- Hardcover: 1488 pages
- Publisher: P & R Publishing; 2 volume set edition (August 12, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596381809
- ISBN-13: 978-1596381803
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 3.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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John: 2 Volume Set (Reformed Expository Commentary) Hardcover – August 12, 2014
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"Rick Phillips's two volumes will become constant friends and 'go-to' companions for those charged with the daunting task of preaching the depths of the fourth gospel. The whole of Phillips's work maintains an unwavering focus on the apostle John's grand purpose of leading his readers to believe that 'Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God'-so that each exposition is gospel-rich. . . . The fact that these expositions have been delivered in the living context of the church gives them a depth and piquancy that many of the standard commentaries lack. Those who preach the Word will also find these volumes full of fresh insights and homiletical inspiration-good friends indeed." --R. Kent Hughes, Senior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois
"Richard Phillips's exposition of John explains the text clearly, but it also sings, marvels, and gets its hands dirty in real-life illustrations. What a terrific combination of biblical exegesis, doctrine rooted in the Reformation, and practical application! This is a great sermon commentary for pastors, and an extremely helpful book for all other Christians who desire to grow in their love for the one who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.'" --Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Although commentaries on the Gospel of John abound, far too few of them combine careful scholarship, deep theological reflection, and a pastoral heart. Thankfully, this commentary by Rick Phillips is one of those few. Clearly born out of many years of preaching and teaching, this commentary is a must-read for modern-day pastors who not only want to understand the text but also want to apply it to the lives of those in their congregations." --Michael J. Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
About the Author
Richard D. Phillips (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a council member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, and coeditor of the Reformed Expository Commentary series.
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This is the latest entry in the Reformed Expository Commentary series. The Gospel of John is tackled by pastor and scholar, Richard Phillips, giving what amounts to a collection of short and impactful sermons based on a systematic study of the book.
Here are a few points on why this is a strong commentary that will prove to be a blessing in your Bible studies:
1) It is pastoral
The problem with a lot of commentaries is that they just come off too…mechanical? Like, the purpose of reading them is to gather facts about a particular section of Scripture so that you have a new set of abstract ideas to store in your brain. Even some of the best commentaries come off this way to me, but perhaps maybe in contrast with this series.
Rev. Phillip’s tone just comes across as a gentle pastor who is not only telling you a set of facts, but when he does, they’re relational facts that bring a resonating connection to the text. For instance, in his entry on John 4: 1-10 (pgs. 219), we see the significance of “crossing boundaries” in the task of evangelizing and caring for the lost. Phillips recalls the boldness of Jesus to not only talk to a Samaritan woman, but to ask for a drink, which was taboo in the Jewish culture. You get a sense of grace and love, which not only gives us scholarly insight to the text but also a pastoral admonition to consider this when embarking on our own evangelistic missions, where we might consciously limit just how far out of our comfort zones we go when reaching the lost.
2) It is practical:
In the study of John 6: 1-13, Rev. Phillips discusses the nature of ministry. The first heading found in this chapter is titled, “Our motive in Christian ministry” (pgs. 358), later we see “Our boldness in Christian ministry” (pgs. 362). This challenging study puts into perspective our motives and how we execute the task of ministry. Again, it reads like a short sermon, as if you were having several pastoral and practical conversations with Rev. Phillips, himself. You can’t help but get the sense that you are having a series of lunch dates with the author for the purpose of doing a study on John. It’s conversational, rich and you can’t walk away not thinking about how you could seek Christ in improving your thoughts and actions afterwards.
3) It is conducive to personal study:
As I have mentioned before, some other commentaries out there can be a little daunting when using them as a supplement to personal study. Accessibility often times takes the backseat to scholarly discourse and the end result is often a dry and difficult text to stay engaged with and it feels more laborious than enjoyable. This series does not suffer from this pitfall and it makes it very easy to do daily Bible studies and tackle a few studies at a time. The studies are concise and don’t often go beyond 10 pages, but you receive a very large helping of sound teaching and exposition, assisting you in understanding the cultural, historical and redemptive context of the particular texts.
Keeping in mind the positive aspects of this volume, it is likely the reason why there is one noticeable absence: exploration of the original language in the studies. For some, they may notice that there isn’t a lot of discussion of “the original Greek” in the studies. Discussion of the Greek is not wholly absent, but it is scarce. However, my own pastor does not do much of that, either. Before attending a Reformed church, I used to attend a dispensational church where constant exploration of the original languages are common, but it always came off too scholarly and as a means to appear “more biblical.
So if you are one who wants to do a word-study within the Gospel, use this commentary with another one that goes into more depth in that way. There is plenty of depth here, just not as much in that vein. It by no means detracts from its expositional approach, in my opinion. I believe the theme of this series is not to appease the Über-scholar, but the hungry student who wants to see the redemptive-historical and cultural background of the Gospel of John and be encouraged to go and serve God afterwards.
One of the things I love about a good sermon is that you get the combination of Bible exposition, sound doctrine and the compassionate delivery of a gifted preacher. Of course, I love hearing good sermons, but if I can get the same feeling from a book, that’s great too.
This 2-volume set reads like a lectio continua sermon series on the doctrinally rich Gospel of John. While many commentaries excel in providing rich exegetical gold on the books of the Bible, they can also prove to be a dry read for someone who isn’t already driven towards deeper theological study. Unlike the usual commentaries that are not always lay-person friendly, this (and other books in the series) proves to be unique in how every section of text gets its own little sermon of about 10 pages each. They also appear to be written with the layperson in mind, which makes this valuable commentary more accessible to those who may not have an extensive theological training.
Richard D. Phillips is a gifted communicator. He has done a splendid job at providing a biblical, doctrinal, redemptive-historical and most of all, practical commentary of the Gospel of John. While the size of the volume may seem intimidating, the quality of what lies within makes it exceptionally accessible, though certainly challenging in all the right ways.
You would do well to add this to your library and begin collecting all of the other entries in the Reformed Expositional Commentary series. Between the two main editors of the series, Richard Phillips and Philip Graham Ryken, you really cannot go wrong.
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Richard Phillips has finally published an expository preaching commentary on John. After reading his book, Jesus the Evangelist, I was looking forward to see how he will expound on the whole gospel of John, and now it has come.
As with every commentaries within the Reformed Expository Commentary Series, this is no exception. Phillips handles the text carefully, each verse is explained and expounded, and he does not skim over the text, unlike many preachers today who are pretty fond of doing this. He patiently explains difficult and hard verses unhurriedly, allowing the readers to join in the conversation, and think along with him.
Richards shows the readers how he does his exegesis by explaining his how he derives his point from the verse. It is truly expository preaching, with at least one or two applications for each sermon. I anticipate that this commentary would certainly be of help for preachers who wishes to preach through the whole of the gospel of John, and also for readers who wishes to have a devotional reading of the bible passage in a systematic way.
Rating: 4 / 5
Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
1) To be biblical - that is to pay careful attention to the text and exposit the Scriptures. There is less focus on the original language and structure and more focus on the story that the passage is telling.
2) Unashamedly Doctrinal - this series approaches the text from a Reformed perspective, as found in the Bible.
3) Redemptive-Historical - this means that they believe in the unity and continuity of the Bible, and interpret it in a Christ centered approach for all of Scripture.
4) Practical - by applying the truths found in the Scriptures to contemporary challenges in life.
Just a brief comment on aesthetics. This Commentary also looks great. While this isn't a huge selling point, and certainly not a reason to chose one commentary over another, I must say that this one looks really nice on the bookshelf, especially when you have more than one in the series.
The most recent release in this series is a two-volume commentary on John by Richard Phillips (Senior Minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC). John's Gospel is quite possibly the most read of all of the gospel accounts, and is common evangelistic material. Phillips speaks to this when he states that the reader will "soon realize that it is far more than a human composition: only God the Spirit could have written in such profound simplicity, such accessible depth, and such arresting beauty. Countless readers have had their objections to Christianity abashed in light of this inspired testimony to Christ himself, exclaiming with the temple guards, 'No one ever spoke like this man!'" Phillips is a skilled expositor/pastor making him an excellent writer to guide readers through the depths of truth found in John's gospel account.
Phillips sound exposition can be seen in his writing on John 1:1-3. In confronting Arian and Jehovah's Witness heresies that claim Jesus to be godlike, but not God Phillips states that "if the Word already was in the beginning, then either he must have been with God or he must have been God. John teaches both. His second statement is that 'the Word was with God.' This tells us that the Word is a person who has a relationship with God." Phillips continues, "we see that John wants us to understand not only the eternity of the Word but also the personhood of the Word. The Word is a person, the companion of God himself. This warns us agains another perennial heresy, namely, that which denies the distinct personhood of the various members of the Trinity." There is no doubt that the Trinity is a truth that our finite minds cannot fully grasp, "but verses such as this cause us to believe it." In these few short pages Phillips opens up the first three verses of this book and shows how damaging they are to heresies that attack Christ deity and the Trinity. This is no doubt John's goal. As Phillips says, "as we begin his Gospel, John wants us to first realize Christ's deity and his relationship to God the Father, insisting on Jesus' divine sonship for our salvation. Jesus is God the Executor doing the will of his Father, God the Ordainer, within the perfect harmony of the Trinity."
Why is it so important that Jesus is known as the Word made flesh? "Because Jesus is the living Word of God, and because God never changes, then God always was and is like Jesus - always Christlike! God is holy, the way that Jesus is shown to be holy in this Gospel. God is compassionate and caring, sovereign and mighty, just as Jesus reveals in this book. But most of all, Jesus reveals God's love for us." This is a wonderful truth to meditate on: that the Word being made flesh allows us to see God's character on display in a Person. Phillips blesses the reader by pointing out this truth.
Phillips continues the outstanding work that this series is known for. I have been blessed by Phillips work in the past in this series and his contribution here will no doubt bless many believers.
I received a digital copy of this book from P&R Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is of the first chapter of each volume.