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The Gospel of Matthew




Chapter 1


Chapter 2


Chapter 3


Chapter 4


Chapter 5


Chapter 6


Chapter 7


Chapter 8


Chapter 9


Chapter 10


Chapter 11


Chapter 12


Chapter 13


 Chapter 14


Chapter 15


Chapter 16


Chapter 17


Chapter 18


Chapter 19


Chapter 20


Chapter 21


Chapter 22


Chapter 23


Chapter 24


Chapter 25


Chapter 26


Chapter 27


Chapter 28




 The Synoptic Gospels

 Matthew, Mark, and Luke are usually known as the Synoptic GospelsSynoptic comes from two Greek words, which mean to “to see together”, and literally means “able to be seen together”.  (William Barclay – Daily Study Bible, Matthew, page 1) 

These three gospels have many similarities.  In fact, many of the passages in them are word-for-word identical.  Each has its particular emphasis and some unique sayings and events, but overall their similarity far overshadows their differences.   

When looking at the three synoptic gospels closely, Bible scholars note that there seem to be two main sources of material: 

  1. The Markan source.  Most Bible scholars believe that Mark is the earliest of the four gospels.  It was probably written between 40–60 A.D.  It is based on an oral tradition that emphasized EVENTS in the life and ministry of Jesus. 

  1. The Q Source.  This source focused more on the TEACHINGS of Jesus rather than events. 

 Most Bible scholars believe that Matthew and Luke used material from both the Markan and Q sources.  Matthew, for example, reproduces 606 of Mark’s 661 verses…and Luke reproduces 320 of the 661.  In addition, however, there are more than 200 verses that are common to both Matthew and Luke that appear nowhere in Mark.  These verses – mostly SAYINGS of Jesus – are probably from the Q source. 

 We need to understand that the gospel writers were basically editorialists.  Each wanted to tell the story of Jesus, but from their own unique perspectives and with the purpose of emphasizing the aspects of Jesus’ ministry that they felt were most important.  Using the Markan and Q traditions, plus some occasional other stories and sayings, each synoptic gospel writer wrote a gospel that has its own special outlook.   

The Gospel According to Matthew 

Although it is listed as the first of the four gospels, it almost certainly is NOT the earliest.  As mentioned in the previous section, Matthew seems to borrow extensively from Mark’s gospel – which seems to have been in common use among many Christians for some time before this gospel was written.  Although Matthew bears the name of one of Jesus’ twelve apostles – the former tax collector – it almost certainly was NOT written by him.   

To fully understand Matthew’s gospel as a whole, we need to understand the context in which it was written.  Many scholars believe that it was written by a member of a Jewish Christian congregation somewhere in the area of Antioch, Syria around 90 A.D.  This was a community that was in the midst of a great crisis. 

  • Although they were believers and followers of Jesus, the members of Matthew’s congregation considered themselves to be JEWS.  Their spiritual center, however, (the church in Jerusalem that is mentioned a number of times in Acts and also in some of Paul’s letters) no longer existed after the Roman destruction of the holy city in 70 A.D.  Who was now to be their “mother church” – their source of spiritual guidance?  Perhaps Matthew was written in part to help fulfill that need.                              

  • In the first century, there were a number of “parties” (akin to our modern day denominations) within Judaism – including the party of the Nazarenes (those who believed in Jesus as the Messiah).  After the fall of Jerusalem, however, the party of the Pharisees (those who taught that Judaism meant living strictly according to the Law) became the dominant party within Judaism.  They began a campaign to excommunicate the followers of Jesus from the Jewish faith – declaring that they were heretics and not true Jews.  Matthew was written in part to assure the Christian Jews that they WERE good Jews – that indeed they rather than their Pharisaic opponents were actually the true Israel.  Matthew constantly mentions events in Jesus’ life and ministry as being FULFILLMENTS of Old Testament prophecy. 

  • The “Matthean” community’s religious conflict with the Pharisaic party is why the Pharisees and “the Jews” (the religious authorities) often receive such a negative “press” in Matthew’s gospel. 

  • At the time Matthew was written, the GENTILES were becoming the majority group within the Christian Church.  Jewish Christians such as Matthew’s community were becoming a minority.  Matthew’s gospel – much more than any of the others – seeks to show that knowing and living by the LAW and the PROPHETS are important for living and fully understanding what Jesus Christ is about.  Matthew’s gospel helped its readers to “remember their heritage.” 

As shown in the above points, Matthew was originally written to Jewish Christians who were in the midst of great changes and conflicts with other Jewish groups who were “casting them out of the synagogue.”  It was written to help them remember the teachings of Jesus and to help them to understand that Jesus was the fulfillment of all of Israel’s hopes and dreams.  Matthew helped his original readers to understand that they – the ones who believed in and followed Jesus as the Messiah – were the true Jews.  

In the end, however, Matthew also helped his original Jewish-Christian readers to understand that their mission was not to keep Jesus for themselves, or to only try to convince Jews, but to eventually introduce Jesus Christ to ALL PEOPLE everywhere.  Even the Gentiles!  That was their mission in the midst of a changing world.  “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) 


George R. Karres,

Pella Lutheran Church

418 W. Main Street

Sidney, MT 59270