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I have over 100 commentaries on the Gospel of John and none of them even comes close to this volume. Critical and exegetical issues are treated fully and fairly. Footnotes are jam-packed with excerpts from numerous authors holding differing viewpoints. Evaluations of other positions are peacable yet thorough. Morris brings out the richness of John's message on every page. I recently preached on John 1:1 and this commentary was eminently useful for understanding the background and meaning of the text. Massive conservative scholarship, a lucid and penetrating style, profound insight and, above all, spirtual depth make this volume a masterpiece! Morris is not the only commentator on I consult, but he is always the first and usually the most rewarding.
Leon Morris, principal emeritus of Ridley College (Melbourne, Australia) and author of over forty books, masterfully comments on St. John's Gospel.
The two aspects of this commentary I most appreciate are the conservative nature of the commentary and its high readability. In this commentary, the reader will find no historical-criticism. Rather, the author has faith in the inerrancy of Scripture and treats this portion of Scripture accordingly. Happily, when difficulties arise between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel according to John, he acknowledges these difficulties, lists several possible ways in which they can be reconciled, then ends with a statement reminding the reading not to be unreasonably dogmatic about such a difficult thing. Morris' conservatism and respect for the text is refreshing. Morris also writes in a very readable, fluid style. I found myself reading the nearly 800 pages of text much quicker than I expected to, mainly because the narrative structure was captivating and a joy to read. Morris frequently ties John's writings to the other Gospels, the Old Testament, Jewish/Roman history, and the post-Ascension church. He also has helped my understanding of John by pointing out his unique writing style (double meanings, playing loose with quotes, fondness for numbers, time, and geography, etc.)
There were aspects of this book that I did find frustrating. The most frustrating for me was Morris' anti-sacramentarian treatment of John 6 and the account of blood and water flowing from Jesus wound. Morris argues that John 6 should be read primarily as Jesus "teaching about spiritual realities...but...there may be a secondary reference to the sacrament(313).Read more ›
Leon Morris commentary on the Gospel of John is a must have for anyone building a library of Biblical commentaries. I have taught through this gospel on several occasions and have collected many great works on John. However, I always find myself comming back to this commentary by Leon Morris. It is not the only commentary to have of this great book but it is one that will contribute to your insight and understanding of John's message and meaning. Other key Bible commentaires on John are the classic by Godet, Beasley-Murray in the Word Bible Commentary and Ridderbos' theological commentary on the gospel of John. If you are just beginning to build your library, start with Morris. He covers all the major issues, doesn't hide from difficult questions and fairly present alternative positions. As a supplement to this work pick up Leon Morris' "Reflictions on the Gospel of John". More devotional in nature, it was originally written to compliment his NIC commenatry on John. However, last I checked this work is out of print but it can still be found via Amazon's out of print service. Morris' commentary on John and the Reflections offer the reader a great one-two punch. Either work can stand alone. These works make great gifts for the Bible student or your pastor if he doesn't already have them. You won't be disappointed!! Enjoy!
... I had the honor of taking a class in which Dr. Morris taught an overview of the Gospel of John. It was after this commentary had been published. Both hearing Dr. Morris and seeing this commentary have convinced me that although he was somewhat diminutive in stature, he was one of the scholarly giants of his generation.
If I may make a suggestion: when reading Morris' commentary, picture yourself sitting in a classroom with Dr. Morris. Then, as he "speaks", pretend you have the ability to raise your hand and ask him a question. (Had you been in his class, you would have found him remarkably cogent and very approachable.) Treat his commentary as an opportunity to, so to speak, interact with this great scholar.
To expand on my point a little, it seems to me that the point of reading a commentary is not so much to collect "all the right answers" like butterflies in a jar, as it is to have the opportunity to sit next to a gifted student (e.g. Dr. Morris) and listen to him as he tries to figure out what are the correct questions.
I don't want to suggest that reading Dr. Morris' commentary is a voyeuristic exercise. Not at all. Unlike many of our contemporaries (i.e. consistent post-Modernists), Dr. Morris apparently assumed that there is such a thing as objective truth and, through diligent study, we can know more and more about it. Yet, he seemed to have possessed a humility in his scholarship which is missing in the majority of scholars (and "poseur" scholars) in every field. That may have been the reason he was such an excellent student and teacher of the Johannine literature. (Plus, he was as sharp as a tack.)