Pulpit Review: 2 Peter and Jude

Giese, Curtis P. 2 Peter and Jude (Concordia Commentary). St. Louis: Concordia, 2012. 410 Pages. Cloth. $49.99. www.cph.org (P)

Concordia's self-titled commentary has expanded to include 2 Peter and Jude.
These two concise epistles confess a rich theology of the end times. They warn against libertine heretics who condone promiscuity as an acceptable expression of the Christian life, and who scoff at Christ’s second coming because of his apparent delay. These inspired books of Scripture recall OT events such as the fallen angels’ rebellion, the sexual abomination and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Balaam’s seduction of Israel. God’s earlier acts of judgment and salvation guarantee that he will indeed act again. Christ will return, destroy the present corrupted world, raise all baptized believers, and bring them into the new creation characterized by righteousness. The final day is also the time of severe judgment against the false teachers. This message about the downfall of evildoers provides Gospel comfort to the church, which will be vindicated.

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The Concordia Commentary Series: A Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture is written to enable pastors and teachers of the Word to proclaim the Gospel with greater insight, clarity, and faithfulness to the divine intent of the biblical text.
This landmark work will cover all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, interpreting Scripture as a harmonious unity centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Every passage bears witness to the Good News that God has reconciled the world to Himself through our Lord's life, death, and resurrection.
The commentary fully affirms the divine inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of Scripture as it emphasizes "that which promotes Christ" in each pericope. 
Authors are sensitive to the rich treasury of language, imagery, and themes found throughout Scripture, including such dialectics as Law and Gospel, sin and grace, death and new life, folly and wisdom, demon possession and the arrival of the kingdom of God in Christ. Careful attention is given to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek. Further light is shed on the text from archaeology, history, and extra-biblical literature. Finally, Scripture's message is applied to the ongoing life of the church in terms of ministry, worship, proclamation of the Word, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, confession of the faith--all in joyful anticipation of the life of the world to come.

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The Reverend Dr. Curtis P. Giese is a professor in the Theology Division at Concordia University Texas in Austin, where he has taught Greek and New Testament since 2004. He was born and raised in Wausau, Wisconsin and received his education at Concordia University-St. Paul (B.A.), Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (M. Div., S.T.M), Lutherische Theologische Hochschule, Oberursel, Germany, and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, Ohio (M. Phil., Ph.D.) where his emphasis was Judaism in the Greco-Roman period. (publisher's website)
The major issue most Christians note with regard to these two epistles is their similarity. Giese notes the parallels (4), explains the common theories (4ff), and concludes that Peter drew on Jude (6) and likely had a different secretary for 2 Peter than he did for 1 Peter (8, 2).

The Excursus on Eastern Orthodox Theosis and 2 Peter 1:4 is particularly timely (62). Lutherans will appreciate the author's attention to detail, including citation of 2 Peter 3:9 on election (FC SD XI 81).

When the commentary author turns his full attention to Jude, he deftly deals with 1 Enoch and the false teaching of angelic marriage to human women (268ff, 269) and how Jude's quotation of 1 Enoch 1:9 diverges from the Greek text of that passage (316). 1 Enoch also gets its own Excursus (321ff). The Introduction to Jude is found early in the commentary. "The Jude who best fits the description of the epistle's greeting is the half-brother of Jesus and the full brother of James who was the first leader of the church in Jerusalem" (17). 

It is only appropriate to conclude by citing the author's translation of Jude's own conclusion, a "Doxological, Eschatological Confession of Faith," verses 24-25:
To him who is able to preserve you as unstumbling and to present (you) in the presence of his glory as blameless with great exultation, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now, and for eternity. Amen. (355)
Look for new volumes in Concordia Commentary soon, including 1-3 John, Romans 1-8, and Mark 1:1-8:26.


The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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