Why to Read Andreas Kostenberger’s New Book

I have three things to say about Andreas Kostenberger’s latest book, A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009). First, go to Amazon and purchase this book immediately, because Kostenberger almost always gets it right in matters of biblical studies and biblical theology (having been, I suppose, mugged by biblical reality in the cradle). Second, be careful lugging this hefty volume to bed for late night reading, for fear of being crushed to death if you happen to dose off in mid-exegesis. Third, I am in the midst of reading it right now in preparation for my Christian Theology lectures in the Fall and have found it to be impeccably well-researched, helpfully organized, and eminently readable.

Kostenberger’s volume is the first in Zondervan’s Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series. Pastors, theologians, and students alike will find it helpful in their respective callings. Building upon two decades of research in Johannine literature, Kostenberger gives us a comprehensive theology of John’s Gospel and letters, a comparison and contrast of Johannine and Synoptic themes, and a deftly delivered picture of Johannine theology in the context of the whole biblical canon.

Allow me to reproduce two of D. A. Carson’s and I. Howard Marshall’s thoughts about the book. Carson writes, “for the comprehensiveness of its coverage in the field of Johannine theology (gospel and letters), there is nothing to compare to this work.” Marshall writes, “This book is a ‘first’ in many ways: the first volume that sets the pattern for the quality and style of the new Biblical Theology of the New Testament series published by Zondervan, the first major volume to be devoted specifically to the theology of John’s gospel and letters at a high academic level, and the first volume to do so where we have an interpretation of John’s theology composed by an eyewitness of the life and passion of Jesus.” [Editor’s note: I’m pretty sure this last sentence does not mean that Kostenberger himself is an eyewitness of the life and passion of Jesus.]

A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters builds upon two decades of Johannine scholarship for Kostenberger. He is unique among Johannine scholars in that he has published an exegetical commentary (John), a college text (Encountering John), a monograph (The Missions of Jesus and the Disciples According to the Fourth Gospel), bible background commentary (The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary), and now a theology of the gospel and letters of John.