Questions to Guide Your Reading
What chapters/verses function as the Introduction to Matthew’s book?
How significant is the first line with regard to the overall purpose of the book: “An account/book of the beginning [“genesis”] of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham”?
Why does Matthew begin his Gospel with a genealogy of Jesus, tracing his lineage back to being the“son of David,” the “son of Abraham”?
Extra: What happens when someone who is familiar with the stories and characters of the Bible hears the names as the genealogy is read? Do you “remember” any of those things?
1:18-2:23: Birth/Childhood Narratives
What roles do the birth and early life narratives of Jesus serve in 1:18-2:23 as the first part of Matthew’s story?
What things do the stories remind you of in Israel’s history?
What common ingredients do the stories contain?
What’s the point of the repeated citations from the Old Testament (“as it is written” or “this was done to fulfill what was written . . .”)?
Does the concept of “righteousness” (and “unrighteousness”) come up?
3:1-4:11: John the Baptist, Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation
What role does John the Baptist play in the beginning ofJesus’ ministry (and in connection with other places where he is mentioned)?
What’s the purpose of describing Jesus’ baptism and thefollowing temptations “in the desert” (or “wilderness”)? What’s at the heart of the different temptations?
4:12-25: Beginning/Summary of the Galilean Ministry
What purpose does 4:12-25 serve, coming between the “beginning”of Jesus’ arrival on the scene and the Sermon on the Mount, starting in chapter 5?
Is 4:12-25 the ending of a section or the beginning of a new section?
What is the role of the calling of the first disciples in 4:18-22 (in the middle of the summary and just before the Sermon on the Mount)?
5:1-7:29: The Sermon on the Mount
What’s the role of the Sermon on the Mount in relation to Matthew as a whole?
Does it have an overriding theme? How would you summarize it? What title would you give it? Is there a verse in the sermon that best expresses the key idea?
How do the beatitudes—5:1-12—serve as introduction to the Sermon on the Mount as a whole?
What verses serve as the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount?
4:12-9:38: Jesus Teaching and Doing with Authority (Disciples Following)
Is there an overriding theme to 4:12-7:29? Why start and stop a section at these verses?
Is there an overriding theme to 8:1-9:38?
Putting those two sections together, is there an overriding theme to 4:12-9:38?
How do the summaries of 4:23-25 and 9:35-38 help?
10:1-12:50: Disciples Sent out to Teach/Do . . . Growing Conflict . . . New Community
How does 10:1-4 (along with 10:5-15 and the teaching that follows) function as the second major section that focuses on the disciples (“the twelve”) in relation to the section to come?
What is the subject of Jesus’ “sermon” in 10:5-42? How does it relate to this section as a whole (10:1-12:50)?
How would you summarize 12:1-50? How does 12:46-50 help?
How would you summarize 10:1-12:50?
Is there a similarity in the arrangement of 4:18-9:38 and 10:1-12:50? (note the discipleship paragraphs at the start, followed by a large section of teaching)?
How might the conflict and evaluations of Jesus by religious leaders (12:24, e.g.) and the paragraph about Jesus’ mother and brothers (12:46-50) function as a conclusion prior to Jesus’ beginning to teach in parables in Chapter 13?