The Gospel of John Bible Study
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We hope you find something here helpful and invigorating for your own spiritual journey as you read and reflect upon the Gospel of John.
The Course of Study
The studies themselves are not intended to be comprehensive or complete commentaries on the biblical passages, but rather a survey of the basic story line, a brief analysis on the features of the text that serve to communicate its message, and a summary of the theological communication of the passages as a basis for further reflection. That means that there will be a lot of interesting details of the biblical narratives that will not be directly considered.
There are other articles that are available as background and additional reading for the Bible Study:
Three Triads of Biblical Interpretation (Graphic for "Guidelines")
Bibliography for the Study of John
Throughout this study various authors have been quoted. The bibliographical information and a brief comment are given for the main sources used in the preparation of these lessons.
Barclay, William. The Gospel of John, 2 vols. in The Daily Study Bible, 17 vols. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1955. This is the easiest and probably the most profitable for a layman's resource and study. The commentary is on paragraphs, not on individual verses, so some questions will not be addressed.
Barrett, C. K. The Gospel According to St. John. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1955, 1978. This is an excellent commentary on the Greek text, but it is difficult to use without knowledge of Greek.
Beasley-Murray, George R. John, Vol. 36 of the Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, Texas: Word Books Publisher, 1987. This commentary often has very useful insights. Its format is a bit complicated. Sometimes he uses Greek and Hebrew; he often is responding to other scholars; and some of his commentary is verse by verse while others are by paragraph.
Brown, Raymond E. The Gospel According to John, 2 large vols. in The Anchor Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966, 1970. This is usually considered the best scholarly commentary on John. The author is the most outstanding American Roman Catholic New Testament scholar. The format is complicated and a variety of critical positions are evaluated. It pays rich dividends, but is very difficult.
Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the Gospel of John, edited by Francis J. Moloney. New York: Doubleday, 2003. A thorough revision of Brown's The Anchor Bible commentary on John, published after his death. This revision includes more attention to literary aspects of the texts, as well as additional information on the formation of the Gospels and a section on Christology.
Dodd, C. H. The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1953. The first 60% of this work is complicated philosophical discussion of backgrounds for John. The last part of the book deals with John's structure and flow of argument. It often has useful material, but it is difficult to find.
Kysar, Robert. John's Story of Jesus. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984. This is a small paperback by a noted Lutheran scholar. It has some brilliant insights, but is very brief. Deals with chapters rather than with verses.
Lindars, Barnabas. The Gospel of John. Part of the New Century Bible Commentary. London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, 1977. This is a solid verse-by-verse commentary based on the RSV by a British Catholic scholar. It is almost always helpful and usually easy to understand.
Michaels, J. Ramsey. John. A Good News Commentary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1984. This is now being published as part of the New International Bible Commentary by Hendrickson Publishers. This is an excellent paperback commentary by an Evangelical scholar. It has paragraph commentaries followed by additional notes on each verse.
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. Part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971. This is a large traditional commentary by a respected Evangelical scholar. He presents detailed comments on every verse and defends traditional orthodox theology.
Schnackenburg, Rudolf. The Gospel According to St. John. 3 large vols. New York: The Seabury Press, 1968, 1980, 1982. This is the translation of a huge German commentary by a noted German Roman Catholic scholar. It contains very detailed discussion of many theological and critical issues. It has a lot of information, but requires a lot of work to find applicable material.
Sloyan, Gerard. John. Part of Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988. This commentary attempts to make technical scholarship applicable to preaching or teaching. It deals by paragraph and often has important insights.