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’s work both connects with the latest scholarship and transforms scholarly insights into helpful conclusions benefiting Christian believers.
Davids begins the commentary with an introduction to both books. Then Davids starts with Jude. He reasons that since 2 Peter uses Jude, 2 Peter will be looked at after Jude. Jude has his own arguments and perspectives, while 2 Peter digests it and uses it for his own purposes.
Davids looks at how 2 Peter differs from 1 Peter’s background, audience, and grammer/syntax, though concluding that the differences don’t mean different authors.
Davids’ doesn’t give a definite stance on authorship of either book, but he falls closer to authentic authorship rather than pseudonymous (though I think he should have been more definite given 2 Pet 1.17-19).
The Purpose of the letters are “to motivate. It is a….need to exhort…to ‘contend for the faith’” (44) and to be on their guard so as not to be carried away by the error of lawlessness (2 Pet 3.17). There is a serious struggle and it is the readers’ faith that is to be kept safe from the interlopers, whether they have ‘slipped in’ (Jude) or are ‘among the people’ (2 Peter 2).
Davids deals with both authors’ use of secondary (apocryphal and Second Temple)literature, saying that “[Jude] did consider it [1 Enoch] authoritative, a true word from God. We cannot tell whether he ranked it alongside other prophetic books such as Isaiah and Jeremiah” (76), and “for the most part canonical consciousness came later than the time of Jude” (76). He brings in some excellent application, and at one point asks if Peter would think the false teachers had won if he saw the lifestyles of many churchgoers. He is very able in showing the flow of the argument. I was disappointed that there was no argumentation against the preterist position, yet Davids’ arguments hold plenty of weight, though they may not convince the ardent preterist.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this commentary. Usually I read though most of the commentary, or main sections to understand how the commentator is writing and what he/she is arguing for. However, in this commentary I actually took out my Bible and took notes through all four (combined) chapters.