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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Matthew 1:1

Personal Commentary Notes


Windell Gann

Book Comments

Matthew 1:1

Walking Thru The Bible



AUTHOR: Matthew was a tax-collector in the service of the Roman occupying force and was called by Jesus to ’Follow me’ and became one of the Twelve Apostles (Matthew 9:9-13; Matthew 10:3; Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:27-32).

It is said that when Matthew got up from that table to follow Jesus he didn’t leave his pen behind. About twenty or thirty years after Jesus went back to heaven the Holy Spirit inspired him to write what we have today as "The Gospel of Matthew."

BACKGROUND: Each Gospel has its own emphasis. The term "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs with such frequency in Matthew that often it is called "The Gospel of the Kingdom."

The Gospel of Matthew was written primarily for Jewish readers. The theme is "The King and His Kingdom." One key word in the book is "fulfilled" for Matthew focuses on how Jesus fulfills the promises of a Redeemer made by inspired writer in the Old Testament. (The word is used about 17 times.)

The Gospel and the Old Testament

Matthew Mark Luke John

Quotes from the O.T .53 36 25 20

Allusions to the O.T. 76 27 42 105

129 63 67 125

Nowhere in the four Gospels do we find a single word that Matthew spoke. Yet in his Gospel he gives us the words and works of Jesus Christ, "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1)

[for the following chart to line up right you may need to widen this window.]

Words of Christ in the Four Gospels

Matthew Mark Luke John

Total number of Verses 1071 678 1151 879

Verses of Christ’s Words 644 285 586 419

Approximate percentage 60% 42% 50% 50%

DESIGN: The book was written to help the Jews understand Jesus as King and to establish his spiritual rule over a spiritual kingdom. In Matthew Jesus’ Kingship is alluded to some 10 times: Matthew 1:6; Matthew 2:2; Matthew 5:35; Matthew 21:5; Matthew 25:34; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 27:29; Matthew 27:37; Matthew 27:42. The word "kingdom" is found 54 times.

Matthew talks about the Kingdom of Heaven while Mark and Luke describes it as the Kingdom of God. This indicates the kingdom is:

Divine-- its origin is of God above and not man below

Spiritual-- in nature, and not earthly and sensual

Universal-- not a kingdom confined to Palestine, etc.

Not National-- not racial, but a kingdom of faith

Matthew described Jesus as the Doer and the Teacher. None of the four Gospels is a biography in the modern sense of the word. In fact, John doubted that a complete biography of Jesus could ever be written (John 21:25). There are many details about the earthly life of Jesus that are not given in any of the Gospels.

Matthew does not try to give us a chronological outline of the events in Jesus’s life. Rather, he tends to organize and group similar incidents of "doings" and "teachings" together into ten alternating sections. He records more than 20 specific miracles and 6 major messages. Over 60% of his book focuses on the teachings of Jesus.

Matthew points that when he wrote his Gospel God’s Kingdom was what the people in the first century was calling the "church" (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:17). The Greek word translated church means "a called-out assembly." In the NT this word refers to a local assembly of obedient believers. In the OT, Israel was God’s called-out people, beginning with the call of Abraham (Genesis 12:1 f; Deuteronomy 7:6-8). In fact, Stephen called the nation of Israel "the church (assembly) in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38), for they were God’s called-out people.

But the NT church is a different people, for it is composed of both Jews and Gentiles (Galatians 3:28). Even though Matthew wrote primarily for the Jews, he has a "universal" element in his book that includes the Gentiles. For example, Gentile leaders came to worship the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12); Jesus performed miracles for Gentiles and even commended them for their faith (Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 15:21-28). At at crisis hour in Jesus’ ministry He turned to a prophecy about the Gentiles (Matthew 12:14-21). Even in parables, Jesus indicated that the blessings which Israel refused would be shared with the Gentiles (Matthew 22:8-10; Matthew 21:40-46) and the Lord’s commission involves all nations (Matthew 28:19-20)


"The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand"

1. The Revelation of the King (Ch 1-10)

His person (1-4); His principles (5-7); His power (8-10)

2. The Rebellion Against the King -- (Ch 11-20)

3. The Rejection of the King (Ch. 21-27)

4. The Resurrection of the King (Ch. 28)

Matthew Presents "Jesus The King"

1. A King’s Name -- "They shall call his name Emmanuel," Matthew 1:23. He had a royal name that declared God’s presence.

2. A King’s Position -- "Out of Judah shall come a Governor that shall rule my people, Israel." Matthew 2:6. He is over his kingdom, the church (Matthew 16:18; and see Ephesians 1:22).

3. A King’s Announcement -- "Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make his paths straight," Mat 3:3. His coming conformed to a Royal visit.

4. A King’s Introduction -- "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased," Matthew 3:17. His coming was heralded by John the Baptism, by God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

5. A King’s Authority -- "He taught them as one having authority," Matthew 7:29; (Matthew 28:18-20). The King’s authority was absolute-- answerable only to God.

6. A King’s Loyalty -- "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad," Matthew 12:30. He has a demand for our loyalty.

7. A King’s Enemies -- "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed..." Matthew 16:21. Jesus suffered at the hands of the chief priest, Herod, and Pilate.

8. A King’s Love -- "For the son of man came not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many," Matthew 20:28. A King’s love for his kingdom and subjects, but Jesus is the supreme king, he loved his enemies.

9. A King’s Sacrifice -- "And they crucified him... This is Jesus the King of the Jews," Matthew 27:35-37. David suffered at the hands of those who should have loved him- his son Absalom.

10. A King’s Victory -- "He is not here, for he is risen, as he said," Matthew 28:6. Victory in battle was the mark of successful kings. Jesus came to do battle against Satan and He won on every encounter (Hebrews 4:12; 1 John 3:8)

11. A King’s Glory -- "When the son of man shall come... the king shall say... come ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom," Matthew 25:31-34. "...and then shall he sit upon the throne of this glory" Matthew 25:31. A King’s glory came on his coronation in Heaven upon his victory and conquest.


The King’s Recipe for Happiness

Matthew 5:38-45


1. In Matthew 5:38-45 Jesus teaches us how a Christian’s conduct should distinguish him from people of the world.

2. It is a part of the "Sermon on the Mount" and begins with the word "blessed." There is no question about the kind of life Jesus came to impart. The Master Teacher provides a recipe for happiness. It is not a "short-cut" but a "sure-cut" to happiness.

I. TURN THE OTHER CHEEK (Matthew 5:39)

1. "But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you and your right cheek, turn to him the other also," (Matthew 5:39).

a. Jesus is not teaching pacifism; he’s not talking about war, self-defense, or the necessity of protecting our nation, our homes, or even our lives.

b. He is stating a great principle Do not try to get even; do not seek revenge.

2. Jesus’ life was an example of this behavior.

a. Many times he was insulted, but never lashed back.

b. Isaiah 53:7.

3. Illustration of the famous surgeon and the artist.


1. "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you," (Matthew 5:44).

a. A hard thing to do but it has happiness wrapped up in it.

b. When you pray for others you get a blessings for yourself.

2. The best way to get rid of your enemies.

a. A preacher in a meeting awaken in his motel room in the middle of the night by a telephone call, "Preacher, I just can’t do it."

b. If you cannot pray for people who despitefully use you, you are going to be miserable.

3. The story of "Uncle Matt Duvall" at the railroad machine shop.

III. IMITATE GOD (Matthew 5:45)

1. "... in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good..." (Matthew 5:45).

a. The story of Her Father’s Daughter and it’s author Jean Stratton Porter.

b. The prayer of the bum on skid-row, "Make me like Joe."


1. Being a Christian is the best of two worlds. Are you one?

Windell H. Gann

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Verse Comments

Question: Vs. 1-17 What is the purpose of this family listing? Why / How is it different from Luke’s?

Verse 18

Matthew 1:18

18-24 Birth of Jesus

Verse 19

Matthew 1:19

Joseph ... Think of the pressure on Joseph to do what was right! And think of the pressure on Mary, innocent and unbelieved! Isaiah 7:14

"As a righteous man he could not complete his marriage, and thus stain his family name. As a merciful man he did not wish to openly disgrace the one to whom he was so fondly attached. He wished to act justly toward his own reputation, and mercifully toward the reputation of Mary], and not willing to make her a public example [he did not wish to expose her to the shame of a public trial before the court, nor to punish her as the law permitted. "


Divorce ... "The law of Moses gave the husband the power of divorce ( Deuteronomy 24:1). The bill or writing certifying the divorce usually stated the cause, and was handed to the wife in the presence of witnesses. Joseph evidently intended to omit stating any cause in the bill, that there might be no record to convict her of shame. The law of divorce applied to betrothed as well as to married persons." - McGarvey

Verse 20

Matthew 1:20

angel ...We’re known by angels.

dream ... [See McGarvey’s excellent comments in his FourFold Gospel, p. 24. for greater detail. "It is difficult to say how men determined between ordinary and divine dreams, but doubtless the latter came with a glory and vividness which gave assurance of their supernatural nature. Matthew mentions four divine dreams, viz.: this one; the second one given to Joseph ( Matthew 2:13); the dream of the Magi ( Matthew 2:12); the dream of Pilate’s wife-- Matthew 27:19]"

Verse 21

Matthew 1:21

JESUS ... "Salvation is from YHWH"

Verse 22

Matthew 1:22

prophet -- Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14

Verse 23

Matthew 1:23

God with us ... Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14

Some Various Comings of Christ

*1 Emmanuel, Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; John 6:38; Galatians 4:4 This was the coming of the Lord in the flesh, his birth at Bethlehem.

2 Pentecost, Matthew 16:28 (Mark 9:1) Mark 14:62, Matthew 26:64 In some significant way it could be said that Christ also came on Pentecost representatively when he sent his promise of the Holy Spirit.

3 To Paul at His Conversion __ Acts 26:16, Acts 22:7-9 ; 1 Corinthians 15:8 The Lord came to Paul so he could see him alive after his crucifixion and thus qualify him to be an apostle.

4 In Visions -- To Paul at Jerusalem, Acts 22:17-18 (after conversion); At Corinth, Acts 18:9; again at Jerusalem, Acts 23:11

5 AD 70, His coming in judgment upon the Jews for their rejection. Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30, Matthew 24:44, Matthew 24:39; Mark 13:26-30; Luke 21:20-27; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8

This brought an end to their nation, the temple, the physical priesthood coming from Levi, the end of animal sacrifices, etc. ("Last days"[of the Jewish dispensation] plural)

*6 The Resurrection Day (His Second Coming, -- Cf. "Last Day" singular) 1 Thessalonians 4:13 ff to 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 ff; John 14:1-3;

John 5:28; John 11:24; John 6:39; John 6:40; John 6:44;

Verse 25

Matthew 1:25

knew her not till -- Matthew 13:55; This contradicts the theory of Mary’s perpetual virginity taught by the Catholic church.

Jesus ... At least two Old Testament men are recording as having this name; 1) Joshua, son of Nun; Numbers 11:28; etc. 2) a son of a priest named Jehozadak, Haggai 1:12; Zechariah 3:1 Zechariah 3:8; etc.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Matthew 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/matthew-1.html. 2021.
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