Gospel of Matthew

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For more information, see the Skeptic's Annotated Bible article:
For more information, see the Wikipedia article:

Books of the Bible

The Gospel According to Matthew, also known as The Gospel of Matthew, is the first of the four gospels of the New Testament. Historians generally agree that it was written between 70 and 100 A.D.

The audience was intended to be Jewish and Jesus was sent only to the Jews Matthew 15:24 Bible-icon.png. The gospel is based on Mark using many of the exact same phrases but corrects Mark's faulty understanding of Judaism. The Gospel has a nativity story, more miracles and a description of the resurrection. Jesus is portrayed as perfect with less than noble actions and failures in Mark are removed completely.[1]


Jesus claims he has only come to address the Jewish people (Matthew 10:5 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 15:24 Bible-icon.png), but sometimes he seems more concerned with gentiles (Matthew 21:41 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 22:5 Bible-icon.png). He is a critic of religious institutions of his day (Matthew 15:9 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 23:5-8 Bible-icon.png) and these points probably apply to modern institutions. There are strong statements against having or valuing wealth (Matthew 6:25 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 19:21 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 19:23 Bible-icon.png), which might be food for thought for materialists. He taught pacifism and non-judgementalism, to the point of “resist not evil” (Matthew 5:39 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 7:1 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 26:52 Bible-icon.png), which is contrary to most political systems (and many moral systems). Jesus prohibits public prayer in Matthew 6:5-6 Bible-icon.png, which effectively prohibits church going.

There are many instances of Jesus addressing God is a separate entity (Matthew 7:21 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 10:32 Bible-icon.png) and at least once God addressing Jesus as a separate entity (Matthew 3:17 Bible-icon.png). They don’t seem to share knowledge or their intentions (Matthew 26:39 Bible-icon.png). There is not much impression of the unity of these two beings. It is also strange that Jesus predicts the world will end within the lifetime of his disciples (Matthew 16:28 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 24:34 Bible-icon.png). History is full of attempts at predicting the end of the world (it probably appeals to human psychology) but predictions have so far ended with egg on face.

The uniqueness of the resurrection might be contrasted by the other instances of rising from the dead in the gospels. This seems to have been a relatively common occurrence (Matthew 9:24-25 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 27:52-53 Bible-icon.png). A significant part of the narrative is given over to Jesus curing illnesses. Perhaps this impresses the intended audience of the Bible, but it is not particularly relevant and quite odd give the relative sparseness of the recordings of Jesus’s teachings.

The motivation of Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus is left unstated. It seems to be a rather bizarre omission given its importance.

Matthew rewrites the empty tomb to fit the story of Daniel escaping the lion's den.[2] This shows the story is intended to my allegorical, not historical.


For more information, see the Wikipedia article:
Main Article: Jesus is ahistorical

"And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

Matthew 27:51-53 Bible-icon.png

We would expect such an occurrence to be reported by non-Christians too, if it actually occurred.

Faith can move mountains[edit]

Main Article: Modern Christianity does not fulfill biblical signs

Two verses saying truth faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20 Bible-icon.png, Matthew 21:21 Bible-icon.png) which seems at odds with common experience. On one hand Jesus mainly spoke in parables. On the other, he made the claim twice and in both times it was to explain how miracles are be performed. Obviously, this point can only be a criticism to believers of religious miracles based on faith. The point is raised by Dostoevsky in the Brothers Karamazov. Since we don’t see mountains move in modern times, we can conclude that true faith no longer exists (or decide not to read the Bible this literally).

Notable sections[edit]

Forged verses[edit]

Main Article: Many accurate copies of my holy book exist

Some of the earliest surviving Bibles dating from the 300's, like the Codex Sinaiticus (also called א or Aleph) and the Codex Vaticanus (also called B), are important examples of early manuscripts. The modern text of the New Testament contain later insertions which are not in these early versions. [3] [4] The following sections are in neither early text and are therefore likely forgeries:

  • Matthew 17:21 Bible-icon.png "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." [5]
  • Matthew 18:11 Bible-icon.png "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost." [6]
  • Matthew 23:14 Bible-icon.png "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation." [7]