June 15, 2011

Book Review: John by R.C. Sproul

R.C. Sproul’s “John” Commentary from Reformation Trust Publishers is laid out in what I refer to as a devotional commentary. Sproul chose not to focus in on every individual verse and every individual word. Instead he chose the primary ideas outlined by John in his gospel. For example Sproul broke up chapters 1 & 2 of John in the following manner.

The Prologue (1:1-18) this portion which included the nuances of the logos and the idea of light and as flesh Jesus reveals grace and truth. The idea that Christ came but His own people did not accept Him.

Who Are You? (1:19-28) we see John the Baptist come into view as the forerunner of Christ, the one who make straight the path for the Lord. The Jews realize that this man may be a prophet who has come to them after a four hundred year spiritual drought.

The Lamb of God (1:29-51) the iterations of John that shows Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.

The Wedding Feast (2:1-11) the wedding at Cana where Jesus initiates His first “sign”.

The Cleansing of the Temple (2:12-25) Christ drives the livestock out of the Temple and flips the tables of the money changers. We also see a short mildly cryptic statement about Jesus knowing people and not entrusting Himself to them which them launches directly into the narrative of Nicodemus.
The general outline of the book follows this format. It doesn’t deal with specific nuances unless it drives the concept that R.C. is trying to address in his book. One thing that needs to be noted is Sproul’s Calvinist point of view which comes into plain view in John 6:37 when Jesus says, “All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Sproul cites this idea as pivotal to the idea of election and divine sovereignty. He states:
"With these words, Jesus taught those who were gathered, including His disciples, that there are a number of people whom the Father has determined will come to the Son.”

This theme is revisited in the Upper Room Discourse and the great High Priestly Prayer of Jesus in John 17:12 and the fact that Jesus states that “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” These scenarios to Sproul imply that there are set total of people predetermined or “predestined” by the Father that will be saved.
As for the remainder for the rest of the book not outlined I must say I did enjoy reading it. It offered other insights into the text not necessarily covered in other commentaries. The Gospel of John is an abundantly rich text and no single commentary could ever cover all of it thoroughly but Sproul does a good job.

Rating: 95 out of 100


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this book from a devotional perspective. From a more technical perspective D.A. Carson's commentary on John is excellent and is highly recommended.

Your Neighbor

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