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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jun 18 2021 4:43 AM

Does anyone who has all or part of the Wesleyan Bible Study Commentary Series have any particular insights into it, or know of any reviews worth reading of either the set as a whole or of its individual volumes? Its value to non-Methodists is of particular interest to me.

Please use descriptive thread titles to attract helpful posts & not waste others' time. Thanks!

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 18 2021 9:12 AM

I wish I could provide more insight, but I've had this for some time and I don't think I've gleaned anything from them at all. Perhaps that says more about me than it does about the resource.

Posts 733
Brad | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 18 2021 7:55 PM

Thank you so much for raising this question.  I was thinking I would like to have this $250 set, and might add it to my wish list, but then I saw that my current sale price for the Logos 7 Methodist & Wesleyan Bronze Legacy Library, which includes this set, was $13.08.  I did not hesitate.  

Posts 5921
SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 19 2021 9:19 AM

Brad:
I was thinking I would like to have this $250 set, and might add it to my wish list, but then I saw that my current sale price for the Logos 7 Methodist & Wesleyan Bronze Legacy Library, which includes this set, was $13.08.  I did not hesitate.  

Hopefully you'll be able to give it a review at some point.

Please use descriptive thread titles to attract helpful posts & not waste others' time. Thanks!

Posts 2372
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 19 2021 9:38 AM

Here is an excerpt from Matthew Chapter 4:

4
TEMPTATION AND THE BEGINNING OF JESUS’ MINISTRY
Matthew 4:1–25


Matthew’s account of the preparation of Jesus for ministry—that began with John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism, then continues with the temptation of Jesus—continues with a description of the actual beginning of Jesus’ ministry.


1. THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS 4:1–11


One might think that the commissioning words from heaven, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus, and His obedient submission to God’s will in baptism would have sufficiently prepared Him for the beginning of His ministry. However, Matthew records a significant experience of temptation following the baptism of Jesus. Though we may not like it, testing is an important part of preparation for service.


The identity of Jesus has been a major concern of Matthew. Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God have been prominent themes. The baptism affirmed that Jesus was God’s Son. The temptation will test both His awareness that He is God’s Son and His understanding of being the Messiah.


Jesus was led by the Spirit into the temptation experience (4:1). The experience of the Spirit descending upon Jesus was prominent in His baptism. Being led by the Spirit results in complete submission to God’s will. Thus the temptation offers the opportunity for obedience as much as Jesus’ baptism had. The Spirit’s leading Jesus into the desert would have suggested the Exodus and the new Moses motif. Jewish discussion about the Exodus in Jesus’ time emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit. The reference in verse 2 to fasting forty days and forty nights echoes the wording of Exodus 34:28 and Deuteronomy 9:9, describing Moses’ stay on Mount Sinai while receiving the Law. Matthew is presenting Jesus as a new Moses.


The word tempted could also be translated tested. Some try to distinguish between the concepts of temptation, in which one is incited to do evil, and testing, in which one has the opportunity to obey. However, even when the devil incites us to do evil, we still face the choice of obedience or disobedience. While one can distinguish between the purposes of temptation and of testing, the difference in human experience is not significant.


The first temptation challenged Jesus to change stones into loaves of bread if He was the Son of God (Matt. 4:3). The temptation questions Jesus’ divine sonship. It also offers a comparison between Jesus as Son and the people of Israel as God’s son. This connection was first made in Matthew 2:15, which applied Hosea 11:1—“Out of Egypt I called my son,”—to Jesus. Like Israel, Jesus was in the desert facing hunger. Israel complained and rebelled against God (Ex. 16:2–3). Jesus, as God’s Son and the new Israel, trusted God and refused to demand a miracle. In fact, Jesus’ response to the devil in verse 4 quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Rather than demanding bread, Jesus was willing to wait for a creative word from God His Father. The genuineness of His sonship passed the first test.


The first temptation also tested Jesus’ understanding of His messiahship. Some Jewish teachers believed that when the Messiah came, He would repeat the miracle of the manna. Had Jesus turned thousands of small stones in the Judean desert into bread, the result would have been a new miracle of the manna. People would have flocked to follow Him, but the servant understanding of messiahship revealed at His baptism would have been denied.


In the second temptation, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem to stand on the highest point of the temple (Matt. 4:5) and tempted him to throw himself down. Jumping from the highest point of the Temple would have won instant Messianic acclaim for Jesus. However, this also tested Jesus’ sense of divine sonship. Yielding would have challenged God to rescue Jesus. According to verse 6, the devil quoted Psalm 91:11–12, suggesting that all Jesus needed to do was to claim the biblical promise that angels would keep God’s Son from striking His foot against a stone. Surely, a faithful Father would fulfill His promise.


But such a challenge to God is the very opposite of an authentic father-son relationship. The mutual trust that comes from knowing each other’s heart and mind was completely lacking in the scenario proposed by the devil. Jesus responded in verse 7 by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, where God himself told Israel they were not to put him to the test. Such challenges are the opposite of trust.


The third temptation also tested Jesus’ commitment to being a servant-Messiah. The goal of the Messiah was to become king of all the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4:8). The devil offered Jesus the ultimate goal of the Messiah without having to pay the price of being a suffering servant. The price demanded by the devil for all the kingdoms of the world was to bow down and worship him (4:9). The temptation also tested Jesus’ sense of divine sonship. Israel, as God’s children, had failed to protect the rich gift of monotheism God had given them. However, Jesus, as the New Israel, God’s Son, resisted the lure of idolatry and chose to worship the Lord, His Father, only. His reply (4:10) to the devil quotes Deuteronomy 6:18.


HISTORICAL CONTEXT


Temple


The highest point of the temple refers to the southeast corner of the great retaining wall that supported the whole Temple complex on top of ancient Mount Moriah. It towered almost two hundred feet above the Kidron Valley below. The Spring of Gihon would have been almost directly below this point. Because the Spring of Gihon was the major water supply in ancient Jerusalem, there would have been a number of people there at almost any time of the day. They would have provided a natural audience for the leap the devil was trying to entice Jesus to take.


The temptation account ends with the comment in Matthew 4:11 that angels came and attended him. Because Jesus did not demand anything from God, His Father was gracious to give Him everything He needed. The ministry of the angels demonstrates this grace.


LIFE CHANGE


Victory Over Temptation


Jesus’ two resources in His temptation are instructive for us. He was led by the Spirit and He answered every temptation with a quotation from Scripture. Often we are tempted to think that the fiery trial of temptation is evidence that we are no longer being led by the Holy Spirit. That need not be the case. The Holy Spirit leads us in paths of testing because we cannot experience victory without the possibility of defeat. It is also the Holy Spirit who will bring to mind the appropriate resources of Scripture to help us overcome temptation—if we have placed those resources in our minds so the Spirit can remind us of them.


Several conclusions stand out in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ temptation. He triumphed over the devil and demonstrated the true nature of His divine sonship. In every case, He faced a temptation parallel to a test experienced by Israel in the desert. Israel failed. Jesus trusted, obeyed, and succeeded. In every case, He responded to temptation through the support of Scripture. This enabled Him to understand and embrace a servant understanding of His messiahship.


2. THE BEGINNING OF JESUS’ MINISTRY 4:12–25


Matthew’s introduction to Jesus’ ministry has three sections: establishing Galilee as the center of that ministry in 4:12–17; calling the first disciples in 4:18–22; and a summary of Jesus’ ministry in 4:23–25.


The imprisonment of John the Baptist signaled the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. According to verses 12–13, Jesus returned from Judea to Galilee and then moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, which was to become the headquarters for His ministry. Capernaum was a strategic location on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee and near the main road from Damascus. Matthew describes this move to Capernaum as the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1–2 (Matt. 4:14). This is the seventh event in his first four chapters that he describes as fulfilling Scripture.


The quotation in verses 15–16 comes from Isaiah 9:1–2 and identifies Jesus as the great light shining on the people living in darkness. Galilee did not have a good reputation among the most religious Jews living in Jerusalem. Galilee included the ancient Israelite tribal territories of Zebulun and Naphtali. These territories had been the northernmost outposts of Israel and most influenced by the Baal worship of Phoenicia. Frequently foreign invaders from Syria and Assyria occupied these territories, leaving their pagan influence. In the eighth century b.c., Isaiah had called this area Galilee of the Gentiles.


Matthew has already introduced the first worshippers of Jesus as Gentile Magi. Now Jesus begins His ministry bringing the light of God to Galilee of the Gentiles. No matter how Jewish Jesus was—nor how natural it should be for Jews to follow Him—Matthew insists that He welcomes Gentiles.


Verse 17 marks the beginning of Jesus’ preaching ministry with a summary quotation of His message. Those opening words of Jesus are identical to John the Baptist’s first words: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. The importance of repentance and the meaning of the kingdom noted earlier in the comments on Matthew 3:2, also pertain here. Further, by this repetition, Matthew joins together God’s message in the very Jewish context of John the Baptist’s ministry to Pharisees and Sadducees with Jesus’ message beginning His ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles. The first gospel declares to Jews and Jewish believers in Jesus, “Jesus, the Messiah, the fulfillment of Jewish hopes, has opened the door of the gospel to the Gentiles.” Further, the good news and the demands of the gospel are the same for Jews and Gentiles alike.


That Jesus’ first words are identical to John the Baptist’s first words demonstrates John as a genuine forerunner of Jesus the Messiah. The emphasis on repentance and on the Kingdom also sets the stage for understanding the ministry of Jesus that Matthew is about to unfold: a call to repentance. It will invite us into the Kingdom.


The calling of the first four disciples in verses 18–22 then illustrates the appropriate response to Jesus’ call to repentance and to the Kingdom. The abruptness of Jesus’ demand on Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew and James son of Zebedee and his brother John is difficult for many modern people. A previous generation of commentaries concluded that Jesus must have built relationship with these four through prior meetings and ministry. While that may have been true historically, this abrupt call to discipleship represents the radical demand of the kingdom of God: to let go of all human sources of security and all human aspirations and to embrace wholehearted obedience to God. Since repentance is a change of direction, the first four disciples powerfully demonstrate repentance. They turned immediately from their own business—fishing for money—to the business of the Kingdom, being fishers of men.


Jesus’ first words to them, Come, follow me, characterize the call to discipleship (4:19). The following words, I will make you fishers of men, immediately turn their attention from the demand Jesus makes on them to the results that God desires in the lives of others. For Matthew, Jesus introduces the task of mission at the same time He creates the fellowship of the church. There can be no mistaking the centrality of mission for Jesus.


Matthew 4:23–25 presents a summary and overview of Jesus’ ministry. Rather than describing specific events, these verses give a general statement of the patterns that will be described in more detail in the remainder of the Gospel.


Verse 23 identifies the primary location of Jesus’ ministry as Galilee. This is no surprise, based on verses 12–16. It also identifies the three main activities that will constitute Jesus’ ministry: teaching …, preaching …, and healing. Some scholars have suggested that Matthew organizes each of the major sections of this Gospel around one of these three central ministry activities. However, it is not always clear whether some sections are intended to represent teaching or preaching. What is clear is that Matthew will frequently hark back to this basic description of Jesus’ ministry. Not only are these three activities central for Jesus, they also provide direction for His followers. From Matthew’s perspective, ministry in the name of Jesus is teaching …, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.


The impact of that three-pronged ministry was large crowds coming to Jesus from all the surrounding Jewish and Gentile territories (4:25). The response of the crowds was to follow Jesus. Their coming together creates the audience for Matthew’s first large block of teaching material by Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

Posts 2372
Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 19 2021 9:38 AM

It is of course formatted better than the post above.

Disclaimer:  I hate using messaging, texting, and email for real communication.  If anything that I type to you seems like anything other than humble and respectful, then I have not done a good job typing my thoughts.

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