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The human author: most likely Matthew (also called Levi -Mark 2:14; originally a tax collector, before Jesus chose him to be a disciple - Matthew 9:9).
Matthew's focus appears to be on things that would be of special significance to the Jews - though it is written in a way that indicates it has a universal relevance. [There are some suggestions that it may have been originally written in both Aramaic (the language common among Jews of that time) and Greek (the language common to the rest of the Roman empire).]
This book can be divided into three sections:
The main part of Matthew, which focuses on Jesus' ministry, is arranged in five sections. Each section begins by telling us what Jesus did (his actions), and ends by telling us what Jesus said (his teachings).
Parts of this book are arranged in topical, rather than in chronological,
order. Teachings or activities may be mentioned side-by-side, which
actually occurred at different times.
Jesus is the promised Messiah ("Deliverer") who would be King over Israel (and over the whole world). The Old Testament is often quoted or referred to, in order to prove this.
A strong focus on Jesus' teachings - the teachings of the kingdom.
Frequent reference to the "kingdom of heaven" and what it means.
Israel's present rejection of the King; it's significance to the rest
of the world; Israel's future.
Briefly look through the book and see if you can spot some of the common themes or interesting features.
You may wish to read the entire book in one sitting, to get an overview of the "good news" that Matthew wanted to tell us. Then ask yourself the following questions:
Dennis Hinks © 2001