The writings of John are some of the most foundational New Testament documents for today’s Christians. Most evangelical teaching about the life of Jesus begins with the Gospel of John, and Christian teaching on the end times relies heavily on the book of Revelation. Students, pastors, and lay learners need solid, up-to-date resources like this book to responsibly study and understand John’s writings.
C. Marvin Pate addresses John’s writings according to their logical divisions: the Gospel of John, the Johannine Epistles, and Revelation. Pate presents a two-fold historical setting for John’s gospel, encouraging readers to consider the text from the perspective of Jesus’ day and from John’s situation in Asia Minor 60 years later. He examines the Johannine epistles on issues like authorship, audience, and theological perspective. For the Apocalypse, Pate explores the challenges of John’s first readers, the nature of apocalyptic literature, and the Roman imperial cult, including an explanation of how the church has interpreted Revelation over the years. With its thorough discussion, The Writings of John sets the standard for introductory texts on biblical books or collections.
“Being ‘born/begotten of water and the Spirit’ means to experience rebirth of the heart based on repentance and faith in Jesus and accomplished by the transformation brought about by the long-awaited Spirit of the new covenant (see Ezek. 36:25–27).” (Page 73)
“First, John’s prologue refuted the rabbinic notion that the law of Moses is the Wisdom of God by equating Jesus Christ with Wisdom who replaces the Torah. Second, verses like John 1:14 (the Word became flesh ‘and made his dwelling among us’) may be a polemic against the beginnings of Gnostic thinking that denied the humanity of Christ (cf. 1, 2, 3 John). Third, the parenthetical statements about John the Baptist in the prologue (John 1:6–9, 15) may be directed against those who continued to follow the teachings of John the Baptist rather than Jesus (see Acts 19:1–7).” (Page 47)
“Second, the abundance of wine was another symbol of the dawning of the messianic age” (Page 64)
“My thesis for the seal judgments is that they represent John’s reapplication of the Olivet Discourse to a future fall of the Roman Empire.” (Page 402)
“First, the eschatology of Revelation matches the epistles of John—they both are characterized by inaugurated eschatology” (Page 348)
This book skillfully summarizes the substance of the New Testament writings traditionally associated with the Apostle John. Students will appreciate the creative, visually rich layout with attention-grabbing sidebars. Teachers will applaud the airing of scholarly theories and convictions. Few books contain a more thorough presentation of these five writings in their historical, literary, and theological dimensions. The Writings of John will be a prized resource in the college and seminary classroom for years to come.
—Robert W. Yarbrough, professor of New Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
If you are looking for a reliable textbook on the writings of John that will engage students, look no further. Pate’s informed survey features a rich awareness of historical background, consistent exegetical depth, and insightful theological commentary. In addition to Pate’s expert guidance, the book features an attractive presentation, along with helpful teaching aids. It’s rare to find a superb treatment of all of John’s writings in a single resource. For the sake of our students, I highly recommend it.
—J. Scott Duvall, professor of New Testament, Ouachita Baptist University
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