- Book of Matthew - Jesus Christ, as presented in The Gospel of Matthew
- Introduction and Timeline
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- JESUS CHRIST
He declared that the law of Moses was fulfilled and taught the righteous way of life that leads to becoming perfect like Heavenly Father. The Savior continued the Sermon on the Mount, teaching how to pray, fast, and serve others. He taught His disciples to place love of God over the cares of the world. Jesus Christ concluded the Sermon on the Mount, teaching that the way to eternal life is narrow and that those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are those who do the will of Father in Heaven.
To help students understand the context of the Sermon on the Mount, have a student read Matthew and Matthew When have you been really happy? Why did you feel happy? What is true happiness? Have students skim through Matthew —12 , looking for how most of the verses begin. They describe certain elements that go to form the refined and spiritual character, all of which will be present whenever that character exists in its perfection.
We must recognize our spiritual need before we can make progress toward Father in Heaven. What important phrase does the Book of Mormon add to this Beatitude? Ask them to ponder how coming unto Christ helps us to develop the attribute they studied and to receive the promised blessing. While the students are discussing the Beatitudes, you could write notes on the board like the following, showing the attributes to be developed and the blessings that are promised:. Comfort and forgiveness. Gift of the Holy Ghost. Mercy and forgiveness. As you look at this list, what do you see that shows how the Beatitudes are interrelated and reflect a progression of coming unto Christ and becoming more like Him?
From your experience, how has living one of the Beatitudes increased your level of happiness? Encourage students to consider which of the Beatitudes they most need to improve in and commit to work on this attribute during the coming week or month. As you teach the remainder of Matthew 5—7 , you might encourage students to consider how the Beatitudes are connected to the rest of what the Savior taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Ask students to consider this principle: Applying the principles taught in the Beatitudes helps us to come unto Christ and to obtain greater happiness. Ask them to share ways in which they have seen the truth of this principle.
Jesus taught that He came to fulfill the law, and He also taught that the ultimate purpose of His teachings was to help us become like Father in Heaven. Matthew — Explain that you will ask students to study one of the scriptures listed and then ask them to report the following to the class:. How living that principle helps us become more like Heavenly Father. A brief experience illustrating how the principle has helped you if desired. To help students better understand this assignment, study the first scripture as a class.
Have a student read Matthew —26 aloud, and then guide students in identifying the answers to the four items. The higher or more complete principle was that we should choose not to become angry or treat people with contempt. The principle can help us become more like Heavenly Father because He is loving and sees the worth of each soul. You might tell about a time when you chose not to become angry. Divide your class into small groups or pairs. Assign each group to study one of the four remaining blocks of scripture listed on the board. After students have had time to read and consult with each other, have groups share their responses with the class.
How could one or more of the Beatitudes help us live the principles the Savior taught in Matthew —48? Possible answers: Being meek can help us not to become angry with others. Being pure in heart can help us not to lust after others. Being a peacemaker can help us to love our enemies. Have students look in Matthew for what might be the most difficult commandment that the Savior ever gave.
Nelson in the student manual commentary for Matthew How does this statement encourage you in your quest for eventual perfection? Although we will not achieve perfection in this life, we can strive for perfection and actually become perfect in many commandments while in mortality. Have students make a brief list on the board of various reasons why people might pray, fast, or serve others. Ask one-third of your class to read Matthew —4 , another third to read verses 5—6 , and another third to read verses 16— Have each student look for what counsel the Savior gave concerning our worship.
This video covers Matthew — Before you show the video, encourage students to follow along in their scriptures, beginning at Matthew , and to look for what Jesus taught about sincere worship. At the conclusion of the video, continue with the teaching suggestions as indicated. He wrote to the Emperor Hadrian about A. The work has been lost except for a brief statement in the writing of the church historian Eusebius.
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The deeds of our Saviour were always before you, for they were true miracles; those who were healed, those who were raised from the dead, who were seen, not only when healed and when raised, but were always present. They remained living a long time, not only whilst our Lord was on earth, but likewise when he left the earth. So that some of them have also lived to our own times. Quadratus gives another account of the miracles of Jesus and testifies as the Apostle Paul does that many who participated in the miraculous events surrounding the life of Christ lived long after Jesus ascended into heaven.
It was written to show that Jesus is a fulfillment of the Old Testament law. Though these books were written at an early date, they have never been seriously considered as Holy Scripture. They do not claim biblical authority, some actually disclaim it. In addition, none of them were written by apostles or members of the apostolic company. But they are helpful in shedding light on the New Testament. At certain times some of the biblical books had their authority questioned.
These include:. Esther The problem with the Book of Esther is that the name of God is not found in the book. The hand of God, however, is certainly evident in the story as He protected the Jews from total annihilation. The mere absence of God's name is not sufficient reason to deny its status, especially when His providential hand is so evident. Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes was sometimes objected to because of its skeptical tone.
The writer of the book exclaims. The problem here is a matter of understanding the author's intent. Solomon, the writer of the book, is demonstrating that no one can experience ultimate satisfaction in this world. He shows that all people need God. Song of Solomon The Song of Solomon was sometimes criticized as being too sensual. It inspiration, however, was never really been in doubt. The misdirected criticisms of sensuality do not understand the purpose of the book, which is to emphasize the nobility of marriage.
However, no specific examples were ever provided. The problem was again one of interpretation, not inspiration. Proverbs Proverbs had some who doubted it because of certain supposed inner contradictions. Yet a proper interpretation of the book will show this is not the case. Some of the books that are now in the New Testament canon have been, at times, questioned as being inspired of God. They are known as the antilegomena, "the books spoken against. The reasons vary from book to book.
Book of Matthew - Jesus Christ, as presented in The Gospel of Matthew
Hebrews The main problem that some of the early church members had with the Book of Hebrews was that it was written anonymously. Yet Hebrews is not the only anonymous New Testament book; the four Gospels, for instance, do not name their authors either. From the earliest times, the letter to the Hebrews was accepted everywhere but in Latin Christianity. The problem still was lack of a stated author.
However, it was soon realized that the Book of Hebrews was orthodox in its content and deserved a place in the New Testament. James The main problem some had with James was the content. James put more emphasis on works than do the other New Testament writings. But James is not so much theological as it is practical and fits a much-needed gap between the doctrine and practice of Christianity.
Second Peter The most suspect of all the books is 2 Peter. Basically, the reasons for questioning its authorship are the stylistic differences between it and 1 Peter. However, these stylistic differences can be explained by Peter's use of an amanuensis, or secretary, to do the writing for him.
First, the author was not specifically stated he is called merely "the elder. Because of these factors there were not too many early writers who would quote from them. Jude Jude is a brief letter that gained immediate acceptance everywhere except Parthia, modern-day Iran. Jude was questioned for his use of the apocryphal Book of Enoch. Revelation It is no surprise that the Book of Revelation would meet some opposition due to the apocalyptic nature of the work. However, it had almost instant recognition everywhere except in Parthia.
The great biblical scholar R. Charles wrote concerning the Book of Revelation:. Throughout the Christian church during the second century, there is hardly any other book in the New Testament so well received as Revelation R. We must remember that Jesus promised His disciples would be guided into all truth.
The authority of Jesus' disciples matched that of Himself. Those whose writings were accepted by them would share the same authority. These seven books were only questioned by some of the church, not all of it. They were eventually recognized by the whole church to be included in the New Testament canon.
There are a group of writings which are considered part of Old Testament Scripture by the Roman Catholic church but are not accepted as inspired by the Protestant church and Judaism. These are known as the Apocrypha. The word Apocrypha means "hidden.
Eleven of these fourteen books are considered Holy Scripture by the Roman Catholic church. When added to the Old Testament, they constitute only seven extra books because the others are attached to existing books. The Apocrypha is about the size of the New Testament. Apocrypha and Apocryphal Sometimes people confuse the terms Apocrypha and apocryphal. The term apocryphal is also applied to other books that are New Testament forgeries.
An example of this would be the Gospel of Thomas, which claims to have been written by Jesus' disciple Thomas. The book, however is a forgery. The word Apocrypha is a specific term used to refer to the particular books that are considered Scripture by the Roman Catholic Church. History The Protestant reformers, particularly in the sixteenth century, pointed out many abuses in the Roman Catholic church at that time.
Introduction and Timeline
From to a church council met at Trent to answer some of their charges. Among their decisions was the pronouncement of these books as Holy Scripture. Before that time they were not regarded by the Roman Catholic church as sacred Scripture. The Protestant church rejects them for the following reasons:. No Claim The primary reason for rejecting the Apocrypha as Scripture is that there is no claim within the books that they are inspired by God. This is in contrast to the canonical Scriptures which claim to record the revelation of God. If the Apocrypha were considered Scripture by the people living in the first century, we would certainly expect them to refer to it in some way.
It cites the works the same way Paul cited heathen poets Acts This demonstrates that the New Testament writers were familiar with the Apocrypha but did not consider them to be upon the same level as Old Testament Scripture. Rejected by the Jews The Jews have never considered these works to be inspired. On the contrary, they denied their inspiration. At the time of Christ we have the testimony of the Jewish writer Flavius Josephus that they were only twenty-two books to be inspired by God. The books of the Apocrypha were not among these.
Not on Early Lists In the early years of the church it drew up various lists of the books it considered to be Scripture. The books of the Apocrypha do not appear on any list until the fourth century. There was no unanimity of opinion among them that these books should be considered Scripture. Demonstrable Errors The Apocrypha also contains demonstrable errors. For example, Tobit was supposedly alive when Jereboam staged his revolt in B. This means that he lived over two hundred years! However, the Book of Tobit says he lived only years Tobit ; This is an obvious contradiction.
Other examples could be cited. Those who believe in an inerrant Scripture cannot accept the Apocrypha as God's Word. No Evidence of Inspiration The books of the Apocrypha do not contain anything like predictive prophecy that would give evidence of their inspiration. If these books were inspired by God, then we should expect to see some internal evidence confirming it.
But there is none. The Hebrews accepted the same thirty-nine books, although divided differently that the Protestant church does today. Jesus put His stamp of approval on these books but said nothing concerning the Apocrypha. However, He did say that the Scriptures were the authoritative Word of God and could not be broken. Any adding to that which God has revealed is denounced in the strongest of terms. Therefore, we have the testimony of Jesus against the authenticity of the Apocrypha. We conclude that the Apocrypha should not be considered canonical because the books do not demonstrate themselves to be upon the same level as Scripture.
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Jesus did not consider it part of His Old Testament and we are told not to add or subtract anything from God's Word. The Book of Jude seemingly contains a quotation of the intertestamental Book of Enoch. The question results from a citation found in Jude Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints' Jude Jude records a prophecy made by Enoch, who lived before the flood of Noah.
Enoch predicted the coming of the Lord to judge wicked individuals. The Apostle Paul wrote of this same judgment 2 Thessalonians This prophecy made by Enoch is not recorded in the Old Testament. Two questions arise: 1 Where did Jude obtain his information? During the period between the testaments the Book of Enoch was written. It contains this prophecy. Some assume that Jude obtained this prophecy from the Book of Enoch, but this is not the case. Jude does not quote from the Book of Enoch but rather directly from Enoch. This could have been by means of special revelation from God or from some now unknown written source.
The source of Jude's quotation was the person Enoch. Where the Book of Enoch derived his information is another matter. It is possible that the source of the quotation found in the Book of Enoch was Jude, since there is no evidence as to the precise contents of the Book of Enoch until several centuries after Jude was written.
Whatever the answer may be. It is not necessary to assume that Jude considered the Book of Enoch as authoritative. Since we believe that Jude's writing was inspired by God, we take this information as being correct. It is not essential to know how Jude obtained this information. Jesus had promised that His disciples would be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who would guide them into all truth. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak John Because of Jesus' promise, the words of the New Testament writers were safeguarded from error.
We conclude that Jude did not quote from the Book of Enoch, but received the information in some other way. Throughout the history of the church many documents surfaced that claimed to have been written by the apostles or those intimately familiar with the life of Christ. However these works were written by someone other than the named author. These fraudulent works are known as the pseudepigrapha forgeries. They are also known as apocryphal works, and were rejected by all. The early church father, Eusebius, called these books "totally absurd and impious. Other Gospels Among the forgeries were a large number of apocryphal or false gospels.
Origen, a third century writer, testified to the existence of other gospels when he wrote,"There are many who have tried to write gospels, but not all have been accepted. The apocryphal gospels are non-canonical writings of a motley variety about the purported deeds and revelations of Jesus Christ. Though the Greek word apocrypha originally meant "hidden," the church fathers used it to describe spurious writings foisted as gospels.
Irenaeus refers to 'an unspeakable number of apocryphal and spurious writings, which they themselves i. Gnostic Influence Many of these works were influenced by gnosticism. The word gnostic means "one who has knowledge.
The gnostic view of God is contrary to the Bible. In addition, the gnostics considered that all matter is evil. An example of gnostic writing can be found in the Gospel of Philip. The original Gospel of Philip was probably written sometime during the second century A. The influence of gnosticism and its emphasis on secret knowledge can be clearly seen in this work. The Gospel of Philip reads,. The Logos said: If you know the truth the truth will make you free. Ignorance is a slave, knowledge is freedom. When we recognize the truth we shall find the fruits of truth in our hearts.
If we unite with it, we will bring our fulfillment. Different Level Other statements show that they are on a different level than Scripture. A Gentile man does not die, for he has never lived that he should die. Adam came into being from two virgins, from the Spirit and from the virgin earth.
Because of this Christ was born of a virgin, in order that he might set in order the stumbling which came to pass at the beginning. Second-Hand Sources The pseudepigrapha, apart from being forgeries, were also written long after, in some cases hundreds of years after, the New Testament events. The writers were not eyewitnesses to the life of Christ or to the events of the early church.
This is another reason to reject the testimony which they give. Gospel of Thomas One of the most prominent of all the forgeries is the Gospel of Thomas. Consisting of sayings of Jesus, it is the most extensive collection of non-biblical sayings of Jesus that still exist. The Gospel of Thomas begins as follows:.
These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote. And He said: Whosoever finds the explanation of these words shall not taste death. Incorrect Name The author is not Thomas. In the four Gospels, Thomas is referred to as either Didymus or Thomas, not both at once. Didymus is the word for "twin" in both Greek and Aramaic, so the author of the Gospel of Thomas must not have been aware of this linguistic connotation. Secret Approach The secret approach found in the Gospel of Thomas is typical of the writings of the gnostics.
The four Gospels are open about the ways of salvation and the kingdom of God while the Gospel of Thomas views truth from a hidden vantage point. There is no historical setting for the statements. The Gospel of Thomas is a compilation of sayings without the inclusion of important historical events as recorded in the Gospels. We are not told when or under what circumstances the statements were made.
Contradicts Four Gospels Many of the sayings are contradictory to those we have in the Gospels. For example, saying says:. Jesus said, 'See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Gospel of Thomas He is one who points the way by which an individual can attain the knowledge of God.
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These reasons demonstrate that the Gospel of Thomas is a forgery rather than a legitimate work written by one of Jesus' apostles. Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ One alternative explanation of the life and ministry of Jesus that has caused considerable interest is the Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ. This work was written by Levi Dowling The result is a contradictory mixture of Christian science and occultic thought. The name is derived from the astrological idea that a new Aquarian age has come upon us, bringing with it the need for a new spiritual gospel, the Aquarian gospel.
Some of the material in the Aquarian Gospel is borrowed from the ancient Gospel of James, a well-known forgery in the early years of the church. The most prominent part of the book deals with the education and travel of Jesus. According to the Aquarian Gospel, Jesus first studied under the Jewish teacher Hillel and then went to India to spend time with their holy men. His learning also supposedly took Him to Tibet, Persia. Assyria, Greece, and Egypt.
It was in Egypt that Jesus was said to have joined the sacred brotherhood. He passed through seven degrees and emerged as the Logos. In Alexandria a council of seven sages was held where they formulated seven great religious postulates and ordained Jesus for the work of the ministry. The Aquarian Gospel then rewrites the four gospels according to its own particular viewpoint.
The end of the story has Jesus appearing in a materialized body to people in India, Persia, Greece, and other countries. Evaluation Like many previous attempts, the Aquarian Gospel attempts to give an explanation of the wisdom and character of Jesus apart from the biblical depiction. Dowling's reconstruction shows obvious borrowing from the Ancient Gospel of James, as well as familiarity with a nineteenth century works, Notovitch's Unknown Life of Jesus Christ.
The book begins with an historical inaccuracy: "Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem. A crucial problem with the Aquarian Gospel concerns its scenario of the source of Jesus' teachings. If Jesus obtained His wisdom from the masters of India, Greece, and other countries, then why doesn't His teaching reflect it?
The teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels, are in direct conflict with every central belief of Hinduism, Buddhism, and the other religions with which He supposedly came into contact! The simple fact is that we have in the Gospels a firsthand account of the life and ministry of Jesus. The Aquarian Gospel is a false portrait of the life of Christ, not based upon historical records or eyewitness testimony but rather upon the recollections of an ancient forgery and the imagination of a twentieth-century writer. It has no value whatsoever in providing new or accurate information on the life of Christ.
The work is also known as the "Report of Pilate" or "Archko Library. Its existence can be traced back to Rev. The success of the "Report of Pilate" led Mahan to make some more "discoveries" including: an interview with the shepherds who were given the announcement of Christ's birth, Gamaliel's interview with Joseph and Mary, Eli's story of the Magi, and other previously unknown interviews surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus.
Mahan claimed these "interviews" were translated from ancient manuscripts in Rome or Constantinople. The picture of Jesus in his interview with Pilate is romantic and theatrical, and the Pilate reflected in the "Report" is historically improbable. The whole work is a weak, crude fancy, a jumble of high-sounding but meaningless words, and hardly worth serious criticism. It is difficult to see how it could have deceived anyone The supposed references to Josephus's Jewish Wars The statement that Josephus in his Antiquities refers to Jesus in more than fifty places is false That Tacitus wrote his history of Agricola in A.
As can be imagined, the "Report of Pilate" as well as the later interviews were immediately exposed as frauds. It was noticed, for instance, that entire pages of Eli's story of the Magi were copied verbatim from the novel Ben Hur. Unhappily, people continue to read and believe these fraudulent works although they have no basis in fact.
Hone's book was copied from two earlier one's published in and Thus the materials found in the"Lost Books of the Bible" were written years ago. Since the time of the original wilting of the lost books, the field of manuscript studies has made tremendous advances but none of this has been taken into account by those who publish these works. These were so-called infancy gospels that were written to fill in the details of the early unrecorded years of the life of Christ.
These works include stories of Jesus forming clay figures of animals and birds which He makes walk, fly, and eat. Another account has a child who runs into Jesus falling down dead. These examples are representative of the fanciful nature of the accounts. Jesus' reply to the letter is also contained. These works were written in the third century. Other works found among the lost books include the Apostles' Creed and the spurious letter from Paul to the Laodiceans. These books have been called "outlaw" Scriptures by some.
But this is not the case, for none of these works were ever thought of as part of the New Testament. Anyone who claims these works were suppressed by the church is speaking out of ignorance or a desire to deceive. It is obvious from the date of composition of these works that they cannot be considered on the same plane as Holy Scripture, which was written by eyewitnesses or people who recorded eyewitness testimony of the life and ministry of Jesus.
Farrar wrote the following that is still true today:. The Four Gospels superseded all others and won their way into universal acceptance by their intrinsic value and authority. After so many salutary losses we still possess a rich collection of Apocryphal Gospels, and, if they serve no other good purpose, they have this value, that they prove for us undoubtedly the unique and transcendent superiority of the sacred records. These bear the stamp of absolute truthfulness, all the more decisively when placed in contrast with the writings which show signs of willful falsity.
We escape their lying magic to find support and help from the genuine gospels. And here we take refuge with the greater confidence because the ruins which lie around the ancient archives of the Church look like a guarantee of the enduring strength and greatness of those archives themselves F. Farrar, The Messages of the Books , p. Roberts and J. Donaldson, the editors of the AnteNicene Library , said the other gospels offer We conclude that any other book apart from the New Testament that attempts to fill in the gaps of the life of Christ only reveals the superiority of the four Gospels.
There is evidence that the canon of Scripture was complete in the first century. Has God, since that time, revealed anything that is to be added to Holy Scripture? There has to be evidence to back up the claim. The question Is, "Does the evidence support the claim that God spoke through them? Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world 1 John When we test the claims of those who have brought forth a "new Scripture" we find them to be untrue.
The downfall of all the books that have had inspiration claimed for them is that they present a different revelation from what has previously been recorded. They contradict the Bible. For example, the Koran says that Jesus was not the Son of God and that He did not die upon the cross for the sins of the world.
The sacred books of Mormonism teach that there exist many gods rather than the one God the Bible speaks of. In addition, Mormonism teaches that each male can someday become a god himself, Mormonism also denies the doctrine of the Trinity. No Book Qualifies Every book written since the completion of the Bible that claims to be further revelation from God fails on the same ground.
These works also deny salvation by grace through faith. They preached a different gospel. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Galatia about such people. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed Galatians , 8. No Evidence Furthermore, there is no substantiating evidence such as fulfilled prophecy to demonstrate the books are of divine inspiration.
Thus, as we examine the various books that have been written since the completion of the New Testament that have claimed to be further revelation from God, we find them coming short of the mark.