1−3 John: Reformed Expository Commentary


O’Donnell, Douglas S. 1−3 John. New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2015.

Commentaries are the most used resources among pastors. We are always seeking for commentaries that are able to combine exegesis without being excessively technical. We love reading commentaries we can easily apply to our sermon preparation and commentaries that are almost written from a homiletical perspective. If you are planning to preach on the letters of John, then you need to consider buying 1−3 John, by Douglas Sean O’Donnell (2015).

O’Donnell begins his commentary assuming the Johannine authorship point of view of the three letters. He does not invest a single chapter to discuss authorship issues in exclusivity. However, the title of the first chapter of the books says it all: “Apostolic Fellowship.” In this chapter, O’Donnell deepens into the pronouns “which”, “we”, and “you” as pivotal words for an appropriate understanding of the rest of the letter. If you are looking for a book that will provide you with a bigger perspective on authorship, then this is not the book you are looking for. But if you have already adopted Johannine authorship, you will love this commentary.

The author does an excellent job regarding text dissemination. He goes pericope by pericope deepening into the most important terms without isolating them from the context. He also includes some convenient tables in order to go deeper into an idea or to show parallelisms between sentences. O’Donnell also uses some diagrams with the main purpose of underling antithetic clauses and ideas, repetitions, or synonyms used by John to express an idea. Thanks to these helpful tools, one can appreciate text peculiarities and details that would be difficult to explain through words, and O’Donnell does that strategically and in convenient texts.

The author writes in a very accessible and dynamic manner without abounding in Greek terms. That allows readers to focus on the text without losing the track O’Donnell traces. Illustrations from today and history are also a tool that the author uses to introduce new themes or to better explain a point.

Concluding, O’Donnell’s commentary on 1−3 John is a highly recommended book for pastors since this expository commentary is written from a homiletical-pastoral perspective. However, and due to its accessible language, I would recommend this book to any Bible student who would like to study Johannine epistles. You will not regret having obtained this book. You can buy this book here

More reviews about commentaries here

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s