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Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Nov 23 2019 6:03 PM

Would anyone be willing to share comments or opinions regarding your experience with the subject commentary set?


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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 23 2019 6:28 PM

I own it and I don’t use it much to be honest.  Not enough meat 巧 barely an appetizer in my opinion.


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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 23 2019 7:45 PM

This is not a grammatical-historical commentary which I consider to be an advantage. When I was at the Graduate Theological Union, this was a series they carried. It is a decent source for reception history - especially useful since FL does not carry the Blackwell series. It does a decent job of bringing issues raised by the text to one's attention. A sample:

Peter’s Confession (16:13–20)

Peter’s confession plays as significant a role in Matthew’s Gospel as in Mark’s, despite the fact that Matthew has presented a “foreshadowing” in the confession of the disciples in 14:33: “Truly you are the Son of God.” It is obvious that Matthew does not wish us to view Peter simply as the spokesman who reiterates the earlier confession, because he has supplemented Mark’s story with three verses from another source, verses 17–19, which pronounce an individual blessing on Peter and assign him a unique role.
The story as told by Mark and his successors appears a little artificial. Jesus’ first question, “Who do people say that I am?” (“the Son of man” in 16:13 functions unambiguously as Jesus’ idiosyncratic way of speaking of himself without betraying the secret of his identity), was surely superfluous; Jesus must have been as aware as the disciples of the various attempts to categorize him. It is noteworthy that Matthew does not add “the Son of David” to Mark’s list, despite what he has written in 12:23. The function of the first question is not to evoke a full range of opinions but to provide a foil for the second, by means of which the faith of the disciples can come to expression, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29). In Mark’s version, Peter probably speaks for his fellow disciples, and there is no explicit insistence that this is the first moment of messianic faith. The confession is presented primarily as the occasion for new teaching concerning the suffering of the Messiah. In its pre-Markan form the account may not have been at odds with the perspective of the Fourth Gospel, where Andrew announces, “We have found the Messiah” before Peter even meets Jesus (John 1:41).
Matthew materially alters the force of the story by attributing breakthrough significance to Peter’s confession: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!” The messianic confession is not due to idle human speculation (as in 12:23) but to divine disclosure. God has chosen this one man to be the honored recipient of the fundamental revelation of who Jesus is. The God who declared at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son” (3:17) has put it into Peter’s heart to recognize Jesus as “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
In the tradition behind verse 18 the nicknaming of Simon may have had a very different context. In John’s Gospel, Simon receives his nickname from Jesus at their first meeting (1:42). Mark 3:16 seems to suggest that the naming of Peter occurred at the time Jesus selected twelve to be his closest followers. Because the original occasion is uncertain, the significance of the name is also unclear. The Aramaic term transliterated as Kphas in Greek at John 1:42 and elsewhere (“Cephas” in English translations) was itself ambiguous, meaning usually a movable stone but occasionally an immovable rock. This ambiguity persists in our passage, where two different Greek words are used: “You are petros [a stone], and on this petra [rock] I will build my church” (v. 18). Because petros was not used as a name, it is misleading to translate “You are Peter”; it would be more accurate to render the phrase “You are ‘Stone.’ ” The translation “You are ‘Rock’ ” assumes that petros, selected as the appropriate Greek equivalent of kphas because it is masculine, has borrowed the meaning of the following feminine noun petra.
Whatever the nickname meant in its original context, for Matthew it clearly marks Peter not just as one stone among many, as in Eph. 2:20 where the apostles and prophets constitute collectively the foundation of the church (cf. Rev. 21:14), but as the church’s unique and unrepeatable foundation.
For traditional Roman Catholicism, this text was fundamental to the doctrine that the successive popes, as Peter’s legitimate successors, constituted the foundation of the church’s authority. In reaction the Reformers understood the rock to be Peter’s faith, which was subsequently shared by all Christians. Recent scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, are inclined to regard Peter himself as the rock but as functioning in this capacity in an unrepeatable way. In the history of salvation his role is to be seen as foundational in the emergence of the new messianic community. We can compare the role attributed to Peter here with that envisioned in Luke 22:32: “and when you have turned, strengthen your brothers and sisters.” Paul likewise attributes a salvation-historical primacy to Peter in 1 Cor. 15:5 when listing the resurrection witnesses, and it was Peter alone among the apostles whom Paul sought to interview after his conversion and call (Gal. 1:18). Whether or not Matthew is justified in treating the Caesarea Philippi confession as the basis of Peter’s primacy, that primacy is well attested. It is not by accident that Peter appears first in all the New Testament lists of the apostles.
It is sometimes argued that Jesus could not have spoken the saying attributed to him in verse 18, because the historical Jesus could not possibly have anticipated the Christian church. The saying may derive from an early Christian prophet speaking in Jesus’ name, or perhaps from Matthew himself, but a setting in the life of Jesus is by no means inconceivable. If Jesus anticipated his death and subsequent resurrection (as will be maintained in this commentary), he must surely have given thought to the future of his “movement” between his death and the final resurrection of the dead. We need not presuppose that he foresaw the institutional church in order to support the authenticity of this saying or something like it in his Aramaic tongue. The word ekklsia (“church”) is used frequently in the Septuagint to render various Hebrew words for the community of God’s people. We find ekklsia used in this way in Acts 7:38, where Moses is spoken of as being “in the ekklsia in the wilderness” (KJV: “the church in the wilderness”). Similar language is used at Qumran concerning the congregation of the new covenant. If Jesus interpreted his forthcoming death by the broken bread and shared wine of the Last Supper, it is also probable that he regarded his death as significant for a future—that is, postmortem—building of his congregation of the new covenant. For this reason, Oscar Cullmann argued that the original context for verses 18–19 was the Last Supper, where, according to Luke 22:31–32, special attention was paid to Peter (Peter: Disciple—Apostle—Martyr, p. 190).
There is general agreement that the phrase “the gates of Hades” is poetic language for the power of death (see Isa. 38:10). What is meant is that the congregation of the new covenant will persist into the age to come despite all the efforts of the powers of darkness to destroy it. “The gates of Hades” may here represent a defensive posture: death will strive to hold in its prison house all who have entered its gates, but the Messiah’s congregation will triumphantly storm the gates and rescue those destined for the life of the age to come. This latter suggestion receives some support from the parallel in 12:29 regarding the plundering of the strong man’s goods (Satan’s victims); see also Rev. 1:18. A scholarly consensus, however, still favors the first interpretation.
“The keys of the kingdom of heaven” (v. 19) refers to the right to admit or exclude (hence the popular tradition that regards St. Peter as the doorkeeper at the pearly gates). Revelation 3:7, borrowing from Isa. 22:22, ascribes this function to the risen Jesus. In Matthew’s tradition, the Messiah has delegated this task to Peter. While it is perhaps natural for us to seize on the negative side of this responsibility, we must consider the possibility that the positive should be stressed: as chief missionary of the Easter message, it will be Peter’s joyful task to lead many into the kingdom. Through his preaching he will open the doors to life. Matthew may even be reminding conservative Jewish Christians that Peter had the right to admit Gentiles to the Messiah’s congregation (see Acts 10).
It is not immediately clear what “binding” and “loosing” mean. Because of the preceding reference to the power of the keys, it is sometimes proposed that “binding” and “loosing” refer to excommunication and readmission. A second possibility is that the terms derive from exorcistic practice, in which Satan (or a specific demon) is “bound” and the victim “loosed.” Usually, however, the terms are understood to refer to rulings about what can and what cannot be done by members of the church. Because of the use of these terms in rabbinic Judaism, it has been proposed that Matthew here designates Peter as the Chief Rabbi of Christianity. Although the Acts of the Apostles does not portray Peter as functioning in this way (in Acts 15 the role of Chief Rabbi seems to be held rather by James), we must assume that during his lifetime Peter remained the supreme guarantor of the tradition of Jesus’ sayings and thus was in a position to make rulings about such matters as divorce and Sabbath observance.
Whyle these verses ascribe a unique primacy to Peter, there is no suggestion that this role can be passed on to a successor after Peter’s death. To the extent that Peter’s functions must continue, others in the church must assume them. Here it is instructive to compare these verses with two later passages in the Gospel.
The nearest parallel to verse 19 is found in 18:18, which is addressed not to an individual but to a group. Narratively, the power to bind and loose is promised to the disciples, but in the context (vv. 15–17) this power is vested in congregational leaders or perhaps in the local congregation meeting as a whole. That is, while Peter is given supreme authority in the areas of teaching and discipline, in point of fact this authority will have to be exercised locally, and Peter’s removal by death will not alter the situation.
The second passage to be considered in this connection is 23:8–10, where Jesus’ followers are sternly warned to guard against establishing a hierarchy. No one, not even Peter, is to be honored as “Rabbi,” “Father,” or “Teacher,” because all are to look to Jesus as their one teacher and to regard one another as fellow disciples. Peter’s primacy in the history of salvation is assured, but this does not exalt him above his sisters and brothers in Christ. He is the servant of all.
Peter appears frequently in Matthew’s Gospel. Occasionally, as here, a unique position is assigned to him. Usually, however, he is presented as typical. In his strengths and his weaknesses he represents ordinary Christians who strive, yet often fail, to be loyal followers of Jesus. Even in this passage which so strongly emphasizes his uniqueness he represents later believers who are called upon to make the same confession. And in the sequel, which dramatically portrays the limitations of his confession, he likewise represents ordinary believers who affirm their faith in Jesus but cannot quite understand why the cross was necessary.

Douglas R. A. Hare, Matthew, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville, KY: John Knox Press, 1993), 188–193.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 23 2019 7:51 PM

I agree with MJ's assessment. I'm decent handling technical details on my own, and I frequently consult this one for additional ideas or sometimes to highlight another facet. I use it fairly regularly in spite of the fact that I have a bajillion resources at my disposal. As with any series with various contributors, some volumes are better than others. Overall, a good one to have, IMO.

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 24 2019 1:11 AM

In his A Guide to Biblical Commentaries, 10th edition, John F. Evans characterizes the Interpretation series as ”a moderately critical series which focuses more on theological exposition than on technical, critical issues, and is designed with the pastor in mind.”

Evans cites Beverly Gaventa: ”Rather than seek to replace scholarly historical-critical works or common homiletical resources, Interpretation offers “commentary which presents the integrated result of historical and theological work with the biblical text.”"

According to Evans ”some of the acclaimed entries in this series are Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Samuel, Job, Psalms, Lamentations, and 1 Corinthians” and he finds ”the OT section stronger than the NT.”

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