By Dr. A.D. Beacham, Jr.
Christian art has historically portrayed the Fourth Gospel with the symbol of an eagle. The Holy Spirit inspired the Evangelist John to view Jesus Christ from the standpoint of eternity, like an eagle soaring high views all below him. At the same time, like the sharp eye of the eagle, the Evangelist conveyed aspects of Christ’s activity and teachings not revealed in the Synoptic Gospels.
Dr. Frank Tunstall has performed the duties of an eagle in writing this third volume of his masterful study of the Gospel of John. Along with the first two volumes, this third volume examines the Fourth Gospel from the height advantage of viewing the whole testimony of God’s Word and from the precise advantage of speaking to our daily lives.
In particular, Dr. Tunstall’s careful analysis of John 12-21 takes us into numerous Old Testament passages for background reference. Among the many great qualities of this commentary, I found that analysis and exposure to be well worth the read in itself. Using his great knowledge of the Word, honed through years as a Bible teacher, pastor, church planter, preacher, and writer, Dr. Tunstall ties together the various events and sayings of Jesus during this last week of His earthly ministry with God’s eternal plan of salvation revealed to Israel through the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.
Of the writing of commentaries there is no end. In many ways that is a good thing as new insights into God’s eternal Word are communicated to different generations. There are commentaries written primarily for critical scholars. While important, often they are not particularly useful in themselves for those of us who preach Sunday after Sunday. There are commentaries that are designed to be more user-friendly for preachers but nonetheless fail to offer the preacher much assistance in making the transition “from text to sermon.”
On occasion one finds a commentary that is able to provide the needed bridge “from text to sermon.” It does this because first, it is faithful to allow the text to speak for itself. It does not make the text say something that is more accommodating to the modern ear. Second, the writer knows the hearts of people from his or her own personal experience in ministry. Third, the writer knows the challenges preachers face and is able to assist the preacher through the reading of the commentary. Fourth, the writer knows that the Holy Spirit will take the Word of God and use it to speak to the heart and mind of the preacher. Through that speaking and hearing, the Word will go forth as proclamation and, as God has promised, “will not return void” (Isaiah 55:11).
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· Amazon.Com (AmazonSmile)
· Great Command Ministries.Org