Spurgeon, Charles Haddon. Commentary on Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2010. 448 pp. $29.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for $20.30.
Seriously, Spurgeon does not need an introduction! But, for those who have never met this saint of old, He lived from 1834 until his untimely, and early, death in 1892. He pastored at New Park Street Chapel in London until the church had to move to a new location due to the large size of the congregation. This church is now the famous Metropolitan Tabernacle. On many Sunday’s he would preach to roughly 10,000 people.
From the dust jacket of the book: This is a newly typeset edition of the only commentary on a complete New Testament book ever written by C.H. Spurgeon. Originally published as The Gospel of the Kingdom, it was largely written during the last days of the great preacher’s life. ‘Such words acquire a solemnity and pathos with which nothing else could invest them’, wrote Mrs. Susannah Spurgeon when first introducing the volume in 1893 shortly after the death of her husband.
While his Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermon series is perhaps his most famous work (it is 63 volumes!), this book is not like any of those. The commentary is separated into pericopes (a theological term describing sections of Scripture) with a paragraph or two of Spurgeon’s notes.
The book is rather large at 448 pages but it reads rather quickly. He deals with each verse individually after first offering a sentence or two on the passage being studied at length. What you will not get is a discussion of the Greek text or the historical criticism of a passage. You won’t even be allowed to peer into the conversation regarding the use of heaven and earth in the gospel of Matthew. What you will get is a man’s heart that has been warmed by the gospel fire for a lifetime.
His thoughts are pastoral and much needed today. I rather like the quote by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the back of the jacket: “Spurgeon always provides a solid meal and sustenance on which one can live…Never was the truth he preached and proclaimed, in such a winsome and powerful manner, more needed than today.” All I can say is Amen!
What I enjoyed most about this commentary is that it was not written by a theologian who writes commentaries during his life. Rather, this commentary was written at the end of Spurgeon’s life and draws from a lifetime of study and preaching. It is almost as though Spurgeon sat down at the end of his life and began reading in Matthew about what eternity was going to look like as he was assuredly anticipating the end of his own pilgrimage to the celestial city.
Do not purchase this book to set with your commentaries on Matthew. If you purchase this book, you need to read it. Not because it is Charles Spurgeon, but because it is written by a saintly pastor who spent most of his entire life preaching the gospel (he became a pastor at the age of 17). What you have in Spurgeon’s commentary on Matthew is an elder seeking to impart the wisdom learned from the Lord over a lifetime to anyone willing to listen. We all should listen.