Hey Bloomaloomers –
Happy Monday to you!
1 John started last night. If you missed it, do check out the audio over here later on today (Chuck, one of our most faithful sound guys and the fella responsible for sermon audio each week, usually posts the messages late in the day on Mondays.)
One of the things we’re hoping to get better at as a congregation in the weeks and months to come is providing more educational resources for you to grow in your faith and understanding of the world, etc etc. In other words, giving you things that you can take BEYOND the Sunday gathering and wrestle with on your own. Maybe some “book of the month” type stuff that we put at the info table in the back, devotional resources, book lists/recommended reading, etc etc. Things like that.
So as a first gesture towards that, I thought I might clue you in on a couple of the resources I’LL be using as I wrestle and preach my way through 1 John. Contrary to what you may think, I do not make up all the stuff I preach on Sunday nights on my own. (Well, some of it I do.) I don’t just look at the Bible and receive heavenly inspiration straight out of the clouds. The process is much more “human” than that.
And one of the biggest parts of the “human” process is sitting down with trusted “friends” who know the Bible better than me, have wrestled with the books much more deeply than I have, and have really, REALLY good things to say.
Those “friends” are normally a couple commentaries. Often, they point out nuances in the text that I would have missed, or help solve riddles in a way I never would have thought of. Their insights bring the text to life for me, and then I try to bring the text to life for you. And mind you, I don’t always AGREE with them. In fact, I often try to pick commentators that I know either I will tend to disagree with, or, even better and in addition to that, will disagree with EACH OTHER at certain points so that I can actually see what the issues at stake are. Doing so challenges my thinking. It’s an exercise in loving God with all my mind.
That said, here are the commentaries I’ll be reading through as I work through this series. I’ll give a short description of each and a link to Amazon where you can check them out further. If you’re so inclined, I’d encourage you to buy one or more and read with me. These commentaries are written by three really stellar mid-late 20th century New Testament scholars.
1) John R. W. Stott, The Letters of John, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Stott, who passed away last year, was and is a trusted “evangelical” voice in both the pastoral world and the world of New Testament scholarship. His writing is a reflection of that. Love for Jesus, love for the Bible, love for the people of God. This commentary is written to be accessible to the thoughtful layperson and scholar alike. Not super technical, but not a “light” treatment of the text either. $11 or so on Amazon.
2) I. Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, New International Commentary on the New Testament. I ran into Marshall’s work for the first time when I was in seminary and really appreciated it. Another great evangelical scholar, Marshall is a committed Arminian (different from the other two guys), and (so I am told) wrestles with the text as an Arminian. Can’t wait to get into this one. The NICNT series is geared more for the scholar than the layperson (lots of footnotes, some technical talk on Greek, etc), but I think it will still be a profitable read for someone who really wants to wrestle with the text. Some used ones for around $15 or so on Amazon.
3) F. F. Bruce, The Gospel and Epistles of John. Bruce was a mountain of a man in terms of his scholarship in the 20th century. His Hebrews commentary was my primary conversation partner when I worked through Hebrews earlier this year. Thoroughly enjoyable. Like Stott’s commentary, this one is written to be accessible to the layperson, and it shows. In addition, this one includes his thoughts on the GOSPEL of John as well, so I think it’ll be fun to compare what’s going on in the epistle with the gospel, via Bruce’s thoughts. Some used ones for around $10 or so on Amazon.
So there you have it. Get one, or all three, or none. Should be a fun series either way 🙂
Grace and peace to you Bloom family.