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LDS New Testament Notes 06: Matthew 1:1–7:29

LDS New Testament Notes 06: Matthew 1:1–7:29

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Published by: Mike Parker on Oct 21, 2010
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New TestamentWeek 6: Matthew 1:1–7:29
Introduction to Matthew.a)Who is Matthew?i)Like all the gospels, the book of Matthew is
— the writer does notidentify himself. The authorship is based on 2nd-century tradition.(1)The author of Matthew’s gospel is traditionally connected with
the taxcollector who was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
() Two gospels refer to him as
(2)Several early Church Fathers claimed that Matthew wrote his gospel in Hebrew,and that it was later translated into Greek.(a)Eusebius of Caesarea, the 4th-century Church historian, quotes Papias of Hierapolis, the early 2nd-century Church Father: “Matthew wrote the oraclesin the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”
(b)Jerome, writing c.
. 392, claimed that a copy of this Hebrew manuscriptstill existed in the library at Caesarea.
(c)There are good reasons think is our Gospel of Matthew is not the same as theHebrew book these writers described:(i)The Gospel itself has none of the marks of a translation, and quotes fromthe Greek version of the Old Testament (the
), not the Hebrew.(ii)It also seems very unlikely that an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry wouldhave copied so much material from Mark’s gospel and another source thatLuke also used.(iii)Perhaps Papias and the other early Christians were referring to adifferent book written by Matthew in Hebrew, and not gospel we have.(3)The general view among scholars is that the gospel of Matthew was composed by a Greek-speaking, Jewish-Christian author, probably in Syria or possibly inPalestine.(4)Regardless of who actually wrote this gospel, we’ll still refer to it as “Matthew.” b)Dating.i)Since Matthew is dependant on Mark, and Mark’s gospel was written
. 66–70,Matthew has to come sometime after that.ii)The general consensus is that Matthew was written
. 85–90.
See Matthew 9:9; 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13.
See Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27–29. The connection between Matthew and Levi is not explicitly made in the gospels, but isassumed based both being described as the tax collector sitting at the toll booth (KJV “receipt of custom”). There are otherexplanations for the discrepancy; see Dennis C. Duling, “Matthew (Disciple),”
The Anchor Bible Dictionary
 Historia Ecclesiastica
; see also 3.39:16;
 De Viris Illustribus
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Matthew 1:17:29Week 6, Page 2
Matthew’s relationship to the other gospels.a)Matthew and Luke both used Mark’s material as basis for their gospels, expanding onand adding to Mark’s accounts.i)Around 55% of the material in Matthew comes from Mark’s gospel.
 b)Matthew and Luke also drew on other sources, which they added to the material they got from Mark.i)Besides Mark, Matthew and Luke had a common source that they used. We don’tknow what this source was or who wrote it—it’s never been discovered.(1)Scholars refer to this unknown account as “Q,” which comes from the German word
, meaning “source.”
(a)An example of Q-source material is found in Matthew 3:7–10, whichcorresponds to Luke 3:7–9.(i)The preceding passage, introducing John the Baptist, is found in Mark (1:1–6), and repeated by Matthew (3:1–6) and Luke (3:1–6). But thepassage where John rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees
 has no parallelin Mark. Because the passage is nearly identical in Matthew and Luke, itmust come from Q.(b)About 25% of Matthew is from the Q source (the “Double Tradition”).ii)Matthew and Luke also have other (multiple) sources that account for material thatis unique in each gospel.(1)Scholars refer to these sources as “M” (the source of material unique to Matthew)and “L” (the source of material unique to Luke).(a)Examples of M-source material include Matthew’s birth narrative (1:18–2:23)and some of the material in the Sermon on the Mount.
(b)About 20% of Matthew is unique to his gospel.iii)So the source relationships between could be diagrammed like this:
As the diagram handout from this lesson indicates, 45% of Matthew is from the so-called “Triple Tradition”: material thatis found in all three Synoptic Gospels. Another 10% of Matthew is found only in Mark and Matthew.
I should note that not all New Testament scholars accept the Q Source theory. For a review of the theory and argumentsfor and against it, see
As Matthew identifies them; Luke simply refers to them as “the multitude.”
Correspondence between Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5–7) and Luke’s account of theSermon on the Plain (6:20–49) will be discussed below (see page6ff.). Material unique to Matthew includes six of theBeatitudes (3:4–5, 7–10), and Jesus’ teachings on the Law (5:17–20), anger (5:21–24), adultery (5:27–30), oath-taking (5:33–37), almsgiving (6:1–4), prayer (6:5–8), fasting (6:16–18), “casting pearls before swine” (7:6), and false prophets (7:15–16).
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion ClassNew Testament: Matthew 1:17:29Week 6, Page 3
c)What are Matthew’s themes, and who is his audience?i)Each gospel has areas of focus that give it a unique style and “flavor.” Matthew has atleast five main themes in his gospel:(1)
 Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy.
Matthew frequently writes about somethingJesus did, and then says “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by theprophets,” followed by an Old Testament passage.
He lists about a dozen directreferences
and many indirect references to the Old Testament.(a)Some of the passages he quotes are not in our Old Testament. For example,Matthew 2:23 quotes “the prophets” (plural) as foretelling that the Messiah would be from Nazareth. There is no known work—either in the OldTestament or in apocryphal writings—that contains this prophecy.
The kingdom of heaven.
In Matthew Jesus discourses frequently on the comingof God’s future kingdom.
Matthew is the only New Testament writer to use thephrase “kingdom of heaven” (which he does 32 times).
The church.
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus gathers his people and prepares hisapostles to lead them when he is gone. The word “church” appears in no othergospel but Matthew’s (16:18; 18:17), and Matthew contains the only discourse inthe gospels on life and order in the church (18:1–35).
In Matthew Jesus teaches frequently on the nature and calling of discipleship. The word “disciple” appears 73 times in Matthew, nearly twice asmuch as it does in Luke.(5)
The Law and morality.
Matthew frequently grapples with the relationship between the Law of Moses and Jesus’ teachings, and the moral and ethicalrequirements of being a follower of Jesus.
d)In summary, Matthew’s gospel is written to a later audience than Mark’s, one that wasmade up of Jewish converts who were trying to determine how interpret the Law of Moses in light of Jesus’ teachings.i)This was a major issue among early Jewish Christians, when Christianity was stillseen as a sect of Judaism, before it became its own separate religious tradition in the2nd century.
1:18–2:23. Matthew’s birth narrative.
a)Dating Jesus’ birth.
Matthew is not above taking Old Testament passages out of context in his fulfillment statements. The best-knownexample is his quote of Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:22–23, where he interprets Isaiah’s Immanuel Child prophecy given to King Ahaz in 730
. as a foretelling of the birth of Jesus the Messiah. There are substantial problems with this interpretation, butMatthew’s use of Isaiah has nonetheless resulted in most Christians reading Isaiah 7:14 the same way he did. For more on this,see notes to Old Testament lesson 18, pages 1–4;
See Matthew 1:22–23; 2:5–6, 15, 17–18, 23; 4:14–16; 8:17; 12:17–21; 13:14–15, 35; 21:4–5; 26:54, 56; 27:9–10. Othergospel writers do this as well—for example, John the Baptist as the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3–5 appears in all four gospels(Matthew 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4–5; John 1:23)—but Matthew makes it a special focus.
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi
has a vision of Mary being “in the city of Nazareth” (1 Nephi 11:13), but this prophecy  was received in the Arabian wilderness and went with him to the New World.
Jesus’ ministry begins and ends with proclamations of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 25:1, 14).
This phrase also appears in the Book of Mormon in Alma (11×) and Helaman (2×), and in the Sermon at the Temple in 3Nephi (4×). It appears throughout the Doctrine and Covenants (11×) and in the Book of Moses (1×).
Many scholars see this section as evidence of an emerging Christian church in the late 1st century.
This is seen most clearly in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus teaches about the relationship of his commandmentsto the Law (Matthew 5:17–48).
We’ll discuss Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (1:1–17) when we cover Luke’s infancy narrative.
© 2010, Mike ParkerFor personal use only. Not a Church publication.

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