The Gospel According to Matthew is commonly noted as the first book of the New Testament. Evidence supports that Matthew wrote the Gospel around A.D. 50 (The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Walvoord, Zuck) and was written to the Jews to express his (and common Christian belief’s) view that Jesus was and is Messiah, King of the Jews. To accomplish this, he starts the Gospel by noting a complete genealogy following the line of Abraham to David to Jeconiah to Joseph, the husband of Mary mother of Jesus “who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1:17).
Although the author does not turn attention toward himself, internal and external evidence suggest that Matthew was the original author of the Gospel. External evidence encompasses early church fathers’ support and early manuscripts entitled, The Gospel According to Matthew. Internal evidence consists of special humility toward Matthew and the number of references to coins, which would not be uncommon for the original tax collector to take interest in.
This Gospel is thought to have been written sometime between A.D. 45 and A.D. 55 (survey of the New Testament; Benware). It is thought that the Gospel According to Matthew was written before A.D. 70 because there is no mention of Jerusalem’s destruction. In addition, Matthew refers to Jerusalem as the “Holy City”, suggesting that it was still standing. However, in verses seven and eight of chapter twenty-seven, as well as verse fifteen of chapter twenty-eight, suggest a time-lapse with their curious wording.
Topics of Interest
One of the more unique features about this book are the many references to the Old Testament. As stated previously, Matthew wrote this Gospel hoping the Jews would be his primary audience. Therefore, because Jews are very focused toward the Old Testament, the Gospel according to Matthew contains many Old Testament quotes, beginning with the prophesy from the book of II Samuel that notes that a descendant of David will rule and that “his kingdom will be established” (II Samuel 7:12-17). This ties into another interesting idea that concerns the Davidic kingdom.
The Old Testament, in its collection of prophesy, also tells that Messiah would rule over a utopian kingdom. Therefore, because Jesus never brought forth this kingdom, a question that lingers among the Jews concerns the whereabouts of said kingdom. The Gospel According to Matthew includes new tales of the kingdom that announce that it has taken a new form in this present age but will be established once Jesus returns to establish His rule over the Davidic kingdom at a future time. Speaking of Jesus’s teachings about the Davidic kingdom reminds me of another engrossing subject.
Another topic of interest concerns Matthew’s focus on Jesus’s teachings. Matthew’s Gospel records more of Christ’s teachings than any other Gospel. The Apostle Matthew’s writings include teachings like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13) or the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25). Jesus’s teachings definitely hold much value and will remain a focus of mine throughout the book.
Extending on the topic of personal focus, in addition to messianic teachings, I must elaborate on my initial intentions to read this particular book. I began to decide which book to study by first consulting a few friends. The original books of the bible that were up for election were Jeremiah and Ecclesiastes. I knew that they were both melancholic books but still supported many healthy topics for eventual application. However, my selection of potential books to study did not include Matthew’s Gospel. This was because of my consultants.
When I discussed this with friends, Jeremiah or Ecclesiastes were not a very popular selection. When I discussed it further, I recalled that my friend had once read through John’s Gospel. When I reported that I respect John’s Gospel because he views Jesus Christ as the true Son of God, I was asked how it differentiated from how the other Gospel view the Messianic King. I, too, was curious about this subject and that is why I chose to, not only study Matthew, but proceed with a full study of the four Gospels. With that, I shall begin my study. Enjoy.
Stay Awesome ~