NT Commentaries

Reformed Evangelical Commentaries (Exegetical & Expository)

(NT Expository Notes Series)

These Notes aim to provide the serious Bible student with material which is not unduly technical and which does not require a knowledge of the original languages. At the same time, these commentaries are not generally too basic or brief. Rather, it has been the aim of the author to provide suitable material for more advanced personal or group Bible study. As yet, the series is incomplete. New titles will be added as soon as they become available, so please check this website from time to time to read or download the latest commentaries.

Copy / Republication Notice: The author’s copyright of these documents has been retained and the original author’s name and approriate copyright notice must appear on all copied or republished documents. With this proviso, you are free to copy, distribute, translate, or republish – in full or in part – any or all documents in the Expository Notes (NT Commentaries) series or the Bible Truths Explained (Bible Doctrine) series, provided they remain free of charge to the end user.

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NOTE: All of the Expository Notes on the NT Books listed below have been scheduled for revision. The revised NT Expository Notes, together with new additions to the existing list shown below, will be termed “Second Series“.

The first NT Expository Notes to be released in this format is 2 Corinthians. (Download link below, under “2 Corinthians (2021)” (Second Series). All Second Series Expository Notes will have the release year (e.g., 2021, 2022, etc) appended to the NT Book Title, thereby distinguishing Second Series Notes from all earlier versions.

Read or download these free New Testament commentaries (PDF format):

(For some examples of the NT Expository Notes text, please see below this list)

Available Titles

Gospel of Matthew  (Presently being revised / reformatted)

Gospel of Matthew chapters 5-7 (only) The Sermon on the Mount

Gospel of John

Romans

1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians (2021) (Second Series)

Galatians

Ephesians

Hebrews

James

1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John

Jude

NT Expository Notes presently in preparation for future release:

(Second Series):

Colossians & Philemon (New Release Pending)

Gospel of Matthew (Revised Edition Pending)

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Example of Expository Notes

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated,
are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version.
Copyright © 2001 by: http://www.crosswaybibles.org
Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Extract from NT Expository Notes: Colossians, chapter 1 verses 13-14
(NT Notes on Colossians & Philemon forthcoming)

13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (ESV)

The One who is “the Light of the World” (John 8:12, 9:5) has delivered us from the domain of darkness. The domain or dominion of darkness was the realm of sin in and over our lives. It was that domain or realm where “the god of this world” (i.e., Satan) blinded the minds of unbelieving men and women. Satan hindered those still in their sins from seeking the things of God, effectively hiding from their hearts and minds the objective truths of God’s Word and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:3-4; cf. Matt. 13:15, John 12:40; see also Isaiah 6:9-10).

Because of their sin, these Colossians remained alienated from God, being darkened in their understanding of spiritual things (Eph. 4:18). They were incapable of coming to a saving knowledge of the truth in and of themselves. Thus, we see how sin binds and blinds the mind, enslaving body and soul to the sinful nature’s dictates and desires.

However, Paul declares that the Lord Jesus had delivered them from that evil and enslaving domain. Through Jesus’ sacrificial, atoning and substitutionary death upon the shameful cross, and by his subsequent resurrection and ascension to his Father’s glorious heavenly throne, the Lord Jesus had purchased their complete salvation at the cost of his own shed blood. The crucified, risen, and exalted Lord Jesus was the one and only perfect, sinless Sacrifice offered up as a ransom to secure atonement, forgiveness and redemption for sinful men and women.

Not only so, declares Paul, but the God who called them and saved them through Christ has also transferred these Colossian believers (and all other believers in Christ) to the kingdom of his beloved Son. God has adopted them into his family as his redeemed and holy children. God has also granted them an inheritance among all the saints belonging to Christ’s kingdom and with whom they will reign. These saints are his children. They are his heirs—joint-heirs with Christ in his glory and heirs to the glorious inheritance reserved for them in heaven.

The risen glorified Lord Jesus lives in the hearts and lives of his redeemed people through the indwelling Holy Spirit granted to each child of God by the Father and the Son. Every genuine believer has been transferred into the kingdom of God’s Son. Every believer is God’s redeemed, justified and adopted child, indwelt by his Spirit and sealed unto God by that same Holy Spirit. Thus, the evil one can no longer exercise dominion over that person. The devil cannot take over the life of anyone whom the Spirit of God indwells. Satan is a fallen created being possessing great power over sinful humanity. However, the Holy Spirit of God is uncreated and eternal. He who indwells every child of God is omnipotent or all-powerful. Thus, although he may tempt, deceive and oppress us outwardly, the devil cannot exercise control over us inwardly. Our body is the dwelling place of God’s Spirit. It is the temple of God—and the temple of God is holy.

When we yield to sin, we yield to our old fallen and sinful nature. We cannot blame Satan for causing us to yield to temptation or claim that Satan overpowered us and caused us to yield. We must accept responsibility before God for yielding to the evil desires of our old sinful nature instead of putting that old nature to death through the Word of God and by the power of God’s Holy Spirit.

Let us then live in the light of our position in Christ, exalted to the heavenly realms. Let us put to death the sins of the old nature and put on the new nature, pursuing sanctification and holiness of life as the Spirit of God works graciously and powerfully within us, renewing us day by day after the likeness of Christ.

…..

Extract from NT Expository Notes: Gospel of John, chapter 3

 For God So Loved the World

John 3:16-21

John 3:16

This, perhaps, is the best known and best loved verse in the Bible.

(16a) “For God so loved the world…”  (ESV; bold emphasis added, here and below)

The word ‘so’ emphasises the extent and degree of God’s love. It is immeasurable, imperishable, inextinguishable, inexhaustible.

He so loved the world… Thus, or In this manner, God loved the world…

(16a) “For God so loved the world…”

This is the demonstration of the height, depth and breadth of God’s love for the world. God so loved the world. God’s love is so great that it is beyond human comprehension. Nevertheless, it is the true expression of God’s intense, unfathomable and divine love for fallen, sinful men and women.

(16a) “For God so loved the world…”

Here we see that God’s love is not limited to one nation, race, colour, class or creed. God’s eternal and immeasurable love for fallen mankind extends to all nations and all classes of people on earth. No nation and no class or condition of people is excluded. God’s love is truly universal. Every single person who calls upon the name of the Lord will experience the fullness of God’s love in their hearts through the forgiveness of their sins. The Spirit of God does not limit himself to any one nation, race, colour, class, or condition of people. The Holy Spirit works sovereignly—wherever he will—upon the hearts and minds of men, women and children throughout the entire world. He convicts them of their sin, convinces them of their need, and converts them to Christ.

(16a,b) “For God so loved, the world that he gave his only Son…”

God so loved the world that he gave. He gave all that love could give. God gave that which was closest to his heart—that which he loved most dearly. He so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (or his Only Begotten Son). So intense was the love of God for the world—even for a sinful world—that he yielded up his one and only Son that sinners might be saved. (Rom. 5:6-11; 1 John 4:9-10)

(16c) “…that whoever believes in him…”

This relates to anyone without exception who believes: That is, anyone whom the Spirit of God effectually calls. It relates to anyone whom God’s Holy Spirit enables to understand the truths of the Gospel and whom he makes able and willing to believe. An unregenerate person remains spiritually dead. It requires the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate him and to bring him to true repentance and genuine saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Isa. 55:1,6-7; John 6:37,40; 7:37-39)

(16c) “…that whoever believes in him…”

Anyone who believes wholeheartedly on the Son of God and on what he has accomplished on the sinner’s behalf… Anyone who accepts Christ as their Saviour and Lord…Anyone who commits themselves without reserve to the Lord Jesus Christ, and who follows him and his ways with all their heart and soul…

Like every other element of salvation, saving faith is a gift of God. The Holy Spirit enables a person to see and understand the truth, and to repent and believe on Christ. However, although faith is God’s gift, all those who come to faith in Christ do so freely and willingly. Once the Spirit of God has enlightened their minds to the truth, they gladly and willingly embrace the One who is the Way the Truth and the Life. (Acts 16:29-31; Rom. 10:9-13; see also Matt. 11:25-30)

(16c,d) “…whoever believes in him should not perish…”

This is the solemn assurance and promise of God. No one who believes in God’s Son shall ever perish. God will never condemn him or consign him to a lost eternity. Through faith in Christ, the abiding wrath of God and the sentence of condemnation have been removed forever from the repentant sinner. He will never perish. He can never be lost. (John 3:36; 5:24; Rom. 8:1)

(16c,d) “…whoever believes in him should not perish but have…”

Believers have—i.e. they now hold or possess… Here, the verb (to) have is used in the sense of ‘to have and to hold’… as in the marriage covenant.

(16c,d) “…whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)

This is the gift of God. All those whom God’s Spirit calls to repentance and faith in his Son, receives the gift of eternal life.

Eternal life means much more than living for ever—although this is certainly included. In giving us eternal life, God is guaranteeing to us a heavenly inheritance. This inheritance includes a place in our Father’s house. It includes everlasting fellowship with our Father in heaven and with his Son. It includes the fullness of love, joy, peace and every other spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. It includes the absence of all sin, sorrow, suffering, pain, death and everything else that disturbs our communion with God in this present life. Such is but a foretaste of the joys laid up for the believer in his Father’s house above. (John 14:1-3; Rom. 8:16-17; Rev. 21:4)

John 3:17

In sending his Son into this world, it was not the purpose of the Father to condemn the world. The day of final judgment has yet to come. Christ came into this world to provide salvation and forgiveness of sins to all who would believe on him. The Father’s intention was that—through his Son—the message of eternal salvation should be proclaimed throughout the whole world. (Luke 19:10; John 12:47-48; 1 John 2:2; 4:14)

As we have seen, this does not imply the salvation of every single individual in the world. It implies merely that a countless multitude of individuals out of every tongue, tribe, people and nation will be brought to repentance and faith in the Son of God. The contrast is between the way of salvation provided under the Old Covenant through Judaism exclusively, and the universal proclamation of eternal salvation provided under the New Covenant: namely, by means of the Gospel. Now, any individual whom God calls, of any nation, can receive God’s salvation through faith in his Son. There is no longer any need for them to accept the Jewish faith, or the rite of circumcision.

As has been noted, the term ‘world’ is not necessarily all-inclusive. Comparing Scripture with Scripture, it becomes evident that when God speaks of sending his Son to ‘save the world’, he means he has sent his Son to save individuals out of every nation on earth; i.e. his elect. This election accords with the sovereign will of a holy and righteous God.

John 3:18

Anyone who believes in the Son of God is no longer condemned. He no longer remains alienated from God and at enmity with God on account of his sin. Because of his faith in the Son of God as his Saviour and Lord, the repentant and believing sinner has been acquitted—or justified. Justification is the opposite of condemnation. Those whom God justifies cannot be condemned. (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1,28-34)

Anyone, however, who does not believe in the Son of God stands condemned already. He stands condemned because of the unforgiven sin in his life. He stands condemned for refusing to accept the atoning sacrifice for his sin that God has provided—Jesus, the Lamb of God. Such people—and this includes everyone who has not believed in Christ—remain under the enduring wrath of God. (John 3:36; Heb. 2:3; 12:25)

This verse tells us further that these people stand condemned because they have refused to believe in the name of God’s only Son (or ‘one and only Son’, or ‘only begotten Son’). To believe in the name of someone, is to believe in everything which that name represents. The name of Jesus means Yahweh [ is] Saviour. To believe in the name of Jesus, therefore, is to believe in him as God and as Saviour. Much more is implied. This, however, would be as much as the people would be required to understand about the name—and to believe.

Such terminology was not unfamiliar to Jewish ears. It is used in the Old Testament of the Lord God himself. Faith in the Name meant faith in the God whom the Name represented. The Name speaks of the character or attributes of the Almighty God. It represents the ‘I AM’—a phrase that all Jews knew referred to the unpronounced name of YHWH (or Yahweh; transliterated, Jehovah). (Exodus 3:13-15; 6:3; 34:14; cf. Lev. 24:11,16)

John 3:19

(19a) “And this is the judgment…” (ESV)

— Or this is the verdict and sentence of condemnation…

(19b) “…the light has come into the world…”

The light of life in Christ Jesus has come into this sin-darkened world. This penetrating and revealing light shines into every corner of a person’s life.

In this context, ‘light’ is that which exemplifies and emphasises spiritual and moral purity, holiness, justice and righteousness, and which exposes and condemns fallen mankind’s sinful nature together with his sinful thoughts, words, deeds, inclinations and attitudes.

Verse 19 continues by declaring:

(19b) “…the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” (ESV; bold emphasis added)

Instead of welcoming the Light of the world, most people hated or despised that Light. This Light was exposing their evil deeds—but they loved (cherished, enjoyed or delighted in) their evil deeds. (John 1:4,5; 8:12)

The word used here for love (Gk., agapao) is the same word used to express God’s love for the world. Sinful men and women loved their wicked and ungodly way of life so intensely that they detested the light that exposed their evil lifestyles and condemned their sins.

(19b)…and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. (ESV; bold emphasis added)

The phrase ‘rather than’ implies that people were much more willing to cherish their sins than to seek God’s forgiveness. Their love for their evil way of life was greater by far than their love for God or for his Son. The way of righteousness, holiness and truth was a way with which they had no desire to become too closely acquainted. This, of course, was a judicial consequence of spurning repeatedly the grace of God and refusing wilfully to hear the word of God. (Rom. 1:28-32)

John 3:20

Verse 20 confirms what has just been said. Individuals who practise evil hate—or detest—the light. They have no desire to encounter the light. They know that this light exposes their sinful practices—and they do not want their deeds to be exposed by the light of truth and righteousness, and to be shown for what they really are.

In this context, to expose means not only to reveal, but also to judge—and to correct or punish accordingly. (Job 24:13-19; John 7:7; Eph. 5:12-14) In fear of exposure and judgment, therefore, these individuals continue to hide in the darkness: i.e., inexcusably, they seek to remain ignorant of the truth, stifling their consciences in the process, so that they can continue to practise their unrighteous and wicked deeds.

So long as they continue to practise their sins, however, they remain under the wrath and condemnation of an all-seeing and all-knowing God. One day, they will stand before God to give account for every evil thought, word and deed. They will give account also to God for their wilful and inexcusable rejection of God’s one and only Son—the one who is the Light of the world and the Light of life.

John 3:21

Those who live by the truth of God’s Word, come fearlessly into the light of God’s presence. For them, the Light of the world holds no terrors. He is their joy and all their delight. He is the one who provides them with light and life. He is the one who teaches them the truths of God’s Word. Therefore, those who seek to live by the light of God’s Word come gladly into the presence of their Father in heaven. (Ps. 1:1-3; Acts 17:11; 1 John 1:6-7)

As far as they are able in their present state, they endeavour to honour God’s Son by how they live. Therefore, they know that they have nothing to hide from the all-searching and all-seeing eye of the Lord. When they sin, they can confess their sin to their heavenly Father. From their knowledge of God’s Word of truth, they are aware that God has provided forgiveness for them through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 5:8-21; 1 John 1:9)

(Extract from Gordon Lyons’ Expository Notes: Gospel of John. The full version of these Notes on the Gospel of John (in PDF format) can be read or downloaded free of charge from the NT Commentaries page on this website.)

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