Question and Answer with O. Wesley Allen on the Gospel of Matthew

 

Learn more about Matthew in the Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries Series

O Wesley Matthews commentaryO. Wesley Allen, Jr. (Ph.D., Emory Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1996) is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at SMU Perkins School of Theology. His teaching specialties include introduction to preaching, preaching the New Testament; exegesis for preaching; preaching in postmodernism; preaching through the liturgical year; theology in preaching; prophetic preaching; preaching in the context of worship. His research interests include preaching in postmodernity; conversational homiletics; cumulative approaches to preaching; preaching and the Synoptic Gospels; preaching and the human condition.

His books include Preaching and the Human Condition (Abingdon, forthcoming in 2016) and The Sermon without End: A Conversational Approach to Preaching, co-authored with Ronald J. Allen (Abingdon, 2015).

Dr. Allen is an ordained elder, The United Methodist Church, Indiana Annual Conference.

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

I focused my doctoral work on the Synoptic Gospels and have maintained that interest even as I have shifted my scholarly work more toward homiletics.

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

The book is intended for pastors. While the commentary follows the flow of Matthew, it also functions as a lectionary commentary, primarily focusing on the passages that appear in Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary.

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

The uniqueness of the commentary lies in part in the previous answer. But I also think I made some original exegetical observations along the way. Two examples. 1) I propose a geographical outline to Matthew. 2) My reading of the eschatological discourse and the parables embedded in it focus on an experiential interpretation of Mt’s eschatology and argues one of the primary rewards Matthew sees for being a part of the eschatological community of God’s already/not yet God’s reign is the vocation of higher responsibility.

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

I struggles most with the Sermon on the Mount. While I am pleased with the exegetical observations I offer in that section, I was quite overwhelmed for a while by the thought of adding my voices to the thousands of years of interpreting this beloved and controversial section.

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

As a homiletician, it was a great joy to return to a writing project with such a deep focus on the biblical text. I truly believe at the heart of Protestantism’s spiritual disciplines is biblical study. One cannot spend a few years working on the story of Christ and not be drawn closer to Christ in the process. To be honest, I have always thought of Mark as my favorite gospel (and hope to write a commentary on it one day); but my appreciation of the artistry and theological depth of Matthew’s portrait of Jesus increased exponentially through this project.

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

Two great commentaries on Matthew are the multivolume set by Ulrich Luz [Hermeneia] and by Allison and Davies [International Critical Commentary].

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

Most of my writing focuses on preaching and people can find my various homiletical books online. Two continuing threads of interest for me are the difficulty of preaching of preaching in postmodernism and a cumulative homiletic. I also have done some works with theological and social justice emphases. I am currently wrapping a project that has taken a number of years and pushing me into new territory. It is a digital ebook that will be an Introduction to Protestant Worship with Abingdon Press. To supplement the text, the books will include videos, audio files, and interactive elements.


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