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Fall 1993 · Vol. 22 No. 2 · pp. 104–5 

Book Review

First Peter

D. Edmond Hiebert. rev. ed.. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1992. 369 pages.

Reviewed by Lynn Jost

D. Edmond Hiebert, New Testament scholar and beloved professor emeritus of Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, has revised his 1984 commentary on 1 Peter by adopting the NIV text and consulting more recent scholarship on this epistle. Those familiar with Dr. Hiebert’s commentaries will not be surprised that the present volume gives detailed exegetical comment in a phrase-by-phrase format with careful attention to the Greek text.

Explanation, transliterations, and translations of the phrases in question make the work a highly valued resource for the preacher/teacher, and a study guide accessible to the layperson. Once again, Professor Hiebert brings to the text not only his concern for scholarly excellence (reflected in extensive footnotes and a lengthy bibliography), but also the warmth of his pietistic faith and the richness of his Mennonite Brethren heritage {105} (evident in his balanced treatment of election and foreknowledge and his appreciation of the believer’s resident alien status).

The commentary’s introduction defends Petrine authorship by replying to the critical arguments. For supplementary material regarding the life setting of the recipients of 1 Peter one may wish to refer to Bo Reicke’s Anchor Bible commentary or to Peter Davids’ recent commentary on the epistle.

In addition to Dr.Hiebert’s careful Greek exposition and his meticulous survey of the insights of early church fathers, the reformers, and recent scholars, this work contributes a thematic outline of the content of 1 Peter. Rather than following the clues suggested by the literary forms of the original, this outline points out the doctrinal foundation of 1 Peter 1:1-12, which is followed by three movements of practical exhortation in 1:13-5:11 (exhortations in view of our salvation, our position in the world, and Christian suffering). Peter’s “fundamental purpose was to establish his suffering Christian readers in their faith. The entire letter is an earnest appeal for them to staunchly maintain their stand. . . .”

A window on some of the key texts of 1 Peter enables the reader to appreciate Hiebert’s careful approach to exposition. In commenting on Christ as example in 2:21, he indicates that humans “cannot always place our feet fully in His footprints. We can follow where His tracks lead.” He asserts that “sinful men need more than a perfect example; they first of all need a Savior.”

The highly problematic texts referring to Christ preaching to imprisoned spirits (3:18-19) and the gospel preached to those now dead (4:6) are treated in typical Hiebert fashion. Various options are suggested in the phrase-by-phrase analysis, with the author offering his own conclusions. For a more comprehensive treatment and a list of the options, one may wish to refer to W. Grudem’s commentary in the Tyndale series.

For assistance in expositional detail, the student is strongly encouraged to use 1 Peter by D. Edmond Hiebert.

Franklyn “Lynn” Jost
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Tabor College
Hillsboro, KS

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