By Craig L. Blomberg
Reviewed by Dr. James Rosscup
4.1 (Spring 1993) : 100-102
This is one of the two best contributions so far in the NAC. At the beginning of 1993, four other volumes of a projected forty had appeared: Mark, by James A. Brooks; Acts, by John B. Polhill, the second of the two best; Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, by Richard R. Melick, Jr.; and 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, by Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, Jr. The series, using the NIV, is re-doing an old evangelical series, An American Commentary on the New Testament, in which John Broadus did notable work (Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Valley Forge, PA.: American Baptist Publication Society, 1886. 610 pp., double cols.). Alvah Hovey was editor of the old series, and the editorial staff of the new one is David S. Dockery, General Editor, with consulting editors L. Russ Bush, Duane A. Garrett, Kenneth A. Matthews, Richard R. Melick, Jr., Paige Patterson, Robert B. Sloan, Curtis A. Vaughan, and Larry L. Walker. These "affirm the divine inspiration, inerrancy, complete truthfulness, and full authority of the Bible" (Editor's Preface).
The helpfulness of the new series in furnishing details varies from volume to volume.
The work of Blomberg, professor of NT at Denver Seminary with degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and the University of Aberdeen, often reflects wide reading, clarity in discussing problems, good theological syntheses, and informed reasoning for his interpretations. His Matthew introduction is concise, well-packed, knowledgeable (21-49). He favors a date between A.D. 58-69 and Matthew as author. This gospel to him is historically reliable (47) as he also argues in his book The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (InterVarsity, 1987). He has also written Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove: IVP, 1990), an outstanding work.
The author supplies relevant footnote details from good sources, and his explanations in the main body are fairly consistent in providing helpful material`e.g., his discussions of Matthew's use of Isa 7:14 in 1:22-23 and of how Hos 11:1 relates to the calling of God's son out of Egypt in 2:14-15. He gives eight views on the Sermon on the Mount and favors full application of the sermon to today as well as to Jesus' day. In reflecting an acquaintance with different views on 19:9, he concludes that adultery is a valid ground for both divorce and remarriage. His view that the "great distress" (24:21) is the entire period from A.D. 70 to the second advent (359-60) is surprising. To him it is all an era of tribulation for the saved. At 24:40-41, he joins many premillennial dispensationalists in saying that the ones "taken" from the earth are the unsaved removed in judgment at Christ's second coming and those "left" are the saved who remain to enter the earthly reign of Christ in its millennial era (366). Unlike many dispensationalists, however, premillennialist Blomberg appears to favor a posttribulation rapture of the church (370). In this he displays an uncharacteristic lack of clarity that makes it difficult to ascertain his view.
The work has good indexes on selected subjects, persons, and Scriptures (435-64). Though much less detailed than Broadus, Blomberg's informed survey succinctly covers many important points and is abreast of recent scholarship. Among recent commentaries on Matthew by premillennial evangelicals, his ranks not far behind Donald Carson's work which has more pages ("Matthew," in the Expositor's Bible Commentary, 1984, 596 pp.). Neither of these creditable works, the long one by Carson or the concise one by Blomberg, has the detail of John MacArthur's premillennial commentary (Matthew, 4 vols., Moody, 1985-1990). For non-technical reading that offers considerable help, the longer work discusses more of the ramifications of the text.