Matthew: A Commentary - Vol. 1

Matthew: A Commentary - Vol. 1

Matthew: A Commentary - Vol. 1

Matthew: A Commentary - Vol. 1


Recognized as a masterly commentary when it first appeared, Frederick Dale Bruner's study of Matthew is now available as a greatly revised and expanded two-volume work -- the result of seven years of careful refinement, enrichment, and updating.

Through this commentary, crafted especially for teachers, pastors, and Bible students, Bruner aims "to help God's people love what Matthew's Gospel says." Bruner's work is at once broadly historical and deeply theological. It is historical in drawing extensively on great church teachers through the centuries and on the classical Christian creeds and confessions. It is theological in that it unpacks the doctrines in each passage, chapter, and section of the Gospel. Consciously attempting to bridge past and present, Bruner asks both what Matthew's Gospel said to its first hearers and what it says to readers today. As a result, his commentary is profoundly relevant to contemporary congregations and to those who guide them.

Bruner's commentary is replete with lively, verse-by-verse discussion of Matthew's text. While each chapter expounds a specific topic or doctrine, the book's format consists of a vivid, original translation of the text followed by faithful exegesis and critical analysis, a survey of historical commentary on the text, and current applications of the text or theme under study. In this revision Bruner continues to draw on the best in modern scholarship -- including recent work by W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison Jr., by Ulrich Luz, and by many others -- adding new voices to the reading of Matthew. At the same time he cites the classic commentaries of Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Bengel, and the rest, who, like Bruner himself, were not simply doctrinal teachers but also careful exegetes of Scripture. Such breadth and depth of learning assure that Bruner's Matthew will remain, as a reviewer for Interpretation wrote, "the most dog-eared commentary on the shelf."

Volume 1 of Bruner's commentary is called The Christbook because the first twelve chapters of Matthew are focused on the nature and work of Christ. As Bruner proceeds through these chapters, he shows how Matthew presents, step by step, central themes of Christology: Jesus' coming (chapters 1-4), his teaching (5-7), his miracles (8-9), his sermon on mission (10), and his person (11-12). Throughout the book there are also thoughtful discussions of significant topics such as baptism, marriage, Jewish-Christian relations, and heaven and hell.

Eminently readable, rich in biblical insight, and ecumenical in tone, Bruner's two-volume commentary on Matthew now stands among the best in the field.


This commentary is directed to pastors, teachers, and students, young and old. Through it I want to help God’s people love what Matthew’s Gospel says. the commentary seeks to be both historical and theological — historical by listening to church history’s most helpful commentators (especially Chrysostom in the east and Augustine in the west, from the ancient church; Thomas Aquinas’s Catena Aurea from the ancient and medieval churches; Luther and Calvin in the Reformation church; Henry and Bengel in the post-Reformation church, and the best interpreters in the modern church); and to be theological by bringing the texts into conversation with the major Christian doctrines. I am most keenly interested in what texts mean doctrinally and what they seek ethically.

I have worked gratefully in the sweaty mines of the great historical-critical exegetes who write mainly for biblical scholars. However, I have written a theological commentary that is not addressed mainly to biblical scholars. I see before me men and women who preach, teach, disciple, and work in the church and world and who want to know what the text says and means today. What a text says and means today, of course, can be responsibly discerned only when we first know what it said and meant yesterday, when it was written, insofar as we can ascertain the original meaning. But I do not intend to bring much preliminary spadework — the text’s background — into my commentary. For most of us who teach and preach long mainly to know the foreground of our texts — where they are aiming. Though my life is almost one of full time study, I am surprised at my own impatience with commentaries that will not get to the point — What Does This Text Say and Mean Today? I have taught a weekly Sunday-school class my entire adult life, largely through the influence of Dr. Henrietta Mears in a college Sunday School class. the challenge to be ready every week with a fresh interpretation and application of a biblical text has been exhilarating, and I hope it has kept me close not only to Holy Scripture but also to all the not-so-holy places where modern men and women live and struggle. (An ample question and discussion period every les-

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