• Authors: Curtis Mitch, Edward Sri
  • Paperback: 384 pages  ($14 to $22)
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (December 1, 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801036026

This book is one of a series of Bible Commentary books. As of the writing of this review, seven of 17 books to cover the entire New Testament, had been completed.  The series is based upon the New American Bible, which is the translation Catholics in the United States use at Mass.  All books in the series use the theological principles that the Second Vatican Council published (in the document Dei Verbum) on how to interpret Sacred Scripture.

The authors of this book have done a great job to write in a style that is easy to read, and enjoy while reading it. It is NOT a technical/university text book, but still could be used at a seminary or theological college. I can definitely see both Priests and Deacons using this book to help them prepare homilies for Mass.  Both the authors are very well known and respected scholars in the field of Biblical Study (exegesis). I have read other books written by them and I have learned much from them.   Because the commentary uses theological principles from the Second Vatican Council, anyone reading this will know that they are learning sound and correct information.  Also used in the commentary is the teaching of the Saints and especially the early Church Fathers.

The book also includes some other interesting and important information. Many passages have a “reference link” to related Scripture passages, sections of the Catechism, and where this passage is used in the Lectionary (the book we get our Scripture passages for weekly and daily Mass). The book uses what they call “sidebars” to explain in-depth subject areas of Biblical background and the “Living Tradition” of the Church.  Also included are a Glossary, indexes of pastoral topics and sidebars, and a list of suggested resources.

The text is split into sections, with Bible verses included (so that a reader does not have to use a separate Bible), and then the commentary following the Bible verses.  Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of this commentary is the ratio of Bible verse to commentary. I can accurately estimate a ratio of 10 to 1 (commentary to Bible). This is a much larger ratio than a study Bibles. Study Bibles typically have a 3 to 1 ratio.

It is important to make note of the difference between a Study Bible and a Bible commentary. The basic difference is this: a study Bible will explain verse by verse (for the significant verses) the meaning of the particular verse, as it may relate to some other verse in the Bible, or its historical, cultural, geographical, or linguistic significance. A Bible commentary on the other hand will explain an entire passage or paragraph and what it means to us today in terms of its many meanings: literal, moral, allegorical (how does it relate to Jesus), anagogical (an interpretation of scripture that detects allusions to heaven or hell).  There is some overlap between a Commentary and a Study Bible, for example both types may use examples of the Church’s 2000 years of teaching history.

Perhaps the one most important point I can make about the book and why I recommend it is that is not just the thoughts and ideas of the two authors. It is a collection of the best-of-the-best ideas and commentary, from many people, from the very begin of the Church some 2000 years ago, to what the current “Chief Theologian” (Pope Benedict XVI) has taught about the Gospel According the Saint Matthew.  If you read this book, you will get an in-depth knowledge of who Jesus is, by understanding what Jesus taught and what Jesus did.

For more information about the book or the Series please see the publisher’s web site:
http://www.catholiccommentaryonsacredscripture.com/

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