The man of St Matthew


Chapter 18: Overview

First, look at 19,1 and see a phrase which may be familiar by now.

If 19,1 is an ending, where is the beginning? Look at 18,1. Look also at what we have just read, 17,22-27.
To whom is Jesus speaking?

Then read the chapter, getting an overall sense: how it unfolds and its main themes. Try to keep track of the key words. Look for a key phrase which occurs several times. See how and where the theme changes as the chapter progresses.
(We can note that verse 11 is usually omitted because it is not found in all manuscripts. It seems to be a copyist's addition from Lk 19,10.)

From this, consider the various parts of the chapter. Note in particular the part which is central and with a rather different note to the rest.

The aim here is to gather and consider the evidence.
Then go to my response to see this put together.

The Sunday Gospel

It is perhaps surprising that only the second half of this chapter dealing with Church matters is read in the Sunday Lectionary, on the 23rd and 24th Sundays, year A (18,15-20 for the 23rd Sunday and 18,21-35 for the 24th Sunday).
Generally it seems that the editors of the Lectionary recounted incidents only once in the three year cycle. Mark's equivalent to the first half (Mk 9,33-48) is read on Sundays 25 and 26 of year B, though Mark's presentation is actually quite different to Matthew's.

A result of this editing is that the Gospel of the 23rd Sunday, 18,15-20, presents the issue of Church discipline without its context. We'll look at this more closely when we come to read that passage.

We are now ready to read the first part of the chapter, the children and little ones, 18,1-14.