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”

Discussing Disputable Matters

Controversial Biblical and theological matters can be a test of a church’s community and ability to practice graceful and respectful conversation. It can also be an opportunity for a community to define themselves theologically and experience the fellowship that accompanies healthy dialogue. Unfortunately, many Christians seem completely unable to listen graciously and dialogue respectfully aboutContinue reading “Discussing Disputable Matters”

On Approaching Culture

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sentContinue reading “On Approaching Culture”

Mere Christianity for Today

Or Reflections on the Realities of Big Tent Christianity “As Christians, we are seekers after truth, not merely its custodians.” Michael Bauman1 The Situation “Christianity is in trouble,” everyone seems to be saying, for a variety of reasons. The rise of the “nones.”2 Increased dissatisfaction with institutional religion.3 The forthcoming disintegration of American evangelicalism overContinue reading “Mere Christianity for Today”

Book Review: Galatians: Freedom Through God’s Grace

Paul’s letter to the Galatians has long held a place of importance for those seeking to understand the power of the Gospel. One of the first books of the New Testament to be written, Galatians forcefully presents many of the Apostle Paul’s most central ideas and themes of grace and justification, displaying in brief, impassionedContinue reading “Book Review: Galatians: Freedom Through God’s Grace”