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The three Epistles of John, according to I. Howard Marshall, are concerned with the fundamentals of Christian belief and life - faith and love. The reader who grasps the message of these short but essential letters will have a sound basis in Christian doctrine. This group of Epistles, says Marshall, is also a good starting point for the study of the Gospel of John. This commentary, then, was written so that students of the Bible might not only master the content of John's Epistles but also better understand Johannine theology as a whole.
The volume includes an "invitation" to general readers and an "introduction" addressed to students and specialists. Another unique feature is a rearrangement of the traditional order of the three letters: 2 John and 3 John are studied before 1 John. This structure assures that the two shorter letters are not relegated to the position of appendices but are treated as important documents of early Christianity in their own right.
About the New International Commentary on the New Testament
"Faithful criticism" characterizes volumes in The New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT), and is widely recognized by pastors, students, and scholars alike for its attention to the text of Scripture, its currency with contemporary scholarship, and its service to the global church.
The interpretive work reflected in these commentaries is based on careful study of the Greek text, but commentary readers need not be practiced in the biblical languages to benefit from them. In the same way, NICNT volumes reflect serious work in technical areas — such as linguistics, textual criticism, and historical concerns — but the commentary itself focuses on understanding the text rather than navigating scholarly debates. Readers can turn to the footnotes and excursuses for more specialized interaction with the Greek text and engagement with critical issues and literature.