As I mentioned a couple weeks back, I want to start rolling out more preview-type reviews. I’ve got several larger volumes that I am actually putting to use in classroom prep and thought it apt to preview them for you. One such volume is Grant Osborne’s Matthew commentary in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. I’ve previously told you about the volumes on James and Ephesians. The former I used as background reading when our church was going through the James and the latter I used for a high school boys Bible study (and also when our church went through Ephesians as well).
This volume on Matthew has come in handy for my New Testament class. We’ve been going through Matthew about 5 chapters per class period, and I’ve used Osborne’s volume mainly for his theology in application sections. For the most part, I’ve found them to be good starting points. Because of the size of the volume (well over 1000 pgs) as well as the attention to exegetical and structural details that come with this series of commentaries, his insights into application are necessarily brief. However, they’ve been very useful to get me thinking theologically about several of the sections in Matthew and provided the raw material for some good classroom discussions.
As far as the volume as a whole, each chapter has the same predictable (yet practical) layout:
- Literary Context (about a paragraph, more when new sections are introduced, e.g. The Sermon on The Mount)
- Main Idea
- Translation (broken down and charted exegetically)
- Structure and Literary Form
- Exegetical Outline
- Explanation (verse by verse in Greek and English)
- Theology in Application
If I had wanted to go really in depth exegetically, Osborne’s work is more than ready to facilitate that task. The text of Matthew is split into 122 exegetical units (called Chapters in the book) and Osborne’s gives readers at least a paragraph or two of explanation on just about every single phrase. 1 Given my time constraints in both prep and teaching time, I didn’t get very detailed in many parts of Matthew, but where I did, I found Osborne a reliable guide. For the most part though, I would scan over his Theology in Application sections for each unit of chapters we would be covering. In doing this, I did notice several editorial lapses, but nothing major like I’ll mention when we get to Galatians. 2
Because of the structure, I really liked using Osborne’s work. I would like to compare it in more detail to R. T. France’s volume in the NICNT series once I’ve added it to my library. France’s only came out a few years earlier (2007), so they’re both relatively new compared to Carson’s (1995), Blomberg’s (1992), or Morris’ (1992). All of them are of course relatively new in the scope of Christian reflection on Matthew. But, together, I think the form a good collection of commentaries on Matthew. This one in particular is well-suited for someone teaching or preaching through Matthew, especially in terms of exegetical structuring and applying the theology of the book. If you’re in the market for a Matthew commentary, and those two emphases are something you value, you’ll probably like this installment on Matthew in the ZECNT series.
- Author: Grant R. Osborne
- Title: Matthew (vol. 1)
- Publisher: Zondervan (November 2, 2010)
- Series: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on The New Testament
- Hardcover: 1152pgs
- Reading Level: Bible School
- Audience Appeal: Pastors and Seminary Students wanting a clear and practical exegetical commentary
- Gratis Review Copy: Yes (courtesy of Zondervan)
Buy through Amazon to support Marturo!
- I say “just about” because I didn’t scour the entire book to verify, but it’s his routine procedure in every chapter to break it down to the phrase level and comment ↩
- The lapses, if you’re interested, are misnumbered application points in a couple of the sections. On p. 446, there is no point #5, it just goes from #4 to #6. Similarly, on p. 221, the points are enumerated at all, even though in every other chapter they are. There could potentially be others, but it’s a minor enough issue that I didn’t feel like pursuing a hunt for others. ↩