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The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us (Resonate) Paperback – October 28, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Resonate Series

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Editorial Reviews


"This is potentially a tremendously helpful tool for someone who is less biblically savvy. That is its true promise, not to one-up the scores of existing commentaries, but to offer something more accessible to a largely biblically illiterate culture." (Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, January/February 2012)

"Matt Woodley's commentary is a wonderful resource for every pastor trying their best to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and the values recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. I found this work to be theologically intelligent, spiritually insightful and delightful to read. I kept thinking to myself, 'Reading Woodley is like reading F. Dale Bruner in dialogue with Philip Yancey.'" (Kevin J. Navarro, senior pastor of Bethany Evangelical Free Church and author of The Complete Worship Leader and The Complete Worship Service)

"This commentary by Matt Woodley is one you don't simply want to reference but read. Woodley rightly manages to find the note of grace and promise in every passage. This is a book about the gospel--good news--of Matthew. I can't imagine studying the first Gospel without this book within easy reach." (Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today)

"There is an ancient way of reading Scripture known as lectio divina--reading and rereading and digesting a portion of the Bible, asking: What does it say? What did it mean then? What does it mean now? How does it call me to respond? Matt Woodley gives us more than a commentary; it is a contemporary lectio divina which may help any reader both to know and to live out the truth of God with us in everyday life! I am going to recommend it to many of my intellectually alert, culturally aware and spiritually serious friends." (Leighton Ford, president, Leighton Ford Ministries)

"As I read through Matthew Woodley's commentary on the book of Matthew, I was consistently surprised by his interaction with the text and the ideas and insights that developed as a result. This book is a gift and a challenge to pastors who want to think more theologically and to theologians who want to think more pastorally." (Tim Keel, teaching pastor at Jacob's Well Church, author of Intuitive Leadership)

"Throughout the pages of The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, Matt Woodley makes accessible the truth of the incarnation of Christ through his own candid personal narrative and the inspirational stories of others. The reader is continually engaged from the divinely 'human' genealogy of Jesus to the promise of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at book's end. This commentary provides a refreshing expository of an often familiar Gospel by provoking questions about the impact of God's coming kingdom in today's culture and society." (Reverend Mae Elise Cannon, author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World)

"The gift of Matt Woodley's Matthew commentary is application. He takes the central meaning of each ancient Gospel text and then, in refreshing ways, applies these meanings to real, earthy, human life today. I heartily recommend his work." (F. Dale Bruner, professor emeritus, Whitworth University, and author of Matthew: A Commentary)

"With an engaging, well-written narrative, Matt Woodley invites readers into the story of Matthew's Gospel with a pastor's sensitivity. This is a substantive and accessible commentary that readers will find hard to put down." (Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life)

"Woodley's work brings both Christ and Matthew near; we experience them present with us, speaking to us about things that matter then and now." (Mark DeYmaz, pastor, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansa, and author, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church and Ethnic Blends)

"In Matt Woodley's capable hands, here theologically astute commentary meets culturally relevant story. Instead of only interacting with Matthean scholars, we also hear from Bono, Anne Lamott, J. R. R. Tolkien, Bob Dylan, etc. Simply put, Woodley interweaves these stories (and so many more) with Matthew's story of Jesus in order to show how the latter story resonates with our own. Make your way through this book then and you will not only find a readers' guide to Matthew and his most important themes, but you will find as well a telling critique of modern culture and church and their often misguided attempts to make sense of the mysteries of life. In the end, readers 'hear the story' and realize that the core of Matthew's message is simply this: Jesus came to embody the truth that we can trust God, that he really is good, and that he has come near to rescue us from ourselves. In Matthew's Jesus, God is not only with us, he is for us." (Steven A. Hunt, associate professor of biblical studies, Gordon College)

"At last, a commentary that is as readable as it is reliable! Woodley's commentary on Matthew is conversational, culturally aware, applicable to my context as a teacher and preacher, and biblically faithful. Nine times out of ten, I am disappointed when I read through a commentary because it is either too academic for my purposes as a preacher or too generic for my purposes as a teacher. But not so with Woodley's commentary on Matthew! It is both educational and entertaining." (The Rev. Derek Cooper, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biblical studies and historical theology, Biblical Seminary)

"All of us who teach the Bible passionately want to make clear the connection between accurate truth and practical application. If this is what you are seeking, then read the Resonate Series. This commentary on Matthew thinks with me, unveils exegetical insight and addresses how truth from this vital Gospel account impacts the life that I live in a world watching my life." (Bruce W. Fong, Ph.D., Sunset Church, San Francisco)

"In The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, Matt Woodley masterfully paints a portrait of our Lord through a relevant commentary on this important Gospel. This thematic study sheds new light on foundational truths, making orthodox theology accessible in our current cultural context." (Kevin Palau, president, Luis Palau Association)

"The Bible is too easily treated as a flat treasury of divine data, rather than the vibrant and living self-giving revelation of a trinitarian God. As we open the Bible we are invited to step back into that world in order to understand what the writer wrote under divine inspiration. Yet we are also continually invited to stay firmly rooted in our contemporary world, for in the Bible God speaks with absolute relevance. This journey through Matthew's Gospel combines effective commentary with engaging relevance. Whether you are officially a preacher, or not, read this book with your Bible open and converse with Immanuel--you will want to share the blessing with others!" (Peter Mead, minister-at-large, Operation Mobilization, and preaching trainer, Langham Preaching)

About the Author

Matt Woodley is managing editor for PreachingToday.com. He served as a pastor for over twenty years, most recently as senior pastor of Three Village Church in Long Island, New York. He is coauthor (with his wife, Julie, and H. Norman Wright) of Surviving the Storms of Life and author of Holy Fools. He has also written a number of articles published in Discipleship Journal and Leadership Journal as well as The Mars Hill Review.

Leonard Sweet is the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University in Madison, NJ and a visiting distinguished professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon. Previously Sweet served as vice president of acadmic affairs and dean of the Theological School at Drew University. Sweet is the author of many books, including Soul Tsunami and AquaChurch

Product Details

  • Series: Resonate
  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (October 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083083642X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830836420
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #616,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are lots of good commentaries out there, but this commentary claims to be different. According to the foreword, it's "a hybrid commentary where the best in biblical scholarship is coupled with theological reflection on the text that is accessible to that 'boy that driveth the plough'" - the ordinary blue-collar worker, in other words. "Instead of proceeding verse by verse," the editor writes, "the author of each Resonate volume draws insights from the featured book's major themes, all the while attentive to the context in which these themes are developed." This sounds good. Many commentaries are too technical for many readers; others are too simplistic. There is room for a commentary series that is substantive but not overwhelming. I was curious to find out if this commentary fits the bill.

This commentary does go below the surface. For instance, the over aching theme of Matthew 1:1-4:11 is the identity and mission of Jesus, according to the commentary. So far, so good. But it gets better. Woodley picks up on the theme of Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel in the first chapters. Not only is this true, but it's easily missed, even by many preachers. He manages to uncover this without becoming unnecessarily technical or dense. This is a commentary that's actually readable. He can even bring out the adventure in the opening genealogy of Matthew!

The writing is crisp. For instance: "A nice God, a decent God, a semi-loving God, a predictably righteous God would send us some help, maybe an angel or a prophet or a sacred text --- at least some advice. We could respect and admire a God like that. But the Gospel of Jesus' mercy goes far beyond conventional righteousness, decency and niceness. At Christmas God became a naked baby. You can't get more vulnerable than that.
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Format: Paperback
If you aren't used to reading bible commentaries (some are extremely dry and academic, using lots of Greek and Hebrew to explain things), then I highly recommend this new Resonate Series from Likewise, at IVP. They published one of the Gospel of John. This one on Matthew is the 2nd. More are coming.

I got a copy of IVP's Matthew commentary from the publisher, and the more I read, the more it had an impact on me. The power of Matthew's gospel is amazing, and this commentary takes Jesus' life, death, and resurrection seriously.

I found this book to be a helpful resource for pastors, teachers, spiritual leaders, and lovers of the Word who need a thorough synopsis. Matt Woodley also points out some concepts missed in many other commentaries and typical sermons. The author maps out the territory of Matthew, in normal language, for one to get a lay of the land, or survey the crucial themes. You'll find vignettes of pertinent personal stories, and the gospel of Matthew covered in sections and main points. The style is very pastoral, like a casual but deep personal interaction. (Don't expect a commentary in the vein of D.A. Carson, Craig L. Blomberg, or Craig S. Keener, and the like. Some of these commentaries, while very helpful, go verse by verse and are chiefly informative, not pastoral. For this mistaken categorizing, of sorts, it doesn't play on the same field as traditional commentaries, so I won't give it 5 stars.) Rather, this commentary has a personal touch. This doesn't take away from the book, but it surprises you or changes your expectations with regards to "a scholarly commentary". This work has narrative finesse.
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Format: Paperback
I am a pastor. One of the reasons I am a pastor is that I love studying and teaching the Bible. In my teaching and preaching I often use Bible commentaries to help me go deeper into the word and understand it better. Most commentaries are helpful in one way or another. Some are more technical, and can be so esoteric that it is really hard to pass on anything that I learned from them. Other commentaries, in an attempt to be down to earth, have dumbed things down so much that I find them hard to use as well. The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us falls to neither of these pitfalls. As a matter of fact, this commentary for the common person is supurb. Matt Woodley has achieved a noble mission. He has written a commentary that will be helpful for both the lay person seeking to know more about the Bible, and the pastor preparing a sermon or Bible study for their congregation.

The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us is, as far as I can tell, written in the tradition of a lay person's commentary. In the tradition of William Barclay and N.T. Wright, Matt Woodley spends just a few pages sharing about each section of the Scripture. He does not get bogged down in details that are unimportant. Woodley clearly explains what was going on at the time the Bible was written, and with a deft eagerness makes a quick transition to why that matters to people like you and I today.

Woodley makes his interpretive framework clear from the beginning when he says, "Jesus has come to fulfill the story of God's chosen people" (p. 24). What he means by this is not that Jesus has come exclusively for Hebrews, but rather that the gospel for everyone is rooted in and the fulfillment of what God has been doing through the Hebrew people in the Old Testament.
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