Welcome to an exciting study on the Book of Matthew!

To help in our study and discussion time, I have put together some questions and divided them into days so you can keep in God’s Word each day. There are also some challenge questions included for “diggers”. You can use a book commentary or go online to find answers. I use www.preceptaustin.org and www.biblegateway.com . If you cannot answer a question, don’t let it frustrate you because we will be discussing the questions at the next Bible study class and the answers are also in the “questions and answers” link.

Introduction and background to the Gospel of Matthew
At the time when Christ was born, Israel had been conquered by the Romans and they really oppressed the people. They had a cruel taxing system that they put on countries that they conquered. They had a poll tax, which is like our income tax, the other was called the ground tax, which would be similar to a property or land tax. Some of the wealthy Romans would hire people they called Publicans or tax collectors to do the actual tax collecting. The problem was these tax collectors usually didn't just collect for the Romans, they lined their pockets as well.

Of course the people in the country would look at them as traitors, because here they were gathering taxes from their own countrymen to give to wealthy people of a foreign nation. Can you think of an example of a person from the New Testament who was a tax collector? Zaccheus, Matthew. Tax gatherers or publicans, were ranked with harlots, the heathen, robbers and murderers, so they wouldn't be the kind of people you would want your children to hang around with.

Matthew 1 questions and answers

Day 1

1. What do you know about Matthew, the author of the book of Matthew? ( Matthew 9:9-13 )

2. Why was the book of Matthew written?

3. Read Matthew 1:1-17 - Why did Matthew start off with a genealogy?

4. Were genealogies important to the Jews? If so, why? (Read Numbers 26:52-56 ; Ezra 2:62 , Luke 2:1-4 , Rom 11:1 )

5. In Luke 3:23-38 another genealogy of Jesus is recorded. What are the main differences between the two genealogies?

Matthew's genealogy Luke's genealogy Both

Day 2

6. Why is Joseph identified as the husband of Mary and not as the father of Jesus?

7. What are the meanings of the names Jesus and Christ?

8. List the people that you know something about in this genealogical list.

9. Do you see some individuals who were Gentiles or people you wouldn’t expect to be in a Messianic genealogy?

  1. Tamar - Matt 1:3, "Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar;" Tamar is the first lady in the genealogy. Her children are Perez and Zerah. What kind of a lady was Tamar? Read Genesis 38. Judah takes a wife for his first born, so he took this lady Tamar. He was wicked so God killed him. Tamar was then given to Judah's second son but he was wicked too so God killed him. Judah promised Tamar the third son once he grew up but Judah didn't keep his promise. One day Tamar was told that her father-in-law, Judah, was going up to Timnah to shear his sheep. She took off her widow's garments and covered her face with a veil. Judah thought she was a prostitute and offered to sleep with her. She asked him what he would give her to sleep with him. He offered to send her a young goat from his flock. She asked if he would give her something as a pledge until he sent it. When he asked what pledge he should give her, said she wanted his seal and its cord and the staff in his hand. He gave them to her and slept with her, and she became pregnant by him. So, Tamar was involved in prostitution and incest. What is she doing in the Messianic line? But out of that conception came twins, Perez and Zerah, who are the next people in the genealogy of the line of the Messiah.
  2. Rahab - Matt 1:5, "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab." When you say Rahab what are the next thoughts that come to your mind? Rahab was a professional Canaanite prostitute, unclean, outcast, Gentile, pagan, idolatrous. Joshua 2 tells us that the spies, when they came into Jericho, went in and came to the house of a prostitute named Rahab. But from her came Boaz, a godly man.
  3. Ruth - Matt 1:5 - and Boaz had a son named Obed, and Boaz was married to Ruth. Ruth was not a prostitute, but a lovely lady…not guilty of incest. She however was a Moabite Gentile, an outcast. Genesis 19:30-38 tells us where the Moabites come from. Lot & his daughters had just fled from Sodom which got destroyed by fire and they settled in a cave in the mountains. 31 "One day the older daughter said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children-as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let's get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father." 33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, "Last night I slept with my father. Let's get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father." 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up. 36 So both of Lot's daughters became pregnant by their father. 37 The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today.38 The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today." Who was Ruth? Ruth was a Moabite. She was born of incest. She herself was a pure lady. She was the wife of Boaz, and she became the grandmother of David. But she was born of a tribe of people who were guilty of incest. In Deuteronomy 23:3 the whole Moabite nation is cursed by God and here God picks up a cursed lady, born of an incestuous relationship.
  4. Bathsheba - The next lady in the genealogy is not mentioned by name but it is easy to figure out who it is. The end of Matt 1:6, "David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife." That of course is Bathsheba. According to Second Samuel 11 an 12 she was up on a roof sunbathing and David was up there looking around and he said, that's the one I want, brought her over, had a sexual relationship with her, produced a child, she was an adulteress.

10. Compare the three historical eras mentioned in the genealogy.

Longer version All along even though the whole nation is going downhill, until finally they curse and spit on their own Messiah, it is nevertheless through that nation that the Messiah comes, and that is grace.
Read Matthew 1:18-25
This miracle is so incredible! I hope you haven't heard it so often that your senses are dulled to this spectacular, supernatural event.

Day 3

11. Read Matthew 1:18-25. What new twist do we see introduced in verse 18 concerning the birth of Jesus Christ?

12. What do we know about Mary, the mother of Jesus?

13. What do we learn about Mary's character from Luke 1:28-48?

14. What does it mean that Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph? What was the period of the pledge designed to test?

15. Why were Joseph and Mary identified as husband and wife before the marriage had been consummated?

16. What was the wedding like in those days?

Day 4

17. What do we know about Joseph? (Read also John 19:26-27)

18. Read Luke 1:26-35 – When Mary became pregnant she knew why but Joseph didn’t know. What would have been Joseph's response when he learned of Mary's pregnancy? Why? (Read also Deuteronomy 22:13-14, 20-24a)

Why is it not unusual that the Holy Spirit was responsible for the conception of Jesus?

This would be nothing new for the Holy Spirit, because His work was commonly one of creation. In Genesis 1:2, He is identified as the One who actually carried out the creation of the heavens and the earth. In Galatians 4:4 -- Paul said, "But, when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law."

19. What conclusions must be made if Jesus were not virgin born?

20. Why was Jesus sinless even though He was born of a sinner?

21. What course of action did Joseph choose in dealing with the seemingly unlawful pregnancy of Mary? Why?

Two options were open to Joseph in his day and age. Because Joseph was a righteous Jew he knew he couldn't marry a lady in her condition. She had violated the principles of God. Even though he cared about her, even though he didn't understand what was going on and it was all a mystery to him...as a just man, he had to do what the law required.
  1. He could make a public example of her by charging her openly in a public court with having committed adultery. She would be shamed, brought to trial, and convicted in front of everybody, so that her reputation would be ruined. Joseph could divorce her, even though she wasn't officially his wife, because the pledge constituted a legal marriage contract. If he chose to divorce her, he would have to return the dowry, and destroy the contract.
  2. However, because of his real concern for Mary, he didn't want to expose her to public disgrace so he decided to divorce/put her away quietly. The two parties would get together before two or three witnesses and write out a private bill of divorcement, (eg in Deuteronomy 24). In this case, there would be no judicial procedure, no public knowledge, no fanfare. In fact, in that day you did not even need to write down the cause for the divorce in the statement, so that the spouse could go away without anybody ever really knowing what had happened. It was done secretly. Now this wasn't necessarily God's pattern, but this is what was allowable in the laxness of the day in which Joseph lived.

Day 5

22. What was the unique kind of dream given to Joseph used for? (See other examples used in Matt. 2:12, 13, 19; 27:19).

23. Why was Mary's child to be named Jesus? ( Matthew 1:21 ; Acts 4:12 )

24. Why did Matthew connect the virgin birth to the Old Testament? ( Isaiah 7:14 )

25. Why was the prophecy of a virgin bearing Immanuel originally given? (Isaiah 7 – especially vs. 14)

26. Did Mary and Joseph have other children?

27. What is the only way that Jesus' perfect life can be accounted for?

Day 6

1. Is Jesus your Saviour? Has He saved you from your sins? When did you make that decision?

2. Jesus is the King of Kings. Is Jesus the King of your life? How are you showing that?

3. Have you experienced God’s grace in your life? It is easy for us to take it for granted, viewing it more as a right, rather than as a blessing. Think back to the instances that God has been especially gracious to you. Even if you remembered to thank Him, did you find that you soon forgot His goodness? Spend some time after dinner with your family or a friend and have each of you enumerate as many things as possible that you can thank God for...past, present, or future.

4. Are you experiencing Jesus as Immanuel in your life?

5. Do you have the character qualities that Mary had? Are there any you want to work on?

6. Are you like Joseph, listening to God’s instructions and doing immediately what God asks you to do?

7. What has been meaningful to you from your study of Matthew 1? What could you apply to your life?

Jesus Christ was none other than God in human flesh, and Matthew tells us He came to dwell:

with the sick to heal them,

with the demon possessed to liberate them,

with the poor in spirit to bless them,

with the care-ridden to free them from care,

with the lepers to cleanse them,

with the hungry to feed them,

but most of all he says that He came to dwell with the lost, in order that He might save them.

He was Immanuel, God with us,

though He was infinitely rich, became poor, assuming our human nature.

He entered our sin-polluted atmosphere without ever being tainted by it,

took our guilt, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows,

was wounded with our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities,

went to heaven to prepare a place for us,

sent His Spirit to dwell in our hearts,

right now makes intercession for us,

will someday come to take us to be with Him.