Commentaries on the Letters of John

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Bible Commentaries

2 Peter  ⇐ ⇒  Jude

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For more great commentaries on the letters of John, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the General Epistles, Commentaries on All the Epistles, New Testament Commentaries & Whole Bible Commentaries

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Subsections

Also see individual Commentaries on:

1 John
2 John
3 John

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Order of Contents  16

The Best Commentaries  6
Commentaries  9
Early Church  1
Authenticity of  1

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The Best Commentaries on All the Letters of John

1600’s

Dickson, David – An Expositon of all St. Paul’s Epistles together with an explanation of those other epistles of the apostles St. James, Peter, John & Jude, wherein the sense of every chapter and verse is analytically unfolded and the text enlightened  (Romans-Jude)  Buy  1659  

Dickson was a prominent Scottish covenanter.  Note that the Banner of Truth reprint contains Dickson’s commentary on less books than the original.

*** – ‘Dickson is a writer after our own heart.  For preachers he is a great ally.  There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head.  In this volume the observations are brief.’

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Simple, Practical & Devotional

Beeke, Joel – The Epistles of John  Buy  2006  250 pp.

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Intermediate

Hawkins, Thomas – Commentary on the First, Second and Third Epistles of St. John  1808

***  “Very excellent.  The writer has upon every verse something to say worth the saying.” – Spurgeon

Findlay, George – Fellowship in the Life Eternal: an Exposition of the Epistles of St. John  Buy  1909 420 pp.  reprinted by James & Klock Christian publishers

“An outstanding exposition since its first appearance in 1909. Dedicated scholarship combined with rare spiritual insight makes this a first-rate work.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

1600’s

Poole, Matthew – Critical Synopsis of the Bible: 1 John – Jude  Buy

This is different and much larger than Poole’s Annotations on Scripture.  Here Poole gives something of a history of interpretation (from Jewish writers until Christian interpreters of Poole’s own day) on every verse of the Bible.

‘…you will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvelous collection of all the wisdom and folly of the critics.  It is a large cyclopedia worthy of the days when theologians could be cyclopean, and had not shrunk from folios to octavos.  Query—a query for which I will not demand an answer—has one of you beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves? 

Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice—ten years, let me add, spent in Amsterdam in exile for the truth’s sake from his native land.  His work is based on an earlier compilation entitled Critici Sacri, containing the concentrated light of a constellation of learned men who have never been excelled in any age or country.’ – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Ebrard, John – Biblical Commentary on the Epistles of St. John, in Continuation of the Work of Olshausen, with an Appendix on the Catholic Epistles and an Introductory Essay on the Life and Writings of St. John  1860  465 pp.  Here is the table of contents.

Ebrard (1818–1888) was a German, protestant, liberal scholar who also wrote commentaries on Hebrews and the Revelation (the latter is not available on the net in English).

***  “Dr. [Robert] Candlish, in his Exposition on 1 John, says: ‘I must acknowledge my obligation to Dr. Lucke.  But it is Dr. Ebrard who has helped me the most.  Ebrard is especially valuable, and for an English reader, acquainted with theology, very easily intelligible.” – Spurgeon

“An exhaustive, technical commentary which defends the genuineness of the epistles, but provides some fanciful interpretations of material in the text.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Commentaries on All the Letters of John

Simple & Practical

Vaughan, Curtis – 1,2,3 John: a Study Guide  Buy  1970  139 pp.

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Intermediate

1800’s

Morgan, James & Cox, Samuel – The Epistles of John  Buy  This was reprinted by Klock & Klock and recommended by Cyril J. Barber

Cox was an English non-conformist minister, baptist and later became a universalist (highly not recommended).  He was an editor for the magazine, The Expositor.

Plummer, Alfred – The Epistles of St. John, with Notes, Introduction and Appendices  1894  235 pp.  in The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Plummer was a liberal.

“Critical notes on the Greek text.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Conner, Walter Thomas – The Epistles of John  Buy  1929

“These expository thoughts defend the Johannine authorship, attack liberal tendencies, contain appropriate illustrations, and warn against false teachers.” – Cyril J. Barber

Vine, William – The Epistles of John: Light, Love, Life  Buy  1934

Vine was known for Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

“A strongly conservative development of the theory that John wrote to defend Christianity against the false teachings of the Ebionites, Docetists, and Cerenthians. Based upon a thorough knowledge of the Greek text.” – Cyril J. Barber

Stott, John – The Letters of John  Buy  in Tyndale New Testament Commentaries  1964

“Combines an understanding of exegesis with a knowledge of the local church situation that lies behind these epistles and expounds their theme in the light of the work of the ministry. A beautiful blending of Bible teaching and practical theology. Anglican.” – Cyril J. Barber

Bruce, F.F. – The Epistles of John: Introduction, Exposition and Notes  Buy  1970  157 pp.

“A verse-by-verse treatment which emphasizes the need for Christians to guard against the temptation to make the gospel conform to current trends of thought and modes of theology. Hits hard against materialism and stresses the practical lessons to be learned from these letters.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

1800’s

Lucke, Friedrich – A Commentary on the Epistles of John  1837  408 pp.

**  “Dr. Graham, of Bonn, says that ‘Lucke is impartial, learned, and critically in earnest; yet the attentive reader soon discovers a very decided anti-evangelical tendency.  I say anti-evangelical in our sense of the word, for in Germany he has done much to overthrow the cold kingdom of rationalism and unbelief.’  Graham is severe, and a discount may be allowed from this judgment.  Let it serve as a warning.” – Spurgeon

“The Commentary of Luck [on the Gospel of John]…  the author [Hengstenberg] would not for a moment wish to deny, or to detract from, its great merits, but it belongs to the theology of a transitional period, which seldom treads firmly.  We miss a decided faith in Holy Scripture as the Word of God; the struggle with doubt is magnified, and disturbs the devotional feeling of the reader; there are frequently dangerous concessions; and when the decision is in favor of the faith, there is, for the most part, only a small balance in its favor.” – E.W. Hengstenberg

Westcott, B.F. – The Epistles of St. John: the Greek Text with Notes and Essays  1886  440 pp.

Westcott was a liberal.

“Long recognized as one of the most thorough, complete commentaries on the Greek text. [F.F.] Bruce [in the 1966 Eerdmans’ reprint] has updated the introductory material and provided a summary of the significant discoveries and commentaries since Westcott’s time,,, Anglican.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Early Church

ed. Bray, Gerald – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude  Buy

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The Authenticity of the Epistles of John

Lucke, Friedrich – ‘Ch. 1: Authenticity’  21 pp. in A Commentary on the Epistles of John  1837

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries