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Gospel According to Matthew

General Information

The Gospel According to Matthew is the opening book of the New Testament of the Bible. Although first in canonical order, it is probably not the earliest Gospel. Besides drawing heavily from the Gospel According to Mark, Matthew shapes material from other sources around Mark's narrative outline. One such source, commonly called Q (from the German quelle, "source"), is thought to have consisted primarily of sayings of Jesus; it was also used by Luke. Material unique to this Gospel relates to the birth of Jesus (1 - 2), the arrangement of the Sermon on the Mount (5 - 7), and Jesus' utterances on the end of the world (24 - 25).

Matthew is generally held to have been written about AD 80, although scholars have argued for dates as early as 65 and as late as 100. Tradition ascribes authorship to the Apostle Matthew, but modern scholars, acknowledging Matthew as a source, contend that a disciple or school of disciples were responsible for its present form.

Matthew is the most topical of the Synoptic Gospels. The teachings and sayings of Jesus are gathered into five thematic discourses and structured around Mark's narrative framework. Each discourse is followed by a summary statement (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 28:1). A prologue and epilogue are added (1 - 2; 28:9 - 20). Because of the emphasis on law, teaching, and righteousness, scholars believe that Matthew was addressed to a predominantly Jewish audience, presumably in Palestine or Syria. Jesus is presented as the messianic fulfiller, especially in the role of king, and the teacher of the way of righteousness.

Douglas Ezell

W G Kummel, Introduction to the New Testament (1975); J L McKenzie, "Matthew," in Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968).

Gospel According to Matthew

Brief Outline

  1. Birth and early years of the Messiah (1:1-4:16)
  2. Galilean Ministry of Jesus (4:17-18:35)
  3. Perean Ministry (19-20)
  4. Passion Week and Resurrection (21-28)


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