Alfred Plummer on the Gospel of Matthew

The following public domain commentary on the Gospel of Matthew is now available for free download in PDF.

Alfred Plummer [1841-1926], An Exegetical on the Gospel of S. Matthew, 2nd edn., 1920. London: Robert Scott, 1909. Hbk. pp.451. [This material is in the Public Domain]

Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew

Introduction

The Author

 

In no case is the title to a book of the New Testament part of the original document. It was in all cases added by a copyist, and perhaps not by the first copyist. Moreover, in all cases it varies considerably in form, the simplest forms being the earliest. The “according to” neither affirms nor denies authorship; it implies conformity to a type, and need not mean more than “drawn up according to the teaching of.” But it is certain that the Christians of the first four centuries who gave these titles to the Gospels meant more than this: they believed, and meant to express, that each Gospel was written by the person whose name it bears. They used this mode of expression, rather than the genitive case used of the Epistles, to intimate that the same subject had been treated of by others; and they often emphasized the oneness of the subject by speaking of “the Gospel” rather than “the Gospels.” This mode of expression is accurate; there is only one Gospel, ‘the Gospel of God’ (Rom. i. 1) concerning His Son. But it has been given us in four shapes (Iren. III. xi. 8), and “according to “indicates the shape given to it by the writer named.

Was the belief of the first Christians who adopted these titles correct? Were the Gospels written by the persons whose names they bear? With the trifling exception of a few passages, we may believe this with regard to the Second, Third, and Fourth .Gospels: but it is very difficult to believe this with regard to the First, the authorship of which is a complicated problem not yet adequately solved. But the following results may be accepted as probable, and some of them as very probable.

Ancient testimony in favour of Matthew being the author is very strong. It begins with Papias and Irenaeus in the second•century, and is confirmed by Origen in the third and Eusebius in the fourth, not to mention a number of other early writers, whose evidence repeats, or is in harmony with, these four. Papias speaks of “the oracles” or “utterances” which Matthew composed; the other three speak of his “Gospel”. Assuming that the two expressions are equivalent, the testimony is uniform that the First Gospel was written in Hebrew by Matthew, the tax-collector and Apostle. In that case the Greek Gospel which has come down to us must be a translation from this “Hebrew” original.

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Commentary on Zechariah by W.H. Lowe

The following biblical commentary is now available for free download in PDF:

William Henry Lowe [1848-1947], The Hebrew Student’s Commentary on Zechariah. London: MacMillian & Co., 1882. Hbk. pp.155.

Commentary on Zechariah

Prolegomena to Chapters I.-VIII.

Personal to the Prophet

Of the personal history of the Prophet Zechariah hardly anything is recorded. He styles himself “Zechariah, son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, the prophet,” which certainly implies that he was the grandson of Iddo. But in Ezra v. 1, vi. 14 he is spoken of as “son of Iddo.” This, however, presents no difficulty, for similarly Jehu is mentioned as son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi (2 Kings ix. 14), while(ver. 20) he is called merely son of Nimshi. The father of Zechariah, and the father of Jehu, seem to have been (to use an illustration from modern times) somewhat in the position of Abraham Mendelssohn, they could both boast of being the father and the son of a man of reputation. Knobel’s supposition, then, that “son of Berechiah” (Zech. i. 1, 7) is an interpolation from Is. viii. 2, where Zechariah son of Jeberechiah is mentioned, is unnecessary. In Ezra v. 1, 2 “Zechariah son of lddo” is mentioned as prophesying in conjunction with “Haggai the prophet,” and being instrumental in bringing about the resumption of the work of rebuilding the Temple. We know nothing further for certain about him, except that he prophesied up to the month of Cislev in the 4th year of Darius. Something may, however, be deduced from circumstantial evidence.

Among the Priests and Levites who came up with Zerubbabel is mentioned “Iddo” (Neh. xii. 4), as one of heads of the priestly families (rashe haccohenim) in the days of Jeshua (see p. 32) the High Priest.Again in the days of Joiakim, the son of Jeshua (the High Priest), a Zechariah son of Iddo is mentioned (ver. 10, 12, 16) as one of the heads of families (rashe ha’abhoth), and that evidently among the Priests. From these facts it is deduced by many (and not unreasonably), that Zechariah (like Jeremiah and Ezekiel) was a priest as well as a prophet:and that (supposing the Iddo of Neh. xii. 4, 16 to be the same person that is mentioned in Zech. i. 1), while Zechariah began his ministry during the High-priesthood of Joshua, he was head of his family in the days of Joiakim the son of Joshua. Thus Zechariah’s father, probably died early and never became the head of his family, and Zechariah a young man at the time of the return from the Captivity.

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John Calvin on the Pastorals and Philemon

John Calvin, author of Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon
John Calvin [1509-1564]
The following commentaries by John Calvin are now available on-line in PDF:

John Calvin, (Translated from the Original Latin by the Rev. William Pringle). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1856. Hbk. pp.398.

John Calvin’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon

The Argument of the First Epistle of Timothy

This Epistle appears to me to have been written more for the sake of others than for the sake of Timothy, and that opinion will receive the assent of those who shall carefully consider the whole matter. I do not, indeed, deny that Paul intended also to teach and admonish him but my view of the Epistle is, that it contains many things which it would have been superfluous to write, if he had had to deal with Timothy alone. He was a young man, not yet clothed with that authority which would have been, sufficient for restraining the headstrong men that rose up against him. It is manifest, from the words used by Paul, that there were at that time some who were prodigiously inclined o ostentation, and for that reason would not willingly yield to any person, and who likewise burned with such ardent ambition, that they would never have ceased to disturb the Church, had not a greater than Timothy interposed. It is likewise manifest, that there were many things to be adjusted at Ephesus, and that needed the approbation of Paul, and the sanction of his name. Raving therefore intended to give advice to Timothy on many subjects, he resolved at the same time to advise others under the name of Timothy. In the first chapter, he attacks some ambitious persons who made their boast of discussing idle questions. It may readily be concluded that they were Jews, who, while they pretended to have zeal for the law, disregarded edification, and attended only to frivolous disputes.

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