Question and Answer with Mickey Klink on the Gospel of John

Learn more about John in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary Series

john bible commentaryEdward W. Klink (Ph.D., University of St. Andrews, Scotland) is the Senior Pastor of Hope Church in Roscoe, Illinois. After serving for nearly a decade as a professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in southern California, he was led to transition from teaching and the professorate to preaching and the pastorate. He was called by Hope Church and became their Senior Pastor in July of 2014.

Other than John in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, Dr. Klink is the author of The Sheep of the Fold: The Audience and Origin of the Gospel of John (Cambridge, 2007), The Audience of the Gospels: The Origin and Function of the Gospels in Early Christianity (editor; T. & T. Clark, 2010), and Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice (with Darian R. Lockett; Zondervan, 2012).

Dr. Klink has been married to Laura since 1999, and they have three children: Jacob, Benjamin, and Ruth. He enjoys reading, camping and hiking, playing basketball, and watching the Chicago Bears.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on John?

I have had an interest in John since I was an MDiv student at TEDS in Grant Osborne’s class on the Gospels. We covered the Synoptics for 14 weeks, and John for only one week, which only made more mysterious to me the elusive and unique Fourth Gospel. When I had the freedom to select a ThM thesis topic later in my studies, I chose a textual issue in the Gospel of John (the so-called Johannine Pentecost in 20:19-23), and my love for the Fourth Gospel began. After focusing on John for my PhD under Richard Bauckham at the University of St. Andrews, my research in this Gospel was
well underway.

In one sense you cannot prepare to write a commentary, for it requires all the skills developed over years of study and research. Certainly my research focus on John was foundational. At least for my commentary on John, or for my approach to the exegetical task, I found my understanding of biblical and systematic theology, even historical theology, were important contributors to the nature and process of my exegesis.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

Most commentaries are desired and designed by publishers to reach a multi-faceted audience, although the ZECNT makes clear that it is clearly concerned to be useful for pastors. At the same time, the in-depth exegetical explanations, the engagement with the original language, and the theological summaries makes it very useful for students as well as a worthy contribution to Johannine scholarship.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of John?

I tried to offer a fresh reading of John that I do believe provided several helpful contributions. Here are three specific examples that come to mind: an explanation of the role of the prologue for reading the rest of the gospel, the nature and function of dialogues, and the development of a less common view of the story of Nicodemus. More generally, I think my reading of John offered a reading that tried to read the parts with the whole, and in a sincerely theological manner. I was not trying to do something new; if anything I was trying to do something old – read John as Christian Scripture and not merely as an ancient text. I believe this alone was a significant contribution, not only to Johannine studies, but also to the study of exegesis and interpretation.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

The prologue of John (1:1-18) was the most memorable section to research and write, not only because it serves as the launching pad for the message of the rest of the Gospel, but also because of its rich mode of communication and dense theological message. I spent three months writing on those 18 verses, and could have spent even more.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

The Gospel of John presents the reader with a beautiful and compelling portrait of Christ and “the gospel,” and winsomely invites the reader to participate in the reality it presents. As I worked through the Gospel, I was strengthened in my understanding of my identity as a child of the Father through Christ, the wonderful grace of the gospel, and the nature and bounty of the Christian life.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on John?

I will list a few with a brief comment, though in no particular order:

–E. C. Hoskyns – the best theological commentary in the last century. [link]

–D. A. Carson – my former teacher and a skilled evaluator of interpretive issues. [link]

–L. Morris – a very careful reading of John in its historical context. [link]

–R. E. Brown robust in all dimensions of the exegetical task. [link]

–R. Bultmann – I usually disagreed with his conclusions, but he sees the text so well. [link]

–Augustine – don’t neglect the pre-critical; Augustine’s writings resonated with the message and theology of the Fourth Gospel. [link]

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

I am working on two book projects right now. The first is a book on ecclesiology and the Christian life, and the second is a book on creation, Gen 1-2, and the physical world. Both of these projects are driven by my social location as a pastor, as I try to write in ways that help the church grasp and live out the gospel in daily life.


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