INTRODUCTION

This book or collection of Bible studies was developed and published to provide an in depth Biblical study of the life, works and teaching of Jesus Christ and how they apply to the life and times of today's born again believer. To accomplish this objective, the Gospel according to Matthew will be used as the basis for these studies. Hence, this book is titled: "A Study of Matthew."

For your convenience, directly underneath each Bible reference, the text of the New International Version (NIV) Bible translation is provided. If, however, you are more comfortable reading from a different Bible translation I encourage you to do so.

Since it is my belief that the Bible interprets itself, outside reference material (referenced to the bibliography by a small superscript number) such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and historical reference material are only used to supply necessary background material.

Before we begin our study of the Gospel according to Matthew, the following historical background material is provided. It is noted that the following historical material was taken from the data presented in: "The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible1" and " All the Men of the Bible" by Herbert Lockyer2.

BACKGROUND

Matthew, the author, was a tax collector. In his day, tax collectors were considered to be in the same class of society as harlots, thieves and murderers. Matthew's original name was Levi. This is why in the Gospel according to Mark and Luke he is identified as Levi. It is not known if it was the Lord Jesus Christ who changed his name to Matthew or whether Levi changed it after he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. In either case, God used this name change to demonstrate that only He, God, could change a tax collector named Levi into one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ named Matthew. Thus, God used Matthew, as He did with the Apostle Paul, to be an example of how a life can change by the transforming power of His Grace and Mercy.

There is a lot of speculation of exactly when the Gospel according to Matthew was written. However, the majority of scholars say that it was most likely written around 60 AD. It was penned in common Greek, that is the Greek spoken by the common people. Hence, it was easily understood.

The Gospel according to Matthew was and is considered to be one of the most important documents of the Christian faith. It contains the fullest and most systematic account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. However, the information contained in Matthew is organized in a more topical fashion rather than an exact day to day record of the life of Jesus Christ.

Since Matthew's Gospel is not a purely topical or purely chronological account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, various types of theological outlines have been developed and used to partition and study his work. For this study we will use a general outline that does not contain a theological or chronological bias. The outline3 we will use simply groups the subject matter as it is presented by Matthew. This outline and grouping partitions the Gospel according to Matthew into fourteen sections that are identified in the Table of Contents.

Finally, to help us have a more complete understanding and appreciation for the Gospel according to Matthew we need to recognize that the name "Christ" means "Messiah" or "Anointed One" or "The Lord's Anointed One" or "Jesus the Messiah." The significance of this is that whenever we read an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah it was pointing to Jesus Christ. As we will discover in our study of Matthew all these Old Testament Messianic prophecies are and will be fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

As you now begin your reading of: "A Study of Matthew"

"I commit you to God and to the word of His Grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32).

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