this commentary because it is accessible (i.e., simple), but knowing Bruce’s abilities (from reading his other commentaries) he leaves you wanting more with this volume.  This commentary is inexpensive and would be a great book for a small study group study to read through. 


Encountering John, by Andreas Kostenberger.  Kostenberger is an expert scholar on John.  This book is less a commentary and more a theological and historical survey of John.  The aim of the book is not to be an indepth treatment, which makes it perfect for a study group. 


John, by Andreas Kostenberger.  Kostenberger follows up on his shorter version on John (see above) with this excellent commentary.  This commentary is quite technical and the most up to date work in terms of scholarship.  Kostenberger does a good job dealing with the theology of the book, but there were times where I wished he did more (e.g., John 2:14-22).  However, he does a nice job with other passages that are often difficult (e.g., John 20:17) or misinterpreted (e.g., John 21:15-17).  I would highly recommend this commentary for anyone wanting to seriously study the gospel of John.


The Gospel According to John, by D. A. Carson.  These last two works (Carson and Ridderbos) do the best job integrating redemptive-history into their commentaries.  Carson’s commentary is a good mix of exegesis and theology.  Carson does a consistent job connecting the gospel of John to the Old Testament and deals quite well with misunderstood passages in John.  For example his work on John 15:1-17 is superb where he demonstrates that the vine imagery is rooted in the Old Testament and shows how to properly understand the passage while avoiding common misconceptions about this text (e.g., losing your salvation).  This commentary was one of the first I read that dealt with redemptive-historical issues where I saw legitimate and important connections made in the text between the Old and New Testament.   This commentary is a must buy for anyone serious about studying John. 


The Gospel of John, by Herman Ridderbos.  If you are familiar with other works by Ridderbos (e.g., Paul: An Outline of His Theology and The Coming of the Kingdom) then you know he has keen insights when it comes to redemptive-historical issues.  While Ridderbos’ commentary is less technical (less Greek) than the previous two, his primary concern is to present the theology of the book.  Ridderbos does a fine job connecting John to the Old Testament and the fact that he is a European scholar makes his insights that much more interesting and compelling.  I would recommend this commentary in conjunction with Kostenberger and Carson even though Ridderbos’  is more expensive. 

The Gospel of John, by Richard Bauckham, forthcoming.  I suspect this commentary will be quite good given Bauckham’s other fine publications (e.g., Jesus and the Eyewitnesses and The Theology of the Book of Revelation)

  1. June 18, 2007 at 9:08 am

    I’ve been using the last three in preaching through John and found them very valuable.

  2. June 18, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I have Carson and Kostenberger. I just started preaching through John, a “series” that I expect will take me well into 2008 (or beyond) I have found both to be quite helpful, along with Calvin. Calvin’s commentaries can be quite difficult at times but every once and a while you find a real gem.

  3. June 18, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    I plan to use the last three (and Morris) in the fall when I teach John. I look forward to Bauckham’s contribution. I also think Raymond Brown is helpful.

  4. July 2, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Keener is really good for backgrounds, and Boice is good for sermon preparation and application.

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