Best Commentaries on the Gospel of John

I’ve preaching off and on through John for over two years, and in that time, I feel like I’ve looked through a seemingly endless number of commentaries. If you’re ever looking to study John’s gospel in depth, I wanted to share my favorite commentaries.

This commentary has become a go to. I love Klink’s clear and accessible verse by verse coverage. I always appreciate the formatting of the ZECNT series and find it user friendly. A fine pastor-scholar who clearly has a great heart for the text.

2. D.A. Carson – Pillar New Testament Commentary (1990)

Carson’s volume is widely considered to be the foremost work on the Gospel of John. First rate scholarship, wonderful depth, brilliant exegesis. He ties the whole gospel together nicely. It’s a fairly academic commentary, but I believe it’s still accessible for the lay person who’s serious about his or her study.

3. Grant Osborne – Osborne New Testament Commentaries (2018)

I’m a fan of anything that Grant Osborne wrote. Towards the end of his life, he published a full New Testament commentary set through Faithlife. These versions are shorter and less in-depth than some other commentaries (and some of Osborne’s other works), but that makes these commentaries no less good. It is always one of the mainstays of where I look in my study of John. This one would be especially well suited for the lay person who has no familiarity with Greek.

4. Richard D. Phillips – Reformed Expository Commentary (2017)

This commentary might be fourth on the list, but that is not meant to diminish this stellar two volume commentary set. It’s more a credit to the wealth of wonderful commentaries which have been written on the Gospel of John. These commentaries were originally written to be preached as sermons, and the pastoral heart is evident. On some of the complicated verses, I feel like Phillip’s are the clearest at explaining the passage. Considering that the commentary chapters represent sermons and are then subdivided into points, I would say it’s the most readable commentary on John. I also found a number of the illustrations and examples that he uses to clarify points in this gospel to be extremely helpful. Once again, I believe that this commentary is accessible to the lay person.

5. Colin Kruse – Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (2017)

Compared to other commentaries of John, a relatively short version, but Kruse is economical with his space and gives a commentary that thoroughly explains the idea of the passages in John. Personally, I prefer the depth of other commentaries listed but time and again, when I was unsure about a passage, Kruse’s commentary has never failed to help. The Tyndale series in general I consider to be optimal for the lay person.

6. Leon Morris – New International Commentary of the New Testament (1995)

Pound for pond, NICNT is my favorite commentary series. The volumes can at times be rigorously academic, but Morris still always manages to be approachable. Clear explanations in a very thorough commentary.

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