When the biblical canon was solidified in the fourth century, Matthew was the most popular and widely-used gospel for many reasons. In the Western church, reasons include the special role it assigned to Peter in relationship to the community of Christ. This gospel was also popular because it begins with a genealogy of Jesus. The gospel of Matthew also contains a more detailed resurrection account than is found in the Gospel of Mark. Ben Witherington III is a renowned author of more than thirty books on the New Testament. In this commentary, he describes the fullness of the Christian life for those who study and obey the teachings of Jesus in the book of Matthew. As with each volume in this series, Witherington’s groundbreaking new commentary connects the insights of biblical scholarship to a practical exploration of the Christian life.
“Notice too that the wise virgins are also smart enough not to comply with the request to loan oil to the foolish virgins. Better to have five torches keep burning all the way to the bridegroom’s house than ten that go out somewhere along the way. The issue here is not selfishness but rather preparation and wisdom to know what it will take to get the task accomplished.” (Page 460)
“The prayer then is asking that God will protect a person from entering into a situation of temptation.” (Page 147)
“bringing a promise to fruition and so to its intended end or goal” (Page 126)
“He is comparing two groups of people who have heard his teaching. One acts wisely and builds a life upon Jesus’ teaching. The other acts foolishly by building on some other foundation. Our passage lets us know that faith without works is dead. It lets us know that the essence of discipleship is not just about belief, but also about behavior or ethics; indeed the latter is the ultimate revealer of what one truly believes.” (Page 163)
“Those who have the extra oil that they can use at a moment’s notice are prepared; those who do not are not prepared. The message is clearly that obedience through proper preparation and fulfilling one’s role in life is what is required. Implicitly, one also has actually to believe the bridegroom is definitely coming.” (Page 460)
Ben Witherington III (PhD, University of Durham) is Jean R. Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. A prominent evangelical scholar, he is also on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Witherington has written over forty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. His other works include The Indelible Image, Women and the Genesis of Christianity, The Gospel Code, A Week in the Life of Corinth and commentaries on the entire New Testament. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications and is a frequent contributor to Patheos and Beliefnet. Witherington is an elected member of the prestigious Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, a society dedicated to New Testament studies. He is a John Wesley Fellow for Life, a research fellow at Cambridge University and a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Society of Biblical Literature, Society for the Study of the New Testament and the Institute for Biblical Research. He previously taught at institutions like Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and a popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings around the world. He has led numerous study tours through the lands of the Bible and is known for bringing the text to life through incisive historical and cultural analysis. Along with many interviews on radio and television networks across the country, Witherington has been seen in programs such as 60 Minutes, 20/20, Dateline and the Peter Jennings ABC special Jesus and Paul—The Word and the Witness