There is certainly no shortage today of commentary sets available to pastors, laymen, and students. These sets range from classic works to what seems to be a barrage of new efforts recently hitting the market. How does one decide what type of commentary set to utilize, let alone spend what could be a considerable amount of money completing? The answer to that question largely depends on what you are looking for in a commentary, specifically whether you desire a deep dive into every nuance of the text (the nerdy approach) or what could be considered a more pastoral perspective, a text that examines those nerdy elements when necessary yet provides the pastor with valuable insight that can be grasped by his parishioners. If the latter option is what you desire, then the Christ-Centered Exposition series should be at the top of your list of options.
Edited by David Platt, Daniel Akin, and Tony Merida, this commentary series is focused on providing the pastor with helpful tools to exegete Scripture and to in turn, share that needed and powerful exegesis in a manner that is understandable to their flock. The Matthew commentary which I recently had the pleasure of taking a look at is a fine example of what this series has to offer. As noted in the subtitle of this particular commentary, the focus is wholly on Jesus and examining the Messianic aspects of this particular Gospel.
The format is such that if desired, the pastor can take each section and use it as the basis for a sermon series on Matthew. In fact, that is the overall intent of this commentary, namely to help pastors better note the main idea of a text, break it down into smaller outlined sections, and then to share the main idea and the truths subsumed within to a hungry flock of sheep that so desperately need to hear the truth of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish and how that ties into a holistic understanding of the scarlet thread of redemption found throughout Scripture. To that end, this commentary meets and exceeds its intended goal.
An example of the quality exegesis and application provided by David Platt, the author of the Matthew contribution to this series, can be observed in his treatment of the Sermon on the Mount. Any pastor who has taught through this portion of Matthew understands that one could spend several months examining and teaching on all this section of this Gospel has to offer. Platt, instead of diving into a verse by verse, piece by piece analysis, takes a “30,000-foot view of the sermon, seeking to get at the heart of Jesus’ message.” After establishing the overall setting of the sermon focusing on points to pay attention to such as matters of literary and historical importance, Platt then proceeds to the text, providing the reader with some short bursts of excellent biblical exegesis. He doesn’t spend much time analyzing every Greek word or digging too deep into the text as after all that is not his focus. His purpose is to give that 30,000 foot overview, spending most of his efforts at extracting how this Sermon on the Mount presents to us as the people of God the message that the law intended all along, namely the need to be that set apart ecclesia/assembly that exhibits in their hearts and actions their love for God and their fellow man.
In order to help the reader think even further about the text under examination, Platt provides a helpful “Reflect and Discuss” section. These questions can be used by the reader for their own personal growth and study of Scripture and perhaps more importantly for the intended audience of this commentary series, that being pastors, these questions can form the basis for concepts to include in a sermon or teaching on this material. Pastors who read the excellent exegesis and who take the time to answer these reflection and discussion questions will find themselves very much prepared to present not just a quality sermon, but a message that helps their flock grasp the underlying meaning, purpose, and application of the text. If there is anything that determines the quality of a commentary series, it is those factors, and this commentary set meets and exceeds all of those.
As noted, in the world of commentary series there is much to choose from and often it is difficult to know what to buy and what to pass on. I highly recommend the Christ-Centered Exposition series and, in particular, the Matthew commentary in this series authored by David Platt. It is highly readable, expertly written, replete with helpful insight and biblical exegesis, and it will serve as a great tool for sermon preparation and personal study for years to come. I look forward to the other contributions that will be coming to this quality commentary series.
This book is available for purchase from B&H Publishing by clicking here.
I received this book for free from B&H Publishing for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”