Survey of Matthew

Book Type: The first book of the four gospels; the first book of the New Testament; the fortieth book of the Bible.

Author: The disciple Matthew, based on both internal evidence and traditions. The Gospel of Matthew mentions coins and accounting more often than the other Gospels (Matthew 17:24; 17:27; 18:24), and constantly refers to Matthew as "Matthew the tax collector," which was not a badge of honor in that time. Early church fathers such as Clement of Rome, Origen, and Polycarp credited this book to Matthew.

Audience: Though Matthew's Gospel was written for all people, its focus is highly Jewish. It opens with a genealogy specific to Abraham and David as Jewish leaders, identifying Jesus as descended from the tribe of Judah. He also quotes from the Old Testament more than sixty times, emphasizing Jesus as the Messiah who fulfilled the Jewish prophesies.

Date: Many dates have been suggested for Matthew. However, the most likely date falls after the writing of Mark (early- to mid-AD 60s) yet prior to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. That catastrophe is spoken of as a future event in Matthew, making the most likely time period approximately AD 62—69.

Overview: Matthew is one of the longest books in the New Testament, with 28 chapters. These are often divided into seven sections. The first major section consists of chapters 1—4, covering the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1–17), His birth (Matthew 1:18—2:23), His baptism (Matthew 3:1–17), His temptations (Matthew 4:1–11), and His early ministry (Matthew 4:12–25).

The second section covers chapters 5—9 and includes the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5—7) and Jesus' first lengthy series of miracles (Matthew 8—9).

The third section (Matthew 10—12) includes the calling of the twelve disciples (Matthew 10), Jesus' communication with John the Baptist, and woes for the unrepentant cities, (Matthew 11), and opposition from the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 12).

The fourth section (Matthew 13—17) includes a series of eight parables (Matthew 13). These are followed by a series of Jesus' miracles and predictions (Matthew 14—17).

The fifth section (Matthew 18—23) includes various teachings (Matthew 18:1—20:28); display of miraculous powers (Matthew 20:29—21:27); additional parables (Matthew 21:28—22:14); responses to opponents (Matthew 22); and dramatic appeals to the scribes, Pharisees, and Jerusalem (Matthew 23). The sixth section (Matthew 24:1—28:15) includes the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24—25). These teachings are followed by proof of Jesus' role as Savior, through the crucifixion and resurrection narratives (Matthew 26—28:15).

The seventh, concluding section (Matthew 28:16–20), includes the final teachings of Jesus. He commands His followers to make disciples of all nations, going, baptizing, and teaching them just as Jesus did.

Key Verses (ESV):

Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

Matthew 5:43–44: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Matthew 6:9–13: "Pray then like this: \ 'Our Father in heaven, \ hallowed be your name. \ Your kingdom come, \ your will be done, \ on earth as it is in heaven. \ Give us this day our daily bread, \ and forgive us our debts, \ as we also have forgiven our debtors. \ And lead us not into temptation, \ but deliver us from evil.'"

Matthew 16:26: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"

Matthew 22:37–40: "And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'"

Matthew 27:31: "And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him."

Matthew 28:19–20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."