STUDY 5 - THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
The studies now turn from the background of the NT books, to
the books themselves. 
For this study see: M.C.Tenney, pp.149-159; R.H.Gundry, pp.159-204.
Further study: D.A.Carson, et al., An
Introduction to the New
Testament, pp.61-87. 
1. AUTHORSHIP, DATE AND PLACE OF THE GOSPEL
Authorship Traditionally the Gospel is ascribed to Matthew
Levi, a tax collector who was called by Jesus and became one of the
Twelve (Mt.9:9-13; 10:3). All his known details are in the NT, ending
with Acts 1:13. The writings of Papias, Eusebius and Irenaeus
support his authorship. An original Gospel may have been written in
Date of writing M.C.Tenney dates the Gospel before A.D. 70 - and
suggests a date A.D. 50 - 70. Some liberal scholars suggest a
later date, as they do not accept that Jesus could predict the
destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem (see Mt.24:lff.).
Place of writing Modern scholarship often suggests Antioch as the
possible place of writing. The Synoptic Gospels are often
associated with centres as places of preservation.
2. THE CONTENTS OF THE GOSPEL
The Gospel is well organised, which suggests that it was
written to meet the need of Christian teachers. It may reflect
Matthew's profession and ability too.
Two main divisions Matthew has two main divisions. A first major
section deals with the public ministry of Jesus marked by popularity; a
second begins with the events at Caesarea Philippi followed by a
decline in his popularity leading to the cross. The formula 'from
that time' marks the beginning of each division (see 4:17; 16:21).
Five blocks of text Tenney isolates fives blocks of material, each of
which represents a dominant theme, and ends with the phrase "when Jesus
had finished" (see 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1).  With the
introductory narrative and the passion narrative we have seven
sections, which are summarised in an epilogue that confront the reader
with the consequences of Jesus' messianic claims.
An outline of the Gospel The structure of the Gospel suggests the
following basic outline:
Matthew: The Gospel of the
The Prophecies of the Messiah (1:1-4:11)
The Principles of the Messiah announced (4:12-7:29)
The Power of the Messiah revealed (8:1-11:1)
The Program of the Messiah explained (11:2-13:53)
The Purpose of the Messiah declared (13:54-19:2)
The Problems of the Messiah presented (19:3-26:2)
- The Passion of the Messiah accomplished (26:3-28:10)
The Epilogue (28:11-20).
Each section contains a challenge to discipleship - a
major theme of the Gospel.
3. THE EMPHASIS OF THE GOSPEL
M.C.Tenney says: "The Gospel of Matthew was written to show
how Jesus of Nazareth enlarged and explained the revelation that had
been begun in the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament".  It is
strongly Jewish in character, but the universality of the Gospel is
indicated by the Great Commission of Mt.28:19,20.
Matthew is a Gospel
Matthew does not set out to write a life of Christ. In keeping
with the other Gospels the book is written for preachers and teachers
who are called to preach the word of God and make disciples of
Christ. The apostle John states the purpose of a Gospel very
"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his
disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written
that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that
by believing you may have life in his name" (Jn.20:30,31).
Material special to Matthew
Note: Joseph's vision (1:20-24), the visit of the Magi (2:1-12), the
flight into Egypt (2:13-15), the massacre of the infants (2:16), the
dream of Pilate's wife (27:19), the death of Judas (27:3-10), the
resurrection at the crucifixion (27:52), the bribery of the guard
(28:12-15), and Great Commission, which includes the command to baptise
and make disciples (28:19-20). Note the parables and miracles
which are peculiar to Matthew (e.g., 17:24-27).
The didactical nature of Matthew
The Gospel contains five major discourses, which are seen to correspond
to the five books in the law of Moses: the Sermon on the Mount (5-7),
the charge to the Twelve (10), the parables of the kingdom (13), the
sayings on greatness and forgiveness (18), and the discourse on the
last things (24-25).
The use of the Old Testament
There are at least 60 references to the OT falling between 1:23 and
27:48. This Gospel forms a natural bridge between the OT and the
NT. Matthew has an interest in fulfilled prophecy. Note the 12
verses introduced by the formula, "All this took place to fulfil what
the Lord had said" (1:23; 2:6,15,18,23; 4:15,16; 8:17; 12:18-21; 13:35;
21:5; 27:9,10). The life and teaching of Jesus are presented as the
fulfilment of the promises made by God to Israel.
4. THE CHARACTERS IN THE GOSPEL
Matthew lays less stress on the individual actors in his
narrative than the other Synoptists, and he does not introduce many
people whose names do not appear elsewhere. Joseph (1:19-25),
Herod the Great (2:1-16), and the mother of James and John (20:20-21)
are given more space than in Mark and Luke; but both Mark and Luke use
character sketches more than does Matthew.
M.C.Tenney observes: "In general, the characters of Matthew's Gospel
are identical with those of Mark, Luke and John. John the Baptist, Mary
(Jesus' mother), the twelve disciples, Caiaphas, the high priests,
Pilate, Simon of Cyrene, Joseph of Arimathea, and many minor figures -
all play their part in the narrative. They are. however,
incidental to the teaching". 
5. SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE GOSPEL
Matthew is a Gospel of
In seven of the Gospel's eight sections there is an important
discourse: the preaching of John (3:1-12); the Sermon on the Mount
(5:1-7:29); the commission (10:1-42); the parables (13:1-52); the
meaning of forgiveness (18:21-35); denunciation and prediction
(23:1-25:46); the Great Commission (28:18-20).
Matthew is the Gospel of the
The word 'church' (Gk. ekklēsia,
assembly, gathering, congregation,
church) only occurs in this Gospel (see: 16:18; 18:17). In both
cases Jesus says something about the authority of the church: first, as
to its leadership, and then in regard to its community. The case
of the wayward member and the erring member are dealt with (18:10-14;
15-20). The promise and principle of binding and loosing (of the
Law) is applied in Acts 15:13-29.
Matthew is the Gospel of the
Matthew's genealogy is a King's (1:1-17). Jesus is seen as The
Anointed or Messiah (Christ). The question, "Where is the one who has
been born king of the Jews?" (2:2) sets the tone of the book.
Note the royal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (21:5-7), the way he is
addressed as the 'son of David' (e.g.. 9:27), the accusation on the
cross (27:37), the reference to Jerusalem as 'the holy city' and 'the
city of the great king' (5:35). The term 'kingdom of heaven' occurs
some 32 times (3:2ff.), 'kingdom of God' five (the terms are
synonymous). Note: The emphasis on the Lord's messiahship is correct,
but notice the Christology of the Gospel also includes these names and
titles: Emmanuel (1:23), Son and Son of God (3:17; 4:3), Lord (3:3),
Saviour (1:21), and prophet (13:57).
Matthew is a universal Gospel
The Jewish interests of the evangelist are very strong: Jesus is sent
to 'the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (10:6). But it is
against this background that the universalism of the gospel is
highlighted (see 28:19-20).
1. Some areas of interest, e.g., the Synoptic Problem, the
Life of Christ and the life and witness of the church are not included
in these studies. But see Tenney, pp.139-145; 203-227; 231-264.
2. D.A.Carson, J.Douglas & L.Morris, An Introduction to
the New Testament, Leicester, Apollos, 1992. Further reading will be
suggested from this textbook, which has largely replaced the New
Testament Introduction by D.Guthrie.
3. Conversely, some see the phrase as an introductory formula.
4. M.C.Tenney, p.156. 5. M.C.Tenney, pp.157-158.