Jonathan T. Pennington: A Theological Commentary
The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing
A Theological Commentary
(Baker Academic, 2017)
WHO: Jonathan T. Pennington, associate professor of New Testament interpretation and director of research doctoral studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
HE SAYS: “In the Sermon we meet a person who is simultaneously the fulfillment and incarnation of both [human flourishing and God’s coming kingdom]; he is the complete and virtuous human and the true king. Thus, a human flourishing reading of the Sermon is not a foreign interpolation but in fact makes sense in the ancient world.”
THE BIG IDEA: The Sermon on the Mount is an eschatological, Christ-centered, kingdom-oriented piece of wisdom literature with the goal of human flourishing.
Part 1, “Orientation,” is a broad overview of the Sermon, from its encyclopedic context, to macarisms, key terms and concepts, and its structure and setting within the book of Matthew.
Part 2, “Commentary,” breaks down the sermon on the mount by chapter and verse, providing insights and in-depth perspectives.
Part 3, “Theological Reflection,” steps back and discusses how a proper understanding of Matthew’s vision enables us to see that faithful discipleship is compatible with God’s grace.
“Jesus is the sage and king who is inviting hearers into his coming kingdom of flourishing and life. The Sermon is at the center of this message.”
A 2018 OUTREACH RESOURCE OF THE YEAR—THEOLOGY CATEGORY
“At the heart of Jesus’ ethical vision for kingdom people is the Sermon on the Mount. Jonathan Pennington’s study of the Sermon takes the discussion to a new level by shaping it as Jesus’ vision of human flourishing. The vision of Jesus then becomes more than how to obey God or even what it means to be a disciple; rather, we are treated to a vision of how humans flourish in the world God created.”
Evaluated by Scot McKnight, author or editor of some 60 books and the Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois.