In this detailed, elegantly written commentary J. Ramsey Michaels gives primary attention to the Gospel of John in its present form rather than to the sources or traditions behind it. Michaels examines both the Gospel’s literary character and its theological significance for the Christian community in its own time and through the ages. This landmark commentary—17 years in the making, reflecting 50 years of classroom teaching, and packed with fresh insights—will prove highly useful to scholars, students, and, especially, pastors.
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“‘And the light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.’ The Gospel of John is about revelation; the text begins with audible revelation (‘Word’), moving on to visible revelation (‘light’), and thence back and forth between the two (embodied in Jesus’ signs and discourses) as the story unfolds.” (Page 46)
“amount. It appears that the sheer magnititude or extravagance of the miracle is one of the writer’s interests.” (Page 149)
“The point is not to differentiate him from other ‘vines’ (Israel, for example), but simply to claim him as the very embodiment of what every vine should be—above all, the source of life to its branches.” (Page 801)
“Here the magnitude of the impending miracle stands in almost humorous contrast to the smallness or triviality of the need (v. 4, ‘What is that to me or to you?’). But the humor makes the serious point that when Jesus gives life, he gives it abundantly, far beyond all need or expectation (see 10:10).” (Page 149)
“Far from ignoring Nicodemus’s comment, he matches one impossibility with another. Just as it is impossible to do what Jesus has been doing unless ‘God is with him,’ so it is impossible to ‘see the kingdom of God’ unless one is ‘born from above.’” (Page 179)
This is a commentary for which it was well worth waiting. The fruit of a lifetime’s engagement with John’s Gospel, it manages to be both conservative and original. Above all, it does superbly what the best commentaries do—immerse readers in the text itself. Michaels takes us with him deep into this Gospel’s story of Jesus, expertly probing the narrative, asking questions about it that we may not have thought of, and pointing out details, nuances, and connections we may have missed, all the while ensuring we do not avoid the text’s larger, sometimes uncomfortable, truth claims. Readers will emerge invigorated, enlightened, and inspired. The excellence of Michaels’ substantial and intriguing close reading makes his commentary one to which readers will return again and again for continuing stimulus in their own study of John.
—Andrew T. Lincoln, professor of New Testament studies, University of Gloucestershire
A senior Johannine scholar here weaves together fresh thinking on John’s Gospel with his years of engagement with the Gospel and its earlier scholarly interpreters. This new commentary is attentive to the details of the text, to structural clues, and to the cohesiveness of John’s narrative as a whole; while clearly sensitive to the Greek text, it is written to be intelligible for English readers.
—Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
J. Ramsey Michaels has produced a masterful commentary, the fruit of well over half a century of careful study of John’s Gospel. He draws upon a wealth of resources, ancient and modern, as he engages both the larger historical, literary, and theological dimensions of the text, as well as fine details of grammar and textual variants. His analysis is marked by many original insights that are grounded in careful attention to the text itself, and his clear, engaging style makes this commentary a page-turner.
—Rodney A. Whitacre, professor of biblical studies, Trinity School for Ministry
This new commentary—part of Eerdmans’ acclaimed NICNT series—gives primary attention to John’s gospel in its present form rather than the sources or traditions behind it. J. Ramsey Michaels assumes that the John who authored the book is someone very close to Jesus and, therefore, that the gospel is a testimony to events that actually happened in the life of Jesus. Yet Michaels does not ignore the literary character of the gospel of John or its theological contribution to the larger Christian community from its own time to the present day. Through a detailed verse-by-verse commentary, Michaels reveals how the gospel of ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ is a unified composition, intertwined with the synoptics, yet drawing on material none of them cover.
—D. A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School