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The Epistles of John (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) 2nd Revised ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Commentators approach a text with certain assumptions. The positions that Marshall begins with include: that John, Son of Zebedee and disciple of Jesus wrote these three epistles as well as the Gospel of John (but not Revelation); that these letters were written to address certain schisms in local churches, but that they were not necessarily all written to address a single crisis; and that they were written between the 60s and 90s AD, with 2 John written first, followed by 3 John, and finally 1 John.
One unique characteristic of Marshall's commentary is that he treats each of the three epistles individually (as opposed to trying to matrix the theology of each--reading each through the window of the other) and in the order in which he believes they were written (2 John, 3 John, 1 John). The result is that the New Testament's briefest books--2 John and 3 John--receive a much more complete treatment than they normally receive. It was refreshing for this reader to see Marshall esteeming these often ignored books as divinely inspired Holy Scripture--which is what they are.
This reader also enjoyed Marshall's treatment of 1 John. He treats the epistle holistically, commenting on the particular verses while always keeping in mind what has preceded it and what will follow.Read more ›
I appreciated Howard Marshalls treatment of the three works. He did something I had not considered before. He talked about his belief that 2 and 3 John were written before 1 John. So, his commentary starts with an introduction to the three works and then proceeds with the commentary on 2 John, then 3 John and finally 1st John.
Why does he do that way you ask? Because he feels that 2nd and 3rd John are short letters, one to the 'beloved lady" and the other to his dear friend "Gaius." They deal with two subjects. 2nd John deals with the subject of some teachers claiming that Christ was not both God and Man. They did not believe that Christ (God) could take on human form. Or they put a spin on it that the Holy Spirit descended on Christ at His Baptism and then left him before the crucifixion.
Either way, their teaching was wrong and disruptive to the church. The short letter instructs the lady and her children to not give hospitality to those and thus aid in their false teaching. Marshall believes this is a short letter to address the issue and that the Apostle John wanted to visit the church to correct the teaching in person. But when he couldn't get there in person he wrote 1st John as a longer treatment of the problem and addressed it in ink on paper.
In 3rd John we have 'The Elder' addressing the problem of Demetrius wanted to take over control of the church and not share what the Elder and other traveling missionaries were teaching. Again it is a short work addressing a problem.Read more ›
Marshall's expository comments are well supported with clearly linked cross references that would fit well into any expository sermon. Sometimes he gives illustrations for the less transparent points of the text, which results in superior clarity for most readers. The augments which one reviewer called 'fluff' are not fluff at all. They are helpful meditative points that can be used in preaching. I love it when commentators bear their intended audience in mind and give a helping hand in context. That makes this commentary better than most.
If you desire to deal in the Greek text, his footnotes are an excellent add on to that study. He also references a number of other scholars in the footnotes for more on any crucial points Marshall brings out.
Overall, this is a five star commentary that anyone doing serious exegesis for a sermon ought to consult.
Especially helpful is Marshall's introductory material. His argument for John the Apostle being the author of the three epistles generally credited to him is persuasive without being pedantic or longwinded. (It comprises six pages of text altogether.) Also, I would commend to the reader the section of the introduction that deals with the relationship between the various writings in the Johannine corpus (the Gospel and Revelation as well as the epistles). While this section is somewhat longer than the section on authorship, it contains some excellent arguments for the unity of authorship of all of these writings.
While I do not agree with Marshall's interpretation of all of what John writes in these epistles (as other reviewers have noted, he has a tendency to interpret certain passages from an Arminian perspective), I find what he says to be challenging and carefully reasoned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ian Howard Marshall (born 1934) is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland; he has written many other books, such as New Testament... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Steven H Propp
I would have to give the author of this work a very high mark for his excellence of presentation and treatment of the subject matter. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Gene Davenport
In terms of format, this commentary has a clean text that is easy on the eyes. Marshall’s style is quite readable. Read morePublished on October 14, 2013 by David W. Jones
I have never read a full commentary before. This one of the best commentaries around ill be buying these ever book I go throughPublished on May 17, 2013 by Amazon Customer
The commentary on Epistles of John is one of the better commentaries for in depth study. The Book I bought was used but was exceptionly clean and hardly if ever used. Read morePublished on March 3, 2012 by Harri
Since im a calvinist I did not enjoy this commentary. His theology, made him unable to do good exegesis of the text, and forced him to communicate a surface-level understanding of... Read morePublished on December 28, 2011 by Simon Aslak Simonsen
I've only gone through 1 John so far, but I've done this book in detail and the NICNT was a great additional commentary. It's not as technical as I wanted it to be, but I. Read morePublished on March 30, 2010 by Stephen C. Jones