The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, By Matt Woodley
The Gospel of Matthew
  • Length: 301 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: September 28, 2011
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3642
  • ISBN: 9780830836420

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They say the Bible is true, but does it ring true? Does it resonate?

In this journey through the Gospel of Matthew, Matt Woodley considers the audacious idea of a God with us--confronting us in the midst of all we've invested ourselves in and dedicated ourselves to, and encouraging us with the promise that the God who made us has a better life in mind for us.

The Resonate series recovers the ancient wisdom of Scripture for a complex world. The stories and insights of each book of the Bible are brought into conversation with contemporary voices of hope and lament--the cultural messages we interact with on a daily basis. The Scriptures become a meeting ground where God is confronted with the pressing concerns of our day, and we are confronted in turn with a fresh experience of God's truth.

"Matt Woodley's commentary is a wonderful resource for every pastor trying their best to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ and the values recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. I found this work to be theologically intelligent, spiritually insightful and delightful to read. I kept thinking to myself, 'Reading Woodley is like reading F. Dale Bruner in dialogue with Philip Yancey.'"

Kevin J. Navarro, senior pastor of Bethany Evangelical Free Church and author of The Complete Worship Leader and The Complete Worship Service

"This commentary by Matt Woodley is one you don't simply want to reference but read. Woodley rightly manages to find the note of grace and promise in every passage. This is a book about the gospel--good news--of Matthew. I can't imagine studying the first Gospel without this book within easy reach."

Mark Galli, senior managing editor of Christianity Today

"There is an ancient way of reading Scripture known as lectio divina--reading and rereading and digesting a portion of the Bible, asking: What does it say? What did it mean then? What does it mean now? How does it call me to respond? Matt Woodley gives us more than a commentary; it is a contemporary lectio divina which may help any reader both to know and to live out the truth of God with us in everyday life! I am going to recommend it to many of my intellectually alert, culturally aware and spiritually serious friends."

Leighton Ford, president, Leighton Ford Ministries

"As I read through Matthew Woodley's commentary on the book of Matthew, I was consistently surprised by his interaction with the text and the ideas and insights that developed as a result. This book is a gift and a challenge to pastors who want to think more theologically and to theologians who want to think more pastorally."

Tim Keel, teaching pastor at Jacob's Well Church, author of Intuitive Leadership

"Throughout the pages of The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, Matt Woodley makes accessible the truth of the incarnation of Christ through his own candid personal narrative and the inspirational stories of others. The reader is continually engaged from the divinely 'human' genealogy of Jesus to the promise of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit at book's end. This commentary provides a refreshing expository of an often familiar Gospel by provoking questions about the impact of God's coming kingdom in today's culture and society."

Reverend Mae Elise Cannon, author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World

"The gift of Matt Woodley's Matthew commentary is application. He takes the central meaning of each ancient Gospel text and then, in refreshing ways, applies these meanings to real, earthy, human life today. I heartily recommend his work."

F. Dale Bruner, professor emeritus, Whitworth University, and author of Matthew: A Commentary

"With an engaging, well-written narrative, Matt Woodley invites readers into the story of Matthew's Gospel with a pastor's sensitivity. This is a substantive and accessible commentary that readers will find hard to put down."

Ed Cyzewski, author of Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life

"Woodley's work brings both Christ and Matthew near; we experience them present with us, speaking to us about things that matter then and now."

Mark DeYmaz, pastor, Mosaic Church of Central Arkansa, and author, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church and Ethnic Blends

"In Matt Woodley's capable hands, here theologically astute commentary meets culturally relevant story. Instead of only interacting with Matthean scholars, we also hear from Bono, Anne Lamott, J. R. R. Tolkien, Bob Dylan, etc. Simply put, Woodley interweaves these stories (and so many more) with Matthew's story of Jesus in order to show how the latter story resonates with our own. Make your way through this book then and you will not only find a readers' guide to Matthew and his most important themes, but you will find as well a telling critique of modern culture and church and their often misguided attempts to make sense of the mysteries of life. In the end, readers 'hear the story' and realize that the core of Matthew's message is simply this: Jesus came to embody the truth that we can trust God, that he really is good, and that he has come near to rescue us from ourselves. In Matthew's Jesus, God is not only with us, he is for us."

Steven A. Hunt, associate professor of biblical studies, Gordon College

"At last, a commentary that is as readable as it is reliable! Woodley's commentary on Matthew is conversational, culturally aware, applicable to my context as a teacher and preacher, and biblically faithful. Nine times out of ten, I am disappointed when I read through a commentary because it is either too academic for my purposes as a preacher or too generic for my purposes as a teacher. But not so with Woodley's commentary on Matthew! It is both educational and entertaining."

The Rev. Derek Cooper, Ph.D., assistant professor of Biblical studies and historical theology, Biblical Seminary

"All of us who teach the Bible passionately want to make clear the connection between accurate truth and practical application. If this is what you are seeking, then read the Resonate Series. This commentary on Matthew thinks with me, unveils exegetical insight and addresses how truth from this vital Gospel account impacts the life that I live in a world watching my life."

Bruce W. Fong, Ph.D., Sunset Church, San Francisco

"In The Gospel of Matthew: God with Us, Matt Woodley masterfully paints a portrait of our Lord through a relevant commentary on this important Gospel. This thematic study sheds new light on foundational truths, making orthodox theology accessible in our current cultural context."

Kevin Palau, president, Luis Palau Association

"The Bible is too easily treated as a flat treasury of divine data, rather than the vibrant and living self-giving revelation of a trinitarian God. As we open the Bible we are invited to step back into that world in order to understand what the writer wrote under divine inspiration. Yet we are also continually invited to stay firmly rooted in our contemporary world, for in the Bible God speaks with absolute relevance. This journey through Matthew's Gospel combines effective commentary with engaging relevance. Whether you are officially a preacher, or not, read this book with your Bible open and converse with Immanuel--you will want to share the blessing with others!"

Peter Mead, minister-at-large, Operation Mobilization, and preaching trainer, Langham Preaching

"This is potentially a tremendously helpful tool for someone who is less biblically savvy. That is its true promise, not to one-up the scores of existing commentaries, but to offer something more accessible to a largely biblically illiterate culture."

Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, January/February 2012


Foreward by Leonard Sweet
Series Introduction
The Resonate Editorial Team


1. The Identity and Mission of Jesus (1:1--4:11)
The World's Greatest Adventure Story Begins (1:1-17)
When Love Found a Form (1:18-25)
The Strangest Christmas Story (2:1-23)
The Good News of Repentance (3:1-17)
Into the Soupy Fog (4:1-11)

2. The Public Ministry of Jesus (4:12--11:1)
Starting with the Big Story (4:12-25)
Upside Down, Upside Right (5:1-12)
The Glory of Salt (5:13-16)
When the Author of the Rule Book Shows Up (5:17-37)
You Must Display Mercy . . . or Else! (5:38-48)
Stealthy Spirituality (6:1-8, 16-18)
A Big Prayer for Little People (6:9-15)
Freedom from the Trap of Stuff (6:19-34; 7:7-12)
Dismantling the Spirit of Judgment (7:1-6)
Make a Decision (7:13-29)
The Beauty of Being Present (8:1-17, 28-34)
Counting the Cost (8:18-27)
Extreme Desperation (9:1-34)
Unlikely Heroes (10:1-15)
Mean People (10:16-11:1)

3. The Varying Response to Jesus (11:2?16:12)
John the Baptist Meets the Prosperity Gospel (11:1-15; 13:53-58; 14:1-11)
Woe to Those on the Inside Track (11:20-30)
Fighting for Redemption (12:1-21)
The One Unforgivable Sin (12:22-52)
The Unlikely Journey of the Little Seed (13:1-20)
Would You Hurry Up and Do Something! (13:24-43, 47-50)
Joy Happens (13:44-46)
Beautiful Flops (14:22-33)
Missing the Point of It All (15:1-20)
Getting in the House (15:21-28)
Faith Is "Impossible" (15:29--16:12)

4. The Growing Conflict with Jesus (16:13--25:46)
Spiritual but not Religious (16:13-28)
What a Wonderful World (17:1-23)
A Person's a Person, No Matter How Small (17:24--18:20)
The Unnatural Act of Forgiveness (18:21-35)
Should We Call the Whole Thing Off? (19:1-15)
Everybody Needs an Intervention (19:16-31)
The Shock of Grace (20:1-16)
Jesus and the Culture of Celebrity (20:17-34)
Who Put You in Charge of Us? (21:1-27)
And Then What Happened? (21:28--22:14)
Jesus' Quiet Superpower (22:15-46)
Christians Behaving Badly (23:1-39)
A Long, Painful, Messy Birth (24:1-35)
Planting Gardens in Junkyards (24:36--25:30)
Jesus' Version of the Butterfly Effect (25:31-46)

5. The Death and Resurrection of Jesus (26:1--28:15)
Smashing Into Life and Love (26:1-35)
Shattering the Myth of Innocence (26:31--27:66--Part 1)
God with Us, Asking Our Questions (26:31--27:66--Part 2)
God for Us, Setting the Captives Free (26:31--27:66--Part 3)
One Little Word Changes the World (28:1-15)
Living Between the Bookends--God with Us (28:16-20)

Afterword by Skye Jethani



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Matt Woodley

Matt Woodley is managing editor for He served as a pastor for over twenty years, most recently as senior pastor of Three Village Church in Long Island, New York. He is coauthor (with his wife, Julie, and H. Norman Wright) of Surviving the Storms of Life and author of Holy Fools. He has also written a number of articles published in Discipleship Journal and Leadership Journal as well as The Mars Hill Review.