Tom Wright (aka N T Wright) has written a commentary that is very scholarly in that it takes interpretation very seriously, but has put that at a level that everyone can read and understand. Wright has put his translation in this little book, then and illustration that brings out the meaning of the test and then he goes into interpreting the text which he always does an excellent job, and he also asks few modern day application questions at the end of each section. Wright is a great interpreter of Jesus (Paul too for that matter) and he does not let down in this popular commentary. Even if you have or have not read his mammoth work Jesus and the Victory of God you will still benefit from this commentary. He makes sense of Matthew and stays consistent with his interpretations. The grid he uses over and over again is that exile has ended, YHWH is returning to Israel and being installed as King, the promises to Abraham, David and the prophets are being fulfilled, the new exodus is happening and it is coming about in Jesus. This more or less is always Wright's grid and I think that it is arguably the best grid around.
I found only two weaknesses that I would like to point out and these are not major. I point them out, not so much in disagreement as to, in a humble manner, enhance Wright's position and not weaken it. First, he does not always deal with every passage in a clear way. This most likely being due to the fact that he is writing for a popular audience and these books can only take so much space and I understand that fact, but I was a little disappointed when I got to the passage "the kingdom suffers violence and the violent take it by force" and there was really no comment on the meaning. I am still uncertain whom he thinks the violent are in that passage.
The second problem I found was with his treatment of the genealogies in Matthew. On page 4 he says about the women that appear in the genealogies that "If God can work through these bizarre ways, he seems to be saying, watch what he's going to do now." Actually, this is not what Matthew is saying at all. The point of the women being mentioned is that they are all foreigners. Tamar (Genesis 38) and Rahab are both Canaanites, Ruth a Moabite, and Bathsheba (who is actually not mentioned by name) was a Hittite. The point being that the vocation of Israel was to be the light to the world and bring others in like the women mentioned who did get into the promise and move of God. This point is illustrated several times throughout the book of Matthew with the Magi (foreigners getting in), the Centurion (a Roman soldier), and the Syro-Phoenician woman in Matthew 15 who had the daughter that was vexed of the Devil all got in on the promise even though they were outsiders or not ethnic Israel.
This, however, is an excellent commentary and I am looking forward to reading Part Two, which cover chapters 16-28. Get this book and it will help you understand Matthew better.
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