Published by Tyndale House
Many thanks to the kind folks at Tyndale House for this review copy!
I have commented previously on the format of these handy volumes, so that will not be mentioned here (read my review of Hebrews in this series here for comments on format).
There is no question that the Gospel of John is a highly theological book. John’s treatment of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are quite unique when compared to the Synoptics. The writers of the notes on the text leave no doubt in the reader’s mind–Jesus is indeed God and man, without separation or division in nature. They state:
“When Jesus was conceived, God became a man. He was not part man and part God; he was completely human and completely divine…The two most common errors people make about Jesus are to minimize his humanity or to minimize his divinity. Jesus is both God and man” – p. 7
Expectedly, this view carries throughout the study guide.
The notes that occupy roughly half the page through most of the book give more-detailed information on verses that either make important theological claims or refer to historical and/or cultural events and customs that might be unfamiliar to modern readers. These notes also offer commentary on verses throughout and seek to make application to the reader’s modern context.
One of the features more prominent in this volume are the character profiles. Given that John wrote a narrative, it is characteristically smattered with accounts of different people and their interactions with Jesus. These profiles provide a variety of information such as strengths and accomplishments, lessons from his/her life, vital statistics, and key verses in which they are addressed or mentioned. The important people in John’s Gospel profiled are John the Baptist, Nicodemus, Lazarus, Caiaphas, Mary Magdalene, John, and Thomas.
The one downside to this volume (and likely others in the series) are the occasional clichés that find their way into the notes. For example, on page 11 in Nicodemus’ character profile, the authors state “God specializes in finding and changing people we consider out of reach.” While this statement is true, it just seems a little simplistic.
That minor criticism aside, I would, as with the previously-reviewed Hebrews volume, recommend this study of John, especially to those who study in small groups or privately and do not have the time for more lengthy treatments of this most glorious Gospel.