John is at once the most complex and the easiest to understand of all the Gospels. If we want a young seeker or new believer to read something that is both clear and filled with the gospel and good basic theology, we give them the Gospel of John. And if we want to study an incredibly deep theological masterpiece that stretches the brightest mind, we open the Gospel of John.
In this brief excerpt from the introduction, Osborne describes the core message of the gospel and the faith-decision an encounter with Jesus provokes:
John is the most accessible and yet the most complex of biblical books because the author gives us the basic gospel as well as the process by which God brings every person ever born to a faith-decision. It is brilliantly creative, a wondrously well-written, dramatic masterpiece. The longest stories in the Synoptic Gospels consist of twenty or so verses, while John’s dramas (John 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11) are forty or more verses in length and powerfully written, centering on the encounter of various characters with Jesus as the Christ and Son of God.
At the core of this Gospel is the wondrous good news that Jesus Christ the Son of God became incarnate and descended to earth in order to reveal God and bring God’s salvation to fallen humanity. It is impossible to separate soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) from Christology (the doctrine of Christ) at the center of this book. Since this is mainly an encounter Gospel in which Christ enlightens every person (1:4, 7, 9) and challenges them about the truths of God, soteriology is placed first. The light of God in Jesus forces people to make a decision based on faith. No one can remain neutral about Jesus; each one must decide to accept or reject Christ, and their eternal destiny awaits that faith-decision.”
Destined to become classics
The previous volumes in the Osborne New Testament Commentaries have been praised for their excellent exegesis and clear application. Here’s one of the endorsements for John Verse by Verse that echoes these exact sentiments.
As a senior statesman of evangelical biblical scholarship, Grant Osborne is not only a remarkably careful exegete, but also a clear, engaging, and accessible communicator. Everything he writes is for the benefit of the Church, not just the ivory towers of academia. This commentary on John, like the others in this series, is a model of this balance. It demonstrates a deep awareness of the questions scholars raise about the Fourth Gospel, yet presents them in language every reader can understand. Commentaries that prove to be most enduring are those that find this balance between accuracy and accessibility. By this standard, the volumes in this series are destined to become classics.”
— Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary, San Diego