The Johannine Epistles are today read as an important part of the Johannine literature. Yet the meaning of the text is often unclear. Part of the problem arises because, although 1 John is called an Epistle, it lacks the formal marks of an Epistle. In 1, 2, and 3 John, John Painter illuminates the relationship 1, 2, and 3 John have to each other and to the Gospel. Painter explains the historical context of the Johannine Epistles using a socio-rhetorical approach. The writings are shown to reflect a situation of conflict and schism within the Johannine community; they seek to persuade the readers of the truth of the writer's message. In this truth, the readers are encouraged to abide if they would have the assurance of eternal life. Painter also examines the inseparable connection between belief and ethical life in active love for one another. Through the socio-rhetorical approach Painter brings to light the continuing relevance of these writings. 1, 2, and 3 John is divided into two parts. Chapters under 1 John are "Introduction to the Exegesis of 1 John," "Outline of 1 John," "First Presentation of the Two Tests (1:6-2:27)," "Excursus: Sin and Sinlessness," "Excursus: Love of the Brother/Sister: of One Another," "Excursus: The Antichrist," "Second Presentation of the Two Tests (2:28-4:6)," "Third Presentation of the Two Tests (4:7-5:12)," "Conclusion (5:13-21), and " Excursus: 'A Sin Unto Death.'" Chapters under 2 and 3 John are "2 John," "Introduction to the Exegesis of 2 John," "Outline of 2 John," "Prescripti 2 John 1-3," "Body of the Letter (4-11)," "Notice of Intention to Visit (12)," and "Final Greetings (13)," "3 John," "Introduction to the Exegesis of 3 John," "Outline of 3 John," "Prescript: 3 John 1-2," "Body of Letter (3-12)," and "Final Greetings (13-15)." John Painter is the Foundation Professor of Theology at Charles Sturt University in Canberra, Australia.
Crisis in the church is not a new phenomenon. In fact, the church has always been - and probably always will be - involved in some kind of crisis. Even in the apostolic period, which is regarded by many as the church's golden age, there were serious crises coming both from the outside, as in 1 Peter, and from the inside, as in Jude and 2 Peter. The three short New Testament letters treated in 1 Peter, Jude and 2 Peter illustrate the problems early Christians faced, as well as the rhetorical techniques and theological concepts with which they combated those problems. In the first part of this volume, Donald Senior views 1 Peter as written from Rome in Peter's name to several churches in northern Asia Minor - present-day Turkey - in the latter part of the first century C.E. The new Christians addressed in 1 Peter found themselves aliens and exiles in the wider Greco-Roman society and suffered a kind of social ostracism. But they are given a marvelous theological Vision of who they have become through their baptism and pastoral encouragement to stand firm. They are shown how to take a missionary stance toward the outside world by giving the witness of a holy and blameless life to offset the slander and ignorance of the non-Christian majority and possibly even to lead them to glorify God on the day of judgment. In the second part of this volume, Daniel Harrington interprets Jude and 2 Peter as confronting crises in the late first century that were perpetrated by Christian teachers who are described polemically as intruders in Jude and as false teachers in 2 Peter. In confronting the crises within their churches, the authors appeal frequently to the Old Testament and to early summaries of Christian faith. While Jude uses other Jewish traditions, 2 Peter includes most of the text of Jude as well as many distinctively Greek terms and concepts. It is clear that for the authors, despite their different social settings, what was at stake was the struggle for the faith. Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, is a professor of New Testament at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and general editor of New Testament Abstracts. He is a past-president of the Catholic Biblical Association of American and the editor of the Sacra Pagina series. He also wrote The Gospel of Matthew in the Sacra Pagina series. Donald Senior, CP, is a professor of New Testament studies and president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He was recently appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. General editor of The Bible Today, he also co-edited The Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of the Bible and the 22-volume international commentary series New Testament Message, and he wrote the four-volume The Passion series published by The Liturgical Press.
A respected New Testament scholar offers a substantive commentary on the letters of John in the award-winning BECNT series.
Robert Yarbrough, coauthor of the bestselling Encountering the New Testament, offers a historical and theological commentary on the Johannine Epistles in this new addition to the BECNT series. The commentary features the author's detailed interaction with the Greek text, explores the relationship between John's Epistles and Jesus's work and teaching, interacts with recent commentaries, is attentive to the history of interpretation, and seeks to relate these findings to global Christianity.
The New Testaments three letters attributed to John have always provided remarkable theological riches for the Christian tradition, including the assertion God is love. Scholars have struggled to discern if these documents are from the same person who wrote the Gospel of John and have worked to see each of these writings within their own situation and context. Each letter shows how an early Christian author responded to threats against authority by recourse to the correct teachings of the faith and a proper understanding of the relationship between Jesus and God. Together, these letters argue for a bond of unity among believers, based on fidelity to the truth of God.