Monday, June 17, 2024

Book: Matthew through Old Testament Eyes


Cover of book Matthew through Old Testament Eyes

In the ever-growing intermittency of my blog writing, I have another book to talk about today. It is Matthew through Old Testament Eyes, the next entry in the Through Old Testament Eyes commentary series. Which, hopefully, will end up encompassing most of the New Testament. I would not expect OT commentaries, although a "Pentateuch through Post-Exilic Eyes" type of commentary might be intriguing.

First, the series: the idea here is to examine specifically how Old Testament thoughts informed the writing of portions of the New Testament. Not merely the "big idea" concept of "There is a God, He made the world," but rather the finer details like how the Beatitudes are informed by passages like Psalm 1. There are entries, so far, on the Gospels of John and Mark, and on the book of Revelation. (No, it's not "Revelations" through Old Testament Eyes, either. It's always singular.)

This entry to the series is on the Gospel of Matthew, and therefore draws the appropriate name of Matthew through Old Testament Eyes. It is a paperback, 390 pages, published by Kregel Academic with a list price of around $31. Endorsement blurbs include Lynn Cohick from Houston Theological Seminary and Michael F. Bird from Ridley College.

David Capes, author, is the Executive Director of the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, a place that my daughters have been to but I have not. I will try not to hold that jealousy against him in this review. He holds a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary nad been involved in many scholarly works on the New Testament in his thirty-plus years of academic work.

On to the content: 

This is a generally academic commentary, more fit for the in-depth study of Scripture than for basic devotional use. It is not a deeply technical one requiring knowledge of Greek or Hebrew (the Hebrew would be relevant because of the OT references). It is broken down by sections of Matthew, with some areas detailing verse-by-verse but usually covering a couple of verses per comment. 

As an example, the commentary on Matthew 18:21-22 caught my attention. Most Christians are familiar with Peter's question about how many times he should forgive his brother--it even made one of the earlier VeggieTales episodes--and we have sermons on it, debates about it. It was not until this commentary that I even considered a connection to Genesis 4:23-24 about Lamech's boast. 

This is a good insight. And representative of the types of help this commentary will bring. The introductory material, covering background, etc., of Matthew is brief. It will hit the highlights but if you are needing details on authorship debates, date of writing, etc., you will need an additional source.

In all, this is a good addition to the Matthew shelf. This will broaden your understanding of how Matthew's original audience heard what he said.

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