For 10¢ a day you can enjoy ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!

Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament


- Matthew

by Johann Albrecht Bengel




THE Evangelists contain the rudiments of the New Testament. (See John 16:12 . [1] ) Concerning their authority, [2] see Ephesians 4:11 ; and 1 Peter 1:12 . They are four in number two of them, namely John and Matthew, were themselves apostles, and took part, therefore, in the things which they relate: the other two, Mark and Luke, afford, in their own persons, an example of faith, having derived their sure and accurate knowledge of the Gospel from others. Mark, however, presupposes the existence of Matthew, and, as it were, supplies his omissions; Luke does the same for both of them; John for all three. Matthew, an apostle wrote first, [3] and thus established an authority for both Mark and Luke. John, also an apostle, wrote last, [4] and confirmed to mankind, more fully, the works of Mark and Luke, already sufficiently firm in themselves. [5] Matthew wrote especially to show the fulfilment of the Old Testament Scriptures, and to convince the Jews. Mark produced an abridgement of Matthew, adding at the same time many remarkable things which had been omitted by his predecessor, and paying particular attention to the noviciate of the apostles. Luke composed a narrative of a distinctly historical character, with especial reference to our Lord’s office as Christ. John refuted the impugners of His divinity. All which is recorded by either of these Four, was actually done and said by Jesus Christ. But they severally drew from a common treasury those particulars, of which each had the fullest knowledge, which corresponded to his own spiritual character, and which were best suited to the time when he wrote, and to the persons whom he primarily addressed. Chrysostom, at the commencement of his second homily on the Epistle to the Romans, says, Moses has not prefixed his name to the five books which he wrote. Nor have Matthew, John, Luke, nor Mark, to the Gospels written by them . [6] Why so? Writing, as they did, for those who were present, it was not necessary for them to indicate themselves, being also present .

[1] 1 The Evangelists, from the earliest days of Christianity, were reckoned to be four ; very many pseudo-evangelists, whose writings were not in consonance with the pure faith, having been rejected. Those, who choose to apply the four cardinal rivers of Paradise, and many such-like fourfold types, especially that one which has the sanction of hoar antiquity, viz., the Lion, Ox [or calf ], Man, and Flying Eagle [the Cherubim, Rev 4:7 ], as typical of the fourfold Gospel, are entitled to have the credit of the suggestion, whatever amount of credit is due. If you desire an exact definition of an EVANGELIST, my definition would be a holy man of GOD, who publicly, and with an irrefragable testimony, sets forth to men a history of Jesus Christ, either by word of mouth or in writing. Harm. Ev. , Ed. ii., p. 34, etc.

[2] “ In which they are inferior to the Apostles and Prophets, but superior to Pastors and Teachers.” Harm. , p. 35.

[3] “ A fact, which is evident from this, that the titleγέμων , expressed by Luke once , Luke 3:1 , but never by the rest, is, in the history of the passion, continually assigned by Matthew to Pilate.” Harm. , p. 37.

[4] “ And yet, as is plain from his chapter John 5:2 , John did not defer writing till so late as after the destruction of Jerusalem.” Harm. , p. 38.

[5] “ Although there is a generally prevalent, but not well enough established opinion, that Matthew wrote in the eighth year after the Ascension, Mark in the tenth, Luke in the fifteenth, and lastly John, in the thirty-third.” Harm. , p. 37.

[6] Moreover, if you join together the testimonies of John and Matthew, and also those of Mark and Luke, you will have the full range of the whole conversation, acts, and words of Jesus Christ, the beginning, progress, and end, as also all the alternations [vicissitudines], which one may observe, in the disciples, in the people, in His adversaries, and, owing to the different treatment these needed, in the Saviour Himself, if only you pay attention to method. Harm. , pp. 38, 39.

The term GOSPEL has several significations, which, though cognate, are not identical. (1.) The Good News itself concerning Jesus Christ, which was communicated by Jesus Christ Himself, His forerunner, His apostles, and other witnesses, first to the Jews, then to the whole human race. (2.) The whole office and system of propagating that Good News, either by preaching or writing: in which sense, for example, we find the expression “ my gospel ,” sc. that of Paul, in 2 Timothy 2:8 . (3.) by a still further metonymy, [7] the written remains of those who have committed the gospel narrative to writing. if you wish, in Greek, to name at once the four books, which Tertullian styles the Gospel Engine (Evangelicum Instrumentum ), you ought in strictness to make use of the singular number, and say, τ ὸ κατΜατθαον , κατΜάρκον , κ . τ . λ . Ε ὐ αγγέλιον (the Gospel according to Matthew, according to Mark, etc. [8] ), not in the plural ( τ ὰ κ . τ . λ . Ε ὐ αγγέλια , the Gospels), except perhaps for the sake of brevity. For the subject of all four is one and the same; though treated in one manner κατΜατθαον , i.e., as far as Matthew is concerned, according to Matthew, by Matthew , as Matthew treated it; in another manner κατΜάρκον : etc. Cf. κατ ὰ , Acts 27:7 , fin. Nevertheless, as in Genesis, the first word which occurs is Bereschith (which was afterwards adopted as the title), so the first word written by Matthew was βίβλος , Book , or Roll (see Gnomon on Mat 1:1 ); by Mark ἀρχ ὴ , the Beginning (see Gnomon on Mar 1:1 ), and so on. The appellation, however, of Gospel, as a title for the book itself, occurs in the most ancient fathers. By the same authorities, Matthew is said to have written his Gospel in Hebrew. Why should he not have written the same work, the same without the slightest variation, in Greek as well as in Hebrew, even though he did not, strictly speaking, translate it from the one language into the other? Cf. Jeremiah 51:63 ; Jeremiah 36:28 , and the annotations of Franzius [9] on that passage (De Interp. S.S., p. 504); see also La Vie de Madame Guion, [10] pt. ii., p. 229. We now proceed to give the following

[7] See explanation of technical terms. See also Horne’s Introduction, vol. ii., pp. 454 461. (I. B.)

[8] i.e. , There is but one Gospel, with a fourfold aspect. ED.

[9] Franzius, Wolfgang, D. D., a Lutheran divine. Born 1564. Educated at Frankfort-on-the-Oder, and afterwards removed to Wittemberg, where, in 1598, he was appointed Professor of History, and afterwards of Theology. Died 1628. He wrote, besides other works, Tractatus de Interpretatione S. Scripturarum . (I. B.)

[10] Her life is said to be written by herself, but believed to have been compiled from her papers by the Abbé de Brion. Quérard says of her, in La France Litteraire , “Guyon (Mme. Jeanne-Marie Bouvieres de la Mothe) celebre par sa mysticité et plus encore par la dispute qu’elle fit naitre entre Bossuet et Fenelon sur le quietisme: née á Montargis en 1648, morte a Blois Leviticus 9:0 Juin, 1717. (I. B.)


of the


I. The Nativity, and the matters immediately following .

A. The Genealogy: Mat 1:1-17

B. The Generation: Mat 1:18-25

C. The Magi: Mat 2:1-12

D. The Flight and Return. Mat 2:13-23

II. Our Lord’s Entrance on His Ministry .

A. John the Baptist: Mat 3:1-12

B. The Baptism of Jesus: Mat 3:13-17

C. His Temptation and Victory. Mat 4:1-11

III. The deeds and words, by which Jesus proved Himself to be Christ .

A. At Capernaum: Where must be remarked, Mat 4:12-16

1. His Preaching, Mat 4:17

2. The Call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John, Mat 4:18-22

3. His Preaching and Healing, the conflux of Multitudes, Mat 4:23-25

4. The Sermon on the Mount, Mat 5:7

5. The Leper, Mat 8:1-4

6. The Centurion and his servant, Mat 8:5-13

7. Peter’s mother-in-law, Mat 8:14-15

8. Many sick persons. Mat 8:16-17

B. The voyage across the sea; the two individuals warned concerning following Christ; the command exercised over the wind and the sea: the devils migrating from men into swine. Mat 8:18-34

C. Again at Capernaum,

1. The Paralytic, Mat 9:1-3

2. The call of Matthew, Intercourse with Sinners defended, Mat 9:10-13

3. Fasting, Mat 9:14-17

4. The girl dead, and, after the healing of the woman who had an issue of blood, restored to life, Mat 9:18-26

5. The Two Blind Men, Mat 9:27-31

6. The Demoniac; Mat 9:32-34

7. Our Lord goes through the cities and villages, and commands labourers to be prayed for, Mat 9:35-38

8. He sends and instructs labourers, Mat 10:1-42

and preaches Himself: Mat 11:1

9. Johns message to our Lord; Mat 11:2-6

10. Our Lord praises John, denounces woe against the refractory cities, invites those that labour: Mat 11:7-30

11. The ears of corn rubbed: Mat 12:1-8

12. The withered hand healed: Mat 12:9-13

13. The Pharisees lay snares: Jesus departs: Mat 12:14-21

14. The Demoniac is healed: the people are amazed: the Pharisees blaspheme: Jesus refutes them, Mat 12:22-37

15. He rebukes those who demand a sign, Mat 12:38-45

16. He declares who are His, Mat 12:46-50

17. He teaches by Parables, Mat 13:1-52

D. At Nazareth, Mat 13:53-58

E. At other places

1. Herod, after the murder of John, hearing of Jesus, is perplexed: Jesus departs, and is sought by the people, Mat 14:1-13

2. He heals; and feeds five thousand: Mat 14:14-21

3. The sea voyage, and cures in the land of Genesareth, Mat 14:22-36

4. Unwashen hands; Mat 15:1-20

5. The woman of Canaan; Mat 15:21-28

6. Many sick healed; Mat 15:29-31

7. Four thousand fed; Mat 15:32-38

8. In the coasts of Magdala, those who demand a sign are refuted; Mat 15:39 to Mat 16:4

9. The warning concerning leaven, Mat 16:5-12

IV. Our Lord’s Predictions of His Passion and Resurrection .

A. The First Prediction.

1. The preparation by confirming the primary article, that Jesus is the Christ: Mat 16:13-20

2. The Prediction itself delivered; and the interference of Peter rejected. Mat 16:21-28

B. The Second Prediction.

1. The Transfiguration in the Mount; silence enjoined; Mat 17:1-13

2. The Lunatic healed; Mat 17:14-21

3. The Prediction itself; Mat 17:22-23

4. The Tribute-Money paid; Mat 17:24-27

5. Who is the greatest? Mat 18:1-20

6. The duty of forgiving injuries. Mat 18:21-35

C. The Third Prediction.

1. The Departure from Galilee; Mat 19:1-2

2. The question concerning Divorce; Mat 19:3-12

3. Kindness to little children, Mat 19:13-15

4. The Rich Man turning back; Mat 19:16-22

And thereupon discourses,

On the Salvation of the Rich, Mat 19:23-26

On the rewards of following Christ, Mat 19:27-30

On the Last and the First. Mat 20:1-16

5. The Prediction itself; Mat 20:17-19

6. The request of the sons of Zebedee; humility enjoined. Mat 20:20-28

7. The two Blind Men cured.

V. The Events at Jerusalem immediately before the Passion .

A. Sunday:

1. The Regal Entry, Mat 21:1-11

2. The Cleansing of the Temple; Mat 21:12-17

B. Monday:

The Fig-tree. Mat 21:18-22

C. Tuesday. Occurrences

A. In the Temple:

1. The Interference of the Chief Priests,

i. Repulsed,

a . By the Question concerning John’s Baptism, Mat 21:23-27

b . By two Parables:

(1) The Two Sons, Mat 21:28-32

(2) The Vineyard, Mat 21:33-44

ii. Proceeds to lay snares for Him. Mat 21:45-46

2. The Parable of the Marriage Feast: Mat 22:1-14

3. The Questions of our Lord’s Adversaries

i. Concerning Tribute, Mat 22:15-22

ii. the Resurrection, Mat 22:23-33

iii. the Great Commandment: Mat 22:34-40

4. Our Saviour’s question in return concerning David’s Lord, Mat 22:41-46

His warning concerning the Scribes and Pharisees, Mat 23:1-12

His denunciation against them, Mat 23:13-36

And against the city itself: Mat 23:37-39

B. Out of the Temple.

The Discourse concerning the Destruction of the Temple and the End of the World. Matthew 23:24-25 .

VI. The Passion and Resurrection .

A. The Passion, Death, and Burial.

a . Wednesday.

A. Our Lord’s Prediction, Mat 26:1-2

B. The Deliberation of the Chief Priests, Mat 26:3-5

C. The agreement of Judas, offended at the anointing of our Lord, to betray Him. Mat 26:6-16

b . Thursday.

A. By Day;

The Passover prepared. Mat 26:17-19

B. At Evening.

1. The Betrayal indicated, Mat 26:20-25

2. The Lord’s Supper. Mat 26:26-29

C. By Night.

1. The offence of Peter and the Disciples foretold; Mat 26:30-35

2. The Agony in Gethsemane; Mat 26:36-46

3. Jesus is taken, forbids the employment of the sword, rebukes the crowd, is deserted by His disciples: Mat 24:47-51

4. Is led to Caiaphas: false witnesses are unsuccessful: confesses Himself to be the Son of God: is condemned to die: is mocked. Mat 26:57-68

5. Peter denies; and weeps. Mat 26:69-75

c . Friday.

A. The Passion consummated.

i. In the Morning.

1. Jesus is delivered to Pilate. Mat 27:1-2

2. The death of Judas. Mat 27:3-10

3. The kingdom of Jesus: His silence. Mat 27:11-14

4 Pilate; warned in vain by his wife releases Barabbas, and delivers Jesus to be crucified. Mat 27:15-26

5. Jesus is mocked and led forth. Mat 27:27-32

ii. The Third Hour.

The Vinegar and Gall: the Cross: the Garments divided: the Inscription on the Cross: the two Thieves: the Blasphemies. Mat 27:33-44

iii. From the Sixth to the Ninth hour: the Darkness: the Desertion. Mat 27:45-49

B. The Death.

The Vail Rent, and the great. Earthquake. Mat 27:50-53

The Centurion wonders: the Women behold. Mat 27:54-56

C. The Burial. Mat 27:57-61

d . Saturday.

The Sepulchre guarded, Mat 27:62-66

B. The Resurrection:

A. Announced to the Women.

1. By the Angel, Mat 28:1-8

2. By the Lord Himself, Mat 28:9-10

B. Denied by His Enemies, Mat 28:11-15

C. Shown to His Disciples. Mat 28:16-20