Robert Harvey and Philip Towner joined forces to contribute this commentary on the similar letters of 2 Peter and Jude in the IVP New Testament Commentary (IVPNT) series. Mr. Towner has also written the commentary on the Pastoral Epistles in this series while Mr. Harvey was a pastor of many years. You could tell which one was the pastor and which one was the scholar, though in both cases the pastor was scholarly and the scholar was pastoral. Maybe my bias as a pastor causes me to enjoy Mr. Harvey’s commentary on 2 Peter more, but we can appreciate Mr. Towner stepping in after the untimely death of Mr. Harvey.
Mr. Harvey begins his Introduction to 2 Peter by jumping into the background of the book, including authorship. I appreciate that he has no trouble believing Peter wrote this work, and even to trace Peter’s marveling at being forgiven throughout the letter. He dispenses with some of the stranger features of genre study, and moves on into the style and vocabulary of Peter. He gives further discussion of topics in 2 Peter, canonicity, date (A.D. 65 to 68), and origin and destination. In discussing Peter’s purpose, he talks about strengthening the brothers and seeing God’s actions in our lives. Next, he tackles the historical background of Peter’s world before he concludes and gives an outline of the book. The commentary was thoughtful, helpful, and seemed to find the heart of every passage.
Mr. Towner begins his Introduction to Jude by explaining the book’s neglect today. He explains the historical background of Jude’s time before he discusses questions of authorship and date. He seems at least open that Jude could have been the writer, yet is uncertain about the date. Next, he discusses the theological character of this book. In it he sees a redemptive story and a Trinitarian outlook. He sees Jude’s technique as working through apocalyptic too. Further, he discusses eschatology, the church, and faith as seen in the Book of Jude. As is common in most commentaries on Jude, when he gets into the literary character of Jude he talks about Jude’s use of Midrash and the similarities with 2 Peter. He closes by explaining the opponents that Jude faces in the writing and some thoughts on our reading Jude today. As we said before, the commentary itself has more of a scholarly feel.
This commentary is a fine, economical choice if you are entering into a study of these two books that receive less attention than most. You will find good help here.
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