Throughout this commentary, Dr. Baker challenges the reader to test the reality of his or her faith in Christ.
The book of James begins with a theology of suffering (1:212) and how faith is enhanced by trials. James also clarifies for us that genuine faith produces works, and any other kind of faith is not "saving." The opening reference to the test of faith provides the key to analyzing James. The test: Is the reader's faith a working faith?
In 1 Peter, salvation and holiness are the basis for an appeal to endure suffering. Peter also looks at the various relationships in which suffering is likely to occur (2:43:22): relationships with those who reject the believer, civil government, problems that will arise out of the slave/master relationship, spouses that do not believe, and finally relationships with people in general. The believer must be realistic regarding the world's animosity. A right attitude and submission to God who is sovereign form Peter's conclusion. The test: Does the reader's faith lead them to a life of holiness and trust in God that can endure persecution?
Finally, Dr. Baker points to 2 Peter as an instruction book to teach believers that they have been given a knowledge of the truth that should make it possible for them to add to their lives all the divinely-provided virtues listed in the book (2 Peter 1:311). The test: Does the reader believe that his or her knowledge of the truth is the essence of faith, or has the reader come to understand that this knowledge is a gateway to the Christian life that remains unopened if they do not act on what they know?
James, 1 & 2 Peter : 21st Century Biblical Commentary by William Baker was published by AGM Publishers in November 2003 and is our 66671st best seller. The ISBN for James, 1 & 2 Peter : 21st Century Biblical Commentary is 9780899578163.