Item description for The Letters of John (Pillar New Testament Commentary) by Colin G. Kruse...
Overview John's epistles appear to be among the simplest books in the New Testament, until you dig a little deeper. Colin Kruse's The Letters of John---a trustworthy contribution to The Pillar New Testament Commentary series---explores the full depth of what the apostle taught to enrich your spiritual life. Kruse examines authorship, audience, purpose, major Christian doctrines, theological themes, and more. Includes verse-by-verse commentary on each letter.
Publishers Description This new Pillar commentary seeks to clearly explain the meaning of John's letters to teachers, pastors, and general readers looking for a reliable resource for personal study. Colin Kruse provides an introduction to the important issues involved in interpreting the Johannine letters, gives verse-by-verse comments, and provides extensive discussion of John's major theological themes, including the real humanity of Christ, atonement, the role of the Spirit, Christian assurance, the meaning of koinonia, Christian love, and eternal life.
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.3" Width: 6.3" Height: 0.93" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2000
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series Pillar New Testament Commentary
ISBN 080283728X ISBN13 9780802837288
Availability 0 units.
More About Colin G. Kruse
Kruse is lecturer in New Testament at the Bible College of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Letters of John (Pillar New Testament Commentary)?
Great Commentary Jun 14, 2008
I'm very happy to have this commentary in my library now. It is in line with the rest of the emerging series (PNTC), possessing excellent and readable comments.
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.
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.
Good, but the Church Needs Something Better Apr 13, 2007
In the last 30 years, a number of standard commentaries on the Johannine epistles have been produced that require interaction from the church. Brown's commentary on the epistles is the most obvious example, but the work of Judith Lieu and Strecker also demand engagement. What has been missing for some time is a solidly evangelical commentary on the epistles that is both pastoral and academically robust. This effort by Colin Kruse does not fail the reader on either front, but neither is it a glowing success either.
Kruse presents a generally conservative approach to interpretation, though he does at times draw heavily from non-evangelical scholarship, particularly in his excursus on hospitality. Kruse is helpful if for no other reason than because he offers some balance to many prevailing commentators and their pet theories. Kruse does not jump on the sectarian reading bandwagon, nor does he adopt the fashionable scholarly position of holding a rather unsympathetic view toward the Elder of 2 and 3 John. Kruse rightly attempts to show that these epistles are not merely the situational period pieces that seem to form the basis for most scholarly interaction with the epistles. All of this makes the book refreshing in its outlook and treatment of these letters.
But in my view, the commentary is a bit weak when it comes to the 'robustness' of its scholarship. Compared with other commentaries, very little time is spent surveying the historical situation of the writings and interacting with other scholarly proposals on this score. This is disappointing considering Kruse himself acknowledges the necessity of establishing such a starting point as a basis for approaching the texts. While it is very true that Johannine scholars have let their imaginations too often get the best of them when tackling these topics, it is not inappropriate (or irrelevant) to examine these subjects in some detail and arrive at more solid conclusions. Kruse does not break any new ground here, and doesn't really retill the earth that has already been dug. This does the commentary a disservice.
In addition, while his excursus on hospitality is good, it similarly does not break new ground but simply regurgitates what others (mainly Malina) have done. I would argue that while Kruse hits a number of necessary points in his hospitality excursus, he actually misses the component of Mediterranean hospitality that is most relevant to interpreting 2 and 3 John (and even 1 John) - the step of testing. It is very surprising that this has gone predominately unnoticed in most commentaries on the epistles (including Kruse's), when its reckoning can serve to really open a doorway into the historical situation of the writings as well as the instructions given by the Elder which often get so many interpreters bent out of shape. Kruse had a great opportunity to present a very robust hospitality reading of 2 and 3 John that could have successfully refuted much of the trepidation scholars often have about these epistles. But in my view, this opportunity was largely missed.
In conclusion, the commentary is helpful and at least begins to provide a counterweight to prevailing scholarly opinions which are mostly negative about the epistles. But the evangelical church still awaits a commentary that is as robust as its non-evangelical counterparts and can truly compete in the academic world with those currently inclined to follow the theories of Brown, Lieu, Strecker and others. Carson gives Kruse's commentary a bit too much credit, and it is hoped by this reader that his upcoming commentary on the epistles will be the kind of commentary that is needed to balance the scales.
Helpful introduction to John's Letters Aug 20, 2006
Colin Kruse is a professor of New Testament at the Bible College of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) and author of several commentaries and other works intended to apply New Testament teachings in a modern way. This commentary on John's letters seeks to capitalize on Kruse's previous work as the goal of the Pillar Commentary Series is to provide both exegetical analysis and modern application for the parish pastor. In all, Kruse does an admirable job at this.
Any commentator on the John's epistles is required to make educated guesses concerning the background, authorship, and context of the letters. Kruse writes his commentary accepting the ancient Christian tradition that John (son of Zebedee, disciple of Jesus) is the author of both the Gospel of John and the Epistles of John. He defends this view excellently using both internal and external arguments. He further writes assuming that John is a parish pastor who also (as a disciple/apostle) oversees a number of local area churches. Unfortunately, some from John's church have rejected the orthodox Christian faith and have adopted views that are contrary to Christianity. These views include the idea that Jesus is not the Christ (true God come in the flesh), that they (the secessionists) have no need for forgiveness of sins), the death of Jesus was unimportant, and they live a life characterized by malicious gossip and greed. Because these secessionists have begun traveling around the area on "missionary journeys," John writes these letters to encourage the Christians of the surrounding churches to cling to the faith as they have been taught by John (and the other eye-witnesses to the risen Christ) and to reject the teachings of the secessionists.
There are many positive aspects of this book. It is a relatively easy read--Kruse is to be commended as he gives a thorough analysis of the books' contents, but presents them in such a way as not to get bogged down by the details. He takes a conservative, respectful stand on many of the critical/scholarly issues while presenting a number of other scholars' views on the most hotly debated issues surrounding John's letters. Finally, Kruse provides a number of insightful and helpful excurses that places the focus on tangential aspects of Johns letters. Among the most helpful are the excurses on the Antichrist and on Hospitality in the Ancient World.
Negative aspects of this book should also be pointed out. A flaw of the Pillar series is that it employs the NIV translation. This editorial decision is suspect because (as we see in the commentary) Kruse appears to frequently disagree with the NIV translation. At the very least, he feels compelled to include his own, more literal, translation after the NIV text. This is annoying to this reader and it would have been preferable for Kruse to provide his own translation. In a related note, Pillar has also made the decision to transliterate the Greek so that those who have studied the language are forced to mentally convert English letters into Greek (again, annoying) while those who haven't studied the language wouldn't understand Kruse's grammatical arguments anyway!
In all, Kruse's addition to the Pillar Commentary Series is a most helpful one. He provided some real theological gems throughout the commentary. Recommended to pastors who want to begin a study of these infrequently studied writings of John.
Weak Nov 23, 2005
I have over 20 commentaries on First John. I consider this among the bottom five. Analysis is superficial and not particularly insightful. It might be an acceptable book for an introduction to First John, but if that's what you want, there are better books.
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.
Very good Jul 29, 2004
This is a very good commentary on the letters of John, which I referred to often when I was preaching through 1 John last year. The commentary reflects competent scholarship (but without being cumbersome, e.g. Greek words are transliterated) and a conservative theological perspective. Of special help are the many theological excursions spread throughout the text (A Note on the Meaning of 'Fellowship,' A Note on Hilasmos, A Note on Antichrist, A Note on Sinless Perfectionism, A Note on Sins that Do and Do Not Lead to Death, etc.) Kruse gives a good survey of various interpretations, but also grounds his own conclusions in solid exegesis of both text and context. This is, without doubt, one of the best commentaries on John's letters available today.