The Meaning of Matthew 18:23-27

This post is part of an ongoing series on Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. The opening Διὰ τοῦτο of v.23 indicates the connection of this story to that which immediately precedes.[1] This is a kingdom of the heavens parable (βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν) which is set in the typical Semitic form of a king andContinue reading “The Meaning of Matthew 18:23-27”

The Meaning of Matthew 18:21-22

This post is part of an ongoing series on Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. Peter’s question (a pattern in Matthew) and the parable which follows serve as a gemara, a safeguard against possible absolutist interpretations of the teaching on excommunication (vv.15-20) which precedes it.[1] This brief dialogue introduces the topic of forgiveness, with theContinue reading “The Meaning of Matthew 18:21-22”

Literary Sources for Matthew 18:21-35

This post is part of an ongoing series on Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. We must also unearth some of our parable’s literary sources, those materials which stand behind this narrative and help shed light on how Jesus and Matthew’s audiences would have understood this story. The vast majority of scholars attribute at leastContinue reading “Literary Sources for Matthew 18:21-35”

The Context of Matthew 18:21-35

This post is part of an ongoing series on Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. Literary Genre The central features of Matthew 18:21-35 are universally recognized to belong to the genre of parable. And despite its preservation only in Matthew’s Gospel, this parable is “almost universally reckoned an authentic parable of Jesus.”[1] Defined broadly, “parabolicContinue reading “The Context of Matthew 18:21-35”

A Historical-Critical Introduction to Matthew

This post is part of an ongoing series on Forgiveness in the Gospel of Matthew. Author Writing around 324 CE, church historian Eusebius of Caesarea recorded this saying from Papias, a second-century bishop of Hierapolis, concerning the Gospel of Matthew: “And so Matthew composed the sayings in the Hebrew tongue, and each one interpreted [Or:Continue reading “A Historical-Critical Introduction to Matthew”

Forgiveness in Matthew’s Gospel: Introduction

Matthew’s Gospel has long been known as the “Gospel of the Church” because it contains so many parables and passages on the life of the Christian community.[1] Of the many insights which Matthew offered for his community and the community of faith which has read his gospel for nearly 2,000 years, few have been moreContinue reading “Forgiveness in Matthew’s Gospel: Introduction”

Book Review: Did God Really Command Genocide? (Copan and Flannagan)

Any contemporary reader who picks up the Bible will be struck by the seeming divide between the God of Jesus Christ and the God who commands the destruction of whole nations and the obliteration of Canaanites during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. And while many Christians simply don’t think about the possible difficulties ofContinue reading “Book Review: Did God Really Command Genocide? (Copan and Flannagan)”

Ephrem’s Scriptural Simplicity

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Ephrem the Syrian and early Syrian Christianity. Central to Ephrem’s scriptural presentation of Christ as beyond investigation (i.e., of the same order as the Father) is the relative simplicity of his arguments. Instead of constructing complex metaphysical arguments, Ephrem relies upon the re-presentation of narratives fromContinue reading “Ephrem’s Scriptural Simplicity”

Book Review: Restoring All Things (Smith and Stonestreet)

“Christians are called to live for the good of the world. This requires understanding and action. We must think clearly about the world and engage deeply when and where we can.” In his essay “On the Reading of Old Books”, C.S. Lewis once admonished his readers to engage numerous old books for every new bookContinue reading “Book Review: Restoring All Things (Smith and Stonestreet)”

Endo’s Silence

Insights from historical fiction are often intended to make readers pause for careful consideration, especially so with Shasaka Endo’s Silence, the account of a Christians amidst the persecutions of 16th century Japan. Central to this narrative is Endo’s portrayal of the conflict between Eastern and Western civilizations, especially as that conflict impacted Christianity. The narrativeContinue reading “Endo’s Silence”