Gospel According To Matthew
Writer:   Internal and External Evidence:   Purpose:
Characteristics and Scenes

The writer of this Gospel was Matthew, the publican or tax collector. His Jewish name is Levi. Tax collectors were notoriously hated by the Jews. Jesus Christ called him away from his profession to follow Him (Mt. 9:9).

Upon leaving his tax collecting position to follow Jesus, he made a great banquet in order to introduce his colleagues and other sinners to The Lord Jesus Christ (Lk. 5:29 cf. Mt. 9:10; Mk. 2:15).

Internal evidence to his authorship consists of the superscription or title, which is the most ancient witness and the witness of the text itself. This consists of two particular emphases, observations which could only be made by one who has firsthand knowledge.

Only in Matthew (10:3) is the author described as a publican (tax collector) and is the technical term used (9:9). Precise terms used by Matthew alone in his Gospel, but not in the other three Gospels are: the tax as tribute money (Mt. 23115-22), which is a technical term and the annual Temple tax, a half shekel or didrachma (17:24-27).

External evidence comes from the writings of the “church fathers. “Witness Of the early church ascribes authorship of the first Gospel to Matthew, as the first or earliest to be written, and that it was written first in Hebrew.

The earliest testimony is by Papias (c. A.D. 130), “Matthew composed his logia in the Hebrew tongue.” Irenaeus (c. A.D. 185), who knew Polycarp (only a generation apart), a personal disciple of John, wrote, “Matthew also published a book of the Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect.”

Other testimony by: Eusebius (c. A.D. 324), Augustine (A.D. 388-410), Origen (A.D. 185-254), Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216), and Jerome (A.D. 342-420).

The purpose of this first written Gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus is the Messianic King. Therefore it is necessary to trace the genealogy back through David the King, to whom the Messianic Kingdom was promised (2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89) and to Abraham, the father of the Jews.

Characteristics include: 

  • a Messianic emphasis (65 quotes or allusions to 0ld Testament.);
  • the royal Gospel (Kingdom occurs 56 times;
  • kingdom of heaven 32 times:
  • Son of David 9 times, Jerusalem called “city of the great King”);
  • Jewish background of the Gospel;
  • introduction to the Church only in Mt. (16:18; 18:17);
  • thematic grouping of material-systematic rather than chronological:
  • (Sermon on the Mount (5-7),
  • Commission of the twelve (10),
  • Parables of the Kingdom (13),
  • Humility and forgiveness (18),
  • Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees (23),
  • and Olivet Discourse (24,25).

Matthew, the first ‘Synoptic Gospel’ focuses more on Jesus’ Galilean ministry than His Judean ministry.

The seven scenes: 

  1. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Egypt (1,2);
  2. Wilderness of Judea, near Jordan (3:1-4:11);
  3. Capernaum and Galilee (4:12-8:28; 9:1-18:35);
  4. Gergasa (8:28-34);
  5. Judea (19:1-28:15);
  6. Jerusalem environs (21:1-28:15);
  7. Galilee (A mountain) (28:16-20).

The Book may be outlined as follows:
I The Kingdom Proffered (1:1-11:1).
II. The Kingdom Rejected (11:2-12:45).
III. The Kingdom Postponed (12:46-28:20).

Get Your Precise Translation
of The Bible

Online Spiritual Assessment
Find Out Your Score

Begin Your
Faith Journey Now