10 September 2013

BSF 2013-2014: Introduction to Matthew

Welcome to our study of Matthew! This introduction to the book actually starts with introductions to the entire Bible and the four gospels.

The Bible is made up of 66 books written by more than 40 writers. Yet it contains one story of God's redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament has 39 books and was written in Hebrew. The New Testament has 27 books and was written in Greek. Here is a breakdown of the books:
  • Genesis to Deuteronomy are books of the law and were written by Moses.
  • Joshua to Esther are the books of the history of the Israelites.
  • Job to the Song of Solomon are the books of poetry.
  • Isaiah to Daniel are the major prophets.
  • Hosea to Malachi are the minor prophets.
  • Matthew to John are the gospels.
  • Acts is the history of the early church.
  • Romans to Jude are the epistles (letters of the apostles).
  • Revelation is prophecy of future events.
The Bible is trustworthy, living and applicable to our everyday lives. It is inerrant – free of any errors. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that God chose men He spoke in and through to tell His story in the Bible:
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 
The four gospels record Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension to heaven. Matthew was written to the Jews to prove Jesus was the long-awaited King. Mark was written to Christians in Rome to show Jesus as a Servant. Luke was written to Gentiles to show Jesus is the perfect human and Savior. John was written to new Christians and unbelievers to show Jesus is the Son of God.
In Matthew this year, we will read about real people with real lives and real faith (or lack thereof). Jesus' life as told in the book of Matthew will teach us how to combat Satan's attacks. We will see how Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies. And Jesus' words will teach us all we need to know about life and living.
We'll also see Jesus call 12 special men to be his disciples. He didn't choose these men because of their outward appearances or because of anything they had done. He called them because He wanted them to carry out His mission with Him and for Him. Jesus still calls ordinary people today and equips them to do extraordinary things.

Things to Think About
  • How will I arrange my schedule to make Jesus my highest priority (through Bible study, prayer, etc.)? I can be assured that God will give me the time I need to complete the work He has called me to do.
  • Will I ask God to transform me as I study each day?
  • What is my relationship with Jesus? Do I believe Jesus is the Son of God? And am I certain I have eternal life through Him?
  • Will I allow Christ to take the ordinary me to do extraordinary things for His kingdom?
  • What will my response be as I encounter Christ in the pages of Matthew this year?