Matthew – Day 1 – Introduction

 In Bible Studies, The Book of Matthew



his study is designed for a variety of people. If you are new to Bible study, this study is for you because it starts at a very basic level to make sure that your foundation is solid. If you are experienced with Bible study, this study will build upon your foundation and help you dig deeper into God’s story. This study is designed to take you through scripture and help you find that God’s Word is relevant and useful today – even thousands of years after it was written.

The Bible is made up of two main parts that are often referred to as The Old Testament and The New Testament. For purposes of this study, we will refer to them as the Jewish Bible (because these are the scriptures that Jesus would have referred to in His teachings) and the New Testament.

As we work through this study, you will discover that the Jewish Bible is directly related to the New Testament.  Jesus often quoted the Jewish Bible. So many New Testament themes, topics, and prophecies have their beginnings in Genesis. It is all one story and we will discover so much depth as we connect Jesus’ teachings with the culture in which it was taught.

The first four books of the New Testament are known as the gospels (“good news”) because they tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The first three books, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are called the “synoptic” gospels because they contain much of the same material. John contains many stories that are not contained in the other three gospels.

This study will focus on the gospel of Matthew, the second gospel to be written. It is believed that the author of Matthew is one of Jesus’ twelve apostles. He is writing to a Jewish community and his purpose for writing is to prove that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jewish people that was promised in the Jewish Bible.

The first thing to realize is that in addition to being the Son of God, Jesus came to earth as a human. While He was here, He lived on Earth as a Jew. He grew up in a Jewish home, most likely went to Jewish schools, and He taught in a very Jewish way. The Jewish people recognize that Jesus was one of the most influential Rabbis (or teachers) to have ever lived. They know His teaching, but unfortunately, they miss the very important point — He was the Messiah. Today in Christianity, we recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, but unfortunately, we have missed a very important part – we do not know His teaching.

Our call is to become like Christ. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the LORD’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the LORD, who is the Spirit.” But how can we become like Christ if we do not know what He did or what He taught?

Our goal over the next few months is to read through the gospel of Matthew. We want to go on a journey to really uncover what Jesus did, what He said, what He taught, and how He acted. Those who were chosen to follow a rabbi followed him closely. They watched him in everyday situations. They watched him interact with other people. They watched and learned how to apply God’s Word in all aspects of life.

There are lots of hidden jewels in what He taught that we miss because we listen to scripture from a Western point of view. Jesus taught from an Eastern point of view. So along the way, there will be things that help us see how Jesus was teaching – so we don’t miss the point He was trying to make.

Every day that you choose to do this study, you will be in God’s Word. It was tradition in the Eastern world to read scripture out loud because it was primarily an oral tradition. I would like to encourage you to find a place where you can do this study and read the scriptures out loud – without too many people thinking you are really weird!

Read Deuteronomy 5:1-22.

We start here because Jesus will spend a lot of time teaching about the commandments. We must be familiar with the Jewish Bible in order to understand Jesus’ teachings. So this is where we begin in our quest to become like our Rabbi, Jesus.


Ray Vander Laan – That the World May Know

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