Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
EmJ 13:2 (Winter 2004) p. 291
Mark R. Stevenson
Matthew: A Commentary, vol. 1: The Christbook (Matthew 1–12), rev. ed. By Frederick Dale Bruner, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004, 604 pages, hardcover, $45.00.
Matthew: A Commentary, vol. 2: The Churchbook (Matthew 13–28), rev. ed. By Frederick Dale Bruner, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004, 854 pages, hardcover, $50.00.
Frederick Dale Bruner came to the attention of the theological world in 1970 with the publication of A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness. That magnificent work carefully explained Pentecostalism’s distinct doctrines and subjected them to a powerful biblical critique. I remember thinking at the time that Bruner’s work had taken me to a new level in my appreciation of biblical theology.
In 1987 and 1990 he published the two volumes of his Matthew commentary. I bought them with confidence that I would not be disappointed—and I wasn’t. For the preacher and teacher of God’s Word, Bruner on Matthew is the most stimulating and suggestive commentary on the first gospel in the English language today. And now, after a decade of further reading and study, Bruner has published a new edition that has been revised and greatly expanded.
As a college student Bruner sat under the ministry of Henrietta Mears, the legendary teacher of the College Department of the First Presbyterian Church, Hollywood, California. Miss Mears was a biblical inerrantist and a “closet dispensationalist,” says Bruner, who spent her time teaching Paul and avoiding the Synoptic Gospels.
After receiving his theological education at Princeton Theological Seminary, Bruner attended the University of Hamburg, where he received the ThD degree. He and his wife then moved to the Philippines to teach at Union Theological Seminary. His assignment there was to teach Christian doctrine to Filipinos who came from rural homes and schools. At the beginning Bruner tried
EmJ 13:2 (Winter 2004) p. 292
using Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, but he found that Paul was too abstract for his Asian students. He later had them read Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics and Luther’s Large Catechism, but these, too, did not seem to awaken the interest of his students.
He finally found a suitable textbook when he was teaching a Sunday School class at his barrio church. He was teaching the parables of Matthew 13, and he noticed that the seminary students in attendance came alive listening to the down-t...
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