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The Letters of John (The Pillar New Testament Commentary (PNTC)) Hardcover – March 11, 2000
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"Kruse reflects a studied intention to reflect the facts objectively without indulging a fanciful imagination. . . A worthy contribution."
The Bible Today
"Kruse, an Australian biblical scholar, is obviously in command of the current literature on the letters of John and writes with a lucid and well balanced perspective on the origin and context of the letters. His commentary is enriched with frequent extended notes that delve into some of the key concepts or more debated aspects of the letters."
The Clergy Journal
"The exegesis is thorough and convincing. This commentary will serve the parish preacher. It will enlighten epistles that the church does not often ponder enough."
Southwestern Journal of Theology
"Those specializing in Johannine studies, as well as pastors and students, will welcome this latest contribution to our (better) understanding of the letters of John."
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Top Customer Reviews
One pleasant surprise that I really enjoyed with this commentary is the 'Appendix' in the back. He has a compilation of all the citations dealing with Cain in ancient near east Jewish literature. This is relevant to 1 John because of John's citation about Cain in 1 John 3:12 regarding why we ought to love one another.
Another excellent feature in this commentary that you do not see often in other commentaries are scores of what I call mini-excursions. These short articles are placed in context as he works through the text. So for example he has a mini-excursion on Koinonia in the midst of the notes on 1 John 1 as well as a mini-excursion on Light and a number of other crucial concepts. He's very very helpful for a pastor trying to prepare a sermon. It's becoming my favorite commentary on John's letters as I work through this part of scripure again this year.
The Appendix simply lists all references to Cain, including the Genesis text in its entirety and all Jewish literary references in every known case no matter how insignificant. These references are in clear, readable English. I really enjoyed this feature and cannot recall seeing it in any other commentary before.
Another feature of this commentary is the rich blend of exegesis, exposition and application. Many commentaries are so thick with exegesis and thin on application or so focused on application and thin on exegesis, that you have to use multiple sources to really achieve your goal if you are exegeting, and developing preachable points. This commentary should be at the top of any serious preachers list of Johannine resources.
If you are looking for solid introductory books, try Marshall or Smalley. If you are looking for deep textual analysis try Brown or Brooke. I don't agree with the positions taken by all of these authors, but their works are far more insightful then the Pillar book.
I recently went back to college to audit a course where the Kruse book was a required text. Part way through the course, the professor apologized for using the book and said that in the future he will use a different book for First John.