Nov 6, 2010
Luz, Ulrich. Matthew 1–7: A Commentary. Edited by Helmut Koester. Translated by James E. Crouch. Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.
The birth narrative, the baptism and temptation of Jesus, the beginnings of his Galilean ministry, and the Sermon on the Mount are all brilliantly illumined by Ulrich Luz's expert textual and historical-critical analysis and theological commentary. Luz brings special attention to the subsequent history of Christian appropriation of Matthew in homiletical and artistic interpretation, and addresses the terrible legacy of Christian anti-Judaism. This volume completes Luz's three-volume commentary on the Gospel of Matthew in the Hermeneia series. A translation of the earlier German edition of Matthew 1–7 appeared in Fortress Press's Continental Commentary series. The text has been thoroughly revised and updated.
As noted in the above description, this commentary is a significant revision and updating of the author’s 1989 commentary on Matthew 1–7 in the Continental series (see the preface to the Hermeneia edition, p. xvii). This explains in part why this volume is the last of his three volumes on Matthew to be published. The commentary is fairly standard critical fare but what makes the approach of the commentary interesting is its concern for the history of interpretation (Auslegungsgeschichte) and the history of the influence of the text (Wirkungsgeschichte), namely “how the text is received and actualized in media other than commentaries” (p. 61).
Here is a slightly simplified version of the table of contents:
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Hermeneia Edition
1 Structure and Basic Character of Matthew’s Story of Jesus
2 Genre and Intention of the Gospel
5 Evangelist’s Relationship to His Sources
6 The Historical Situation of the Gospel of Matthew
8 On the Intention of This Commentary and on the Hermeneutical Significance of the History of the Text’s Influence (Wirkungsgeschicht)
I Prelude (1:2–4:22)
A Infancy Narratives (1:2–2:23)
1 Genealogy (1:2–17)2 Birth, Endangerment, and Rescue of the Messianic Child (1:18–2:23)
Excursus: The Fulfillment Quotations
B The Beginning of Jesus’ Activity (3:1–4:22)
1 John the Baptist (3:1–17)Excursus: Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη)
Excursus: Son of God
2 The Authentication of the Son of God in Temptation (4:1–11)
3 The Beginning of the Community in Galilee (4:12–22*)
Excursus: Disciple (μαθητής)
II Jesus’ Activity in Israel in Word and Deed (4:23–11:30)
Introductory Overview (4:23–25)
Excursus: Preaching, Teaching, and Gospel in Matthew
A The Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29)
1 Introduction (5:1–16)
2 The Main Part (5:17–7:12)
3 Concluding Admonitions (7:13–29)
Excursus: False Prophets
Summary: The Basic Message of the Sermon on the Mount
Conclusion: Reflections on the Praxis of the Sermon on the Mount Today
2. Greek Words
Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy.
Nov 5, 2010
See Larry Hurtado's post on what he considers the most significant developments in the study of New Testament and Christian origins.
Nov 4, 2010
In this section, the author of Hebrews exhorts his audience by pointing to the ontological superiority that Christ has over the prophets of old (1:1–3), the angels (1:4–14; 2:5–18), Moses (3:1–6), and Aaron and the Levitical priesthood (4:14–10:18). Three stern warnings (2:1–4; 3:7–4:13; 5:11–6:12) suggest that these facts are not merely abstract theological musing but rather the basis of and motivation for continued perseverance. The author of Hebrews is not so much making a theological statement, but using theology as a means of motivation. Because Christ is “better than” anything else He is worth persevering for.
Nov 3, 2010
"Evangelical hermeneutics can at least be described as gospel-driven. God has spoken by his Word, the Word who became a man for us. He knows us and we know his voice so that we follow him. Any hermeneutics that loses this plot has ceased to be evangelical and is out of touch with biblical truth. The evangelical interpreter must decide what assumptions are brought to bear on the subject of understanding the Bible, and to what degree we can apply non-biblical categories to our study without compromising our principles."
Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 33.
Nov 2, 2010
"When the words of Job were ended and the three friends ceased to answer Job because he was righteous in his own eyes, Job was driven up the wall in defensiveness. Like a cat with its hair on end, he was in no way open to receive from God or man. The Elihu discourses are the transition from Job bristling with defiance to Job open to the revelation out of the whirlwind. While some textual critics believe the Elihu discourses to be an interpolation by a later author, from a pastoral theological viewpoint they are needed to account for the movement of the drama. The fact that there is no mention of Elihu in the epilogue is difficult to explain if there were a single author to the book. On the other hand, it is even more difficult from a pastoral point of view to account for the openness of Job to divine revelation without the transition of the Elihu speeches
William E. Hulme, Dialogue in Despair: Pastoral Commentary on the Book of Job (Nashville: Abingdon, 1968), 110.
Nov 1, 2010
Hebrews makes at least five contributions to the New Testament and its study. First, Hebrews offers high Christology. This can be seen in the superiority of Christ motif that is so prevalent in the book. Christ is the eternal Son, earthly Savior, and exalted Lord and High Priest. The latter emphasis on the high priesthood of Christ is probably Hebrews’ most distinctive contribution. Second. Hebrews also offers a powerful argument for the transition in God’s plan from the Old to the New. Third, Hebrews provides an interesting snapshot of some of the challenges faced by Jewish Christians who were being rejected by both Jews and Gentiles. Fourth, the extensive use of the Old Testament in Hebrews provides insight into the hermeneutical methods of the early Christians. Fifth, Hebrews as a homily provides an example of what early Christian preaching looked like.
Louis McBride has an interesting comment and personal reflection on Charles Ryrie. Concerning the former he notes, "I think it is fair to say that in most academic circles today Ryrie carries little weight if any at all. His appeal was always primarily to the popular crowd . . ." I think that Louis is right about the perception of Ryrie among many academics. This is unfortunate. One of the problems with the theological academy is its tendency to confuse simple with simplistic. Ryrie has the gift of making complicated things simple. Ryrie was simple, not simplistic. This is one reason why your average Christian found him useful. Frankly, I wish I had more of Ryrie's gift. A second problem with the theological academy is that it sometimes forgets that it really should serve the church before it serves the academy. Ryrie, it seems, understood this better than many theologians. I have known many pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc. that have found Ryrie to be helpful. May his tribe increase.
Unfortunately, I don't have my own personal Ryrie story, but I have appreciated his work. In any case, do read Louis' post here.
Oct 31, 2010
See Nijay Gupta's post concerning what he considers to be the best resources on Philippians. When reading such lists it is important to to keep the context in mind. I believe that this particular list relates to academic study and classroom teaching. The list might be a little different for pastoral and church use. In any case, I personally find such lists helpful.
"Even if one is committed to some form of systematic preaching from Scripture, choices must be made about each book, and within each book about each segment. This itself involves answering the question central to the preaching itself: How best can I bring God's Word and these people together? THe contents and balance of Scripture will need to be related to the situation and needs of a given congregation."
Sinclair B. Ferguson, “Communion with God through Preaching,” in Inside the Sermon, ed. Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 76.