Manual Immersion Bible Studies—Matthew

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Immersion Bible Studies is your guide for that journey. Shaped with the individual in mind, Immersion encourages simultaneous engagement both with the Word of God and with the God of the Word to become a new creation in Christ. Immersion , inspired by a fresh translation, the Common English Bible, stands firmly on Scripture and helps you explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of your personal faith.

More importantly, you'll be able to discover God's revelation to you through readings and reflections.

Immersion Bible Studies: Matthew by J. Ellsworth Kalas

Journey inside the pages of Scripture to meet a personal God who enters individual lives and begins a creative work from the inside out. Immersion , inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible --stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. He was part of the faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary since , formerly serving as president and then as senior professor of homiletics. He was a United Methodist pastor for 38 years and also served five years in evangelism with the World Methodist Council. What would you like to know about this product?

Perhaps you listened as the Christmas story was read aloud from one of the Gospels during a worship service. Try to recall the plot line and all the characters involved.

7. The Gospel of Matthew

Chances are that the Christmas story etched in your memory is a composite of the accounts in Matthew and Luke, probably with embellishments and omissions. The Gospel of Matthew tells the story of Jesus' birth and the events surrounding it in a particular way. It begins by tracing family lineage but with a different list of names than in Luke. The writer of Matthew reminds the reader of Old Testament passages that he now recognizes as prophesies of Jesus. In Matthew's Gospel an angel appears—not to Mary but to Joseph.

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There is a wondrous star in the sky instead of a choir of angels. Wise men, not shepherds, come to honor Jesus. There is no mention of the Roman Empire, instead, a shrewd and brutal King Herod. Why do you suppose Matthew tells the Christmas story this way? What does the Gospel writer want you to notice? Enter the Bible Story Emile Cailliet, for many years a distinguished professor of philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary, never saw a Bible until he was twenty-three years old.

By that time he had already served in the French army in World War I and was beginning to establish himself as one of France's brightest young scholars. When the Bible came to his hands, he opened it-quite by chance—to the Beatitudes in the Gospel of Matthew. As he read, he realized, with "awe and wonder," that this was the book that understood him. This was the book that in all of his studies he had unknowingly been seeking. That word would please the author of Matthew's Gospel and all of those first-century readers who not only read and memorized its pages but who made handwritten copies for other readers.

For some readers then and now, Matthew is their introduction to Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God.

For others who already believe, Matthew answers many of their questions about Jesus: Especially, Matthew introduces us to Jesus' teachings about the kingdom of heaven, teachings that raise questions even as they give answers and demands. Above all, however, as you look at Matthew thoughtfully and—better yet, reverently—you see it is a book that knows you and that challenges you to a new, more wonderful, more demanding life.

Why then is Matthew the opening book in our New Testament?

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Quite clearly, because this Gospel makes the most direct tie with the Hebrew Scriptures, thus indicating that the two testaments belong together, that the best basis for understanding the New Testament is found in the Hebrew Scriptures, and that we call these Scriptures the "Old" Testament because they precede the New Testament and prepare us for understanding it.

A thoughtful reader might easily think that Matthew's primary aim is to show this connection. He begins in a "Hebrew" way: The Hebrew Scriptures also emphasize history, because their writers believed that God is at work in history. Thus Matthew summarizes his genealogy by historical periods: An earnest first-century Jew would see the history of his or her people as breaking naturally into a period from Abraham, the father of their nation, to David, their epochal king.

Then the period continues with David to the Babylonian captivity, the crisis that most severely tested their nationhood and that at the same time sealed their identity as the people of the Scriptures and the synagogue as the place of learning. Matthew adds what he sees as the third great period, from Babylon "to the Christ. All else is prelude. See, then, who Jesus Christ is.

Immersion Bible Studies: Matthew - Slightly Imperfect

On the one hand, he is the product of a long line of Jewish generations and a figure in history like any other human figure. At the same time, he is the breaking point in history, God's unique invasion into our human story. Mind you, as I indicated a moment ago, the Jews believed that God was always operating in history. This event, the birth of Jesus Christ, however, was an event like no other in history and yet beyond history.

Matthew makes still another tie to the Hebrew Scriptures when he reports on the unique circumstances of Jesus' conception: The Hebrew writers are quoted throughout the New Testament; but this phrase, "spoken through the prophet," is a favorite with Matthew. By it he reaffirms the connection between the Hebrew Scriptures and what he himself is writing. For Matthew it is a seamless unit.