The last twenty years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number and quality of New Testament commentaries being published. With such a large number being published, it can be difficult to choose among them, but with the prices involved, it may also be necessary. This is particularly true with commentaries on the Gospel of Matthew, many of which are multi-volume works. In addition to Dr. Sproul’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, the following are five of the most generally helpful commentaries on Matthew.
1. R.T. France — The Gospel of Matthew (New International Commentary on the New Testament, 2007).
A short commentary on the Gospel of Matthew has been available by R.T. France in the Tyndale New Testament Commentary series since 1985, but in 2007, France published a much more comprehensive commentary on this Gospel in the NICNT series—The New International Commentary on the New Testament. France’s work is thorough and solidly evangelical and will be beneficial to pastors and all serious students of Scripture. His commentary is distinctive in that he takes a largely preterist approach to much of the Olivet Discourse.
2. D.A. Carson — Matthew 1–12, Matthew 13–28 (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 1984).
It is difficult to decide whether to place Carson or France in the number one position because both are such outstanding commentaries. Ultimately, I place France slightly ahead of Carson because of France’s interpretation of Matthew 24. Carson’s commentary, however, should not be neglected by anyone doing serious study of this Gospel. Carson’s work is characterized by careful and sane exegesis and consideration of all interpretive options.
3. Knox Chamblin — Matthew 1–13, Matthew 14–28 (Mentor Commentary, 2010).
This massive work (almost 1,600 pages) is the fruit of a lifetime of teaching the Gospel of Matthew. The commentary is in-depth without losing sight of the big picture. It is scholarly without being unreadable. Very highly recommended.
4. Craig S. Keener — A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (1999).
Like France and Carson, Keener is an outstanding exegete. His commentary is distinctive in its emphasis on the social-historical context of the Gospel. It also contains a very useful 150-page bibliography of secondary resources on the Gospel of Matthew. For those who do not need all of the technical details, Keener has written an introductory-level commentary as well.
5. W.D. Davies and D.C. Allison — Matthew 1-7, Matthew 8-18, Matthew 19-28 (International Critical Commentary, 1988, 1991, 1997).
For those doing an exhaustive study of the Gospel of Matthew, the work of Davies and Allison is indispensable. Readers should be aware that it is written from a moderately critical perspective, but in terms of comprehensiveness, there is nothing quite like this commentary. It is a highly technical commentary on the Greek text and thus not suitable for lay readers, but discerning pastors who are looking for information on every conceivable issue related to the text need look no further. The three paperback volumes are somewhat expensive (see links above), but they are a bargain compared to the hardcovers, which run approximately $150 each! For those not interested in all the technical details, an abridged version is also available.
If this were a top 10 list instead of a top 5 list, the commentaries by Leon Morris, Craig Blomberg, Daniel Doriani, John Nolland, and David L. Turner would be somewhere in the 6–10 section. Other very useful commentaries on Matthew include those by Michael Wilkins, Robert H. Mounce, Grant Osborne, Ben Witherington III, Donald Hagner (Vol. 1, Vol. 2), Frederick Dale Bruner (Vol. 1, Vol. 2), Jeffrey Gibbs (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3), and the shorter commentary by R.T. France mentioned above.
There are probably as many works on the Sermon on the Mount as there are on the Gospel as a whole. The commentaries listed above refer to the best of these in their footnotes and bibliographies. However, I would urge all who teach and preach on the Sermon on the Mount to be sure they do not to pass up Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.
Helpful Related Works
This article is part of the Top 5 Commentaries collection.