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The New Torah

The Fivefold Structure of Matthew

As we have discussed, the author of Matthew was a literary craftsman.  One example of this is his ability to cast Jesus as a new and greater Moses.  To help make this connection, the Gospel of Matthew contains a number of stylistic and structural markers which not only reflect events in the life of Moses, but also mirror the arrangement of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.)  Below are the major divisions of the Gospel of Matthew.  Notice the five alternating patterns of narrative and discourse sections which represent the books of the Pentateuch.

Chapters                              Theme 

1-4                                       Birth and Beginnings                                                   (Narrative 1)
5-7         (5:1-7:27)               Renewed Torah                                                            (Discourse 1)

8-9         (7:28-10:4)             Works and wonders                                                     (Narrative 2)
10          (10:5-42)                 Discourse on Discipleship                                          (Discourse 2)

11-12    (11:1-12:50)             Narrative on Opposition to Jesus                              (Narrative 3)
13          (13:1-52)                  Parables                                                                       (Discourse 3)

14-17    (13:53-17:27)           Narrative of Predictions and Miracles                       (Narrative 4)
18         (18:1-35)                   Discourse on Life in Community                               (Discourse 4)

19-23    (19:1-23:39)              Judean Ministry and Narratives                                (Narrative 5)
24-25    (24:1-25:46)              Discourse on the Coming Kingdom                         (Discourse 5)

26-28    (26:1-28:20)              Death and Resurrection                                             (Death & Resurrection)

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