by R.C. Sproul
409 pages, 2009
In Acts 8 an Ethiopian studying God’s Word asks a question that will sound familiar to most of us: “How can I [understand it] unless someone explains it to me?” While the Bible is generally clear, there are sentences and even chapters that defy the average lay person’s understanding.
That’s why I’m always on the look out for a great commentary - a really good one can be like a teacher coming alongside to offer personal instruction. And I’ve found nothing better than RC Sproul’s commentary on John. I’ve never before read a commentary front to back. I’ve never before found a commentary that so completely answered my every question. And I’ve never before been midway through a commentary and felt the urge to skip to the back of the book to get a sneak peek at how it all turns out! It seems so odd to say a commentary knocked my socks off, but this one did.
Sproul has helpfully integrated the entire text of John into his commentary, which meant I could walk around with it, reading snatches whenever and wherever. The book started as a series of sermons, which gives it a very different feel than other, more detailed, and verse by verse, clause by clause, word by word commentaries. Sproul was addressing themes, and narratives, and not analyzing each word. That said, any time there was a phrase or word that might be conjuring up some controversy, Sproul was sure to address it. So it was a commentary that had the flow of a story, never getting bogged down into too much details. And yet it was thorough. Yes, there are some commentaries that may be even more thorough, but Sproul dives deep – I felt like I was learning something new every page.
I would recommend it to everyone: this was an edifying, educational, joy-filled encounter with the book of John and I can't wait to check out other titles in this series.