1 John Commentaries for Pastors

1 John commentaries for pastors are listed below. Some were written in the traditional commentary style, while others read more like printed sermons. This kind of Bible commentary is helpful to preachers and teachers, yet can be used by lay Christians such as those who are leading Bible studies or small groups. Since this kind of Bible commentary emphasizes application, the volumes below are also great as devotional aides.

To see the top 1 John commentaries in any style — e.g. preaching focus, theological insight, exposition, technical, social background, original language — please follow the link provided.


Bible Commentaries for Preaching and Teaching


The Letters of John (NIV Application Commentary) by Gary M. Burge


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Reviews and Accolades:

Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority: commentary on 1 John

Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on 1 John, “Pastors, Bible Study leaders, and other teachers will find Burge’s commentary in the NIVAC series a helpful tool, particularly as they seek insight on how to apply the timeless truth of God’s Word in these letters to the contemporary context in which we live.”

Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the General Editor: The primary goal of the NIV Application Commentary Series is to help you with the difficult but vital task of bringing an ancient message into a modern context. The series not only focuses on application as a finished product but also helps you think through the process of moving from the original meaning of a passage to its contemporary significance. These are commentaries, not popular expositions. They are works of reference, not devotional literature.” See more about the NIV Application Commentary series.


1-3 John (Reformed Expositional Commentary) by Douglas Sean O’Donnell


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: The REC series has “four fundamental commitments. First, these commentaries aim to be biblical…Second, these commentaries are unashamedly doctrinal…Third, these commentaries are redemptive-historical…Fourth, these commentaries are practical…” All authors are “pastor-scholars.” See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


Exalting Jesus in 1, 2, and 3 John (Christ-Centered Exposition) by David L. Akin


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: This series “takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition presented as sermons and divided into chapters that conclude with a “Reflect and Discuss” section, making this series ideal for small group study, personal devotion, and even sermon preparation. It’s not academic but rather presents an easy reading, practical and friendly commentary.” See more about the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.


1-3 John: Fellowship in God’s Family (Preaching the Word) by David L. Allen


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “For years, Crossway’s Preaching the Word commentary series has helped pastors, preachers, and anyone who teaches God’s Word to better interpret and apply the message of the Bible. Under the careful editorial oversight of experienced pastor and best-selling author R. Kent Hughes, this series is known for its commitment to biblical authority, its pastoral tone and focus, and its overall accessibility.” See more about the Preaching the Word commentary series.


First, Second, and Third John (Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching) by D. Moody Smith


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Best for: expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, experienced Bible readers

Purpose: From the publisher: “This series of commentaries offers an interpretation of the books of the Bible. It is designed to meet the need of students, teachers, ministers, and priests for a contemporary expository commentary. These volumes will not replace the historical critical commentary or homiletical aids to preaching. The purpose of this series is rather to provide a third kind of resource, a commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.” See more about the Interpretation Bible commentary series.


1, 2, and 3 John (The Story of God Bible Commentary) by Constantine R. Campbell


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “The Story of God Bible Commentary is a new commentary for today’s world. It’s the first commentary series to explain and illuminate each passage of Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story. This “story-centric” approach makes SGBC a fruitful resource for pastors, students, Sunday school teachers, and everyday readers.”


1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John and Jude (Holman New Testament Commentary) by David Walls


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Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “One in a series of twelve New Testament verse-by-verse commentary books edited by Max Anders. Includes discussion starters, teaching plan, and more. Great for lay teachers and pastors alike.”


Commentaries by Well-Known Pastors


1-3 John (MacArthur New Testament Commentary) by John MacArthur


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “If you’re familiar with John MacArthur’s in-depth Bible teaching, you have an idea of what you’ll find in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary. The commentary takes you deep into each passage, verse by verse—sometimes word by word. It’s like having a Bible teacher sitting next to you as you study Scripture.”


First John (Thru the Bible Commentary Series) by J. Vernon McGee


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “Radio messages from J. Vernon McGee delighted and enthralled listeners for years with simple, straightforward language and clear understanding of the Scripture. Now enjoy his personable, yet scholarly, style in a 60-volume set of commentaries that takes you from Genesis to Revelation with new understanding and insight.”


1, 2, and 3 John, Jude by Charles Swindoll


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Approach to Scripture: Evangelical

Best for: individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, adult Sunday school classes

Purpose: From the publisher: “The 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience in studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries. Each volume combines verse-by-verse commentary, charts, maps, photos, key terms, and background articles with practical application.” See more about Swindoll’s Living Insights Commentary series.


Also see:

Compare 65 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart