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Theology of Work Commentary Series: Matthew-Acts

Author: The Theology at Work Project
Published By: Hendrickson
Pages: 220
Price: £16.99
ISBN: 978 1 6197 0526 5

Reviewed by William Ruddle.

The Theology at Work Commentary Series is an ongoing work attempting to read Scripture with a particular view to the world of work. As such, it is to be commended as a resource for those who are seeking to engage seriously with their world of work from either the pulpit or their private studies.

This reviewer has not read the other commentaries in the series, but there are some useful insights contained herein that I suspect traverse the whole series. In particular, I found insights offered from the Beatitudes and the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard from Matthew’s gospel thought-provoking. For example, I had often considered the story of the labourers as having a message that the gospel is a story of grace, not works. However, I had not considered the social justice angles or the imperative from this story to guard against jealousy concerning what others are paid in your workplace – both of which, I think, are valid applications of the parable. The authors rightly avoid deep scriptural analysis (which can be found in a plethora of other commentaries) to enable a focus on workplace application. This means it is a commentary that is easily accessible by the lay reader as the professional theologian.

With only 162 pages to cover four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, it inevitably suffers from superficiality. Once my appetite was whet, I was keen for a deeper hermeneutic, only to find the author had necessarily move on. The U.S. authorship also means there are some cultural barriers to be traversed. Yet, for those who seek to preach or study in such a way that integrates the Word with the environment in which most church members live out their discipleship, this is an excellent launching pad for some fresh and independent thinking. Given the impoverished attention to workplace theology, such offerings are sincerely welcome.

William Ruddle

Baptist Minister currently working as a hospital chaplain

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You are reading Issue 64 of Ministry Today, published in July 2015.

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