Commentaries I use: The Gospel of John

There are many commentaries on the gospel of John available and I must admit that I only have in my possession a fragment of the great commentaries out there. While my library is growing, there are quite a few other commentaries on this beautiful gospel that I would love to acquire in time.  While these are not the only commentaries I have on this gospel, I would like to suggest a few that I use when studying the gospel of John.

The gospel of John is a powerful testimony to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and to make Him known (John 20:28) My first choice in regards to a reference on the gospel of John that I feel really brings this out is from the Pillar New Testament Commentaries titled “The Gospel According to John” written and edited by D.A. Carson.  While Carson’s commentary on Matthew is superb, his commentary on this gospel is simply the best out there in my personal opinion. While the commentary is very scholarly dealing with the original languages, the historical setting as well as answering liberal interpretations, Carson’s commentary is very pastoral as well. There are many instances when I was impressed with how well he brings out some of the more difficult texts so effectively. With a 104 page introduction (which is worth the commentary alone), Carson delves into the historical settings and offers one of the best arguments for the authenticity of the fourth gospel. The commentary is approximately 700 pages and in my opinion is a gem. I highly recommend this for all serious students of the bible who are planning to read through the gospel in a thorough way.

I have also been blessed by A.W. Pink’s commentary on the gospel of John. Pink is definitely one of my favorite authors and I have been grateful for his book “The Sovereignty of God” which was instrumental in bringing me to the doctrines of Grace. What I found most useful about this commentary is that where Carson sometimes lacks in the more “devotional” side of the gospel, Pink fills in this gap! The commentary is very large (1140 pages) and while there are some instances where Pink gets off track, his thoughts and appeals to the Old Testament are astounding. His use of types can sometimes be a little much but if one can decipher where to draw the line with this extreme parallelism, there are gems that the reader will certain benefit from. As Martin Lloyd-Jones once said: “Read Pink”!

A third reference that I utilised when studying through the gospel of John was a classic commentary from the great reformer, John Calvin. The commentary is well thought out and I believe it a basis for many other great commentaries available on this gospel. Calvin is considered one of the greatest expositors of scriptures in the history of the Christian Church. The commentary is sound and if you can see past the occasional reference to the pope, it is a fantastic and helpful resource.

There are a few more commentaries on the gospel of John that I could mention that are in my library however I will finish with one last reference. It is the commentary written by F.F. Bruce published by Eerdmans. While it is not my first choice in a commentary on the gospel of John, I still feel that many might find this commentary useful. One thing I enjoy about this commentary is, unlike A.W. Pink, Bruce rarely goes into long winded discussions regarding a particular text and basically gives you the meaning in a straight forward fashion of what the text is saying. Mr. Bruce had a very good understanding of the original languages and it comes out in this commentary. Sometimes where Carson and others fail to deal with a certain term, Bruce is right there to deal with the linguistics.

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