Gospel of Matthew

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The Gospel of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament, as one of four gospels. It tells the story of the life of Jesus as conveyed by Matthew, a former tax collector and one of Jesus' disciples. Several of the parables recounted in this Gospel rely on economic principles.

The Gospel of Matthew is one of the synoptic gospels, meaning that it is written in a narrative style and has similarities to the Gospels of Mark, and Luke. The three share a common structure which shows an interrelationship. It is generally believed today that the simpler Gospel of Mark came first, and then Matthew and Luke benefited from having seen that Gospel before completing their own. But church tradition held that Matthew came first and some still support that sequence. There is reference by the church fathers to a Gospel of Matthew originally being written in Aramaic, perhaps based on a theory that Jesus taught in Aramaic rather than Greek. But no Aramaic original for the Gospel of Matthew has ever been found, so it appears likely it was initially written in Greek which an educated former tax collector could surely have done.

The Gospel of Matthew ends with the Great Commission, imploring those of faith to evangelize all the peoples of the world.

Authorship

The Gospel of Matthew does not name its author, but the ancient church fathers were unanimous that the author was Jesus' disciple Matthew. Mark and Luke both use the name Levi, Matthew's other name, but the book of Matthew does not.

Audience

Matthew writes to Jews. He has more quotations from the Old Testament than any other gospel, he uses Jewish terminology, and he traces the lineage of Jesus back to Abraham.

Place of Writing

The Jewish theme would seem to suggest Palestine, although others have thought Antioch Syria, which was a strong base for the early church.

Date

There are different thoughts on when it was written. If Mark was written first, then depending upon when Mark was written, Matthew would have to have been written after it. Dates from the late 50's all the way to the 70's or beyond are speculated. Some believe that based on the Jewish character of Matthew, that it must have been written when the church was still mostly Jewish, and so they believe it was written in 50 or so and was the first gospel subsequently drawn upon by Mark and Luke.

Purpose

The purpose of Matthew is to show that Jesus is the Messiah who has come according to the Old Testament scriptures. Indeed, Matthew includes 9 additional proof texts that the others Gospels do not. Matthew is also known for the use of sermons, such as the sermon on the mount. It is these sermons that contribute to Matthew's size more than the any extra content or stories within the text.

See also

Gospel of Matthew (Translated)

External links