John’s Letters Commentary – Herb Bateman Author Interview

1-3 John commentary coverDr. Herbert W. Bateman IV is an American New Testament scholar from South Jersey. A graduate of Cairn University, where he opted to complete his third year of undergraduate study at the Jerusalem University College, Israel; Bateman earned a four year Masters of Theology and a subsequent Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, where his 1993 doctoral dissertation was awarded the William M. Anderson Scholarship Award for maintaining the highest standards of excellence throughout the Ph.D. program. Since then he has completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Professor Bateman began his teaching career in 1986 as an instructor at Dallas Theological Seminary’s “Lay Institute” program and New Testament Teacher’s Assistant. He was later hired as a adjunct professor for the school’s extension campuses in Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1993-1995). Over the years, Bateman has taught at Liberty University Baptist Seminary in Lynchburg, Virgina; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana; Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois; Taylor University in Upland, Indiana; Tyndale Theological Seminary in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Asian Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines, and Vietnam Theological University, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon). In August 2013, Bateman founded the Cyber-Center for Biblical Studies in Northern Indiana, which is an internet resource center that promotes the reading, studying, teaching, and preaching of the Bible.

Dr. Bateman has published eighteen books and numerous articles and book reviews. His books include Understanding the Gospels: A Guide for Preaching and Teaching co-edited with Benjamin I. Simpson (2017), Jude for the Evangelical Critical Commentary Series (2015), Interpreting the General Letters in Kregel’s Exegetical Handbook Series (2013), and Jesus the Messiah co-authored with Darrell L. Bock and Gordon H. Johnston (2012).

Dr. Bateman is also the founder of The Cyber-Center for Biblical Studies, which is an internet resource center that promotes the reading, studying, teaching, and preaching of the Bible.

7 Questions on John’s Letters in the Big Greek Idea Commentary Series

Dr. Bateman recently agreed to answer my questions about his commentary on John’s Letters. Readers will learn about how this commentary came to be, why it’s unique among other 1-3 John commentaries, and what personally affected Dr. Bateman as he wrote.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on 1-3 John?

As a professor of NT Greek, I always wrestled with teaching intermediate Greek in a manner that would provide students a working understanding of Greek by way of interacting with the Greek text. As a result, I published A Workbook for Intermediate Greek: Grammar, Exegesis, and Commentary on 1–3 John (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 2008). The workbook is an interactive workbook. It was this workbook that prepared me to write the commentary on 1-3 John

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

The book is intended for the busy pastor who desires to use their Greek text in their sermon preparation, the overloaded professor of an academic institution where demands are high and expectations at times appear overwhelming, and finally for the student with demanding Greek professors.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of 1-3 John?

The book is a grammatical-like commentary with interlinear-like English translations of the Greek text that provides expositional-like commentary to guide a pastor and teacher in their sermon and teaching preparations.

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

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God.

Too much stress is placed on the deity of Jesus (due to systematic theology) at the expense of his humanity and his messiahship. Jesus came in the form of a man and fulfilled God’s promise about a forthcoming Messiah. John says, that is an important aspect of believing faith.

3 John 1:8 Therefore we ought to support such people (= God’s vocational workers), so that we become coworkers in cooperation with the truth.

The manner in which God’s vocational workers are to be supported is “in a manner worthy of God.” Far too many Godly workers are not supported in a manner worthy of God.

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

What edified me the most was the process caused me to slow down and look at the text more closely.

• What does the text say . . . not what I remember about the text.

• What does it mean . . . not what I want it to mean.

• What do I need to believe . . . not my theological pet peeves.

• How should I then live for God . . . not according to my preconceived ideas.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on 1-3 John?

• Brown, Raymond E. 1982. The Epistles of John. AB 30. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

• Lieu, Judith M. 2008. I, II, III John: A Commentary. NTL. Louisville: Westminster John Knox.

• Yarbrough, Robert W. 2008. 1–3 John. BECNT. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

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

Hebrews Commentary in Kregel’s Kerux commentary series

James in Kregel’s Big Greek Idea series

Own Herb Bateman’s commentary John’s Letters

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