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Andreas Kostenberger: On Writing a New Theology Text

Categories Theology New Testament

Kostenbergera In many ways, writing The Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters was the most exciting project I have ever undertaken. I love John’s Gospel, and have written several books on it, but it is in The Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters that a decade and a half of working on John’s Gospel culminate. Writing a commentary is comparably easy, because you just follow the Gospel and comment on it word by word, phrase by phrase, or unit by unit. By comparison, writing the Johannine theology was a lot harder, especially because I could not find any comparable work after which to pattern my own presentation. I think it took me two years of wrestling with John’s theology just to come up with a suitable outline for the book, especially on how to structure the discussion of John’s major themes.

Also, the scholarly literature on John’s Gospel is so vast, and growing, that it is virtually impossible to read everything written on the Gospel. This, too, seemed overwhelming at first. In the end, I decided simply to start with my own repeated reading of the Gospel and my understanding of John’s theology, following Adolf Schlatter’s dictum that what the student of New Testament theology should pursue is the theology of the New Testament writer himself, not his own theology or that of other interpreters. I am very excited about the final product and feel that I have contributed to the study of John’s Gospel and letters both substantively and methodologically. Hopefully, the book will help nurture serious students of John’s Gospel and encourage their own study and application of its magnificent theology.

Andreas Köstenberger is Director of Ph.D. Studies and Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is the author of numerous works on John, and the editor of the JETS. Learn more about his ministry at

To see a video of Dr. Kostenberger visit this link.

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