Matthew Commentary – Interview with Charles Quarles

matthew commentary coverCharles L. Quarles (Ph.D., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is Research Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology Charles Page Chair of Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the Matthew volume in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament commentary series.

Dr. Quarles is an experienced pastor, missionary, and theological educator. He served as Senior Pastor of three churches in North Mississippi and East Tennessee for over ten years. He served as a missionary of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Bucharest Romania from 1999 to 2002. He has served as a professor of New Testament and Greek at Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, the Bucharest Baptist Theological Seminary, the University of Bucharest, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and Louisiana College. He has also served as an adjunct professor and visiting professor respectively at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served on volunteer mission trips in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

Dr. Quarles has published research in numerous international journals including New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum, the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, and the Bulletin for Biblical Research. In additional to many Bible studies, articles in reference works, and reviews, he is the editor or author of six books including Buried Hope or Risen Savior: The Search for the Jesus Tomb; The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: A Comprehensive New Testament Introduction (with Andreas Kostenberger and Scott Kellum); The Sermon on the Mount: Restoring Christ’s Message to the Modern Church; and The Illustrated Life of Paul. He is most recent books are Theology of the Gospel of Matthew and Matthew in the EGGNT series. To see all Dr. Quarles’ books, please visit his Amazon author page.)

7 Questions on Matthew in EGGNT Commentary Series

Recently, Dr. Quarles kindly answered my questions about his Matthew commentary. Readers will learn how this commentary came to be, what is unique about it among 1 Corinthians commentaries, and how the project edified him personally.

1. What previous research and/or personal interests led you to this project and helped prepare you to write this commentary on Matthew?

The Gospel of Matthew has been the primary focus of my studies for over a decade now. My previous books include a Theology of Matthew and a commentary on the Sermon on the Mount. I have also published several journal articles recently on various theological issues and text-critical challenges in the Gospel of Matthew. Several more will appear soon.

2. Who is the intended audience for this commentary? Would it benefit pastors? professors? students? lay Christians in the local church?

This book is primarily for pastors, professors, and students. The book assumes at least an elementary understanding of Greek grammar. To get the most out of the book, readers will need to have completed at least a year of Greek study.

3. What is unique about this commentary? What contribution does it make to studies of Matthew ?

My book is not a traditional commentary. Traditional commentaries typically show only the “fruits” of exegetical study. This book exposes the “roots” of exegetical study by explaining the grammar and syntax of the Gospel. As I wrote the book, I was often surprised to discover that many puzzling constructions in the Gospel of Matthew had not been discussed adequately by any commentary that I could find, even including commentaries that focus on the Greek text.

4. What section or passage of this commentary was particularly memorable to research and write? Why?

I am afraid that my response may disappoint you. I could not narrow this down to a single passage. My favorite passage of the Gospel is always the one that I happen to be studying at the moment. I might add that I was especially gripped by the study of Christ’s calls to discipleship. He clearly demands and deserves a depth of devotion and sacrifice that modern Christianity has sadly overlooked.

5. What personally edified you in writing this commentary, increasing your affections for Christ?

I enjoy writing in general, but I absolutely love commentary writing. I look forward to waking up each morning and retreating to my office to pore over the Gospel of Matthew. Almost daily I discover new treasures that I had somehow overlooked before. Unfortunately, many of these discoveries could not be discussed in this book given its nature. They will be discussed in a future work. But the impact of this study on me has been immense and I love Christ and this Gospel more intensely because of it. The worship of Jesus is one of the themes that permeates this Gospel. And studying the Gospel has repeatedly driven me to my knees in utter awe of his glories and mercies.

6. Besides your commentary, what are your top recommended books (commentaries or otherwise) on Matthew?

I highly recommend R. T France’s commentary on Matthew in the NICNT series. For discerning readers, I also recommend Davies and Allison’s commentary in the ICC series. Although the commentary is a bit dated and I disagree with some of the critical conclusions, it is unsurpassed in its fair discussion of a variety of viewpoints, treatment of the history of interpretation, and careful attention to the details of the text. John Nolland’s commentary gives attention to grammatical features of the text that are rarely treated.

7. What is next for you? What project are you currently working on? How can people follow your work and ministry?

I am currently writing a theological commentary on the Gospel of Matthew that I hope will aid pastors in preaching through Matthew and emphasizing the great doctrines of the Christian faith. Many believers seem to think that the Gospel of John is the theologically rich Gospel and that the Synoptics are mainly helpful as mere historical sources. But I am strongly convinced that the Gospel of Matthew is just as theologically rich as the Gospel of John. We have missed those riches because we have read the Gospel superficially and with a wrong set of assumptions. I am more excited about this upcoming commentary that any book I have written. I am also writing a book on New Testament textual criticism. My deepening interest in textual criticism was actually sparked by my work in Matthew. I kept encountering different readings in the ancient manuscripts that I did not feel had been adequately explored. Obviously, the first step in exegeting the text is to establish the text. After the years of focus on Matthew, I felt compelled to make a contribution in this area.

As new books and articles appear, I will announce them through Twitter. Readers can follow me at @[email protected]

Own Charles Quarles’ Matthew commentary

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