"John's gospel surprises," says author Willard Swartley
and longtime New Testament professor.
says the gospel of John is clear and easy to understand, yet "the reader is mystified by its literary features of double meanings, fascinating symbolism, and its frequent use of irony."
According to Swartley
, John's gospel focuses on Jesus' connection to Jerusalem rather than to Galilee as the synoptic gospels do.
It is "feast-oriented," with John transforming the meaning of temple and feasts.
John combines themes of life and light with discussion of agape love and costly discipleship.
finds John's gospel "scintillating and puzzling.
commentary examines questions such as who the "beloved disciple" is who witnesses Jesus' deeds and words, and why this gospel presents "the Jews" negatively, when Jesus and most of the characters are also Jews.
This Believers Church Bible Commentary: John has been a major focus of Swartley's
writing over the past six years since he's
describes the 538-page volume as the "fruit of a hermeneutic [Bible interpretation] community.
It includes insights from his
"Gospel of John" students at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
(AMBS), Elkhart, Ind., and from five consultants, two of whom have published on the Gospel of John and one who has written a dissertation on John.
The Believers Church John commentary includes a supplementary web file, referenced in every chapter.
It also has a companion volume written by Swartley: Living Gift: John's Jesus in Meditation, Poetry, Art and Song (Evangel Press, Nappanee, IN).
Living Gift contains poetry, song, and art from a variety of sources.
Indexed by topic, it provides spiritual formation aids, using the arts to resource worship leaders, pastors, and others.
Willard M. Swartley is professor emeritus of New Testament at AMBS, where he taught for 26 years.
Swartley holds a PhD in New Testament from Princeton Theological Seminary.
He has also taught at Eastern Mennonite University and pastored at Locust Grove Mennonite Church, Elkhart, Ind.
is the author of 10 books, most recently Send Forth Your Light from Herald Press
, Covenant of Peace from Eerdmans, and Health, Healing and the Church's Mission from InterVarsity Press
Swartley is also the editor of 30 books, of which ten are New Testament volumes in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.
Swartley served as New Testament editor for the commentary series from 1990 to 2002.