Biblical commentaries come in many forms. Some are written with the scholar in mind. These commentaries spend extensive time on the technical aspects of the original languages, and are, for most human beings, intimidating to read. Other commentaries are written for the pastor and in such a manner as to assist him in sermon preparation and basic biblical study. Several are also written with the lay member in mind, for the purpose of giving them a broader range of understanding for personal devotional reading, or even teaching a class or Bible study.
RC Sproul’s commentary on John’s gospel bridges the gap between the pastor and the congregation. His commentary reads as though he were preaching it from his pulpit. In fact, the commentary itself is a collection of his expository preaching through the book of John at his church. So while it is insightful and helpful for pastors as they prepare to proclaim God’s Word, it is also relevant and beneficial to the man in the pew – the originally intended audience.
His illustration as he launches into John 12:35-50 is classic Sproul:
The theological question I hear most often is this: “What happens to the innocent native in Africa who has never heard the gospel?” People want to know whether such people are taken to heaven or condemned to hell when they die. I always give the same answer: “The innocent native in Africa doesn’t need to hear the gospel. Don’t worry for another minute about the innocent native in Africa who’s never heard of Christ. The innocent native in Africa, when he dies, goes straight to heaven because he is innocent.”
But let’s ask the question another way: “What happens to the guilty native in Africa who’s never heard the gospel?” I don’t worry about innocent natives in Africa or anywhere else in the world, because the Bible makes it clear there are no innocent natives anywhere. There is no one who is not guilty in God’s sight.
I have long enjoyed reading collections of sermons. Once I have labored over a text, formed a preaching outline, and consulted various commentaries and references, it has become my practice to read a selection of sermons preached on the same text. I have found that doing so often provides the reminder that whatever my theological perspective, whenever I interpret Scripture I am standing on the shoulders of those before me.
I am adding this commentary to my collection for that purpose.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Reformation Trust’s review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.