Adult Bible Study

Bible Study meets at 10:00 am on Fridays in the Guild Room next to the Parish Hall.

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We will not be meeting until further notice due to COVID-19 closures.

Background of the Gospel of Matthew

 

Author:

Though the author of this gospel is unnamed, the early church consistently considered it to be the work of the apostle Matthew (also known as Levi). Though a Jew by birth, his duties as a Roman tax collector would have made fluency in Greek necessary as a complement to his Aramaic. Recent literary critics have argued that the writer of Matthew used Mark as his source. However, the early church, together with many evangelical scholars through the generations, has argued for the priority of Matthew.

Date: 

The evidence for the date of Matthew is inconclusive. Because the book was written primarily to the Jews, many scholars feel it was written before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Setting: 

A city along the coast of Phoenicia or Syria, such as Antioch, is generally accepted as the place where Matthew wrote his book. Though a Greek-speaking city, Antioch had a large Jewish population. The book does not state specifically nowhere it was written, yet it is probable that it originated somewhere in Rome's Syrian province.

Purpose:

The author sought to show that the Messiah, whom the prophets predicted in the Old Testament, had come in the person of Jesus.

Audience:

The Gospel of Matthew, though one of the four accounts covering the life and ministry of Jesus, was written especially for the Jews, who knew the Old Testament prophecies. The promised kingdom was first offered to them, and they were foremost among those responsible for spreading the Good News.

Literary Characteristics:

Matthew is the bridge between the Old Testament and New Testament. It contains more than fifty direct quotations from the Old Testament - more than the other three gospels combined - as well as many other affirming statements such as "you have heard", "it is written", and "that which was spoken". The book is chronologically arranged, yet with a topical structure. Many of Jesus' teachings, as well as his healings, other miracles and the parables concerning the kingdom, are grouped together.

Themes:

The major theme is that what the Old Testament foretold about the Messiah has been fulfilled in Jesus, and this the book pay detailed attention to the linage of Christ. Because the linage of royalty was important to the Jews. Matthew traced Jesus not only to Abraham, the father of the Jews, but also to the kingly lineage of David.

 

The book also delineates what a disciple's life should be. The Sermon on the Mount and related teachings give not only the code of conduct God requires but, more importantly, the quality of the relationship Jesus desired with his disciples. Related to the discipleship theme is the key phrase "the kingdom of heaven". This theme encompasses both the daily life of each disciple and the future coming of Christ.

From The Woman's Study Bible by Thomas Nelson

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