This was the book used in the Lent Discussion Group I attended. I have never read Tom Wright's books before but found this one fascinating and well written even for the non-intellectuals such as myself. It certainly gave plenty of scope for discussion and I will read more of his books in the future.
Five of us are meeting once a week for breakfast and to read a passage from Matthew and talk about it. Tom Wright's book presents the passages that are set in the lectionary for the days in Lent 2011 (year A) He uses his own translation of the text - something I really don't like, I would prefer NIV - and follows with a combination of anecdote and discussion of the text.
His style is very straightforward - not at all academic - and it seems to suit many readers who are nervous of the whole process of Bible reading. He keeps his comments relevant to life today and provoked some good discussions.
In 60 minutes we usually manage two readings and one usually proves to be more relevant and gets more heated debate.
The one for Tuesday week 3 about Matthew 15 where Jesus complains about man made rules - one of our group had a daughter whose husband is Irish Catholic and trying to get their child baptised in an Anglican church has caused friction - because of Roman Catholic church "rules"
This would also be a good book for someone who likes the idea of bible reading but never gets round to it, one piece a day in Lent might be a reasonable goal
If you want a good book for Lent, Tom Wright's Lent for Everyone is worth a try. Not only will you find yourself discovering new insights into the story of Jesus in Matthew's Gospel in the commentary which follows the reading for each day of Lent, you will also find yourself reading through the Gospel itself. My suggestion is that this is worth taking each section slowly and if you've time, to pay each day another visit. It will certainly enrich your Lenten journey and there will be much to reflect on afterwards as well.
This book was purchased for a small church House Group to read during Lent, the reactions I have received are very positive. Tom Wright's translation has caught the imagination and the commentaries are deep, and I would say, more suited to those who are some way along their pilgrim journey. I have also found this book very helpful and challenging during this penitential season and has been a good preparation for Good Friday and Easter.
At the point of writing this review I have not used this particular book - I bought for use in Lent. BUT I have read Tom Wright's Matthew for Everyone - and I guess this will be similar. Indeed, I have read all of Tom Wright's "for Everyone" Bible Reading 'commentaries'. They are incredibly accessible, and open up new insights into the New Testament writers. I loaned one to someone recently who was reluctant to take it because they thought it might be difficult. They just asked if they could hang on to it because it was so good. I 100% recommend this, and any in this series, to anyone who want to read and understand the New Testament.
A group that I belong to selected this book for its lenten sessions. It has provided much food for thought while being an easy read. The format is to select a daily reading upon which the author comments and shares his own life experiences. His style is straight forward and has so far proved to be as good stimulus to the group's own contributions.
Anyone looking for a scriptural critique would not find what they were looking for, nor would it include every passage from Matthew. Nevertheless there is plenty there to help those seeking renewal in the time leading up to the great events of Easter.
I am in the midst of using this book to guide my Lent reading of the gospel of Matthew and am finding it really helpful, clear and challenging. It is well balanced between helping explain or give the context and meaning of each passage and challenging me practically as to how Jesus' teaching can be lived out today. Highly recommended.