Filling a notable gap in scholarship on 2 Peter and Jude, Peter Davids artfully unpacks these two neglected but fascinating epistles that deal with the confrontation between the Greco-Roman world and the burgeoning first-century Jesus communities. Davids firmly grasps the overall structure of these oft-maligned epistles and presents a strong case for 2 Peter and Jude as coherent, consistent documents. Marked by exceptional exegesis and sharp, independent judgments, Davids’ work both connects with the latest scholarship and transforms scholarly insights into helpful conclusions benefiting Christian believers.
“This power is released to believers ‘through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.’” (Page 169)
“The importance of these virtues is clearly underlined by 2 Peter. ‘Make every effort’ is unusual language (the verb occurs only here in the NT and is rare elsewhere in Greek literature), but the meaning is clear. Growth in virtue is of utmost importance and deserves utmost effort. The verb translated ‘to add’ is far more colorful than that translation might indicate. In secular usage it meant ‘to provide at one’s own expense.’ Here it serves as the chaining verb as if one spent the one virtue to gain a supply of the next. So perhaps ‘to supply’ would be more accurate than ‘to add.’ It again notes the expense, the effort involved in this growth in virtue. We do not automatically become more virtuous as if God infused virtue into us intravenously; we need to make plans and expend effort.” (Page 179)
“This means that what is being thought about is most likely not sharing in the Holy Spirit or in Christ,21 nor is the phrase to be read covenantally,22 but rather as sharing some characteristic of God, something that makes the readers more like the world of the divine (including the beings other than God inhabiting that world) than like the world of human beings.” (Pages 173–174)
“What is clear is that this knowledge implies an ethical lifestyle. Therefore the knowledge is not simply intellectual (knowing things about God and Jesus), or even personal in the sense of having met someone, but knowledge that results in committed living.” (Pages 165–166)
In this well-written and informative commentary on 2 Peter and Jude, Peter Davids helps us read these two fascinating letters in light of their Jewish background. He uses his exegetical skill and knowledge of Judaism to provide satisfying explanations of ‘slandering celestial beings’ and the many other difficult-to-understand passages. This outstanding commentary is clearly a ‘top pick’ on these two letters.
—Clinton E. Arnold, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
A reliable and literate work—knowledgeable without being cluttered, informed without being pedantic. As a traditional commentary, it argues introductory matters well, relies on epistolary and rhetorical insights for structural guides, and is very well informed on Israelite and Greco-Roman background.... Balances the big canvas with smaller cameo scenes.... Should be considered the best of a new wave of commentaries on Jude and 2 Peter.
—Jerome Neyrey, University of Notre Dame
This is an exemplary commentary, marked by the author’s mature scholarship, keen theological insights, and deep pastoral concerns. His thorough exegesis, conducted with a singular combination of rhetorical and narrative analysis as well as other usual critical methods, has produced a most reliable exposition of these neglected epistles.
—Seyoon Kim, Fuller Theological Seminary
A careful and painstaking treatment of the least well known of the General Epistles… The reader’s curiosity is both stimulated and satisfied by this commentary. It will fill a niche in today’s market and be a welcome addition to the libraries of both scholars and pastors. I commend it with enthusiasm.
—Ralph P. Martin, Fuller Theological Seminary
Peter H. Davids is professor of biblical theology at St. Stephen’s University, St. Stephen, New Brunswick. He is also the coeditor of Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments.