Second Peter and Jude: An Expositional Commentary
D. Edmond Hiebert. Greenville, SC: Unusual Publications, 1989. ix + 324 pages.
Second Peter and Jude have lived within the shadow of First Peter. As a result, these two epistles are some of the most neglected books in the New Testament. Hiebert has ventured into this shadow to illuminate this somewhat “dark corner” of the New Testament. The book, his fourteenth, benefits from Hiebert’s lengthy career in teaching the New Testament at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, and Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California.
Hiebert employs a typical commentary format. A short section on introductory matters prefaces the commentary on each epistle. Since many scholars approach Second Peter and Jude as pseudonymous epistles, the authorship question dominates this discussion (20 of 25 pages for 2 Peter; 10 of 20 pages for Jude). The Church Fathers are enlisted to argue the epistles’ authenticity, but the bottom line of the argument remains the epistles’ own claim to authorship.
Hiebert analyzes the biblical text in a running commentary. The epistles are divided into sub-units, and then exegeted verse by verse. At the beginning of each sub-unit, the American Standard Version (1909) text is provided. Hiebert chose this text for its “close adherence” to the Greek text. While the ASB may be one of the most literal translations available in English, it is an obstacle to the busy pastor who likely uses the NIV. The exegesis illuminates the text and provides stimulus for sermons.
Hiebert has provided a readable commentary which will benefit primarily pastors. Although, in general, Hiebert’s book is helpful, the format remains its biggest drawback. Most commentaries employ a multi-level format like that of the Word Biblical Commentary or the Believers Church Bible Commentary. This format allows the commentator to pay more attention to the theology of the text, rather than a verse-by-verse explanation. In this reviewer’s opinion, Richard Bauckham’s Jude, 2 Peter (Word Biblical Commentary, Waco: Word Books, 1983) remains the choice for those who want one commentary on these two epistles.