Feasting on the Gospels--Matthew, Volume 1: A Feasting on the Word Commentary Hardcover – 11 Nov 2013
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About the Author
Cynthia A. Jarvis is Minister of The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The coeditor of Loving God with the Mind: The Pastor as Theologian and The Power to Comprehend with All the Saints: The Formation and Practice of a Pastor-Theologian, she served on the editorial board of the Feasting on the Word series.
E. Elizabeth Johnson is J. Davison Philips Professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She served on the editorial board of the Feasting on the Word series.
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The latest release in the Feasting on the Word series is this commentary on Matthew. For those of you familiar with the "Feasting" series, you will know that the commentary series began as guides for teachers and preachers exploring lectionary texts. Returning to the core of their material here with the commentary on Matthew, the people at Feasting on the Word and WJK Press are organizing some old and some new material in a manner that is organized more like a traditional commentary, in that this commentary is based on a book of the Bible.
Each text unit within the commentary is analyzed with four different interpretive lenses. First, it is looked at theologically. This asks how this passage fits into the bigger message of God in Scripture, and how this passage might inform right thought and believe. Then, there is a pastoral perspective, with an emphasis in how this passage might work its way into either ministry of pastors or everyday spiritual lives of congregants. Next, there is the exegetical perspective, which focuses in on the text and draws out the details of what this small individual text is saying to its individual readers. Finally, there is a homiletical perspective, which attempts to guide the reader in how the specific passage might preach to one's congregation. Each entry is written by a different person, so there are people writing from different perspectives and backgrounds as they attempt to accomplish interpreting the text with different goals in mind. The result is a multi-layered in depth commentary that allows you to see the passage from a number of different angles.
I look forward to this next step by the Feasting on the Word folks. I will use this commentary alongside others in my sermon preparation in the next year. I think it would be helpful for initiating both good thinking and good preaching that is based upon wise interaction and submission to God's Word.
Volume I covers the first 13 chapters of the book, Volume II covers chapters 14-28. Like the earlier series on the lectionary texts, each of the commentaries is actually four commentaries in one:
I was somewhat reminded of the old Interpreter's Bible Commentary - which had two parallel commentaries (Exegesis and Exposition). The four perspectives (as they are called in the text) are laid out side-by-side across two pages. Each new pericope begins on a new, left-handed page. An e-book reader will best be configured to read two-page across (with the cover having a single page to itself) to properly access the content, though careful reading will allow a reader to follow the text with minimal difficulty.
The material has chosen a middle ground between scholarly and readability. Thus allowing this commentary to be available to the layman, the pastor, and the scholar. The commentaries, as might be expected, are very much Presbyterian; but not so much so that, given today's ecumenical environment, the books will be of use to those of differing persuasions (it might be noted that this writer is an ordained Wesleyan Pastor). I received my copies of these two commentaries as I was completing a survey of the Life of Christ as depicted in the book of Matthew for Lent; I found their comments and observations of help in my sermon preparation.
My only concern is that this point the publisher has only committed itself to completing a commentary on the four gospels - though it would be hoped that the series would be continued to include the remainder of the New Testament and the entire Old Testament. More than once, publishers have developed a series of commentaries which focus only on the most popular books of the Old or New Testaments. I am looking forward to future installments of this commentary. John Knox is to be congratulated for committing itself to furthering the work begun in the earlier set.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Like its predecessor this volume takes its pericope of scripture and looks at it through four lenses - Theological, Pastoral, Homiletical, and Exegetical. Thus the same scripture passage is looked deeply in ways that both offer different ways of looking at the passage, deeper meanings than we can read from a mere language translation, as well as similarities within these study traditions.
Though there may be some repetition when reading the in depth study of a Gospel passage with the other "Feasting" books, there is enough new here, to make this worth a purchase as well. In addition, the editors afford themselves the luxury of calling upon new authoritative voices to look at these, and the reader an in depth study of these readings.
If you are interested in bible study, preaching, or just to gain a deeper understanding to what you are reading "Feasting on the Gospels-Matthew, Volume 1" (and presumably the rest of the volumes in this series) are just what you need.
FOR KINDLE USERS - More Good News! The four columns which the studies are broken into show completely one at a time so, unlike the print version, you do not have to turn additional pages to get to the continuation of the "perspective' at which you are looking. Thus, it is very kindle friendly.
just starting out on this one and thankful to have it