Thursday, December 19, 2013

1 Peter: A Commentary by Karen Jobes

karenjobes_1PeterI just finished with Karen Jobes’ commentary on 1 Peter, a commentary in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

As would be expected from a commentary, this was indeed a commentary! Who would have thought that? Seriously, I have found that Jobes’ commentary was extremely helpful, and that she didn’t shy away from difficulties with either the text or the meaning of the text.

This series that the commentary of 1 Peter is a part of, has been created to address the needs of pastors and those involved in preaching and exposition of the Word of God. Those that are serious about preaching through the Scriptures book by book, chapter by chapter and verse by verse will find great benefit in this commentary. On the other hand those that are used to preaching topical sermons and who don’t really do exposition of Scripture will only waste their money and time, since they probably won’t want to spend the time working through a commentary as thorough as this one! However, anyone who is serious about studying Scripture, and willing to look at textual issues—which Jobes handles superbly in a proper evangelical way—and issues of the Greek language behind 1 Peter, will truly benefit, and indeed enjoy this commentary.

Why did Jobes write yet another commentary on 1 Peter? She hopes to offer 3 distinct contributions which she mentions in the Author’s Preface. (Location 96 in the Kindle edition)

  1. She presents a new theory on the historical background of 1 Peter.
  2. She attempts to make the role of the Septuagint for interpreting 1 Peter more accessible.
  3. She presents an analysis of the syntax used in 1 Peter based on the principles of bilingual interference to question the regularly repeated opinion that the Greek of 1 Peter is of a high quality.

The structure of the book simply follows the flow of Peter’s letter, and then finally ends with an analysis of the Greek of 1 Peter. I have looked at several commentaries in the past, and what makes this one unique, at least for me, is that it is so thorough in dealing with the issues.

In my opinion, Jobes certainly succeeds in the handling of 1 Peter in her commentary. Those that want more depth in preparation for their sermons and expositions of the text will definitely not be disappointed.

Jobes stuck to the text of 1 Peter in such a way that it makes it easy for the reader follow. What I did find slightly confusing at times is that Jobes would deal with critics and then start with possible answers to the critics based on her studies of other commentators of 1 Peter. Then she would start giving her own opinion, and just when you think she is done on the point, she would go back to more opinions and possible scenarios from other commentators. I would have liked it more if she gave all the ideas and comments from other commentators and then to conclude with her own ideas on the issues. However, this is certainly not a deal breaker. The fact that she is so thorough makes up for any “anti” points concerning this commentary, of which I do not have many.

So, who should and should not read this commentary? Pastors, preachers and teachers of the Scriptures should certainly use this commentary. Also, those that want more depth beyond the mere handling of surface issues. On the other hand, if all you want is a devotional type of commentary, then this is perhaps not for you. This commentary is not for the super-spiritual ones among us, since this book may just make you work more at studying the Scriptures than you really want to!

Will I recommend this commentary? Certainly!

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