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Literary analysis of Proverbs chapter 3 and Matthew 6 of the Gospel of Matthew
Section I: Table of Contents
2 Literary study of Proverbs chapter 3 2 a) Father-son relationship 3 b) Character of the heart 3 c) Teaching as a quality of life
4 Literary study of Matthew chapter 6's Gospel 5 a) Kingdom of God 5 b) God's Providential Care 6 c) Acts of Righteousness
The third chapter of Proverbs and the sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel might be regarded as chapters that contrast in the nature of the subjects they discuss. Overall, the two chapters concern the kingdom of God, acts of righteousness, wisdom, and god’s providential care. For instance, both chapters contend that the bond between an individual and God is created in hearts that are ready to be touched by the word of God. Besides, God is viewed as the sole provider of care and comfort in both chapters of the Bible. Under his control, his followers are not to worry. He is depicted as the provider of strength and the only way leading to the fullness of life. The book of Proverbs chapter 3 and the Gospel according to Mathew chapter 6 are essentially a new covenant as well as a synthesis of wisdom and spirituality, stressing the themes of the kingdom of God, acts of righteousness, wisdom, and god's providential care.
Literary analysis of the book of Proverbs chapter 3
The book of Proverbs chapter 3 can be seen as a new covenant and a synthesis of spirituality and wisdom. The chapter entails new covenant, fullness of life, fearing God, and praise to Yahweh. From verse 1-4, the new covenant is established in hearts that are accepted to be touched by the word of God. This covenant yields harmony and loyalty, which are the attributes of the living merciful God. Versus 5-6 conveys the message that God's gift strengthens and illuminates the weakness of the human heart, and straightens the path leading to the fullness of life. From verse 7-8, Proverbs Chapter 3 stresses that a life of wisdom entails renouncing evil and independence, and embodies honoring and fearing God with all your being. Verse 9-12 of Proverbs three stresses praise to Yahweh. It contends that Yahweh is the provider of every blessing, particularly that of life. Therefore, wisdom is an act of praise to the Lord of life. In light of this, God chastises the beloved to enable them to grow in wisdom.
a) Father and son relationship
The book of Proverbs 3 starts with the father inviting his son to get into a relationship with him, by asking him not to ignore or forget his teaching. The father also invites the son to trust the teacher or the father, while also trusting in God, who assumes the parental role of education. This trust implies giving up confidence in yourself, allowing God to be your father and teacher, and honoring God with your wealth. In return, the son is promised a good name, abundant crops, a long life, health, and divine protection as a reward for being righteous. The first verse begins with the typical encouragement of the son to remember the instructions of the father and to observe his commandments. Forgetting in this context refers to the deliberate neglect and deviation of attention. It is evident that the father or teacher emphasizes the urgency of the instructions provided to the son as it will determine meaningful and real life. On the flip side, to guard or to retain is a deliberate act. As such, it is a decision to nurture, protect, and maintain what you have been taught. The teacher demands relentless attention to the teachings, implying that to keep and remember is essentially an active action and decision by the student.
b) Character of the heart
Proverbs 3 also dwells on the character of the heart. The teachings of the father are supposed to be written on the heart. The implication is that a proverb 3 is not just an ethic of reward and external obedience. Rather, the command given demonstrates that the main objective is the internal character of the heart. The overall nature of this command requires inner integrity that often manifests itself in one's relations with people and God. In Proverbs chapter 3, the internal character is emphasized. Loyalty and faithfulness is paralleled with the fear of the Lord and is a standard of expression that describes the relationship between God and his people. Faithfulness and loyalty hence become the core of this teaching. In this context, loyalty means the virtue of dedication and commitment that binds a person’s life to a group or an individual.
c) Teaching as a facet of quality life
Proverbs 3 argues that the teachings of the father lead to long life and well-being of the son, and so does the fear of the Lord and wisdom itself. The chapter states that the length of years and days of well-being and life added can essentially be taken literally. However, a distinction is made between years of life and length of days, implying that in years of life, refers to quality of life, and length of days denote a physical long life. Much as the promise of life is central in this context, it needs to be understood in a qualitative sense as a good life of well-being, characterized by peace. The purpose of life was to live to a ripe old age, see your grandchildren, and die in contentment and peace, while surrounded by your extended family. In this sense, well-being denotes the state of pleasantness, welfare, contentment, health, and security, whereby good things are experienced without the worry of fear and anxiety.
Literary analysis of the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 6
The major biblical themes found in Matthew chapter 6 include acts of righteousness, the kingdom of God, and God’s providential care. These three themes are evident throughout the chapter and were the major ways used by Jesus to develop theology for his followers. These themes hence provide ideals on which followers can base their biblical views.
a) The Kingdom of God
The gospel of Mathew Chapter 6 dwells on the kingdom of God, arguing that the kingdom of God can only exist when there is actual supreme god. According to Mathew 6, the kingdom of God on earth is dependent on a link to the heavenly father. Mathew Chapter 6 focuses on the kingdom of God, advocating for having power both in heaven and here on earth. In doing so, Christians should let God be the governing force of their life. The theme entails putting the commandments of God first before anything else. It is argued that if this prayer is taken seriously, it can profoundly change life. Also, the prayer should be done with solemn authenticity and dedication of the heart to be the agents of the kingdom. To live as a kingdom agent, Christians should spend life establishing treasure in heaven instead of gaining earthly goods. This practice is essential to believers since living in the mentality of the kingdom requires all things to be done as per God’s will, and with the kingdom in the picture. Serving both money and God is a total contradiction for kingdom agents. To live in the mindset of the kingdom requires followers to devote their entire effort to God and his kingdom.
b) God’s Providential Care
God’s Providential Care is a key theme in Mathew 6. This theme focuses on Jesus teaching his followers not to worry. The disciples underwent a difficult life. For instance, they had to rely on other people’s hospitality, working as fishermen, tax collectors, and other businesses that were offered to them. What is more, they were away from their families. Despite all these, Jesus assures them that God will provide for them, as creations of greatest value.
c) Acts of Righteousness
The theme of acts of righteousness forms the basis of what Jesus teaches his disciples in Mathew 6. This theme is the focus of about twenty verses of the chapter, taking the form of giving, fasting, and praying. On righteousness and reward, Jesus deals majorly with motivation of the heart. Here, the major issue is the benevolence of man, his repentance, and prayer. Contextually, Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that the prize from giving in public does not surpass pride. As such, he urged the disciples to seek God’s glory rather than their own. Mathew chapter 6 emphasizes the specific practice of almsgiving, which is considered a righteous act. The chapter argues that the momentary reward of applause cannot compare to the heavenly reward given to those who practice the cat of giving in private. The argument does not imply that Jesus is against the act of almsgiving. However, observing that the act has been corrupted by hypocrisy, Jesus opted to condemn misuse of giving to the poor. He points out that the rationale should be to give for purposes of benefiting another person's life and not for glorifying oneself. In Matthew 6, forgiveness is a spiritual act, stemming from the forgiveness established by God. The chapter focuses on forgiving others the same way Christ forgives us.
Overall, the book of Proverbs chapter 3 and the Gospel according to Mathew chapter 6 are categorically imbued with parallel themes that revolve around wisdom and spirituality, focusing on the ideas of the kingdom of God, acts of righteousness, wisdom, and god's providential care. Mathew Chapter 6 entails Jesus' message to his disciples about the need to be humble in discrete in a wide array of activities they partake on their lives while condemning being boastful. The chapter stresses that individuals should seek to give glory to God rather than endeavoring to glorify themselves, arguing that doing this in secret serves to bring about rewards from God in secret. In light of this, the overall themes in this chapter include acts of righteousness, the kingdom of God, and God's providential care. Like Mathews chapter 6, Proverbs chapter 3 highlights parallel themes that concern acts of righteousness, wisdom, and god’s providential care. The two chapters of the Bible, therefore, help build the idea that God’s rewards are dependent on the internal character of the heart and righteousness and link to the heavenly father.
Beare, Francis Wright. The Gospel According to Matthew: Translation, Introduction, and Commentary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982.
Dentan, Robert C. "The Unity of the Old Testament." Union Seminary Magazine 5, no. 2 (1951): 153-173.
Garland, David E. Reading Matthew: A literary and theological commentary on the first Gospel. Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc., 2001.
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