Who was Peter and what was his true stature in the early church? For Protestants at least, Peter seems caught between two caricatures: the rustic fisherman of Galilee and the author of two lesser New Testament letters. And in both cases he is overshadowed by Paul.
In The Life and Witness of Peter, Larry Helyer seeks to reinstate this neglected and underestimated apostle to his rightful stature as an early Christian leader and faithful witness to Christ.
Reconstructing Peter’s life, theology and legacy from evidence in 1 and 2 Peter, the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters, and texts from the early church, Helyer renders a great service for students of the New Testament. We are introduced to Peter the eyewitness who stands behind much of Mark’s Gospel, Peter the preacher who lends deep credibility to the account of Acts, and Peter the letter-writer whose words glow with spiritual intelligence. Along the way we are rewarded with a careful analysis of prominent theological themes in Peter’s letters. And we learn much about the traditions, legends and legacy of Peter in the post-apostolic era.
Larry Helyer’s thorough survey of Peter as disciple, church leader and pastoral theologian offers fresh perspective on many familiar New Testament passages. It also serves as a reliable guide into some of the less known territory found in the Petrine epistles. Helyer’s faithful Bible exposition is enhanced by his knowledge of ancient Jewish, Greco-Roman and early Christian literature. He has produced a study that is both informative and rich in practical application.
—Timothy Wiarda, professor of New Testament studies, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Seasoned biblical scholar Larry Helyer has produced a wide-ranging, synthetic and theologically rich exploration of Petrine themes in the New Testament and the early church. Written from a standpoint of faith and commitment, and with a clear desire to hear the texts, this book is at once informative and edifying.
—Donald A. Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
Larry Helyer’s book on the life and theology of Peter fills a recognized gap in scholarship. Under one cover we are treated to the story of Peter in the New Testament and accounts about Peter in postcanonical documents. In addition, Helyer’s study of the theology of Peter is both scholarly and accessible to readers, showing that he is concerned about the message of Peter for today’s reader. Helyer’s scholarship, fairness and devotion to the message of Peter all shine through in this volume.
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Larry Helyer is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, and currently resides in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He is the author of Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period (2002), Revelation for Dummies (2008), The Witness of Jesus, Paul and John (2008), The Life and Witness of Peter (2012), and The Good News of Revelation (2014). He and his wife Joyce regularly host Bible Lands tours.