Sunday School Bible Survey:      MATTHEW

Theme: Jesus is the King of the Jews.

Key verse: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1).

From the Scofield Study Bible:

WRITER: The writer of the first Gospel, as all agree, was Matthew, called also Levi, a Jew of Galilee who had taken service as a tax-gatherer under the Roman oppressor. He was, therefore, one of the hated and ill-reputed publicans.

DATE: The date of Matthew has been much discussed, but no convincing reason has been given for the discrediting the traditional date of A.D. 37.

THEME: The scope and purpose of the book are indicated in the first verse. Matthew is the "book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1). This connects him at once with two of the most important of the Old Testament Covenants: the Davidic Covenant of kingship, and the Abrahamic Covenant of promise (II Samuel 7:8-16; Genesis 15:18).

Of Jesus Christ in that twofold character, then, Matthew writes. Following the order indicated in the first verse, he writes first of the King, the son of David; then of the Son of Abraham, obedient unto death, according to the Isaac type (Genesis 22:1-18; Hebrews 11:17-19).

But the prominent character of Christ in Matthew is that of the covenanted King, David's "righteous Branch" (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15). Matthew records His genealogy; His birth in Bethlehem the city of David, according to Micah (5:2); the ministry of His forerunner according to Malachi (3:1); His rejection by Israel; and His predictions of His second coming in power and great glory.

Only then (Matthew 26-28) does Matthew turn to the earlier covenant, and record the sacrificial death of the son of Abraham.

This determines the purpose and structure of Matthew. It is peculiarly the Gospel for Israel; and, as flowing from the death of Christ, a Gospel for the whole world.

The events recorded in Matthew cover a period of 38 years (Ussher).


  1. Though Matthew emphasizes that Jesus is the King of the Jews, he also records the visit of the Gentile "wise men from the east" who came to Jerusalem looking to worship "the King of the Jews" (Matt. 2:1, 2).
  2. He also records our Lord's words in Matthew 13:38, "The field is the world."
  3. The Great Commission is to go "and teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19).
  4. There are five great discourses in the book of Matthew.
  • The Sermon on the Mount (5—7)
  • Our Lord's charge to His twelve apostles (10)
  • The Mystery Parables of the Kingdom (13)
  • Discourse to His Disciples (18)
  • The Olivet Discourse (24, 25)
  1. Matthew had been a publican, a Jew collecting taxes for the despised Roman government.
  2. He is referred to as Levi in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27, 29.
  3. After his conversion and call to be an apostle, Matthew "made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them" (Luke 5:29; cf. Matthew 9:9-15; Mark 2:15-20).
  4. Because Matthew was written primarily to a Jewish audience, there are many references to the Old Testament.
  5. Jesus is often called "the son of David" in the Gospel of Matthew (1:1; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30, 31; 21:9, 15; 22:42).

OUTLINE (from the Ryrie Study Bible)

  3. THE PROOF OF THE KING (8, 9).
  4. THE PROGRAM OF THE KING (10:1-16:12).
  5. THE PEDAGOGY OF THE KING (16:13-20:28).
  6. THE PRESENTATION OF THE KING (20:29-23:39).
  8. THE PASSION OF THE KING (26, 27).

These are simple Sunday School survey notes. They are not for sale. The author used many outlines from popular Bible teachers such as C.I. Scofield and J. Vernon McGee, and he has tried to give credit when using their material.

—  Pastor James J. Barker  —