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Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible: Epistles of John and Jude
Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible: Epistles of John and Jude
Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible: Epistles of John and Jude
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Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible: Epistles of John and Jude

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This extract from the Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible provides Painter and McKnight’s introduction to and concise commentary on the Epistles of John and Jude. The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible presents, in nontechnical language, the best of modern scholarship on each book of the Bible, including the Apocrypha. Reader-friendly commentary complements succinct summaries of each section of the text and will be valuable to scholars, students, and general readers.
Rather than attempt a verse-by-verse analysis, these volumes work from larger sense units, highlighting the place of each passage within the overarching biblical story. Commentators focus on the genre of each text—parable, prophetic oracle, legal code, and so on—interpreting within the historical and literary context.
The volumes also address major issues within each biblical book—including the range of possible interpretations—and refer readers to the best resources for further discussions.
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Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible: Epistles of John and Jude
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    Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible - John Painter




    The Epsitles of John and Jude

    John Painter

    Scot McKnight



    Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546


    © 2003 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

    All rights reserved

    Originally published as part of Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible

    This edition published 2019.

    ISBN 978-1-4674-5468-1

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.




    1, 2, and 3 John




    Date and Context

    Purpose of the Letters

    1 John: Commentary

    The Structure of 1 John

    Introduction (1:1–4)

    First Presentation of Two Tests (1:5–2:27)

    The Ethical Test (1:5–2:17)

    The Christological Test (2:18–27)

    Second Presentation of the Two Tests (2:28–4:6)

    The Ethical Test (2:28–3:24)

    The Christological Test (4:1–6)

    Third Presentation of the Two Tests (4:7–5:12)

    Love Based on Faith Is Proof of Knowing God and Being Born of God (4:7–21)

    Faith Is the Basis of Love (5:1–12)

    Conclusion (5:13–21)

    To Reestablish Confidence (5:13–15)

    Prayer for Those Sinning (5:16–17)

    God and the Problem of Sin (5:18–20)

    Final Exhortation (5:21)

    2 John: Commentary

    The Structure of 2 John

    Opening Greeting Formula (1–3)

    Body of the Letter (4–11)

    Commendation and Call to Love One Another (4–6)

    Warning against the Opponents, the Deceivers (7–9)

    Warning against Offering Hospitality to the Opponents (10–11)

    Final Greetings (12–13)

    3 John: Commentary

    The Structure of 3 John

    Opening Greeting (1)

    Body of the Letter (2–12)

    Commendation for Walking in the Truth (2–4)

    Commendation for Providing Hospitality to Missionaries (5–8)

    Critique of Diotrephes (9–10)

    Commendation of Demetrius (11–12)

    Closing and Final Greeting (13–15)



    Date and Author


    Social Factors


    Salutation (1–2)

    Intention of the Author (3–4)

    Context for the Appeal (5–19)

    Three Ancient Jewish Types and Their Application (5–10)

    Three More Ancient Types and Application (11–13)

    A Prophecy of Enoch Fulfilled (14–16)

    Apostolic Predictions and Application (17–19)

    The Appeal (20–23)

    Doxology (24–25)

    Get the Complete Commentary!


    No one familiar with the Bible in any degree needs to be told that it is a remarkable volume. Its documents and traditions span a period of at least a thousand years. It contains the sacred scriptures of two of the world’s major religions, Judaism (what Christians call the Old Testament) and Christianity, and is the lifeblood of each. In and through its words hundreds of thousands have heard, and still hear, the Word of God addressing them personally. The Bible has informed and infused Western culture to such an extent that the foundations, formative traditions, character, and values of Western society cannot be understood without it. Nations have been built on foundational principles drawn from it. Much of the world’s greatest art, music, and literature cannot be adequately appreciated without a good knowledge of the Bible. It has been the source and inspiration for countless acts of quiet heroism and lives of sacrificial service—though, paradoxically, many of its texts have also been used to justify acts of unimaginable horror and systems of barbarous intolerance. And in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and South America, where the Christian churches are growing rapidly, the Bible is being rediscovered and read in new and exciting ways.

    A striking and equally familiar feature of the Bible is the rich diversity of types of writing within it—law codes, historical narratives, poetry, psalms and proverbs, prophetic oracles, apocalyptic visions, gospels, and epistles. Each of these genres requires detailed study to unfold its riches, and all of the sixty-six individual writings—not to mention the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha—have given rise to numerous commentaries and special studies. Indeed, a further measure of the Bible’s importance is that it has resulted in far more secondary literature than has any other single or composite volume in history. In consequence, the beginning student or study group that wants to give the Bible serious attention can quickly be overwhelmed by such an embarrassing abundance of riches. The sheer disparity between the Bible’s one volume and all that has been written about it is mind-boggling. At the same time, many briefer treatments of biblical books and themes are written at an overly simplistic level; they neither wrestle with the complexity of many texts, nor penetrate very far into the profundity of others, nor show enough awareness of the diversity of interpretations possible at many points or of the challenges and benefits of much modern scholarship. Despite its age, biblical studies is a fast-moving discipline with new discoveries, angles of approach, and insights constantly calling for fresh assessment of older assumptions simply taken for granted, whether at a fine-detail or whole-picture level.

    It is essential, then, that each new generation should have a guide enabling serious students of the Bible to see the forest without getting lost in the trees. Since the Bible too easily becomes the province only of the technical expert, it is desirable that a single volume should sum up the best of modern scholarship and direct interested readers to appropriate further reading. And since the twentieth century witnessed huge strides in the way the Bible is read and heard, with many new translations and ways of approaching the Bible under constant discussion, it is appropriate that students of the Bible should have a handbook which provides authoritative summing up of the best fruits of the last century’s scholarship and clear guidance on into the twenty-first century.

    The Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible is just such a volume.

    •It draws on and encapsulates the best of modern and international scholarship on the books of the Bible.

    •It is the only one-volume Bible commentary to cover all the texts (including the Apocrypha and 1 Enoch) regarded by one or more Christian churches as canonical.

    •It deals with the text in nontechnical language, and provides both reader-friendly treatments for beginning use of the Bible and succinct summaries of the essence or thrust of each section for those further along the way.

    •It focuses on the principal unit of meaning—narrative, prophetic oracle, parable, section of argument, etc.—rather than attempting verse-by-verse analysis.

    •The primary objective is to clarify the meaning (and possible meanings) of each unit and to bring out its interconnectedness with the rest of the text.

    •It thus avoids the problems (common in many commentaries) either of losing the reader in a mass of detail, or of simply rephrasing what the text itself says.

    •It summarizes succinctly major issues unable to be discussed in full detail and refers the reader to fuller discussions.

    •The Editors provide two major context-setting articles—The History of the Tradition: Old Testament and Apocrypha and The History of the Tradition: New Testament.

    •The commentary includes several behind the text and in front of the text articles, on background and interpretation, and overview articles which enable the reader to maintain perspective.

    The sixty-seven contributors include world-class scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and faith traditions. Their contributions stand out either for their fresh interpretations of the evidence, or for their way of asking new questions of the text, or for their new angles of approach, or for taking what was once the province of the technical expert and making it manageable for the busy pastor, teacher, student, or layperson. While the translation of choice is the New Revised Standard Version, many of the contributors offer their own vivid translations of the original Hebrew or Greek.

    The project has been long in the making. The volume now goes forth with our heartfelt desire and prayer that it may open the windows of many minds and may reward attentive hearing with many fresh insights and a new appreciation of the Bible’s manifold riches.

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