Forgive our presumption: a difficult reading of Matthew 23:1-3

Open access

Abstract

In Matthew 23:1-3, Jesus commands His disciples and the crowd to listen to the scribes and Pharisees even while not imitating their actions. Many modern interpreters have lessened the force of Matthew 23:1-3 by an assumption of irony on the part of Jesus. We presume that God could never ordain this for His people. However, this easier reading may not be the best reading. A more straightforward interpretation, but one that is difficult to hear, suggests that at times we may need to sit under bad leadership as means of receiving God’s Word. Pre-critical and modern interpreters provide an understanding of the words of Jesus that is consistent with a theology of God’s providence in times of transition and bad leadership. In addition, there are instances of His direction in both the Old and New Testaments that reinforce this challenging path. It is through this more faithful stance that we grow and flourish in difficult times.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Blomberg CL (2007) Matthew. In Beale GK and Carson DA (eds) Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic.

  • Blomberg CL (1992) Matthew. Nashville TN: Broadman Press.

  • Bruner FD (2004) Matthew: A Commentary The Churchbook Matthew 13-28. volume 2. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

  • Calvin J (1949) Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew Mark and Luke. In Pringle W (trans) Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists volume 3. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

  • Carson DA (1984) Matthew. Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan.

  • Davies WD and Allison DC (1988) A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew volume 3. Commentary of Matthew 19-28. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

  • France RT (2007) The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

  • Garland DE (1979) The Intention of Matthew 23 volume 52. Supplements to Novum Testamentum. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

  • Gundry RH (1982) Matthew: A Commentary on His Literary and Theological Art. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

  • Jerome (2002) Commentary on Matthew. In Simonetti M (ed) Matthew 14- 28 volume 1b. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove IL: InterVarsity Press.

  • Luz U (1989) Matthew 21-28: A Commentary. Linss WC and Crouch JE (trans) Koester H (ed). Minneapolis MN: Augsburg.

  • Morris L (1992) The Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

  • Newport KGC (1990) A Note on the ‘Seat of Moses’. Andrews University Seminary Studies 28(1): 53-58.

  • Newport KGC (1995) The Sources and Sitz im Leben of Matthew 23. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 117. Sheffield Academic Press.

  • Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum (2010). In Kellerman JA (trans) Oden TC (ed) Incomplete Commentary on Matthew volume 2. Downers Grove IL: IVP Academic.

  • Powell MA (1995) Do and Keep What Moses Says (Matthew 23:2-7). Journal of Biblical Literature 114(3): 419-435.

  • Rabbinowitz NS (2003) Matthew 23:2-4: Does Jesus Recognize the Authority of the Pharisees and Does He Endorse Their Halakhah? Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46(3): 423-447.

  • Rendtorff R (1994) Canonical Interpretation: A New Approach to Biblical Texts. Studia Theologica 48(1): 3-14.

  • Talbert CH (2010) Matthew. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic.

  • Taylor RA and Clendenen ER (2004) Haggai Malachi. volume 21a: The New American Commentary. Nashville TN: Broadman Press.

  • Trier DJ (2008) Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic.

  • Turner DL (2008) Matthew. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Academic.

  • Turretin F (1992) Institutes of Elenctic Theology. In Giger GM (trans) Dennison JT (ed) Institutes of Elenctic Theology volume 1. Phillipsburg NJ: P & R Publishing.

  • Turretin F (1992) Institutes of Elenctic Theology. In Giger GM (trans) Dennison JT (ed) Institutes of Elenctic Theology volume 3. Phillipsburg NJ: P & R Publishing.

  • Viviano B (1990) Social World and Community Leadership: The Case of Matthew 23:1-1234. Journal for the Study of the New Testament 39(*): 3-21.

Search
Journal information
Impact Factor


CiteScore 2018: 0.18

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.100
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.526

Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 245 115 6
PDF Downloads 235 145 14