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The Letters of John
A Review of Colin Kruse
Colin G. Kruse
The Letters of John (PNTC) - second edition
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020.
Veteran Paul and John scholar, Colin Kruse (emeritus professor of Melbourne School of Theology), offers a welcomed update to his original 2000 publication.
The volume’s highlight is the many useful excurses, twenty-four in all, on topics including hilasmos, light and darkness, monogenes, Son’s pre-existence, witness, eternal Life, sins that do and do not lead to death, hospitality, love and hatred. Very useful summaries.
According to Kruse:
I believe 1 John 3:23 is a key text in these letters: “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” It encapsulates their central message: the importance of right belief on the one hand and love for fellow believers on the other. Believers are to hold fast to the good news about Jesus Christ as it was passed down to them from those who were Jesus’s primary witnesses - the good news they received and believed when they first became believers. And they are to obey the command of Christ to love one another - a command that was passed down alongside the goodness itself".
On 1 John 2:2, where Jesus Christ is an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, Kruse comments:
While we can say what Jesus Christ being the atoning sacrifice “for the sins of the world world” does not mean, it is more difficult to say what it does mean, for the author gives us no clues. We might suggest that Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world because his death was sufficient to deal with the sins of the whole world, but that his sacrifice does not become effective until people believe in him.”
In sum, this is an exegetically solid commentary, conscious too of theological themes, and will benefit preachers and students alike.