First impressions

Call me Ishmael. —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick (1851)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice(1813)

There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. —C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

The first impression you get from a text is very important. I am beginning an inductive study of Matthew, so I am especially curious about this gospel’s opening line. What is an inductive study? The idea is to slow down, read what the text has to say, ask questions about it, seek to understand it from the perspective of the original cultural context, and then apply it to your life. There is a lot more in the Bible than I usually notice. Like in Matthew 1:1 for example:

 The [a]record of the genealogy of [b]Jesus [c]the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”

  1. Matthew 1:1 Lit book
  2. Matthew 1:1 Heb Yeshua (Joshua), meaning The Lord saves
  3. Matthew 1:1 Gr Christos (Christ), Gr for Messiah, which means Anointed One

Start with the footnotes. Who pays attention to those? But look…the word for record is “book.” So does this mean the entire book of Matthew centers around studying Christ’s lineage, His claim to fulfilling all the promises God has been making for thousands of years?

Yes. Cool.

Jesus is also translated Joshua…wait, that was the guy in the Old Testament who led Israel, right? He led them into the Promised Land. Hmm…any significance there? Yes. Cool.

Christ – it is Greek for the Hebrew Messiah…Anointed One in English. Priests were anointed. Kings were anointed. It showed that God had a special role for them in society. Jesus is both a King and a Priest. He saved His people from their sins (Matthew 1). But that comes later.

Three words in one verse. Now that is a good opening line!

God, thank You for putting such care into the Bible, and all the words You used to speak to us so that we could understand You and Your plan. Thank You for this opportunity to study Matthew more closely. Please help me to do it to learn more about who You are, how the Bible is connected, and what our relationship can look like. To You be the glory, Amen.


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