Comments on John Commentaries
John chapter seven is history and I will hit sermon #50 this coming Sunday on my way through the Fourth Gospel. I’ve studied enough by now to make some informed recommendations on resources. I haven’t preached too much to make the recommendations accessory. You could actually get some of these now for the remaining two-thirds of the trip.
I’m listing these for a couple reasons. First, if you’re in the market for more on John’s gospel, these are the ones I pull off the shelf first (though not literally as you’ll see in the next paragraph). Second, if you ever wonder, “Where did he get that?” feel free to check my sources. There is an accountability knowing that anyone could read what I’m reading. That’s good. It’s not a secret. It’s part of the reason why I post my sermon notes online. Besides, a compare/contrast once-over will also help you to know when I’ve got no one else to blame for being wrong except for myself.
All the John commentaries I use are digital. I have a small study at home without much room for a big shelf. Plus, with my iPad, I read and highlight on the go, wherever I may have space (read: Starbucks) to read. A gracious, to-be-named-later-in heaven friend from church also made it possible for me to buy a Logos Bible Software package. The whole process would make Luther jealous enough to cuss. So I’m providing links to Logos (rather than Amazon) because they’re my digital dance partner.
In the order I read them:
D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991). Logos. I’ve appreciated every commentary in the Pillar series so far, and Carson is always good for pointing out the problems that need solving.
Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004). Logos. My experience with the BECNT series has been great attention to context and focus on paragraphs. This one is worth the price if only to see the division and flow of sections.
R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961). Logos. Lenski offers the most observations on Greek vocabulary and syntax. Many of his comments are good and some are too good (to be true). He also provides a great example of how to read John 6 like an Arminian.
John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentary on the Gospel According to John (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010). Logos. It’s good to read something really old. It’s also good to read someone who meant what he said even if it meant losing his head. Also, he does not read John 6 as an Arminian.
Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Gospel of John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993). Logos. This series suggests alternative ways to translate words and phrases, or, help on how to say the same thing a different way.
In addition to these commentaries, I usually listen to one of John Piper’s sermons on John’s Gospel. You’d be surprised how well Piper and my treadmill know each other.
Last, I also regularly read the ESV Study Bible notes (online, though I do have a hard copy) and the MacArthur Study Bible notes (again, usually online though I have a hard copy of this one, too). The ESVSB even has pictures.