Playing on Liberal Turf

Here’s another quotation from an evangelical (!) commentary which inclines me to think that playing on liberal academic turf is neither right nor safe:

For convenience, the author of 1 Peter will be referred to throughout the commentary as “Peter.” This practice does not imply that the issue of authorship is by any means settled, yet the question of whether Peter was actually the author cannot be avoided. The author unmistakably introduces himself as “Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1). The only personal references after this initial self-introduction are the first person verbs, “I appeal to you” (with παρακαλῶ) in 2:11 and 5:1a (the latter elaborated by a self-designation as “fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a sharer as well in the glory about to be revealed,” 5:1b), and a final self-reference in 5:12–13: “I have written you these few lines through Silvanus, (whom I consider a faithful brother), to make an appeal [παρακαλῶν] and to bring testimony that this is true grace from God” (v 12; he adds in v 13 a greeting from “Mark, my son”).

With these exceptions, the author consistently keeps his personality out of the letter. He is content to let his arguments stand on their own merit, without taking advantage of his supposed identity as the apostle Peter.

J. Ramsey Michaels, vol. 49, Word Biblical Commentary: 1 Peter, lv (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002).

But the Word Biblical Commentary isn’t all bad! Of course, even in the 1 Peter volume there is plenty of helpful exegesis. Beyond that, other volumes make downright evangelical statements in their prefaces:

The similarity of Jonah and Jeremiah is far more cogently attributable to the univocal nature of divine revelation throughout the Scripture than to a borrowing from Jeremiah on the part of the book of Jonah.

Douglas Stuart, vol. 31, Word Biblical Commentary: Hosea-Jonah, 433 (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 2002).

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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