R.T. France is widely recognized as one of the foremost scholars on Matthew's gospel. His commentary in the NICNT series is a pillar. Anyone who wishes to do any study in Matthew must interact with France. Yet, by his own admission, no commentary can cover every issue raised by a biblical book. There are many implications, corrollaries and challenges that do not fit in a textual commentary but are necessary and important subjects to explore. This volume was meant to be a companion to three other volumes written on the other gospels ("Mark: Evangelist and Theologian" by R.P. Martin; "Luke: Historian and Theologian" by I. Howard Marshall; "John: Evangelist and Interpreter" by Stephen S. Smalley). It was also meant to explore the important subjects surrounding Matthean studies.
The first half of the book focuses on issues of authorship and composition. France begins with an exploration of the "first" gospel - who wrote first? Here he tackles the age-old subjects of Markan priority, Matthean priority, Q and others. Second, France moves onto authorship. France argues that the traditional understanding makes the most sense of the data. While he affirms that Matthew the tax collector is Matthew's author, he is hesitant to assign absolute significance to it. He believes that we can affirm it's inspiration even if it's conclusively demonstrated that the former tax collector did not write it. From here he moves on to issues of audience in chapter three and genre in chapter four.
Chapters five through eight move from issues of authorship and composition to literary and theological features. Here he covers Matthew's use of Old Testament texts and typological fulfillment in the person of Christ. Chapter six follows five by exploring the Matthean theme of Jesus as 'Israel'. He is presented as 'true Israel', the embodiment of the people of God and their representative. The final two chapters explore Matthew's teaching on the Church and the Gospel. His presentation is unique in the canon, but not at odds with the rest of the canon. This is an excellent book worth the time necessary to read it. France is an expert guide in the study of Matthew's gospel.