Cover Image: Father, Son and Spirit

Father, Son and Spirit:
The Trinity and John (NSBT)

Andreas Kostenberger and S. Swain (IVP, 2008)

Blurb Review


Reading the Gospel of John Christianly – this could be the subtitle for Köstenberger and Swain’s (K&S) book which takes the unique approach of pursuing the question: What do we learn if we read the Gospel of John according to the Nicene and Chalcedonian formulations? Historically, Nicaea was where the doctrine of the Trinity was formally articulated (specifying three who are God), and Chalcedon was where the doctrine of Christ's two-natures (very God and very man) was clarified. At first glance, this tact might strike the biblical scholar as odd, or perhaps anachronistic. Yet its potential benefits are made evident as they provocatively engage the question of whether certain historical-critical presuppositions should reign when approaching the biblical text over so-called theological presuppositions. K&S treat their material with energy and sensitivity, tracing historical (Jewish/Christian origins), biblical (literary, canonical, and salvation-historical), and theological (creedal and doctrinal) trajectories in the book’s three main parts, concluding with some reflections on its significance for the church. For those interested in the recent emergence of “theological interpretation,” K&S’s book is a case-study in its application.


Introduction: John's Gospel and the church's doctrine of the Trinity


1. John's Gospel and Jewish monotheism


2. God in John's Gospel
3. The Father in John's Gospel
4. The Son in John's Gospel
5. The Spirit in John's Gospel
6. Father, Son and Spirit in John's Gospel


7. Christology in John's Trinitarian perspective: Jesus' filial identity
8. The Spirit who rests and remains on God's Son and his brothers
9. ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you': Toward a Trinitarian mission theology
10. The Trinity and John's Gospel
Conclusion: The gift of life: Knowing the triune God

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