As I explained earlier, I am starting to publish some of my verse by verse expositions of various New Testament books here on my blog. In this post I want to introduce my comments on John (download as PDF here), which is the longest book I have tackled so far (although I am currently working through Acts). I began work on John back in 2004, but got stuck in chapter 6 which is very long and very deep. After a year’s break I came back with fresh enthusaism and finished it off.
The two main commentaries I consulted along the way were Don Carson’s outstanding Pillar commentary on John, and Andreas Kostenberger’s Baker Exegetical Commentary. I ended up regretting choosing Kostenberger as my second option as it seemed very rare that his insights were different to Carson’s. Other commentaries I have read on John include Bruce Milne’s Bible Speaks Today, Tom Wright’s John For Everyone, and Merryl Tenney’s John – The Gospel of Belief.
The gospel of John has always been one of my favourites. I find it interesting that John chose to leave out the parables and Sermon on the Mount, in favour of structuring a large part of his gospel around a series of seven “signs” and seven notable “I am” sayings of Jesus, which may even be linked in pairs (e.g. raising of Lazarus goes with “I am the resurrection and the life”). This may well indicate that the author of this gospel is indeed the same John that wrote Revelation, although I am aware some commentators find extra signs and “I am” sayings.
I also like the way that John complements and supplements the Synoptic gospels. It seems to me that in several places he assumes his readers know these other accounts, and this may explain why he feels free to leave many key incidents and teachings out. In their place we get treated to the brilliant and theologically profound introductory section of chapter 1, and the wonderful final teaching session before his crucifixion in chapters 13-16, and many more sections that are unique to John, such as the discussion with Nicodemus in chapter 3.
I must also thank Tom Scrivens (who has recently become the father of twin girls), who kindly proof read this one for me and provided lots of valuable feedback. As with all my “commentaries”, I still view this as a work in progress and hope to return to improve some sections in the future. As always, I welcome any feedback.