Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)

book cover

Matthew (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament)
by Grant R. Osborne

ISBN-13: 9780310243571
Hardback: 1152 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: October 2010

Source: Koinonia Blog as a part of a blog tour.

Book Description from Publisher Website:
Written by notable evangelical scholars, each volume in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series treats the literary context and structure of the passage in the original Greek. The series consistently provides the main point, an exegetical outline, verse-by-verse commentary, and theology in application in each section of every commentary.

Critical scholarship informs each step but does not dominate the commentary, allowing readers to concentrate on the biblical author’s message as it unfolds. While primarily designed for those with a basic knowledge of biblical Greek, all who strive to understand and teach the New Testament will find these books beneficial. The ZECNT series covers the entire New Testament in twenty volumes; Clinton E. Arnold serves as general editor.

In this volume, Grant Osborne offers pastors, students, and teachers a focused resource for reading the Gospel of Matthew. Through the use of graphic representations of translations, succinct summaries of main ideas, exegetical outlines, and other features, Osborne presents the Gospel of Matthew with precision and accuracy. Because of this series’ focus on the textual structure of the scriptures, readers will better understand the literary elements of Matthew, comprehend the author’s revolutionary goals, and ultimately discovering their vital claims upon the church today.

My Review:
This commentary on Matthew is a thick but surprisingly easy and interesting read. I know the basics of biblical Hebrew and intend to learn biblical Greek, so I was interested in this commentary but was concerned it'd be "over my head." It wasn't. While you probably will get the most out of it if you know some biblical Greek and it certainly helps to understand terms like past tense, genitive absolute, etc., you can still clearly understand the author's point even if you don't. I suspect pastors and teachers will find these commentaries useful, but I'd also highly recommend them to individuals who want to take their study of the Bible deeper and want to better understand some of those confusing passages or differences between translations that you've noticed.

The commentary had an introduction which included an outline of Matthew. Each chapter then covered a section of this outline (usually one scene) and examined the text and its interpretation. The author first looked at how the passage fit within the theme of the whole book. He then explained the main message of the passage. Next, he laid out the Bible verses in a diagram showing the flow of thought in the passage (with tags like: setting, problem, solution, fulfillment). After that, there was an outline of the scene.

The main part of each chapter was the examination of the text. Each verse (usually only part at a time) was given in English and then in the original Greek. The author then commented about notable tenses or word meanings, cultural or historical background information, and other information which would help the reader get the most out of the passage. Differing opinions were briefly mentioned. He gave excellent footnoting to tell where the information came from and/or comment more in-depth about something in the text. At the end of each chapter, there were a couple pages discussing the themes in the passage and how to apply their message to modern life.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt.

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