Book Reviews

1 Peter

Karen H. Jobes Grand Rapids 2005-04-01

This book is a fresh, well-informed, and helpful commentary on 1 Peter. It is a fine individual volume in a series that has become widely respected and should be used by scholars and preachers alike.

Jobes’s work is helpful because she makes skilled use of the features of the series: sections of introductory synthesis, discussion of the contextual connections of each passage, careful exegetical discussion of the verses taken section by section with verse references given clearly, summaries of the argument, and brief comments on contemporary relevance. Readers can go quickly to what they need and find valuable help on a variety of topics in 1 Peter.

Throughout the commentary her work reflects judicious interaction with the latest research on the issues under discussion. Her particular strengths are the use of the Septuagint in 1 Peter and analysis of Greek usage throughout the epistle. In an excursus on the Greek of 1 Peter she makes a good case for the view that the style of the letter reflects Greek written as a second language with the sort of Semitic interference one might expect from someone like Peter. The specific syntactical features she analyzes give a more objective basis for assessing linguistic style, as opposed to the more subjective “feel” that is often cited by those who reject traditional authorship.

Jobes has written a fresh interpretation of the situation 1 Peter addresses and of individual verses within the letter. For example she holds that the addressees are not indigenous Christians in Asia Minor but people “converted elsewhere, probably Rome, and then displaced to Asia Minor” (p. xi). She argues that this makes better sense of the central motif of “aliens and strangers” reflected in the letter (true both literally and figuratively of the initial recipients) and fits the historical situation of the mid-first century better. Her work on passages like 2:11–3:7 (social engagement and submission), 2:21–25 (use of Isa. 53), and 3:19–22 (preaching to the spirits) is to be warmly commended if not entirely affirmed. Her view of 3:19–22, for example, is that Christ in His exaltation announced condemnation to fallen angels imprisoned since the time of Noah. Whether readers agree with her conclusions, they will be stimulated to think further and look more carefully at the biblical text.

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