Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In the Library: Matthew

While I usually only have 3-4 commentaries per book of the Bible, I admit to having about twice that when it comes to the gospels. That being said, I don't have one, favorite volume for the Gospel of Matthew nor do I have a commentary that tackles Matthew's Greek in much detail. Here are four Matthean commentaries that I turn to most frequently.

Craig S. Keener's A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Eerdmans, 1999). I have the older edition. I've noticed that it has been reissued as a part of Ben Witherington's Socio-Rhetorical Commentary series. I really like Witherington's series, so it makes sense that I would like this.  While a very detailed commentary, Keener's work does not do much work in the Greek.  If you are looking for that, you need to look elsewhere.

Ben Withernington III's Matthew (Smyth & Helwys, 2006). Witherington is one of my favorite scholars. His writing is clear and helpful and his work is thorough. The Smyth & Helwys series is nice and includes many of my favorite authors. The added CD-ROM for each volume is helpful as it comes with a searchable PDF of the commentary.  My main issue with this series is the price.  If I didn't have a decent book allowance, I probably would find less expensive options.  But if you have the money, these are generally, very good commentaries. You can save some money by getting on their standing order list.

David E. Garland's Reading Matthew (Smyth & Helwys, 2001). Dr. Garland was one of my professors at Truett (where he now serves as dean). I buy any commentary he publishes, not because I know him, but because he writes excellent commentaries.  This brief volume is no exception. The Reading the New Testaemtne series from Smyth & Helwys employs literary criticism, so it reads differently than other commentaries. You get less verse by verse commentary and more attention to the movement within the overall text of the gospel.

Stanley Hauerwas's Matthew (Brazos, 2006). The Brazos Theological Commentaries on the Bible are not your average commentary set. Instead of Biblical scholars, they invite theologians to engage a specific biblical text. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Hauerwas's volume is one of the ones that works. I don't always agree with Hauerwas, but his commentary always makes for lively encounter with both the church and the text.

What's on your shelf that you find helpful?


  1. I like the new Zondervan Exegetical Series. The Matthew book is by Clinton Arnold and Grant Osborne, and it came out in 2010. Dr. Garland has the newest one on Luke that just came out, too.

    I generally just take advantage of living so close to the Baylor Library for my commentary work, not having any book budget.

  2. Terry, I think you just cost me some money. Those do look good.