Bible Studies, Messages, Papers

This is the headpiece of the 2.75 meter stele from Xian, China erected in 638 AD.  Photo credit:  David Castor | Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.  The stele (called "the Nestorian stele") testifies to a large Chinese Christian community connected to Syrian Christians further west.  It provides a potential link to Christian activity even further east, involving The Gospel of Matthew.  A copy of Matthew was found in Chinese script in Kyoto, Japan, in the Koryuji Buddhist Temple, which dates back to 818 AD.  It was built on top of a Christian church building built in 603 AD, which had been ruined by a fire.  The "Church of the East" holds that Christian faith reached Japan by 70 AD.  Apparently, Syrian and/or Chinese Christian missionaries come to Japan with The Gospel of Matthew to spread the faith.


bible studies and messages from the anastasis center: matthew

Below are small group leader notes, sermons, and exegetical notes on the Gospel of Matthew.

We make the best of modern biblical scholarship, along with early Christian exegesis, relevant and practical.

Messages on the Gospel of Matthew

From Flakiness to Integrity (Matthew 5:33 - 37)

Spiritual Disciplines: Grieving and Celebrating (Matthew 8:1 - 4)

How Jesus Heals, Part 1 (Matthew 8:1 - 4)

How Jesus Heals, Part 2 (Matthew 8:5 - 13)

How Jesus Authenticates Himself (Matthew 8:14 - 17)

How to Read the Bible and Experience God In It (Matthew 8:23 - 27)

How Jesus Heals Us from Shame (Matthew 9:18 - 26)

Jesus Leads Us Far from Home (Matthew 15:21 - 28)

The First Sign of a Fading Faith: Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21 - 35)

Small Group Leader Handbooks on the Gospel of Matthew

How to Move Mountains and Influence People: The Gospel of Matthew as Handbook for Jesus' Mission and Ours, Part 1 (Mt.3 - 7)

Leaders' Guide

Participants' Guide

Small Group Leader Notes on the Gospel of Matthew

Part One:  Our Heart - Jesus’ Challenge to the Human Heart (Mt.1 - 7)

Matthew 3:1 - 12 What is Divine Fire?  Purifying or Destroying?

Matthew 3:13 - 4:11 Jesus Retells Our Story

Matthew 3:13 - 4:11 Jesus Begins to Redeem Human Nature

Matthew 4:12 - 25 Jesus is Light in Darkness, Heaven on Earth

Matthew 5:1 - 12 Jesus' Process of Transformation

Matthew 5:1 - 16 Jesus' Vision for Influence

Matthew 5:21 - 26 Heart Transformation for Reconciliation

Matthew 5:21 - 26 A Practical Framework for Reconciliation

Matthew 5:27 - 32 Heart Transformation for Purity

Matthew 5:33 - 37 Heart Transformation for Integrity

Matthew 5:38 - 48 Heart Transformation for Loving the Opposition

Matthew 6:1 - 18 From Public Show to Deep Authenticity

Matthew 6:19 - 34 From Greed to Generosity

Matthew 7:1 - 6 From Judging to Healing

Matthew 7:7 - 29 From Self-Sufficiency to Dependence


Part Two:  Our Experience - The Power of Jesus’ Word (Mt.8 - 10)

Matthew 8:1 - 17 Jesus Heals by His Word

Matthew 8:18 - 34 Jesus Ejects Other Voices

Matthew 9:1 - 13 Jesus Raises People Up

Matthew 9:14 - 26 Jesus Heals Our Hidden Uncleanness

Matthew 9:35 - 10:22 Jesus Sends Us to Proclaim


Part Three:  Our Stamina - Facing Rejection and Building Resolve (Mt.11 - 13)

Matthew 11:1 - 24 Why Rejecting Jesus Isn't Logical

Matthew 11:25 - 27 Jesus Reveals All of the Father

Matthew 11:28 - 12:21 Jesus Completes Us

Matthew 12:46 - 13:23 Growing the Kingdom: Why Rejection Happens

Matthew 13:24 - 43 Growing the Kingdom: Shallow Acceptance

Matthew 13:44 - 46 Growing the Kingdom: The Insider’s View

Matthew 12:46 - 13:58 Growing the Kingdom: Seven Kingdom Parables


Part Four:  Our Skills - Multi-Ethnicity, Cross-Cultural Ministry (Mt.14 – 18)

Matthew 14:1 - 12 How Not to Respond to Jesus' Word

Matthew 14:13 - 33 Jesus' Lesson on Serving Strangers

Matthew 15:1 - 20 Jesus' Lesson on the Human Heart

Matthew 15:1 - 20 Where is the Evil?  A Comparison

Matthew 15:1 - 28 Ministry at the Center and the Margins

Matthew 15:21 - 28 Jesus' Lesson on Crossing Cultures

Matthew 15:21 - 28 A Worksheet on Ethnicity, Culture, and Faith

Matthew 15:29 - 16:12 Jesus' Second Lesson on Serving Strangers

Matthew 16:13 - 28 Jesus' Lesson about Sacrifice

Matthew 16:13 - 17:13 How to See Jesus

Matthew 17:14 - 27 The Real Meaning of Moving Mountains

Matthew 18:1 - 18 Jesus' Lesson on Welcoming New Believers

Matthew 18:19 - 35 Jesus' Lesson on Forgiveness


Part Five:  Our Courage - Confrontation and Conflict (Mt.19 - 25)

Matthew 19:3 - 12 Holding to Jesus' Vision for Sex and Marriage

Matthew 19:13 - 30 Holding to Jesus' Vision for Money

Matthew 20:1 - 28 Holding to Jesus' Vision for Greatness

Matthew 20:29 - 21:46 Jesus Enters as King and God Embodied

Matthew 22:1 - 14 Conflicting Kingdoms

Matthew 22:15 - 46 The Traps Set for Jesus

Matthew 23:1 - 39 Spiritualities in Conflict

Matthew 24:1 - 51 Jesus Was Here:  The Sign

Matthew 25:1 - 46 Until the End of the Age:  How to Invest Well

Matthew 25:1 - 30 Until the End of the Age:  How to Invest Well

Matthew 25:31 - 44 Until the End of the Age:  How Jesus Will Judge


Part Six:  Our Mission - Remembrance and Reproduction (Mt.26 - 28)

Matthew 26:1 - 29 Remembering How Jesus Prepared to Die

Matthew 26:30 - 56 Remembering Jesus' Great Struggle

Matthew 26:57 - 75 Remembering the Trials of Jesus and Peter

Matthew 26:57 - 27:37 Remembering the Leadership of Jesus

Matthew 27:11 - 54 Remembering Jesus' Death

Matthew 27:55 - 28:15 Remembering Jesus' Resurrection

Matthew 28:16 - 20 Remembering Jesus' Mission and Ours

Notes and Essays on the Gospel of Matthew

The Chiastic Structure of Matthew's Gospel and Its Implications

Did Matthew Get Jesus' Genealogy Wrong? An Analysis of Mt.1:1 - 17

What is Meekness and How Does It Relate to Inheriting the Land? A Short Exegesis of Matthew 5:6 a short paper written for Dr. Bruce Beck, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, for his class on the Gospel of Matthew.

Can We Make God's Name More Holy? A Short Exegesis of Matthew 6:9 a short paper written for Dr. Bruce Beck, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, for his class on the Gospel of Matthew.

Might God Really Lead Us Into Temptation? A Short Exegesis of Matthew 6:13 a short paper written for Dr. Bruce Beck, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, for his class on the Gospel of Matthew.

What Did the Suffering Servant Suffer? Isaiah 53 and Penal Substitution examines Matthew's use of Isaiah 53:4 in Matthew 8:17

Does Jesus Hide the Father from People? An Analysis of Mt.11:25 - 30

The Return of God’s Cloud – To the “Wrong” Mountain? An Exegesis of Matthew 17:1 - 8 a paper written for Dr. Bruce Beck, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, for his class on the Gospel of Matthew.

Sin, Conflict Resolution, and the Role of Third Parties: An Examination of Mt.18:15 - 17

Whose Family? Which Union? Reflections on Scripture, Human Sexuality and God's Purposes examines Mt.19:3 - 12 and his use of Gen.1 - 2

The Rich Young Ruler and the Creation Order: An Exegesis of Mt.19:13 -30 an example of how Jesus’ ethic of wealth and generosity in Mt.19:13 - 30 comes from the same source as his ethic of marriage and divorce in Mt.19:3 - 12: God’s creation vision.

“I Believe the Children Are the Future” - But Who Are the True Children of Israel? An Exegesis of Mt.21:1 - 17 a paper written for Dr. Bruce Beck, at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary, for his class on the Gospel of Matthew. Establishes that Jesus and Matthew were using the distinction between parents and children from the exodus, and applying it to the parents and children of Jesus’ day. This has significance for the accusation that Matthew is anti-Semitic.

Is God a Mad Dictator Who Kills His Own People? An Analysis of Mt.22:1 - 14

Is Salvation by Social Justice? An Analysis of Mt.25:31-46 

Did Matthew Misquote Zechariah by Saying Jeremiah in Mt.27:9 - 10?

Jesus' Cry of Dereliction: Why the Father Did Not Turn Against or Away from the Son This paper examines Jesus' quotation of Psalm 22:1, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' from the cross; see also Brad Jersak, “My God, my God” - The Cry for Help, Heard and Answered (Brad Jersak website, date unknown)

Matthew's Use of Isaiah's Prophecy

Hell as Fire and Darkness: Remembrance of Sinai as Covenant Rejection in Matthew's Gospel This is a long essay exploring how Jesus' use of the phrase "fire and darkness" is a motif that comes from the story of God at Mount Sinai, where Israel rejects the covenant, and resists being purified by God. “Fire” is an intertextual connection to the Old Testament appearances of God; the paper briefly explores virtually all the New Testament texts dealing with "fire" as a motif.

Books and Articles on the Gospel of Matthew

Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, The Literary Guide to the Bible (Amazon book, Sep 1, 1990) has helpful insights into the Gospels 

Robert Tannehill, The Narrative Unity of Luke-Acts, Volumes 1 and 2 (Amazon book, Sep 1, 1991) is an excellent literary treatment of Luke that helps with all narrative, including Matthew

N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (Amazon book, Sep 1992) has valuable historical context, and high level survey of Matthew

Jerome H. Neyrey, Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew (Amazon book, Nov 1, 1998)

Warren Carter, Matthew and Empire (Amazon book, Oct 1, 2001)

Gary Tuck, Matthew 5:17: Jesus Did Come to Abolish the Law, and He Said So; see also Benjamin Corey, For The People Who Say, “But Jesus Didn’t Abolish The Law” (Patheos, Aug 7, 2015)

Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Chapters 1 - 15 (Amazon book, Jan 1, 2004)

Tom Wright, Matthew for Everyone, Chapters 16 - 28 (Amazon book, Jan 1 2004)

Warren Carter, Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist (Amazon book, Feb 1, 2004)

Matthew L. Skinner, The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament (Amazon book, Feb 1, 2010)

Kathleen E. Corley, Maranatha: Women's Funerary Rituals and Christian Origins (Amazon book, Apr 2010) studies funeral rites and customs in the ancient Roman world; she compares them to the Gospels’ accounts of the women at Jesus’ empty tomb announcing his resurrection, finding a new role for women mourners at the heart of Christian faith

Sigurd Grindheim, God's Equal: What Can We Know About Jesus' Self-Understanding? (Amazon book, 2011) an outstanding exploration into the Synoptic Gospels

David Instone-Brewer, Bible Scandals: Divorce (BeThinking, 2012) very important considerations for marital abuse cases

Daniel Payne, Matthew's Gospel Offers an Amazing Case for Jesus' Resurrection (The Federalist, Apr 18, 2017) 

Cathy Deddo, The Joy of Taking Jesus' Yoke (GCI Equipper, Jul 9, 2017)

Paul Pavao, Perpetual Sabbath: The Fulness of the Law (Word Warrior, Feb 27, 2019) on translating “fulfilled the Law” as “extended the Law”

bible studies and messages from the anastasis center