Commentary on the Epistles of John by Alfred Plummer

Alfred Plummer, master of University College Durham, was a prolific writer of biblical commentaries. He wrote the volumes on Luke, 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians in the International Critical Commentary (ICC) old series, as well as four of the The Cambridge Bible for Schools series.

My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of his commentary on John’s letters for digitisation. This volume is in the public domain.

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], The Epistles of John. The Cambridge Bible for Schools. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1892. Hbk. pp.220. [Click to visit the download page]

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Text and Notes
  3. Appendices
  4. Indices

The Last Years of S. John

A sketch of the life of S. John as a whole has been given in the Introduction to the Fourth Gospel. Here it will not be necessary to do more than retouch and somewhat enlarge what was there said respecting the closing years of his life, in which period, according to all probability, whether derived from direct or indirect evidence, our three Epistles were written. In order to understand the motive and ton,e of the Epistles, it is requisite to have some clear idea of the circumstances, local, moral, and intellectual, in the midst of which they were written.

(i) The Local Surroundings-Ephesus

Unless the whole history of the century which followed upon the destruction of Jerusalem is to be abandoned as chimerical and untrustworthy, we must continue to believe the almost universally accepted statement that S. John spent the last portion of his life in Asia Minor, and chiefly at Ephesus. The sceptical spirit which insists upon the truism that well-attested facts have nevertheless not been demonstrated with all the certainty of a proposition in Euclid, and contends that it is therefore right to doubt them, and lawful to dispute them, renders history impossible. The evidence of S. John’s residence at Ephesus is too , strong to be shaken by conjectures. It will be worth while to state the main elements of it.

John Calvin on the Catholic Epistles

John Calvin, author of Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles

John Calvin [1509-1564]

John Calvin’s commentaries on the 1 John, 1 & 2 Peter, James and Jude are now available for free download in PDF:

John Calvin (John Owen translator), Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1855. Hbk. pp.488.

Commentaries on the First Epistle of Peter

The Argument

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The design of Peter in this Epistle is to exhort the faithful to a denial of the world and a contempt of it, so that being freed from carnal affections and all earthly hindrances, they might with their whole soul aspire after the celestial kingdom of Christ, that being elevated by hope, supported by patience, and fortified by courage and perseverance, they might overcome all kinds of temptations, and pursue this course and practice throughout life.

Hence at the very beginning he proclaims in express words the grace of God made known to us in Christ; and at the same time he adds, that it is received by faith and possessed by hope, so that the godly might raise up their minds and hearts above the world. Hence he exhorts them to holiness, lest they should render void the price by which they were redeemed, and lest they should suffer the incorruptible seed of the Word, by which they had: been regenerated into eternal life, to be destroyed or to die. And as he had said, that they had been born again by God’s Word, he makes mention of their spiritual infancy. Moreover, that their faith might not vacillate or stagger, because they saw that Christ was despised and rejected almost by the whole world, he reminds them that this was only the fulfilment of what had been written of him, that he would be the stone of stumbling. But he further teaches them that he would be a firm foundation to those who believe in him. Hence he again refers to the great honour to which God had raised them, that they might be animated by the contemplation of their former state, and by the perception of their present benefits, to devote themselves to a godly life.

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