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John 20:11-21:25

Roger Hahn

John 20 and 21 contain the resurrection narratives of the Fourth Gospel. John 20:30-31 seems to be a conclusion and there are significant stylistic differences between chapter 20 and 21. On the basis of those facts most scholars believe that John originally ended with chapter 20 and that chapter 21 was added on at a later stage in the gospel's development. Different scholars suggest a variety of theories, but essentially the point is that chapter 21 appeared as part of a second (or later) edition. If such a theory is true there is no special flow of thought from chapter 20 to chapter 21. However, for the purposes of this study we can easily deal with the individual stories in each chapter in order.

There are two main scenes in chapter 20 with two episodes in each scene. The first scene is the tomb. The first episode is the discovery of the opened tomb and Peter and the beloved disciple's visit to the empty tomb described in John 20:1-10. The second episode is the encounter between Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the garden outside the tomb described in John 20:11-18.

The second scene is the locked room where the disciples are gathered. The first episode in this scene involves Jesus' appearing to the disciples in verses 19-23. The second episode revolves around Thomas - his doubt and Jesus' appearance to him - described in verses 24-29. John 20:30-31 then state the purpose of the gospel and would have served as an adequate conclusion if there was, in fact, a 20-chapter edition of John's gospel.

John 21 also features two major episodes. The first, described in verses 1-14, portrays Jesus' appearance to the disciples while they were fishing with a concluding breakfast. The second episode is a two part discussion between Jesus and Peter, described in John 21:15-23. Chapter 21 then presents another conclusion to the gospel in verses 24-25.

John 20:11-18 - Jesus' Appearance to Mary Magdalene

After John 20:2-10 had focused on Peter and the Beloved Disciple, the narrative returns to Mary Magdalene who had discovered the opened tomb and had reported it to the disciples. Apparently she had followed the two men back to the tomb, but when they left she remained weeping. Verse 13 clearly indicates that she was weeping because she thought Jesus' body had been removed. When she bent over to look into the tomb she saw two angels who asked her why she was weeping. The other gospels contain the theme of fear or amazement as the response of the women and the disciples. For John, weeping is the sign that Mary has not yet imagined the possibility of the resurrection. In her reply she used the title "Lord" to refer to Jesus. However, the fact that she still assumed that Jesus' body had been stolen shows that resurrection faith did not come easily to Mary.

Evangelical Christians, especially, are so trained to accept every word of Scripture without questions that they often miss the wonder and difficulty of faith. Mary (and the other followers of Jesus) who had been with Jesus throughout his ministry could not conceive that he had been raised from the dead. They understood the scientific impossibility of resurrection better than many of their spiritual descendants. Their reaction both to Jesus' death and to the empty tomb was despair. Even when she saw Jesus, according to verse 14 she did not recognize him. She was not expecting to see him alive.

John very careful unfolds the resurrection story to show how gradually and almost how reluctantly Jesus' first followers came to understand the resurrection. To condemn them for a lack of faith shows how little we understand faith. We have the advantage of almost 2,000 years of hindsight. Jesus had only been raised a few minutes or hours when they were trying to comprehend it.

Part of the reason the early church "turned the world upside down" is that they were overwhelmed by the resurrection. God had done the most impossible thing. They didn't believe it "because the Bible said so," or because "God said it." They believed only after they had experienced a meeting with the Risen Lord himself. The mind-boggling, impossible, incomprehensible thing had happened. God had done it! They had seen Jesus! Their lives would never be the same. Until we recognize that Jesus' resurrection was impossible, but we are convinced that God did it anyway - until then we will never know the incredible awe and joy felt by the disciples. It is when we don't recognize Jesus and then discover him that our lives are most powerfully changed.

Even when Jesus himself appeared to Mary verse 15 tells us that she responded to him with the same despair with which she had addressed the angels. Only when Jesus called her by name did recognition come. Lindars beautifully states, "Now, like the Good Shepherd, he calls his own by name, and she turns to him, because she knows his voice."

This highlights another important aspect of the resurrection. The resurrection is not just a matter of formal doctrine, that you have to believe in the resurrection to be a Christian. The New Testament always understood the point of the resurrection to mean that personal relationship with Christ continues here and now. There is a very real sense in which that personal relationship never really happens until we hear Christ calling us by name and we recognize his voice and respond.

Mary's response has occasioned much discussion. Verse 16 states that she turned when she heard her name. The implication is that she was not facing Jesus. However, verse 14 seems to say that she had turned to Jesus then for the conversation of verses 14 and 15.

The word "turned" was also used by the early church for the turning away from the former life into the life of faith. Some even translate it "be converted" in some contexts. Perhaps John meant to explain that at the sound of her voice Mary "was converted" or turned from the old life to her new life in Christ. She called Jesus, "Rabboni." This word appears only here and in Mark 10:51 in the New Testament. It is a lengthened form of "rabbi." "Rabbi" meant "my great one" and was used as a title of respect for a teacher. Rabboni would have expressed greater respect and honor. There is no evidence that it showed any recognition of deity even though Jews sometimes called God by that very title. John's translation of "teacher" shows what he understood Mary to mean.

The most puzzling part of the story of Jesus' appearance to Mary Magdalene comes in verse 17. Jesus' command, "touch me not," in the KJV should probably be translated, "do not cling to me" (NASB) or "do not hold onto me" (NIV and NRSV). Part of the problem is why Jesus should forbid Mary to touch him here when he will command Thomas to touch him in verse 27.

Some answers to the question have been incredible. However, the Greek word and construction suggest that Jesus was not concerned about Mary touching him, but clinging to him. She is not to cling to him for he has not yet ascended to the Father. After she thought Jesus was gone, when Mary found that he was back she wanted to never let him go. However, Jesus was still bound to fulfill the will of the Father. From a disciple's perspective it looked like John 14:28, "I am going away and I am coming back to you," had been fulfilled. Surely, Jesus' resurrection was what he had meant in John 16:22, "Therefore, you have grief now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."

 However, Jesus' command to Mary begins John's teaching that the resurrection is not the end of sorrow and separation but the beginning of ministry. She is to go to the disciples and proclaim the resurrection to them. The glorious presence of the Risen Lord is not a possession for us to grasp to ourselves, but a message to share with the world.

John 20:19-29 - Jesus' Appearance to Thomas

There are two episodes in verses 19-29. Verses 19-23 describe Jesus' appearance to the disciples in a closed room. When they tell Thomas, who was not present, about the appearance he refused to believe until he could physically touch Jesus. The story climaxes with Jesus' appearance to Thomas and Thomas' confession of faith. The very significant gift of the Spirit is given in verse 22, but the whole passage appears designed to lead to the climax of Thomas' confession.

We might guess that the appearance took place in the upper room, but this is not stated. How many disciples were present is also not indicated. Those present were locked into a room for fear of the Jews. It is not clear why they should be afraid of the Jews at this point in time. Jesus had already been crucified. There is no indication that any attempt to arrest or harass the disciples was ever made in conjunction with Jesus' crucifixion. The Jews understood better than the disciples did that a follower of Jesus was nothing without Jesus.

Furthermore, the resurrection had already been reported to them; the disciples should have been rejoicing not fearing. Again, it is too easy for us to look back and to assume that the disciples should have known as much the first night as we know after 2,000 years of Christian faith. John gives no indication that the Jews knew about the resurrection - even the disciples didn't really believe it yet. The disciples could have easily thought that the Jews would be after them after disposing of Jesus. However, John's point of mentioning the locked door is really to show the miraculous nature of Jesus' resurrection body. Jesus was flesh enough to eat and solid enough to touch, but also able to pass through closed doors. John does not explain how this could happen. Paul's concept of a spiritual body, described in 1 Corinthians 15:44, may explain the matter, but we cannot be sure.

Jesus' first words were, Peace to you. Perhaps this is the translation of the tradition Jewish greeting, "Shalom," which literally means peace. However, as Lindars notes, this normal greeting now has "incredibly greater depth of meaning." Assuming the Hebrew concept of an effective word, Jesus' very greeting brought the peace of God into the disciples' lives. In the midst of their fear, as their lives were totally torn apart, Jesus spoke a word of peace and peace came. As Paul promised in Philippians 4:7 the peace of God would form a garrison guarding the hearts and minds of those who are in Christ. After Jesus had shown them his hands and side the disciples responded appropriately. They rejoiced.

Verses 21-23 then lay out Jesus' commissioning of the disciples to continue the work that he had begun. It is significant that he began by repeating the greeting of peace. Authentic witness arises out of a genuine peace with God. Many believers today are pushed toward Christian service before they have stopped struggling against God and found their rest in the will of God. Ministry and witness for them is always an agonizing struggle of duty. Only when we open ourselves to the peace that Christ offers can we really be sent as God sent Christ.

As the Father sent me, so send I you echoes Jesus' prayer in John 17:18. There the sending of the disciples was to flow from the work of God in sanctifying them. A similar train of thought holds here since Jesus' next words were, "Receive the Holy Spirit." The empowering and cleansing work of the Spirit were a part of the equipping necessary to be really sent like the Father sent Jesus.

Many Christians are puzzled by verse 22 and do not know how to relate it to the Pentecost experience of the early church described in Acts 2. Several observations are in order.

First, John did not write the book of Acts, nor is there any evidence that he knew that the book of Acts had been written. He was about to end his gospel, but he could not end it without mention of the gift of the Spirit.

Second, John's description of the gift of the Holy Spirit accomplishes two important Johannine purposes. It shows the fulfillment of the promises of the Paraclete made during the Last Discourse. Perhaps more important to John is that it shows that the Holy Spirit comes to us from the Father through the agency of Jesus. John 16:13-14 had clearly stated that the Paraclete would not speak on his own, but would take the words and ministry of Jesus and apply those words and ministry to the believers' lives.

John lived in an era when some Christians were separating the Holy Spirit from Jesus. The result was more emphasis on power and charismatic-type activity and less emphasis on Christlikeness. John certainly expected powerful ministry from the disciples (see John 14:12), but the Spirit would always be pointing to Christ and never to Himself.

A third important point appears in the preceding words He breathed on them. The Greek word is the same word used in the Greek Old Testament in Genesis 2:7, "God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." The same verb is used in Ezekiel 37:9 where life is breathed into the bones in the Valley of the Dry Bones. The church is a new creation whose life is breathed into it by Christ.

Verse 23 should not be separated from verse 22. Verse 23 does not promise the Church an intrinsic power to forgive or to refuse to forgive sins. Rather, the church as the body of Christ, filled with the Spirit, continues the work of Christ. It proclaims the message of forgiveness and confidently affirms that when one seeks forgiveness God grants forgiveness. Lindars (a Roman Catholic) interprets the verse this way, "The disciples preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins in preparation for the rule of God. To those who respond forgiveness is assured, and ratified by God himself. But to those who refuse, there is the divine warrant for asserting that their sins remain unforgiven."

The powerful impact of Jesus' appearance to the disciples that first Easter night can hardly be exaggerated. However, John is concerned with those of us who were not present that first moving night. The story of Thomas has the purpose of telling all of us that we too can meet the Risen Lord. John expresses almost no criticism of Thomas' doubt. In fact, Thomas' desire to put his hand and fingers into Jesus' wounds actually will strengthen John's case against the Docetists.

Thomas' doubts can be relieved. All that was required was another appearance of the Risen Christ. Jesus granted that need to Thomas without condemnation. God has plenty of resources at His disposal to convince "here and now, flesh and blood, tangible, materially oriented" people of spiritual realities. Sometimes God is less successful at convincing the "heavenly minded" to get busy and do some "earthly good."

Jesus' challenge to Thomas in verse 27 is to move from unbelief to faith. Thomas' confession in verse 28 represents such a move. My Lord and My God! represents the highest confession of Christ made in John's gospel. When one really sees the Risen Lord the right theology will come out. The Emperor Domitian who ruled the Roman Empire while John's gospel was written and was the emperor responsible for the persecution John apparently suffered once required that people address him as, "our lord and god." If John was aware of Domitian's arrogant claim, he powerfully counters it here. Only Jesus is worthy to be called Lord and God. We should also note that John 1:1 had declared the Word not only to be with God, but also to be God. As we come near the end of the gospel, the same affirmation of the deity of Christ appears.

John 20:30-31 - The Purpose of the Gospel

Verse 30 states an important principle that needs to be remembered in the interpretation of any of the gospels. Only a tiny portion of Jesus' life and work are described in the New Testament. Lots of other things could have been said. However, the purpose of the gospels and especially the purpose of John was not to just record part of the life of Jesus. The purpose of the gospels is to convince people to believe.

The verb "believe" in verse 31 can be constructed two ways in Greek. One construction (the aorist tense) suggests that John had in mind people coming to believe or beginning to believe. That is to say, the purpose of the Gospel is to evangelize unbelievers. The other construction (a present tense) means to continue to believe or to keep on believing. This construction would mean that the purpose of the book was to enable believers who had already made a decision of faith to continue to grow and mature in their Christian faith. It is fascinating that oldest copies of John are almost equally split between the two constructions. Both meanings were understood to be the purpose of John in the early days of copying this gospel.

Many times sincere Christians argue with each other whether evangelism or nurture is the most important purpose of the church. The different copies of John's gospel tell us that this argument has gone on from the earliest days of church history. Perhaps the copies also should suggest that we should stop arguing about whether evangelism or nurture is more important and get busy doing both. John's purpose is not just a profession of faith, but also the experience of eternal life. It is clear by this point that eternal life is not "pie in the sky by and by" for either Jesus or John. Eternal life begins the moment relationship with God through Christ begins.

John 21:1-14 - Jesus' Appearance to Seven Disciples Who Were Fishing

John (or whomever might have written chapter 21) was concerned that we understand that verses 1-14 reveal Christ. In both verse 1 and 14 the word "reveal" ("showed" in some translations) is used to describe the effect of this event. The same word was used in John 1:31 where John the Baptist stated that he was baptizing in order that the coming one might be "revealed" to Israel. The first sign at Cana is concluded with the comment in John 2:11 that Jesus "revealed" his glory to the disciples. Jesus' whole ministry was a process of revealing himself to the world and revealing the Father to the disciples. It is especially interesting that John now describes a fishing story as "revealing" Christ.

The story begins by identifying seven disciples who respond to Peter's decision to go fishing. The lake is identified as the Sea of Tiberias. This was the Gentile name for the Sea of Galilee. There is no indication that John thought Peter's desire to fish was wrong. Beasley-Murray comments that no fishing trip has ever been as severely judged as this one. Some see Peter's remark as evidence that he and the disciples had abandoned the ministry and were returning to their "secular" jobs. Others have thought that the comment showed Peter's desperate aimlessness.

However, there is no reason to assume that the fishing trip was undertaken for any reason except food or entertainment. The former fisherman had been through a lot. An evening in the boat hauling the nets in and casting them out would have relieved a great deal of stress and given him time to think while being active. However, John was not particularly interested in the fishing trip. The narrative quickly mentions that they caught nothing in a whole night of fishing. The point of the story is the appearance of Jesus and the way the disciples recognized him.

When Jesus appeared he immediately took control of the situation. The Greek question, "Have you any fish?" is constructed to show that a negative answer was expected. "You don't have any fish, do you?" By this construction John shows that Jesus knew before asking what their luck had been all night. The same miraculous knowledge is displayed by his command to cast the nets on the right side of the boat. In Greek thought the right was considered to be lucky when compared to the left. However, Jesus was not suggesting a lucky cast. He was displaying his knowledge.

The correctness of his suggestion was immediately proved when they caught more fish than they were able to pull into the boat. The story is very similar to one found in Luke 5:1-11. The beloved disciple may have known the event described in Luke or simply recognized that such miraculous knowledge belonged only to Jesus. In either case, he announced his belief that the man shouting instructions from the shore was Jesus. It is important that he refers to Jesus as the "Lord." As the disciples became more aware of the meaning of the resurrection and confident of Christ's presence they more clearly realized that titles like "rabbi" and "prophet" were no longer adequate. Jesus is Lord even of the fish and the fishermen.

Peter's response is typical. He had been working in his tunic - an undergarment. He grabbed his outer garment, pulled it on, and jumped overboard to swim or wade to Jesus. This description of Peter's response is important. It shows his repentance. John did not mention Peter weeping bitterly after denying Christ. In the gospels the positive movement toward Jesus is regarded as just as clear a sign of repentance as confession and weeping is.

When the other disciples arrived they found Jesus with a fire prepared and bread and fish already in place. After the freshly caught fish were brought to the fire, Jesus served the disciples bread and fish. Some of the language used in verse 13 reflects the language of the Eucharist. However, there is no other indication that John had communion symbolism in mind.

The most fascinating aspect of story is the fact that a hundred fifty-three are mentioned. Even if they had been specifically counted out stories like this usually round off the number. Most scholars believe that there is some special symbolism to the number 153. Many theories have been proposed, but none is particularly convincing. The purpose may have been to show that the gospel was available to all peoples but we cannot prove any of the theories.

Perhaps more important is the fact that Jesus "revealed" himself in the midst of a fishing trip. In the ordinary and everyday circumstances of life Jesus entered and gave of himself. The goal of Christian living is to be able to "reveal" Jesus in the ordinary circumstances of our lives.

John 21:15-23 - Jesus' Final Words to Peter

The final scene in John's gospel takes place on the shore after the breakfast Jesus provided the seven fishermen. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he (Peter) loved him (Jesus). After Peter responded positively, Jesus then commanded him to feed or care for his sheep. There have been many sermons preached on this passage that build on the Greek words for love that are used. In the first two questions of Jesus the verb agapao is used, but Peter's response is phrased with the verb phileo. The third question, found in verse 17 asks the question with phileo. Research into the way John uses both words has caused most scholars to no longer believe that there is any special significance in the choice of words. The variation may simply have been stylistic.

The really important part of this passage is often overlooked. Three times Peter was instructed to feed or tend the sheep. Jesus' concern was the care and nurture of the sheep - the church. He gave Peter - the disciple who had dramatically failed - the responsibility to care for and nurture the church. God has risked the future and security of the church by placing it in the hands of people, people like you and me. The charge to Peter is a charge to all of us to care for the ones that God places in our sphere of influence. Regardless of where God may lead some other disciples, each of us is called to be faithful in the responsibilities which Christ has given us.

Study Questions for Reflection and Discussion

These readings and study questions are a summary and reflection of the entire Bible Study.

As you study each day ask the Lord to speak to you through His Word and for the Holy Spirit to make the Scripture alive to you that day. You may wish to spread the study and questions of Days 2-6 out over a longer period of time. You may wish to spend a week on each chapter of John or a week on the questions of each day.

First Day: Read the notes on John 20:11-21:25. Look up the Scripture references given.

1. Identify one or two new insights that were important for you.

2. Select a truth for which you see a specific and personal application to your own life. Describe how it would apply to you.

3. Have you heard Jesus call you by name? How have you responded? Write a brief prayer telling the Lord how you want to respond to his calling of your name.

Second Day: Read John 1-4.

1. List the main themes that are introduced in chapter 1 that will play an important role in the rest of the book. Which one is your favorite? Why?

2. What result emerged from the two main events described in chapter 2? Describe how those events can contribute to your faith.

3. List words or phrases in chapter 3 that describe the Christian life? How many of them apply to your life? Write a brief prayer asking God to begin to build one characteristic into your life.

4. What insights do you receive from chapter 4 about what God wants to provide for believers? What kinds of things does God want believers to do?

5. Describe the overall impact of John 1-4 on you now. What is the greatest challenge to your life that comes from these chapters? How will you live up to that challenge?

Third Day: Read John 5-8.

1. Describe how Jesus' statement in John 5:17 summarizes all of chapter 5.

2. Briefly describe the ways chapter 6 presents Jesus as the Bread of Life. What needs to happen in your life for Jesus to truly be bread for you?

3. The Feast of the Tabernacles emphasized light and water. How does chapter 7 reflect the Festival emphasis? Does the Spirit flow like living water from your innermost being? Write a brief prayer asking God to pour out His Spirit into your life in a new and fresh way.

4. List several important spiritual themes that appear in John 8. Which one seems most important to you? Why?

5. What overall impression does John 5-8 leave with you? What is the most significant truth that you see in these chapters? Why is it so important?

Fourth Day: Read John 9-12.

1. Describe how verses 39-41 provide a meaningful conclusion to chapter 9.

2. List some important insights you receive from the picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. How could your life be different in the future if you would truly let Jesus be your shepherd?

3. Write a brief paragraph explaining how John 11:25 is the key verse in chapter 11. What application could it have in your life?

4. What are the three or four most important concepts presented in chapter 12? Which one is most meaningful to you? Why?

5. What overall impression do you get from John 9-12? What areas of spiritual growth is the Spirit leading you toward as you have reviewed these chapters?

Fifth Day: Read John 13-17.

1. Compare and contrast the actions and teachings of Jesus and those of Peter and Judas in chapter 13. What insight do you receive that could help you become more Christlike and less like Peter or Judas?

2. What is your favorite promise from John 14? Why is it important to you?

3. How does the rest of chapter 15 illustrate the meaning of abiding in Christ mentioned in verse 4? What does the concept of you abiding in Christ and him in you mean to you personally?

4. Identify two or three important teachings in chapter 16. Which is most meaningful to you now? Why?

5. List the requests that Jesus prays for believers in John 17. Which would you most like to see fully answered in your life? What do you need to do so God can answer that prayer of Jesus?

6. Summarize the overall teaching about the Holy Spirit in John 13-17. Write a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to work in your life.

Sixth Day: Read John 18-21.

1. List the main events described in John 18. With which event do you most closely identify? Why?

2. What portion of chapter 19 has the strongest impact on you? Why? Jot down some of your feelings about Christ's death on the cross.

3. Briefly describe the responses of Mary and the various disciples to the appearances of Jesus in chapter 20. You have not seen the Risen Christ directly. Why would or do you believe in him?

4. How does chapter 21 illustrate the truth that we should live with our eyes on Jesus and not on other people? Write a brief prayer asking the Lord to help you live with your focus on Christ.

5. What truth presented in John 18-21 has had the strongest impact on your life? Briefly describe the way you want to live in response to that truth.

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 comment is verse by verse while other is 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.

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.

-Roger Hahn, Copyright © 2011, Roger Hahn and the Christian Resource Institute
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