We are beginning an exposition of the Gospel of Matthew. The title of this series is, “King and Kingdom,” as I believe that is a good summary of the book itself. In this post, I would like to provide a few introductory notes regarding this series and the Gospel of Matthew.
This series is scheduled to publish new installments every Thursday morning. Each post will be a brief exposition of what I believe are the highlights of the passage. This will not be a commentary or a verse-by-verse, word-by-word exposition. I’m not going that deep into the text. Rather, the nature of this exposition is such that, in the end, we will have highlighted and traced the key themes of Matthew, while explaining the basic meaning of every passage along the way.
Partly because of this, and also because of time constraints, I will not be engaging with much (if any) scholarship on the Gospel of Matthew. I would love to dialogue with the modern works of Carson, France, Wright, Nolland, and Keener, and the older works of Calvin, Ryle, Scratton, etc. Alas, I lack the time and resources to fund such a venture, and the scope of this exposition does not necessitate such thoroughness.
But, I will add this caveat. If anyone reads a conclusion I come to concerning the text of Matthew that you would like me to follow-up on after reviewing a certain piece of scholarship (e.g. “You said x, but Keener says y for such and such reason…), then I will be happy to review such points. The comment section should be accessible on all my posts.
With this point simply stated, let me walk it back just a tad. I do plan on engaging a few sources. I will reference the works of Craig L. Blomberg and Michael J. Wilkins through the Zondervan Study Bible (2015) and the ESV Study Bible (2008), respectively. I will reference A. T. Robertson (1930) and Alexander Balmain Bruce (~1897). In addition, I may dip into Calvin from time to time.
This book is never explicitly attributed to Matthew, which has led some to question its Matthean authorship. There are at least three reasons for maintaining that Matthew wrote this Gospel. First, none of the Gospels explicitly attribute authorship. This was a practice in keeping with Old Testament histories (e.g. Samuel) where the author is not explicitly stated. Thus, to have Matthew not explicitly claim authorship of the book is to be expected and should not count against his authorship. Second, early and unanimous church tradition attributes the Gospel to Matthew. Third, Matthew is singled-out as a tax collector several times in the book, a point that hardly gives worldly credibility to the Gospel, unless Matthew himself wrote it as a point expounding upon the grace of Christ. (Blomberg, 1921-22; Wilkins, 1815)
Much is made of Matthew’s relationship to Mark, and of a supposed “Synoptic problem.” I will not dive into that issue at the moment, but will simply state that this exposition will treat Matthew as a work of its own. I am going to exposit Matthew as though it is the word of God, truly and fully, and not a secondary class of Scripture. I believe the Gospel of Matthew is God-breathed, and where Matthew got his information falls outside the purview of this study.
The sophistication of Matthew’s Gospel is sometimes missed, perhaps in light of the rich vocabulary and historical details of Luke, or perhaps in light of certain poor connotations of Matthew’s occupation, tax collector. This is a shame. He had some working and proper training in both logic and language, gifts uniquely fitting to opening the Old Testament and depicting Christ as the true and greater Israel.