Sounding out the Readings

We are currently in a cycle of readings centered on the Gospel of Matthew. Textually, none of the four Gospels are actually titled by the authors. The idea that people with the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were the authors is, at a quick glance, more of a product of ecclesiastical tradition and such.

But, then again, maybe not.

It has been a basic thesis of this blog that reading (actually, hearing) the Bible in the original languages is the way to go. The original languages provide the field of vision that makes the story come alive fully. This is because we have a play on words in those languages, or repetition, or parallel poetic structures, and so on, that are authored this way.

It helps to appreciate this, otherwise you might have a hard time understanding why Matthew is called Matthew.

In Greek, Matthew is written as Ματθαῖος. Nothing extraordinary here, so far at least.

Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, however, the word μαθητης is repeated. This is the Greek word that means disciple.

If one compares the name of the Gospel author with the message of the book, then one notices the following:

Ματθαῖος and μαθητης sound similar in Greek. Even though they are spelled differently, the message is clear. The Gospel according to Ματθαῖος is the book of how to become a disciple (μαθητης) of Jesus.

You won’t get that in English.