Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us by Matt Woodley

The good folks at InterVarsity Press have a new series of commentaries being released, called the Resonate Series. The second book in this series is The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us by Matt Woodley. As someone who is not so much a non-fiction reader, let alone a commentary reader, I was a bit hesitant to agree to read and review even just one chapter for the blog tour. But since it was just a chapter (and because Ed Cyzewski is a persistent friend), I agreed to go ahead and give it a whirl. And I ended up going back and reading the whole thing.

The purpose of these commentaries is to provide insight into the passages in a new way. Rather than to simply break down verses and explain their cultural meaning, these books also seek to make them culturally relevant for the reader as well. The author finds a theme (or several themes) in the chapter of each book and develops those.

I chose to look at the commentary for Matthew 16.

First, I had to smile that the title for the beginning of Matthew 16 (which is also the end of chapter 15) is "Faith is 'Impossible'". I don't know that I could have chosen a more apropos chapter!

 I loved that through this chapter, Woodley used contemporary examples to illustrate the themes that he is exploring. While discussing the impossibility of faith, he frames the discussion by using the example of Francis Collins's and his journey to faith through his work on the Human Genome Project. He moves seamlessly between modern examples and the biblical texts. Later, he addresses the idea of "spiritual not religious" in terms of how Jesus wants to build the Church and how it relates to Jesus calling Peter the rock upon which he would build his church. I found each of the examples engaging and easy to understand.

If you're interested in a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, but have a hard time wading through some of the academic language present in many commentaries, I recommend checking out The Gospel of Matthew and the other titles in the Resonate Series.

For a look at some other reviewers' thoughts on this blog tour, you can check out this site.


Do you have a favorite Bible commentary?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for the purpose of review, however the opinions expressed are 100% my own.


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