Best Resources on John

"The Gospel of John illustrates what it looks like when God the Son comes to dwell among His people. John’s Gospel profoundly shows how God’s Son, Jesus, makes it possible for us to have an eternal relationship with God the Father (John 3:16–17).
The text of the Gospel of John identifies its author as a witness of Jesus’ crucifixion (19:35) and as the disciple loved by Jesus (21:20, 24). According to early church tradition, the author is the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee (also called John the Evangelist)—whom the early church fathers also regarded as the author of 1 John. However, the Gospel of John was originally anonymous, and thus it is possible that another church leader, whom the early church called John the elder, is the author or final compiler. Some church fathers thought John the elder might have been the author of 2–3 John, but others ascribed 2–3 John to the Apostle John (see the “Introduction to 2 John”). In addition, Revelation, may be ascribed to the Apostle John, John the Elder, or another John (see the “Introduction to Revelation”).
The Gospel was most likely written ca. AD 85–95, although if John the Elder is its author it could have been written in the early second century AD. The “Rylands Fragment,” a tiny piece of papyrus (about the size of a credit card), contains parts of John 18 in Greek and dates to AD 125–150."

Faithlife Study Bible, Lexham Press

Best Commentaries on John

D. A. Carson, Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC), Eerdmans, 1991, 715 pp.

In this solid evangelical commentary on John's Gospel, a respected Scripture expositor makes clear the flow of the text, engages a small but representative part of the massive secondary literature on John, shows how the fourth Gospel contributes to biblical and systematic theology and offers a consistent exposition of John as a evangelistic Gospel. The comprehensive introduction treats such matters as the authenticity, authorship, purpose, and structure of the Gospel.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Leon Morris, New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT), Eerdmans, 1995, 888 pp.

Recognizing the central importance of the fourth Gospel in any series on the New Testament, Morris devoted more than 10 years to preparing this volume. Written with considerable acumen and a thorough knowledge of the previous scholarly work on the Johannine text, The Gospel According to John is one of the largest and most comprehensive commentaries ever to come out of the evangelical community.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Craig Keener, Baker, 2012, 1,696 pp.

Craig Keener’s commentary explores the Jewish and Greco-Roman settings of John more deeply than previous works, paying special attention to social-historical and rhetorical features of the Gospel. This exhaustive commentary contains over 20,000 ancient extrabiblical references and cites about 4,000 different secondary sources, making it the most thorough and thoroughly documented John commentary currently available.

  • Level: Advanced
  • Type: Technical

Raymond E. Brown, Anchor Yale Bible (AYB), Yale University Press, 1970–1995, 1,376 pp.

The important theories of modern biblical scholarship concerning John are weighed against the evidence given in the text and against prevailing biblical research. In sum, what is attempted is a synthesis of the major scholarly insights that bear on the fourth Gospel. The translation—as Raymond E. Brown states at the outset—strives not for any formal beauty but rather for an accurate and contemporary version: “The simple, everyday Greek of the Gospel has been rendered into the ordinary American English of today.” The result is a translation that will strike the reader with uncommon immediacy.

  • Level: Advanced
  • Type: Technical

William Hendriksen, Baker New Testament Commentary, Baker, 1953, 753 pp.

Beginning with an examination of John’s background, thought, and word use, William Hendriksen offers a new translation, understandable comments, and other helpful notes.

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Type: Expository

Best Books on John

Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John
Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John

For an age still asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” Leon Morris argues convincingly that John’s entire Gospel was written to show that the human Jesus is the Christ, or Messiah, as well as the Son of God. But it is Morris’ firm conviction that John’s purpose was evangelical as well as theological—that is, John wrote his book so that readers might believe in Christ and as a result have eternal life.

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The Gospel of John and Christian Theology
The Gospel of John and Christian Theology

In recent years, the disciplines of biblical studies and systematic theology have grown apart and largely lost the means of effective communication with one another. Due to its profound influence on the development of Christian theology, John’s Gospel is an ideal base for rekindling dialogue between biblical studies and systematic theology. The essays here consider this Gospel from many angles, addressing a number of key issues that arise from a theological discussion of this text: John’s dualism in our pluralist context, historicity and testimony, the treatment of Judaism, Christology, and more.

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A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God
A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God

In A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters, building on many years of research and study in Johannine literature, Andreas Köstenberger not only furnishes an exhaustive theology of John’s Gospel and letters, but also provides a detailed study of major themes and relates them to the Synoptic Gospels and other New Testament books. Readers will gain an in-depth and holistic grasp of Johannine theology in the larger context of the Bible.

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The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel
The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel

This accessible work explores the major theological dimensions of John’s Gospel, including God, the world and its people, Jesus, the crucifixion and resurrection, the Spirit, faith, and discipleship. Craig Koester’s Word of Life is notable for its comprehensive treatment of themes and its close, careful focus on the narrative of the biblical text.

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Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology
Gospel of Glory: Major Themes in Johannine Theology

Throughout Christian history, the Gospel of John’s distinctive way of presenting the life, works, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus have earned it labels such as “the spiritual Gospel” and “the maverick Gospel.” In this volume, leading biblical scholar Richard Bauckham illuminates main theological themes in the Gospel of John, providing insightful analysis of key texts.

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Best Courses on John

Mobile Ed: NT323 Book Study: The Gospel of John (11 hour course)
Mobile Ed: NT323 Book Study: The Gospel of John (11 hour course)

Book Study: The Gospel of John (NT323) is an application-based study of John’s Gospel. It encourages the student to read the Gospel as an ancient text written to a group of Jewish Christians in the Diaspora. The study reflects on the purpose of the book, which is to inspire and build faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and to demonstrate that committing to this faith will bring eternal life.

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Mobile Ed: NT221 The Wisdom of John: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Johannine Literature (13 hour course)
Mobile Ed: NT221 The Wisdom of John: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Johannine Literature (13 hour course)

Why is the Johannine literature—Gospel of John, 1–3 John, and Revelation—so different from the other books in the New Testament? What does the style of these books tell us about Jesus and his message to the Church? Dr. Ben Witherington III—one the world’s top evangelical scholars—walks through one-third of the New Testament and covers several genres so you will encounter these familiar books with fresh eyes. He examines these books not only as a group, but also individually with an emphasis on the social and historical context of each one.

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Mobile Ed: BI190 The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament: Methodology and Practice (5 hour course)
Mobile Ed: BI190 The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament: Methodology and Practice (5 hour course)

In this course, Dr. Jeannine Brown shows how we can better understand what the New Testament writers were communicating by looking at how they referenced the Old Testament. Dr. Brown begins by explaining why New Testament writers referenced the Old Testament and the four ways in which they did so. She then walks through references in Matthew, John, Philippians, and 1 Peter.

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Mobile Ed: NT306 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament (5 hour course)
Mobile Ed: NT306 The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament (5 hour course)

Dr. Craig Evans combines his extensive knowledge of ancient manuscripts and New Testament studies to survey the contents, context, and influence of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He details the history of the scrolls and the Essenes and shows how the scrolls affect our understanding of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the early Church.

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