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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“the story of Jesus encountering particular people is also the story of God engaging the world” (Page 8)
“But in John’s Gospel God loves the world that hates him; he gives his Son for the world that rejects him. He offers his love to a world estranged from him in order to overcome its hostility and bring the world back into relationship with its Creator (3:16).” (Page 81)
“Third, the Gospel of John was composed among Christians who understood the Spirit to be active among them.” (Page 7)
“Second, the Father relates to his children in love” (Page 52)
“In the end, John’s Gospel does not explain why some people believe and others do not. Rather than speculating as to the reason that some refuse to believe, the Gospel focuses on what it would take for them to come to faith. God enables people to see who he is through the light of Jesus. If some become blind, the way for their perception to be altered is, paradoxically, through continued exposure to the light. Similarly, God evokes faith through his Word of truth and love. If some reject him, the way for this to change is by continued encounter with the Word of truth and love, through the work of God’s Spirit.” (Page 80)
Reading The Word of Life is like taking a guided tour through the intriguing world of John’s theology, a tour led by one of the world’s most able and experienced Johannine scholars. Craig Koester integrates the history of interpretation with thorough and responsible theological analyses of the text of the Gospel in ways that constantly enrich the reader.
—Jan Van der Watt, chair in New Testament and source texts of early Christianity, Radboud University
Craig R. Koester is vice president of academic affairs and professor and Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Chair of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his PhD in New Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York.