In today’s post, I want to review the EEC commentary on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John by Gary Derickson.  For those unfamiliar with the series, here is a quick summary.

Series Background

The Evangelical Exegetical Commentary series is a unique project funded by Logos Bible Software.  The series is the first ever to be published electronic edition commentary series. The project General Editor H. Wayne House describes the commentary as follows:

[T]he EEC is a needed addition for scholars, pastors, and students of the Bible. As the title of the series indicates, the authors of this series are committed to both the evangelical faith and a careful exegesis of the biblical text. Each of the authors affirms historic, orthodox Christianity and the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. In this series, the biblical books are studied with the tested tools of biblical scholarship, keeping in mind that these books, produced by human authors, come from the very mouth of God (2 Tim 3:16). The EEC reflects the important interpretative principles of the Reformation, while utilizing historical-grammatical and contextual interpretative methods1


In this review, I will be comparing this volume of the EEC to volume 51 of Word Bibllical Commentary (WBC) by Stephen S. Smalley.2 WBC is considered one of the premier commentaries available today so this comparison will provide a good baseline for evaluating the EEC series.

Introductory Materials

I find the EEC to have an impressive amount of introductory materials for John’s three letters. In sheer volume, EEC’s 47 pages is more than double the scant 19 pages in the WBC.  The EEC commentary covers all the same material as WBC and pays far more attention to topics such as literary structure, theological, and devotional application of the text.

Prologue to 1st John

Here again, the EEC offers more substance (35 printed pages) than the equivalent section of WBC (only 20 pages).  Both commentaries cover the same ground, but the Bibliography section of the EEC is up-to-date with current resources. Additionally, Logos has spent more time properly tagging the bibliographic references in the EEC which makes the references more useful than the ones in the WBC.

Commentary on 1 John 1:5-2:27

In examining the section covering 1 John 1:5-2:27, I find both commentaries to be equally well organized and both make it very easy to find information.  Here again though, WBC offers only 176 pages whereas EEC comes in at a weightier 214 pages. Both commentaries do an equal job of exploring the Greek, but EEC has the benefit of recent scholarship.

The EEC is also superior to WBC in offering a larger biblical context for each passage.  Take, for instance, how the EEC opens the discussion for 1 John 2:4.

This section of John’s epistle contributes significantly to our understanding of Jesus’ person and work. Though we see Him as the Lamb of God who is worthy to break the seals and judge the world in Rev 4–5, here we are taught about His ministry on our behalf in heaven. As Jesus was introduced as eternal life incarnate in the prologue, we now see Him as our Advocate in heaven, enabling us to walk in God’s moral purity (“the light”) through the moment-by-moment application of His death on our behalf.4

In summary, the EEC provides all the exegetical insight of the WBC, plus a host of other complementary materials that are not available in WBC.


I heartily recommend  EEC’s First, Second, and Third John by Gary Derickson for pastors, professors, and students.

For busy pastors on a tight budget, EEC provides a single volume resource with scholarship that is more current than the WBC, at a lower price, and with the addition of significant content useful for both preaching and teaching the three epistles of John.

For teaching, at both the college and seminary level, I would chose the EEC for John’s Epistles over WBC vol. 51 as a course textbook.  The one potential downside to EEC is that because it is purely a digital publication, there are no page numbers, which could be a problem for more traditional professors. However, in a digital age, this should not be a major hurdle to more progressive academic institutions.

Author of EEC 1,2,3 John: Gary Derickson is ministry division chair at Corban University. He has published articles in Bibliotheca Sacra, ETS Studies Series, The Master’s Seminary Journal, and The Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society. He contributed to The Nelson’s Complete Study Bible and is co-author of The Disciplemaker: What Matters Most to Jesus.
General Editor of the ECC, H. Wayne House, is Distinguished Research Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies at Faith Evangelical Seminary in Tacoma, Washington and President of Christian Perspectives International. He is the author of Charts of Contemporary Cults, Sects, and Religious Movements, Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, and Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views.


[1] Gary W. Derickson, First, Second, and Third John, ed. H. Wayne House, W. Hall Harris, III and Andrew W. Pitts, Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2012).

[2] The Logos promotional materials compares the EEC to the WBC, so I felt this was the best comparison for their commentary series.

[3] Since EEC has no page numbers, I compared the text to WBC by printing equivalent sections using the same font size. Therefore, the page numbers in this review will vary depending on how large a font is used by each user to print the text.

[4] Derickson, First, Second, and Third John, ed., 1 Jn 2:4.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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