This book is my new favorite exegetical commentary on the Epistles of John. It’s yet another notch in the belt for the trending Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC) series. This volume compares favorably to other major series in the exegetical category while exceeding many of those same volumes in the evangelical category. Gary Derickson was an unknown author to me, but he makes a splash here with an outstanding commentary.
The Introduction given here on the Epistles of John is one of the better that I’ve read in a while. The author doesn’t beat around the bush. I loved that his first sentence read: “the author of this epistle is John, the beloved apostle”. That is not to say that he fails to thoroughly survey the scholarly landscape, but that he with equal adeptness evaluates it. As you would expect, he reviews both internal and external evidence in defending the conservative conclusion that he originally stated.
Next, he discusses recipients and date of I John, and after arriving at a conservative date, he smashes the scholarly idea of a “Johannine school”. Further, he works his way through the occasion and setting and deals with the proto-Gnosticism found in the epistle just as you would imagine. After discussing the order of composition of the writings of the Apostle John, he jumps into the purposes of the book of I John. This is yet another place the author turns out superior work. For years I have been disappointed with so many authors following Robert Laws’ tests-of-life view that ties everything we read in I John to salvation. The author is correct in seeing it a test of fellowship rather than that of relationship with God. He further discusses genre, theological emphases, literary design, and John’s love of dualism, before he dives into an outline.
The commentary section is impeccable. He shares both the Greek and English of each phrase and thoroughly exegetes it. There are ample textual notes and quality commentary for every passage. He provides the same quality Introduction and commentary for both II and III John.
I’m such a fan of this commentary that to me it could be offered as a prototype for commentary writing. If you plan to invest in only one quality commentary on the Epistles of John, without question this must be it!
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