According to the standard theory of Synoptic Gospel composition Matthew produces an edited or rewritten version of Mark, adding material from the Q source, as well as some of his own material (M). Although we have no specific date for Matthew, most scholars put him in the period from 75-85 C.E., a decade or so after Mark.
Accordingly, in reading Matthew we encounter a multilevel task. First, we can concentrate on how and in what ways he uses or incorporates the Markan narrative. Second, we can examine his arrangement and incorporation of the Q source (with Luke’s Q for comparison).
Third, we can consider what the M material adds to the tradition. Finally, we want to ask how Matthew functions overall as a finished work, leaving aside the former questions of its individual and edited components. In other words, we want to ultimately read Matthewas Matthew, as an independent and finished contribution.
In examining Matthew it is useful then to pay attention to three major elements: Structure, Style, and Content.
Notice how Matthew (1 & 2) begins with a Geneology and a Birth Narrative, in contrast to Mark.
Matthew incorporates the Q material in five large blocks or Discourses, each with a similar ending or transition statement: “And when Jesus had finished all these sayings…” You should first mark the Q material in a text of Matthew with some color-coded system, then note the following:
Chapters 5-7 (7:28)
Chapter 10 (11:1)
Chapter 13 (13:53)
Chapter 18 (19:1)
Chapters 24b-25 (26:1)
Notice the expanded ending found in Matthew 28.
Note carefully the following passages where Matthew rewrites or edits sections of Mark. What are his general tendencies in this regard?
Healing Leper: Matt 8:1-4 (Mark 1:40-45) [TM#45]
Paralytic: Matt 9:1-8 (Mark 2:1-12) [TM#52]
Jairus’ Daughter: Matt 9:18-26 (Mark 5:21-43) [TM#107]
Death of John: Matt 14:3-12 (Mark 6:17-29) [TM#111]
Note the critical ways in which Matthew recasts certain key Markan sections and evaluate the results:
Peter’s Confession: Matt 16:13-23 (Mark 8:27-33) [TM#122]
2nd Suffering Prediction & Rebuke: Matt 17:22-18:5 (Mark 9:30-37) [TM#127,128,129]
3rd Suffering Prediction & Rebuke: Matt 20:17-28 (Mark 10:32-45) [TM#191,192]
Great Commandment: Matt 22:34-40 (Mark 12:28-34) [TM#208]
What happens to Mark’s “secrecy” motif throughout Matthew?
Watch for the following key themes throughout, but especially in the M materials:
The Delay of the End of the Age (Matthew 24-25)
The Power and Authority of Jesus (Matt 28:16-20)
Church Authority and Structure (Matt 16:17-19; 18:15-20)
Jesus as the New Lawgiver (Moses); Fulfillment of Scripture: Throughout
Heightened Denunciation of the Religious Establishment (Matt 23:1-36; cf Mark 12:37-40)