Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters

I have always been more of a biblical theologian than a systematic theologian.  That is why I was very happy to read Andreas Kostenberger’s new book A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters.  This is the first volume in a new series in biblical theology that will be edited by Kostenberger.  My first impression of this book (other than being big as it is 567 pages) was that it was a pleasure to read.  The reader is taken on a journey throughout the whole range of issues regarding John’s Gospel and letters.  Everything from grammar to the cross to salvation to characters to the community and beyond is dealt with in this volume.  This is an extensive study and Kostenberger interacts with the scholarship of today and past generations.  Kostenberger comes at the issues from a quite conservative background.  He affirms John the Apostle as the author (against scholars such as Richard Bauckham) and is critical of the whole theory of a Johannine community.  As an evangelical, I have no problem with that.  However, I find the idea of reconciling John’s positioning of the clearing of the Temple at the beginning and the synoptic placing at the end by suggesting two cleansings of the Temple unconvincing.  I think you can accept a rearranging of events for theological and literary purposes and still affirm a high view of Scripture.  Overall, this is a very good book that is a wonderful introduction to the issues surrounding the writings of John.  Unfortunately the letters of John were pretty much swallowed up by the work on the Gospel, but other than that this is a very useful addition to scholarship.  This book is very readable and will be good for the interested layperson as well as having enough research to benefit the scholar.  This book is highly recommended.

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