Dr. Rod Mattoon (DMin, Bethany Theological Seminary) is the author of Treasures from the Scriptures (65 vols.), a massive exposition on almost the entire Bible. He has been preaching since 1972 and has served as a senior pastor since 1991. In this interview, he shares about his commentary project, his favorite insight from the entire collection, and the book of the Bible hardest to understand without a commentary.
There are a lot of commentaries out there. Why this one? What gave you the idea to first pursue this project?
The idea began when I was a teenage preacher boy at the age of 16. When I would go into my pastor’s office, I would look at his books and dream of someday writing my own books on the Bible. I wanted to share what I had learned from my studies.
We started this ministry in 1999 because of the need for good Bible commentaries that were preacher-friendly, easy to understand, and had both depth to the studies as well as many practical applications and sermon illustrations (especially for Old Testament books). We also wanted to bring out wonderful insights from the Hebrew and Greek.
We also wanted to help busy pastors, especially those in foreign countries and even America who have to work other jobs. We have sent books to 1,800 pastors in the Philippines alone. We are very grateful to the Lord for the 26,000 preachers, teachers, and students who have our books. The Lord has blessed and enlarged our book ministry.
One of the joys of reading Scripture commentaries is finding those fascinating tidbits you couldn’t possibly have discerned from a plain reading. Do any particularly fascinating treasures come to mind in this collection?
There are wonderful treasures found in the Greek and Hebrew. For example, I love this nugget from Philippians 1:20, which reads:
[It is] my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Paul made some personal decisions that were among life’s choicest. In all of his trials, Paul had one expectation and hope. The word for “expectation” is rich in meaning. It is the word apokaradokia. It is formed from three Greek words:
apo, which means, “looking away from; ignoring other interests”
kara, which means, “the head”
dokein, which means, “to look or watch”
This word means “the eager, intense look, which turns away from everything else to fix on the one object of desire; to watch with head outstretched.” The word was used of watchmen looking into the darkness for a beacon of light. Paul fixed his eyes on Jesus Christ. He was focused on the Lord and was determined that in nothing he would be ashamed. He would be a witness for Jesus Christ. Paul knew he must appear before the Lord someday and did not want to be ashamed. That should be our desire, too, and we should follow his example of keeping our eyes on the Lord.
If you had to recommend one book from this collection, which would it be and why?
My favorite is Treasures from Ephesians. I like that book of the Bible and the issues it addresses, especially the emphasis on how to live the Christian life. I greatly enjoyed what I learned about the armor of God and spiritual warfare. I like books that answer the questions “How” and “Why.” That is what I try to do in all my commentaries.
Which book of the Bible is the hardest to understand apart from a reputable commentary?
I think when you are going through the book of Revelation, having several commentaries is helpful and even needed. I read 50 when I studied it. They were very informative, as some passages inspire so many opinions. The commentaries were critical for gaining an understanding of the book.
Get all 65 volumes of Treasures of the Scripture for 50% off—for a limited time only. The project is in Pre-Pub and will increase to $300 when it launches, so don’t wait.