Best John Commentaries | Reviews for Bible Study, Preaching, and Teaching

The Gospel of John has changed lives for over 2,000 years and it can change yours as well. Understanding what John teaches about Jesus Christ will strengthen your faith, transform your mind and heart, and minister to your doubts and fears. Bible commentaries on John will help you understand the Gospel and effectively teach it to others. For a full list of John commentaries with reviews see below, but here is a quick glance at the Top 3 John commentaries:

The Bible instructs Christians to seek wisdom (Prov. 1:7, James 1:5) and who better to learn from than pastors, theologians, and professors who have been studying and teaching John for decades?

10 Best John Commentaries

The best John commentaries are listed below. There are exegetical commentaries, scholarly and technical commentaries, as well as commentaries that are easy to understand. They are not suggested as a replacement for prayer, the Holy Spirit, and the reader’s own diligent study of Scripture. The “Top 10” list is based on aggregate academic reviews.

Please use the list below as a starting point for learning about John commentaries. It is not intended to be the “final word” because of its limitations. Nevertheless, a list based on aggregate academic reviews is likely to point you in the right direction to find the right resource for your purposes.

#1

The Gospel According to John
Pillar New Testament Commentary
by D. A. Carson

John commentary by D.A. Carson

Reviews and Accolades:

• Desiring God: #1 recommended commentary on John

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “the first choice for pastors”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on John

• Keith Mathison: #1 ranked commentary on John; “conservative evangelical scholarship at its best”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Carson takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He is Reformed.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

Carson is well-known for his Matthew commentary in the REBC series, which is considered one of the best Matthew commentaries.

The publisher notes that the Pillar New Testament Commentary series combines “rigorous exegesis and exposition, with an eye alert both to biblical theology and the contemporary relevance of the Bible.”

See more about the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.

Please also see Best Commentary Series: The Top 50. Based on aggregate reviews.

#2

John
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
by Andreas J. Kostenberger

John commentary by Andreas Kostenberger

This commentary on the Gospel of John is well-reviewed for its quality exegesis and its helpfulness to pastors. It’s over 700 pages.

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “an excellent work on the Greek text”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on John

• Keith Mathison: #5 ranked commentary on John, “a solid, thorough, and practical work that will be of benefit to students and pastors”

• D.A. Carson: “a conservative commentary replete with many references to previous works”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Kostenberger takes an evangelical approach to the fourth gospel. He is Baptist. Kostenberger teaches at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This commentary is known for its Greek exegesis. It’s over 700 pages.

The publisher notes that volumes in the BECNT series “blend scholarly depth with readability, exegetical detail with sensitivity to the whole, and attention to critical problems with theological awareness.”

See more about the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

After browsing the commentaries below, also see the best one-volume bible commentaries, based on aggregate reviews.

#3

The Gospel of John: A Commentary
by Craig S. Keener

John commentary by Craig Keener

Reviews and Accolades:

• D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on John; “despite the sheer quantity of material, the writing is accessible… indispensable for the serious student”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on John

• Keith Mathison: #2 ranked commentary on John, “those who are doing in-depth study of John cannot afford to be without this outstanding work”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Craig Keener takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He is Arminian.

This commentary on John’s gospel is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. It consists of two volumes and is 1,600+ pages. This volume is not part of a series.

Craig Keener is well-known for his Galatians commentary, which is considered one of the best Galatians commentaries.

The publisher notes that Keener “explores the Jewish and Greco-Roman settings of John more deeply than previous works, paying special attention to social-historical and rhetorical features of the Gospel. It cites about 4,000 different secondary sources and uses over 20,000 references from ancient literature.”

#4

The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary
by Herman Ridderbos

John commentary by Herman Ridderbos

Reviews and Accolades:

• D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on John; “theologically richer than most commentaries”

• Tom Schreiner: recommended; “theological insightful”

• Keith Mathison: #4 ranked commentary on John; “a valuable and insightful commentary”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Ridderbos takes an evangelical approach to John’s gospel. He was an ordained minister in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (d. 2007).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

It has been well-reviewed among commentaries on John for its theological reflection and insight. It is not part of a series.

The publisher notes that in this volume on the fourth gospel “Ridderbos presents John in its distinctively apostolic character and includes important criteria for the literary and homiletical exegesis of the Fourth Gospel.”

#5

The Gospel of John
New International Commentary on the New Testament
by J. Ramsey Michaels

John commentary by J Ramsey Michaels

Reviews and Accolades:

• D. A. Carson: a “best buy” on John; “the writing style is superb, and insights abound on just about every page”

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on John

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Michaels takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. Michaels taught at Gordon-Conwell and Missouri State.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. This volume on the fourth gospel replaced Morris’ in the NICNT series (see below).

Michaels also wrote the 1 Peter commentary in the WBC series, which is considered one of the best 1 Peter commentaries.

The publisher notes that the NICNT series provides “an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.”

See more about the New International Commentary on the New Testament series.

#6

The Gospel According to John
New International Commentary on the New Testament
by Leon Morris

John Commentary by Leon Morris

Reviews and Accolades:

• Keith Mathison: #3 ranked commentary on John’s gospel; ” a standard of conservative evangelical scholarship on [John]”

• Tom Schreiner: recommended; “thorough and reverent exposition”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Leon Morris takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He was an evangelical Anglican (d. 2006).

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. Leon Morris’ volume was replaced by J. Ramsey Michael’s commentary (see above).

Morris is known or his Romans commentary in the Pillar series, which is considered one of the best Romans commentaries.

The publisher notes that the NICNT series “provides an exposition that is thorough and abreast of modern scholarship and at the same time loyal to the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God.”

#7

John
NIV Application Commentary
by Gary M. Burge

John commentary by Gary Burge

Interview: See Best Bible Commentaries seven-question interview with Gary Burge on this volume

Reviews and Accolades:

• Craig Blomberg, etal: a “priority” commentary on John

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Burge takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He is a New Testament scholar at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Burge is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church USA.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

#8

John
Word Biblical Commentary
by George R. Beasley-Murray

John commentary by George Beasley Murray

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “fine treatment of the Greek text”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Beasley-Murray takes a critical approach to the Gospel of John. He was Baptist (d. 2000). Beasley-Murray taught at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

This commentary on John’s gospel is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the WBC series “delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation.”

See more about the Word Biblical Commentary series.

#9

John
Tyndale New Testament Commentary
by Colin G. Kruse

John commentary by Colin Kruse

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “a solid exposition for pastors”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Kruse takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He is Reformed. Kruse teaches at the Melbourne School of Theology in Australia.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

Kruse also wrote the 2 Corinthians commentary in the same series. See best 2 Corinthians commentary for more.

The publisher notes that the TNTC series “examines the text section by section, drawing out its main themes.” See more about the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series.

#10

The Gospel According to St. John
by C. K. Barrett

John commentary by C.K. Barrett

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “excellent exposition”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Barrett’s The Gospel According to John takes a critical approach to Scripture. He was a British Methodist minister (d. 2011).

This commentary best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

This volume on the fourth gospel was first published in 1955. It has been well-reviewed for its Greek exegesis. It is not part of a series.

Barrett is also known for his Acts commentary in the ICC series. See best Acts commentaries for more.

The publisher notes “C. K. Barrett’s Commentary on the Greek text of the Gospel of John has long been recognized as a major contribution to theological studies and has become the standard work in the field.”

More Gospel of John Commentaries for Christian Ministry

Please read: Why are the Gospel of John commentaries below not in the “Top 10”? It’s not necessarily because they have received poor reviews or because people haven’t found them helpful. The reasons vary:

  • Some are relatively new and haven’t been widely reviewed, read, or used yet.
  • Others haven’t been widely distributed, so it is difficult to get enough information to aggregate.
  • Still others may be outdated in relation to biblical scholarship or out of print and difficult to acquire.

The “Top 10” list is reviewed annually. Readers are encouraged to consider the volumes in this section before making a purchase. These 10 are not in any particular order.


The Gospel of John
The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries
by Raymond E. Brown

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John commentary by Raymond Brown

Reviews and Accolades:

• Tom Schreiner: recommended, “careful exposition by the renowned Roman Catholic scholar”

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Brown takes a critical approach to to the Gospel of John. He was an American Catholic priest (d. 1998).

Brown should not be confused with evangelical author Raymond Brown (no “E” initial) who wrote several volumes in the Bible Speaks Today series.

This volume on John’s gospel is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary.

The publisher notes that the Anchor series “pursues the goal of bringing to a wide audience the most important new ideas, the latest research findings, and the clearest possible analysis of the Bible.”


John
Reformed Expositional Commentary
by Richard D. Phillips

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John commentary by Richard Phillips

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Phillips takes an evangelical approach to Scripture. He is Reformed.

This commentary on the Gospel According to John is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes. This commentary consists of two volumes.

Phillips also wrote the Hebrews commentary in this series. See best Hebrews commentaries for more.

The publisher notes that the REC series has four 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…”

See more about the Reformed Expository Commentary series.


John
Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
by Edward W. Klink

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John commentary by Edward Klink

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Klink takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He previously taught at BIOLA, now he is a full-time pastor.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the ZECNT series “was refined over time by an editorial board who listened to pastors and teachers express what they wanted to see in a commentary series based on the Greek text.”

See more about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.


John
Concordia Commentary
by William C. Weinrich

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John commentary by William Weinrich

Theology, Audience, Purpose: Weinrich takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel According to John. He is evangelical and Lutheran. While not technical, the volumes in the Concordia Commentary series reflect seminary-level scholarship.

The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers. The target audience is pastors, professors, and teachers.

According to the publisher, authors in the Concordia series “fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture as it emphasizes ‘that which promotes Christ’ in each pericope.”


John
New American Commentary
by Gerald L. Borchert

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John commentary by Gerald Borchert

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Borchert takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel of John. He is Baptist.

This commentary on John’s gospel is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the NAC series “has been designed primarily to enable pastors, teachers, and students to read the Bible with clarity and proclaim it with power.”

See more about the New American Commentary series.


The Gospel of John: A Commentary
by Frederick Dale Bruner

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John commentary by Frederick Dale Bruhner

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Bruner takes an evangelical approach to the Gospel According to John. He is Reformed, a theology that is reflected throughout his commentary on the gospel. Bruner became a Christian under the teaching of Henrietta Mears.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers. It is not part of a series.

The publisher notes that “rather than relying primarily on recent scholarship, Bruner honors and draws from the church’s major John commentators throughout history, including Augustine, Chrysostom, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, Bultmann, Barrett, and many more.”


John
The New Testament Library
by Marianne Meye Thompson

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John commentary by Marianne Meye Thompson

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Thompson is Presbyterian. She is currently the George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that the NLT series provides “fresh translations based on the best available ancient manuscripts, critical portrayals of the historical world in which the books were created, careful attention to their literary design, and a theologically perceptive exposition of the biblical text.”


The Message of John
The Bible Speaks Today
by Bruce Milne

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John Commentary by Bruce Milne

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Milne takes an evangelical approach in his commentary on the gospel. He is Baptist.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes three unique features to the BST series: (1) “BST authors are committed to a serious study of the text in its own integrity,” (2) that “expositors should not be antiquarians, living only in the remote past” but suggest application for living, and (3) “each book is intended to be both readable in style and manageable in size.”

See more about the Bible Speaks Today commentary series.


John
Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised
by Robert Mounce

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John Commentary by Robert Mounce

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Mounce takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

Mounce is known for his Revelation commentary in the NICNT series, which is considered one of the best Revelation commentaries.

The publisher notes that volumes in the REBC series are “that of a scholarly evangelicalism committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible.”

See more about the revised Expositor’s Bible Commentary series, original and revised.


John
IVP New Testament Commentary
by Rodney A. Whitacre

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John commentary by Rodney Whitcare

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Whitcare takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that volumes in the IVPNTC series are “informed by the best of up-to-date evangelical scholarship, presents passage-by-passage commentary based on the NIV along with background information on authorship, setting, theme and various interpretive issues.”


John
Black’s New Testament Commentary
by Andrew T. Lincoln

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John Commentary by Andrew Lincoln

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Lincoln takes an evangelical approach to Scripture.

This commentary is best expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.


John
Paideia Commentary on the New Testament
by Jo-Ann A. Brant

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John commentary by Jo Ann Bryant

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Brant is professor of Bible, religion, and philosophy at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.

This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that commentaries in this series approach “each text in its final, canonical form, proceeding by sense units rather than word-by-word or verse-by-verse. Each sense unit is explored in three sections: (1) introductory matters, (2) tracing the train of thought, (3) key hermeneutical and theological questions.”

Technical Commentaries on John

John
Hermeneia
by Ernst Haenchen

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John commentary by Ernst Haenchen

Theology, Audience, and Purpose: Haenchen takes a critical approach to the Gospel of John. It is one of the most technical commentaries on John available today.

This volume is best for readers who can follow a technical Greek commentary. It consists of two volumes.

The publisher notes that “the name Hermeneia, from the Greek, has a rich background in the history of biblical interpretation as a term for the detailed, systematic exposition of a scriptural work.”

Classic Commentaries on John’s Gospel

John
Ironside Expository Commentaries
by H.A. Ironside

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John commentary by H.A. Ironside

Synopsis: Ironside pastored Moody Church in Chicago, Illinois, and helped popularize dispensationalism in the early 20th century.

This commentary is best for individual study, devotional reading, Bible studies, and adult Sunday school classes.

The publisher notes that H.A. Ironside (1876-1951) was an internationally acclaimed Bible teacher and preacher, as well as the author of more than sixty books.”


John
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary
by Craig S. Keener

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John commentary by Craig Keener

Synopsis: Brimming with lavish, full-color photos and graphics, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary walks you verse by verse through all the books of the New Testament.

It’s like slipping on a set of glasses that lets you read the Bible through the eyes of a first-century reader! Discoveries await you that will snap the world of the New Testament into gripping immediacy.


Classic John Commentaries

John
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
edited by Joel C. Elowsky

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John commentary by Joel Elowsky

Synopsis: This commentary is best for expository preachers, Bible college and seminary students, church elders and teachers, and experienced Bible readers.

The publisher notes that “the vast array of writings from the church fathers — including much that is available only in the ancient languages — have been combed for their comment on Scripture.

Each portion of commentary has been chosen for its salient insight, its rhetorical power, and its faithful representation of the consensual exegesis of the early church.”


Also see:

Compare 75 different commentary series on the Bible Commentary Series Comparison Chart


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