SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.32 issue1Die kerk en mense op straat in die informele behuisingsgebiede in Mangaung/BloemfonteinOorsake van kerkkrimping binne die tradisioneel Afrikaanssprekende gereformeerde kerke in Suid-Afrika author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982

Verbum Eccles. (Online) vol.32 n.1 Pretoria  2011 



Sabbath controversy in Matthew



Francois P. Viljoen

Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa





Jesus' attitude towards the Sabbath plays a crucial part in Matthew's argument. Some scholars argue that Jesus provocatively broke the Sabbath law; however, an attentive reading of the Sabbath controversies revealed a different reality. Matthew strategically places the Sabbath stories after he has firmly stated Jesus' teaching on the continuing validity of the law and the requirement of greater righteousness. The law and the prophets are fulfilled in the Person of Jesus, who demonstrated a fresh approach to Sabbath observance. God's intention with the Sabbath must also be recognised. Matthew argues not if the Sabbath should be observed, but how it should be done to experience true rest according to the will of God.



Full text available only in PDF format.




Bacchiocchi, S., 1986, 'Sabbatical Typologies of Messianic redemption', Journal for the Study of Judaism 17, 153-176. doi:10.1163/157006386X00338        [ Links ]

Banks, R., 1974, Jesus and the law in the synoptic tradition, University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Brown, R.E., 1966, The Gospel according to John (Anchor Bible), Doubleday, New York.         [ Links ]

Carson, D.A., 1982, 'Jesus and the Sabbath in the Four Gospels', in D.A. Carson (ed.), From Sabbath to the Lord's Day, pp. 57-97, Zondervan, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Carter, W., 2000, 'Matthew and the margins. A socio-political reading', Journal for the study of the New Testament, suppl. ser. 204.         [ Links ]

Davies, W.D., 1963, The setting of the Sermon on the Mount, University Press, Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Davies, W.D. & Allison, D.C., 2004, Matthew, a shorter commentary, T & T Clark, London & New York.         [ Links ]

Deines, R., 2008, 'Not the law but the Messiah: Law and righteousness in the Gospel of Matthew - an ongoing debate', in D.M. Gurtner & J. Nolland (eds.), Built upon the Rock. Studies in the Gospel of Matthew, pp. 53-84, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids & Cambridge.         [ Links ]

France, R.T., 1971, Jesus and the Old Testament: His application of Old Testament passages to himself and his mission, Tyndale, London.         [ Links ]

France, R.T., 1998, Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher, Paternoster, Exeter.         [ Links ]

France, R.T., 2008, 'Matthew and Jerusalem', in D.M. Gurtner & J. Nolland (eds.), Built upon the Rock. Studies in the Gospel of Matthew, pp. 108-127, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids & Cambridge.         [ Links ]

Gerhardson, B., 1964, Memory and Manuscript: Oral tradition and written transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity, Gleerup, Uppsala & Lund.         [ Links ]

Hagner, D.A., 1993, Matthew 1-13, (Word Biblical Commentaries 33a), Word Books, Dallas.         [ Links ]

Hill, D., 1978, 'On the use and meaning of Hosea vi 6 in Matthew's Gospel', New Testament Studies 24, 107-119. doi:10.1017/S0028688500003799        [ Links ]

Hummel, R., 1963, Die Auseinandersetzung zwischen Kirche und Judentum im Matthäusevangelium [The confrontation between the Church and Judaism in the Gospel of Matthew],         [ Links ] Verlag, München.

Ladd, G.E., 1993, A Theology of the New Testament, Eerdmans, Michigan.         [ Links ]

Levine, E., 1976, 'The Sabbath controversy according to Matthew', New Testament Studies 22, 480-483.doi:10.1017/S002868850001016X        [ Links ]

Luz, U., 2001, Matthew 8-20, Fortris (Hermeneia), Minneapolis.         [ Links ]

Lybeak, L., 1997, 'Matthew's use of Hosea 6:6', in C.M. Tuckett (ed.), The Scriptures in the Gospels. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium CXXXI, pp. 491-500, Peeters, Leuven.         [ Links ]

McIver, R.K., 1995, 'The Sabbath in the Gospel of Matthew: a paradigm for understanding the law in Matthew?', Andrews University seminary studies 2, 231-243.         [ Links ]

Menken, M.J.J., 2004, Matthew's Bible. The Old Testament text of the Evangelist, University Press, Leuven.         [ Links ]

Moo, J.M., 1984, 'Jesus and the authority of the Mosaic law', Journal for the study of the New Testament 20, 3-49. doi:10.1177/0142064X8400602001, doi:10.1177/0142064X8400702001        [ Links ]

Morris, L., 1992, The Gospel according to Matthew, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.         [ Links ]

Moule, C.F.D., 1967/1968, 'Fulfilment words in the New Testament: Use and Abuse', New Testament Studies14, 293-320.         [ Links ]

Neyrey, J.H., 1982, 'The thematic use of Isaiah 42:1-4 in Matthew 12', Biblica 63, 457-473.         [ Links ]

Patte, D., 1987, The Gospel according to Matthew: A structural commentary on Matthew's faith, Fortress Press, Philadelphia.         [ Links ]

Rordorf, W., 1968, Sunday, SCM, London.         [ Links ]

Snodgrass, K., 1996, 'Matthew and the law', in D.R. Bauer & M.A. Powell (eds.), Treasures new and old. Contributions to Matthean studies, pp. 99-127, Scholars Press, Atlanta.         [ Links ]

Viljoen, F.P., 2006, 'Jesus' teaching on the torah in the Sermon on the Mount', Neotestamentica 40(1), 135-156.         [ Links ]

Viljoen, F.P., 2007, 'Fulfilment in Matthew', Verbum et Ecclesia 28(1), 301-324.         [ Links ]

Weiss, H., 1990, 'The Sabbath in the Synoptic Gospels', Journal for the study of the New Testament 38, 13-27.doi:10.1177/0142064X9001203802        [ Links ]

Yang, Y-E., 1997, 'Jesus and the Sabbath in Matthew's Gospel', Journal for the Study of the New Testament,suppl. ser. 139.         [ Links ]



Francois Viljoen
Private Bag X6001
Potchefstroom 2520
South Africa

Received: 19 July 2010
Accepted: 16 Mar. 2011
Published: 03 June 2011

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License