This review appeared in the Jul-Sep 2005 vol. 162 no. 3 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
2 Corinthians: A CommentaryWestminster John Knox Press, Louisville September 30, 2003
Matera, professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America, takes a conservative approach to 2 Corinthians. The authorship of the epistle is not even discussed; it is assumed that Paul wrote the book. Matera gives no date for its writing, but he does say 1 Corinthians was written in the spring of a.d. 54 or 55. Matera defends the integrity of 2 Corinthians and does not take chapters 10–13 as the severe letter referred to in 2:4 and 7:8. In other words he denies the theory that 2 Corinthians is a composite epistle composed of two or more epistles that an editor compiled into the present 2 Corinthians.
The commentary is based on Matera’s own translation of the Greek text. With each translation he includes notes explaining why and how he renders the text as he does. These are very helpful.
In his discussions of 2 Corinthians he assumes there is a sorrowful visit and severe letter between 1 and 2 Corinthians (pp. 15–20).
Matera says the “building from God” in 5:1 is the resurrection body. With this the majority of scholars agree. However, he believes being “pres-ent with the Lord” in verse 18 is an anticipation of the resurrected body and not a reference to the intermediate state. Concerning being “found naked” (v. 3) Matera states, “In affirming this, Paul is not so much making a statement about what happens to people ‘between’ the moment of death and resurrection as he is affirming his hope in the resurrection (4:14) that God will not leave him naked (conquered by death) because God has prepared him for this heavenly building, his resurrection body” (p. 122).
Matera believes that the judgment seat of Christ (5:10) is a reference to a general judgment of the saved and the lost, and then he concludes, “And although what the justified have done will not justify them; it will be the basis for the recompense they receive” (p. 126).
Matera points out the difference between Roman Catholics and Protestants in their interpretations of 5:21. He states that Protestants emphasize “that righteousness is not a ‘quality’ or ‘habit’ but something ‘imputed’ to the sinner,” whereas the Catholic Church affirms “that this righteousness is something received and transforming” (p. 144). Interestingly the author takes a mediating position in saying there is truth in both!
All in all this is a good commentary that can be recommended to careful students, even though it definitely is not written from the pretribulational rapture viewpoint and is amillennial in its outlook.
—Stanley D. Toussaint