The Gospel of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament for a very good reason; it is an authoritative retelling of the life and mission of Christ and throughout points out how Christ's life, indeed, fulfilled the prophesies of the Old Testament.
Matthew, the reputed author of the first Gospel, was a publican or tax collector who saw the error of his ways. He had been rich, but sacrificed all his wealth to follow Christ. It is remarkable that he is the author of the most read book in the history of mankind. It is said that Matthew preached in the Palestine and later travelled, bringing the message of Jesus to other parts of the Roman Empire. He is reputed to have written the book in 60 AD - originally in Hebrew and later in Greek.
Of course, there is some dispute over whether Matthew actually produced this vital reference. Some say much of the book is borrowed wholesale from Mark's gospel. Even if this were the case, seeing the life of Christ through the eyes of Matthew is an enthralling experience. For it is in Matthew that the majesty of Christ's divinity is most closely interweaved with the reality of his humanity.
Matthew is a gospel worthy of in-depth review and a lengthy bible study. Barclay, one of the great modern comentators on the bible, devotes two volumes to Matthew. The material in Matthew is extensive and is best for a Bible study spanning at least several sessions. The Gospel was divided by its author into five sections each containing narrative and discourses. There is also a prologue and an epilogue. These divisions may assist in forming a basis for instruction and discourse. The breakdown is as follows:
Narrative: chs. 3,4
Discourse: chs. 5-7
Narrative: chs. 8,9
Discourse: chs. 10
Narrative: chs. 11,12
Discourse: chs. 13
Narrative: chs. 14-17
Discourse: chs. 18
Narrative: chs. 19-22
Discourse: chs. 23-25
Matthew: A Life Application Bible Study is inexpensive and contains 13 lessons, charts, maps, study questions and notes. Visit our Life Application page for more information on how to use this work in a Bible study.
The Gospel of Matthew Vol 1, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study of Matthew for a group and as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.
For continuing study on Matthew: The Gospel of Matthew Vol 2, by William Barclay.