Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Introduction to the book of Matthew

Is the Holy Bible reliable?  There are so many versions; how can we know which one to believe?  All reliable translations have been prepared from early copies of the original manuscripts of Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts.  The different versions don’t teach different doctrine.  Any differences are due to the original language translated into our language today. 

The Holy Bible is written by 40 different writers.  Some were shepherds, fishermen, tax collectors, doctors, kings, preachers, prophets.  It was written in 3 different languages – Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.  It was written on 3 different continents and over a period of 1500 years.  God chose humans to write the Bible.  Several times the Bible says God breathed and guided them as they wrote.  “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophets own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21.  It’s His revelation to humans.  From Genesis to Revelation, God’s standards are revealed.  It has 1 common theme that God has a love for people and he would go to any extent possible to have a relationship with man.  It doesn’t tell us everything about God, but it tells us what we need to know about Him.  He desires to reveal Himself to us as He did to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  The New Testament was written by the end of the first century.

The Holy Bible has been attacked throughout history, but it has lasted through the years.  It has always overcome its critics and always will.  The Holy Bible means it is holy and is a special book.  All religions have their bibles, but they are not the Holy Bible.  Scripture means God breathed.  These bibles are not God breathed.  The Holy Bible scriptures were translated by scribes and monks from the original language word by word.  They were obsessed with its accuracy.  They checked and rechecked it to be sure it was translated correctly.  The Holy Bible is the only book that has endured throughout history.

There are four Gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  All wrote about Jesus as the Christ.  Matthew’s emphasis is the clearest message as he presents Jesus as Messiah, Son of David, King of the Jews.  Mark is believed to be the first gospel written, but Matthew is listed first because he often referred to the Old Testament.  Matthew shows what God told His people in the Old Testament came true.  Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for.  He refers to the Old Testament over 60 times. 

Mark is read like a diary in chronological order.  Mark was first a missionary with Paul and later a companion of Peter.  Mark calls Jesus Obedient Servant and emphasizes His power.

Luke was a medical doctor and the only writer of the Gospels who was a Gentile.  His gospel was written to the Gentiles.  He was good at accounting and he did interviews to validate events.  He presented Jesus as the Savior of sinners.  His gospel has the clearest account of Jesus’ post-resurrection.  Luke calls Jesus Ideal Son of Man and emphasizes His service.

John was the closest to Jesus.  He wanted to just sit with Jesus and meditate.  He was more spiritual than the other three.  The first three gospels are synopsis gospels, because they contain much of the same accounts while John goes into deeper truths.  John calls Jesus Divine Son of God and emphasizes His sympathy.

Matthew gives the necessary connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  There was 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Matthew wrote the long-awaited Messiah had come to save both Jew and Gentile.  He was a Jewish tax collector and became one of Jesus’ 12 disciples.  He compiled his writings in sections so the book is not in chronological order.  Matthew is called the teaching Gospel.  He writes about what Jesus taught on the mountain (The Sermon on the Mount); the choosing of Jesus’ disciples; the lesson stories Jesus told called parables; Jesus’ ministry through miracles; Jesus’ trial, death, burial, resurrection and ascension; when Jesus returns to the earth.  He emphasizes that Jesus is King and the Messiah.  Matthew calls Jesus Mighty King and emphasizes His wisdom.

Is the Holy Bible relevant?  Yes!  Through it God guides and protects.  It brings us hope.  God wants to reveal Himself to us through the Bible.  He speaks to us off the printed page.  He wants you to spend time with Him every day to get to know Him better.  Spending time reading His Word and in prayer is how you get to know God.

Do you believe that the Bible is God speaking?
Do you believe the Bible was written for you, to guide you in your actions and thoughts?
Christ is presented as King of Kings so will you choose to acknowledge Him as King of your life?
Are you spending time in His Word daily?
Is there something you must do to your schedule to spent time with God each day? 
Do you start out each day in His presence or do you just give Him the leftovers of your day?  Make an appointment daily to read the Bible, study and pray.  Make that appointment unbreakable!

We study the Bible so we can get to know Jesus.  Throughout Matthew Jesus tell us to come to Him – Matt. chapters 4, 10, 11, and 16.  Coming to Jesus is the greatest privilege and is also a great responsibility.  We must come to Him and then go.  Do not keep the gospel to yourself, but apply it in your life and give it out to others.  Then you will become more loving, wise, and peaceful.  We are called to come to Him daily so like eating we get filled each day.

Outline of Matthew’s Gospel

I.                Advent of Jesus Christ – Matt. 1-2

II.             Preparation for Jesus Public Ministry – Matt. 3-4

III.           Jesus’s Public Ministry – Matt. 5-25

IV.            Jesus’ Crucifixion – Matt. 26-27

V.              Jesus’ Resurrection and Last Commission – Matt. 28

 

Principles: 

God’s true Word has the power to transform.
Jesus Christ proves faithful every time in every circumstance.
Answering God’s call glorifies Him and satisfies our soul.
 
Follow my weekly posts for insights on each chapter of Matthew.  Most of my posts will be a result of my studies through Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  See you next week for chapter 1.

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