James has had a stormy and uncertain history in the Christian church. It had a difficult time getting into the New Testament, achieving canonical status in the Greek Church in the fourth century, the Latin Church in the fifth century, and the Syrian Church in the eighth century. Martin Luther famously judged James “an epistle of straw” and did not think it apostolic.
R. A. Martin’s commentary on James reveals the similarities and difference between James and other New Testament epistles and explains the historical and interpretive controversy behind the book. Most importantly, Martin finds canonical significance in a book almost solely devoted to loosely-connected moral and ethical admonitions and instructions.
For Christians throughout the ages the letter of 1 Peter has represented one of the highlights of New Testament proclamation. In his first translation of the original biblical texts into the common language of the German people, Martin Luther ranked 1 Peter among “the true and noblest books of the New Testament.” The high estimate of 1 Peter, however, has given way in modern biblical scholarship to debate over literary form, historical situation, authorship, affinities with other New Testament writings, and the nature and strategy of its theological and social message. John H. Elliott’s commentary offers an insightful approach to the key themes in 1 Peter.
In contrast to 1 Peter, 2 Peter has been met since the beginning with relatively strong resistance. Perhaps no book was received into the New Testament canon with greater hesitation, and its theological significance remained dubious. Yet the significance of 2 Peter lies in its witness to the attempt of the early church to remain true to its theological heritage amid a fragmented and skeptical culture. This commentary includes a lengthy introduction which surveys the history of interpretation, along with a detailed outline and chapter-by-chapter commentary.
Like 2 Peter, Jude’s inclusion in the canon testifies to the great importance the church once attached—and should continue to attach—to this letter’s concern for moral conduct and doctrinal orthodoxy. According to Jude, Christian behavior, no less than Christian belief, is a hallmark of the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” Elliott’s commentary on Jude shows how this short letter preserves for Christianity the ethical heritage of Judaism and the indispensability of a faith active in love.
- Discussion of historical issues, such as authorship, dating, and location
- Textual and literary notes
- Bibliographies and suggestions for further reading and study
- Scripture references linked to your Greek New Testament or English translation
- Title: James, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude
- Author: R. A. Martin and John H. Elliott
- Editors: Roy A. Harrisville, Jack Dean Kingsbury, and Gerhard A. Krodel
- Publisher: Augsburg
- Series: Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament
- Publication Date: 1982
- Pages: 191
About the Authors
R. A. Martin is a graduate of Wartburg Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa. His Th.D. in biblical studies is from Princeton. Martin served as a missionary and professor in India from 1957 to 1969, when he became professor of biblical studies at Wartburg Seminary.
John H. Elliott is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. His Th.D. in New Testament is from the University of Münster, West Germany. Since 1968 he has been professor of theology at the University of San Francisco. Two books, The Elect and the Holy and A Home for the Homeless have established his reputation as a leading authority on 1 Peter.