Review: 1 Peter (SGBC)

34377650The Story of God Bible Commentary is an exciting and practical series that seeks to explain the Bible in light of the grander story of the biblical narrative. The editors and contributors for this series are top-tier scholars and pastors with seasoned insight and experience into the world of biblical interpretation and proclamation—making this series both a useful and attractive addition to the pastor’s library.

One of the most recent additions to the series is 1 Peter by Dennis R. Edwards. Edwards is a brilliant communicator with more than two decades of pastoral ministry experience and degrees from Cornell University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and The Catholic University of America. Edwards is well positioned for the focus on this series, and his perspective on 1 Peter as an African American thinker has produced results that are noticeable in this volume.

The commentary opens with a brief introduction to 1 Peter. Edwards comments on some of the distinctive features of the epistle, including the debate around authorship (Edwards affirms the traditional Petrine authorship of the epistle), date, the recipients, its placement in the story of God, and the major themes—suffering, holiness, and salvation. That said, like other volumes in the series, the introduction is somewhat lackluster. This isn’t the fault of Edwards. It’s simply the nature of the series.

As the commentary proper opens the reader is guided passage-by-passage through three major sections: (1) LISTEN to the Story—includes the NIV translation with additional references to encourage the reader to hear the story within its broader biblical context, (2) EXPLAIN the Story—explores and illuminates each passage within its canonical and historical setting, and (3) LIVE the Story—reflects how each passage can be lived today and includes contemporary stories and illustration to aid teachers, preachers, and beyond.

When issues arise where theological/interpretive disagreements are inevitable, Edwards does an exceptional job steering the concerns towards the purpose of the epistle within the overarching portrait of the story of God. In this respect, Edwards exemplifies how to handle the text in a contemporary context with a corporate emphasis. Edwards does a fantastic job connecting the context and situation of 1 Peter to the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. This awareness is, in my opinion, is one of the greatest aspects of Edwards’ work, and it will prove invaluable for the sensitive pastor or teacher looking to reach the world around them.

The Story of God Bible Commentary: 1 Peter by Dennis R. Edwards is a unique contribution that offers a unified presentation of one of the most theologically significant of the Petrine epistles. Edwards is well-informed and easy to read, and any lack of distinctive interpretive contribution is made up for in his keen ability to keep sight of the whole amid the details. This is an excellent and worthwhile read if you are studying 1 Peter!

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