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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PETER AND THE EPISTLE OF JUDE. by Michael Green; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968; 192 pp., $3.95

This work is Volume 18 of the Tyndale series of Bible Commentaries of which R.V.G. Tasker is the general editor. It is advertised as a “concise, workable tool for laymen, teachers and ministers”. In many respects this is true. Probably the strength of this volume is the rather elaborate introduction to each of these two epistles. In the introduction the author treats extensively the questions of date, authorship and dependence. Much of the material found in these introductions is of considerable value to an understanding of the two books. 

As far as the commentary itself is concerned, while it is written by a conservative scholar, the exegesis is not always sharp and pointed, nor is it based upon the Greek. The result is some very irrelevant exegesis which is little help in understanding the epistles. Nevertheless, for a short and concise explanation of the two books, this commentary has a place in the libraries of Churches, Schools and homes. 

I cannot agree entirely with the author’s insistence that Jude included in his book quotations from Apocryphal writings such as the Book of Enoch. And so, this commentary, as is true of all commentaries, must be used with care and the study of it must not be a substitute for the study of Scripture itself. 

HYMNS AND THE FAITH, by Erik Routley; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968; 311 pp., $4.95

Forty-nine hymns of the Church are discussed in this volume. Some of the hymns are old favorites; some are not very well known. All are hymns written before our present century. The author treats briefly, where possible, the history of a hymn; but he is mainly concerned in giving a commentary on the hymn showing how it is based on Scripture, demonstrating why it has found a place in the hymnology of the Church, explaining obscure passages in the hymns and attempting to relate the hymns to the confession and walk of the believer. The commentaries are not pedantic and stilted; they are written in such a way that the music and flavor of the hymn is communicated through the remarks made. In some respects the commentaries are interesting and beautiful. 

Such hymns as “My God how wonderful Thou art”, “O God, our help in ages past”, “Lead, kindly light”, and “The Church’s one foundation” are treated. The book would be of special value to those who make a study of hymnology and to those who are looking for good hymns to be used in singing. The commentaries offered are often helpful in determining the meaning of the author of a hymn. Sometimes these explanations are quite different from what we would expect.