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Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles

, 2011
ISBN: 9780310497059
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Respected New Testament scholar Karen Jobes explores the cultural and theological background of Hebrews and the General Epistles (James through Jude) in this rich commentary. Writing from an evangelical perspective, Jobes addresses issues of historical relevance as well as how these ancient books connect with Christian faith and practice today.

Pastors, professors, students, and laypeople interested in deeper biblical study will find this an invaluable resource that offers well-researched commentary in an accessible, spiritually meaningful form.

Resource Experts
  • Historical background for each book focusing on authorship, genre, date, and content
  • Exploration of the major themes in each book and detailed commentary on key passages
  • Boxes with chapter goals, outlines, challenges, and significant verses
  • Maps, photographs, charts, and definitions
  • Questions for discussion, reflection, and testing
  • Comparison of the teachings about Christ in each of the letters

Top Highlights

“Second, there is probably no other book of the New Testament that so clearly explains why the Christ had to be fully human in order to bring God’s redemptive plan to its culmination.” (Page 24)

“While some modern interpreters consider the New Testament household codes to be hopelessly chauvinistic, they fail to read the codes against their contemporary literature, which shows that the New Testament writers actually subverted cultural expectations by elevating the slave and the wife with unparalleled dignity.” (Page 291)

“Therefore, the best one can infer from clues within the book itself and references to the book by other authors is that it was written sometime in the last forty years of the first century, with good reason to suggest between AD 60 and 70.” (Page 36)

“But eschatology is a much more sweeping concept in the biblical writings, intended not to predict the future but to motivate right living in the present.” (Page 225)

“Most scholars therefore infer that this book was written at least a few decades after Jesus had died, which on that basis would put the book not earlier than AD 60, about the time the Roman emperor Caesar Nero was coming to power.” (Page 33)

Karen Jobes’ survey is clearly written, critically informed, beautifully illustrated, background-enlightening, and theologically rich. This volume will make an ideal textbook for the study of the letters that it covers.

—Robert H. Gundry, scholar-in-residence, Westmont College

Professor Jobes combines lively prose and scholarly depth to make the most neglected books in the New Testament come alive for students. This is, without rival, the most engaging introduction available to these important but difficult biblical books.

Frank Thielman, Presbyterian professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University

This clear, accessible, thorough, and well-organized study of Hebrews and the General Epistles is an ideal text for survey courses. Jobes utilizes the best of biblical scholarship but presents it in a manner that beginning students will understand.

Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary

Jobes insightfully addresses the historical, literary, and theological features of these letters and does so with a conversational and engaging demeanor. Letters to the Church is a comprehensive introduction to these letters and a great textbook choice for college and seminary classrooms.

Jeanine Brown, professor, Bethel Seminary

This is the textbook on the General Epistles I have been waiting for. It is thorough and accessible, even for students with little biblical background knowledge.

—Dan McCartney, professor of New Testament, Westminster Theological Seminary

Karen Jobes is Gerald F. Hawthorne Professor of New Testament Greek and Exegesis at Wheaton College. She has written the NIV Application Commentary on Esther as well as a detailed study of an ancient Greek version of Esther and is the coauthor of Invitation to the Septuagint.


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  1. Christopher Huynh
  2. Whyndell Grizzard