For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Matthew 1:18-24; The Birth of Jesus Christ (Personality and Character Study)

posted by Mike Nappa

The Bible actually says very little about Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph. Here’s what we know:

Joseph was a carpenter by trade (Matthew 13:55), which meant “building and repairing in wood, stone, or metal.” He had a reputation as “a just man” (Matthew 1:19), likely referring to his devout, religious character. He was compassionate, as seen by his unwillingness to subject Mary to public shame when he found out she was pregnant (Matthew 1:19). He was able to recognize when God spoke to him in dreams (Matthew 1:20-23, 2:13, 19-20). He was immediately obedient to God’s instructions (Matthew 1:24, 2:14, 21). He followed Jewish religious customs such as having his son circumcised on the eighth day, consecrating baby Jesus with a temple sacrifice, and traveling to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover each year (Luke 2:21-41). He had other children besides Jesus (Matthew 13:55-56).

Beyond that, some have speculated that he may have been an older man and a widower when he married Mary, and that he died not long after Jesus visited the temple as a twelve-year-old. That theory could explain why he’s never mentioned in the Bible after Jesus’ twelfth year (even though Mary and his other children are) and why he wasn’t present at Jesus’ crucifixion. It could also account for why Jesus commanded his disciple, John, care for Mary. Still, this old-age/early-death theory is rooted mostly in an apocryphal book with suspect origins, so it must be regarded as speculation at best.

Matthew 1:18-24

Works Cited:

[WWB, 244-246]

 

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Matthew 1:18-24; The Birth of Jesus Christ (Literary Influences)

posted by Mike Nappa

Matthew’s historical account emphasizes Jesus as Messiah and King for a primarily Jewish audience. As a result, one scholar notes, “The [Old Testament] casts a long shadow over Matthew’s gospel. No other evangelist or [New Testament] writer, including Paul or the author of Hebrews, drew upon the OT writings as Matthew did.”

In fact, Matthew included over 50 clear quotations from Old Testament texts in his book (plus numerous allusions and echoed phrasings), couching nearly every moment of Jesus’ life in terms of Old Testament prophecies and promises about the coming Messiah.

The first time this occurs is in Matthew 1:22-23, where the gospel writer points out that Jesus’ birth was a glorious fulfillment of the Messianic prophesy found in Isaiah 7:14, “The virgin will be with child…”

Matthew 1:18-24

Works Cited:

[ZP4, 132-33]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

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Matthew 1:1-17; The Genealogy of Jesus (Cross-Reference Comparison)

posted by Mike Nappa

Read Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 side by side and you’ll probably notice a problem: The two genealogies are not identical.

Some have decided that this means the biblical accounts of Jesus are untrustworthy, but most Bible scholars find that to be a shortsighted view. They point to other possible explanations for this literary discrepancy. Some believe that Matthew’s genealogy focuses primarily on the family tree of Jesus’ adopted father, Joseph, while Luke’s highlights the lineage of his mother, Mary. Another theory suggests that one of the histories focuses King David’s “throne-succession” line which then jumps to Joseph’s physical family line because the descendents of David’s son, Solomon, died out.

Though we can’t be sure which theories are correct, the fact that there are various theories that could legitimately explain the discrepancies between the Matthew and Luke genealogies indicates that some may be too quick to assume that non-identical manuscripts inherently discredits these Scriptures. It’s both possible and likely that there is more to this supposed “problem” than we fully understand today.

Matthew 1:1-17

Works Cited:

[BAH, 263-64]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

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Matthew 1:1-17; The Genealogy of Jesus (Cultural Commentary)

posted by Mike Nappa

One unexpected aspect of Matthew’s genealogy is the deliberate identification of four women (in addition to Mary) in Jesus’ family tree. In the intensely patriarchal Jewish society of Jesus’ time, it was it unusual for any woman to be heralded in this way, let alone four of them.

What’s more, the women Matthew chose all had questionable reputations in Hebrew history. Tamar (verse 3) acted as a prostitute and engaged in illicit sex with Judah in order to trick him into fathering Jesus’ ancestor, Perez. Rahab (verse 5) was a career prostitute. Ruth (verse 5) was a foreigner, a woman of Moabite heritage. Uriah’s wife (verse 6), Bathsheba, was also likely a foreigner, of Hittite heritage. She committed adultery with King David, and was possibly complicit in David’s arranged murder of her husband.

Why include these women in Jesus’ family line? An obvious explanation is that God values women just as he values men, and their inclusion in this genealogy is Matthew’s way of emphasizing that truth. In addition, one theologian suggests: “In all four cases, God acted in an extraordinary and unexpected way—just as he did with Mary…[Matthew] is suggesting that Mary is the fifth woman in the messianic line that for one reason or another was vulnerable to accusation but was vindicated.”

Matthew 1:1-17

Works Cited:

[SBW, 1235; MAT, 35-36]

 

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About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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