Here are my personal picks for the most profitable commentaries on Matthew. I favor a modified ‘Dispensational’ approach to the book which takes seriously the way Matthew provides lines of continuity and discontinuity with the Old Testament. But I have little problem with including studies which do not handle eschatological issues as satisfactorily as I would like. There is, after all, more to Matthew than eschatology:
1. Donald A. Hagner (WBC) – This was a hard choice as I don’t hold to ‘Q’. But there is so much great exegetical, historical, and practical material in these two volumes that I cannot think of being without it. Eat the meat and spit out the critical bones!
2. D. A. Carson (EBC) – I rarely find Carson as helpful or as clear as Hagner, but this is a first-rate work. More tentative on ‘Q’s’ influence than Hagner though. The revised work in this set is sure to keep Carson at or near the top of everyone’s list.
3. R. C. H. Lenski – Scoff if you must, but then get over it! It teems with solid exegesis and outstanding preaching values.
4. Edward Glasscock (Moody) – A terrific dispensational commentary which rejects Markan priority and seeks to explain the transitions between pericopes logically. The most accurate overall interpretation of Matthew.
5. R. T. France (NICNT) – Superbly written, with great exegesis. Strong on ‘Q’ but as evangelical as Hagner. Awful on the Olivet Discourse.
6. Craig Blomberg (NAC) – Rather slim, but thanks to the author’s style and learning most worthwhile.
7. John Nolland (NIGTC) – Asks many great exegetical questions and keeps important emphases before the reader. Pleasing to read despite being technical.
8. William Hendriksen (NTC) – Very Reformed but solid study which emphasizes the geography of the narrative.
9. Leon Morris (Pillar) – A substantial contribution by a reliable scholar. Not as good as his John commentary but still very helpful.
10. Stewart Custer – I haven’t seen this book, but am including it because Custer is a good exegete, is well read, very conservative, and dispensational. It is bound to be good, if, perhaps, a tad narrow. I have allowed my bias to give Custer the edge over David Turner’s BECNT contribution.
I can hear the cries now. Where is Davies and Allison? It’s not there because they don’t actually explain the meaning of the Gospel well. Well, what about Turner? What I’ve read of it looks good, but I wasn’t transfixed. Keener might have made the list too. Especially if one wishes for rich background material along with exegesis. But I prefer Nolland. Mounce (NIBC) is a good treatment once you get over the ‘Q’ stuff. He is a little better than Michael Green’s work (BST), but not as pastoral. Toussaint is thematic but not detailed enough. Walvoord is worthwhile but basic. Ditto Gaebelein, English, and Campbell Morgan. David Hill (NCB) is good but the critical scholarship is dated. Older commentaries are not that distinguished, though Broadus, Alexander, Morison and Dickson should not be passed up.
Finally, two studies: A Gospel for A New People by Stanton, and Garland’s Reading Matthew make very helpful contributions.