By R. Kent Hughes
Wheaton, IL : Crossway (1999). 527 Pages.

Reviewed by Thomas Halstead
12.1 (Spring 2001) : 106-107

This is one of several volumes in the Preaching the Word series and the author is to be commended for his accurate and articulate exposition of the Gospel of John. At the beginning of the book he states his desire for preachers to experience the pleasure of God through the logos (the Word), ethos (what you are), and pathos (your passion). The commentary then is an exposition of the author’s messages as he preached them at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois. As the book jacket states, “It is an ideal resource for pastors and teachers as well as for personal Bible study.”

The commentary is much more pastoral and applicational than an exegetical verse-by-verse treatment. The chapters not only include some exegesis, but many relevant illustrations, such as Harry Ironside’s power for ministry coming from his exposure to the Word (171-72), or a poem written by the English preacher Leslie Weatherhead, which likens Christ’s love at the cross to an eternal blazing fire (126). In fact, the author lists all his illustrations in the back of the book. His discussion of a typical first-century wedding is also helpful (58-59).

The author has sought to make the gospel one of the key thoughts in every chapter, as one can clearly see by his challenge at the end of every chapter for the reader to evaluate himself and his relationship to Christ. One cannot read this book without easily seeing the deity of Jesus Christ, and the demands He makes of man to believe in order to receive eternal life, or the consequence of not believing, which leads to eternal death. The heart of the author as well as the heart of the apostle John is that men and women believe in Jesus Christ as the God of this universe.

Though this book is not the best for an in-depth study of the Gospel of John, it offers the layman and the pastor a valuable practical understanding. It will inspire and convict as well as teach. I heartily recommend the book.