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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Understanding Matthew: The Early Christian Worldview of the First Gospel
Westerholm, Stephen

Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006 pp. 160. $16.99


Description: This work, a companion volume to Westerholm's Understanding Paul, provides an introduction to the early Christian worldview of the First Gospel. The study is neither a verse-by-verse commentary nor a narrowly focused academic monograph. It is an engaging reader's guide to Matthew's worldview and his story of Jesus's life, preaching, and call to discipleship. Westerholm's goal, as he writes in the first chapter, is that readers might "begin to understand how Matthew made sense of things, and to see how it makes sense to make sense of things that way." His introductory chapter examines the idea of a worldview. He then considers the central aspects of Matthew's worldview--Israel's understanding of God, his dealings with the Jewish people, and Jesus's preaching about God's kingdom. Finally, Westerholm focuses on Matthew's account of Jesus's message--particularly his call to discipleship. On this subject, he uses Dietrich Bonhoeffer's life and writings to provide vivid illustration. He concludes with a chapter summarizing the entire Gospel. This readable study will serve pastors and students as an excellent introductory guide to the First Gospel and Matthew's understanding of Jesus's message.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Literature

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Review by David C. Sim
Published 10/4/2008
Citation: David C. Sim, review of Stephen Westerholm, Understanding Matthew: The Early Christian Worldview of the First Gospel, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2008).


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