This page is an unfinished work. Greater detail of the text and written explanations sure would be nice additions. Feedback is welcome at cormacmjones@gmail.com.

Not to be read on a narrow screen!


There is no one way to contemplate the form of St. Matthew’s Gospel. It is especially dynamic, capable of expanding and contracting according to either fivefold or threefold contemplation. That said, its eleven parts are remarkably clear in their delineation. The dynamism exists in how they relate to one another. Both the stability and the motion of the five and the three are present and in effect at all levels of the text.

The Gospel of St. Matthew was the first book I ever outlined as a fractal. Other books in the Bible would teach me additional things, but it was the Gospel of Matthew that first taught me how to read Scripture. It taught me how words work. It is designed specifically for that purpose. Its formal multivalence affords the pupil opportunity to study meaning in a bounty of different ways while resisting false worship of the text on the literary level. Yet the elementary divisions between the eleven parts make it perfect for beginners. So to get on with my presentation, I say there is no one way to describe the Gospel’s shape, but my Irish forebears did come up with the best way I can think of to start...



The above image is from the Book of Durrow, the earliest surviving Irish illuminated Gospel (c. 700). It depicts the Evangelist St. Matthew. The figure as originally drawn stands upright (see top of page), but I’ve set it on its side to show how it aligns with my outline of the Gospel text. 

The two feet are Ϛ. Nativity and Theophany, which has a bifurcated internal structure, signifying the two legs. The head is Η. Passion and Resurrection. In between is the body of the text. In the Book of Durrow the body is shaped like a hand-bell (a sacred symbol in the Irish church), which of course is also a parabola. The larger rectilinear patches on the body represent the parts of the book as I’ve outlined them. The long, skinny beard bisecting the body is Dialogue Χ. Parables on the Kingdom, the center of the Gospel. On either side of it are four patches representing the four sections before and after the center. For example, the two large patches by the feet are Discourse Α. The Sermon on the Mount and Discourse Ω. The Eschatological Sermon. Up on the chest are the two narratives flanking the center, the Kingdom withstanding rejection and overcoming resistance. And so forth.

(As an aside, it is reasonable to think that the ancient Irish church understood Scripture chiastically. Máire B. de Paor in her book Patrick: The Pilgrim Apostle of Ireland demonstrates the chiastic structure of both St. Patrick’s Confession and his Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus.)



Nativity and Theophany (ch. 1–4)

Α. Genealogy — Old Testament generations according to the flesh (1:1‑17)

α. Christ ➙ David ➙ Abraham (1:1)

β. Era of patriarchs and judges: from Abraham to David (1:2‑6a)

χ. Era of kings: from David to Josias (1:6b‑10)

o. Era of exiles and chief priests: from Josias to Christ (1:11‑16)

ω. Abraham David Christ (1:17)

Β. Nativity — the beginning of Jesus’ human life — reversal of the fall (1:18‑25)

α. The birth of Jesus Christ:
          Before Joseph and Mary come together, she is with child of the Holy Spirit (1:18)

β. Joseph to put away Mary privately (1:19)

χ. Angel: ‘Joseph, son of David, it’s of the Holy Spirit; call Him Jesus
          He shall save his people from their sins (1:20‑21)
Prophet: a virgin shall bear a child; they shall call him Emmanuel (Is. 7:14) (1:22‑23)

o. Joseph takes Mary as his wife (1:24)

          Joseph and Mary do not come together
ω. A Son born, called Jesus (1:25)

Χ. The Magi — from Babylon to Bethlehem and back another way (2:1‑12)

α. Magi from the east bring news of a star announcing the King of the Jews, troubling King Herod (2:1‑5a)

β. Herod sends them to Bethlehem, bidding they send him word about the child (2:5b‑8)

χ. The star leads them to worship the child of Mary; an angel diverts them from Herod (2:9‑12)

Χ’.  The Holy Family — in and out of Egypt and the slaughter of innocents (2:13‑23)

χ’. Angel in a dream warns Joseph of Herod and tells him to flee with family to Egypt (2:13‑15)

o. Mocked by the Magi, Herod slays all the infants of Bethlehem (2:16‑18)

ω. When Herod dies, the angel calls Joseph back to Judea but diverts him to Nazareth (2:19‑23)

Ο. Theophany — the genesis of Christ’s ministry — deification by Spirit baptism (3:1–4:17)

α. John the Baptist in the wilderness, fulfilling Isaiah and preaching, ‘Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (3:1‑4)

β. John baptizes a generation of vipers with water, foretelling him who would do so with Spirit and fire (3:5‑12)

χ. John baptizes Jesus — Theophany (3:13‑17)

o. Jesus’ warfare with the devil — the three temptations (4:1‑11)

ω. Jesus in Capernaum, fulfilling Isaiah and preaching, Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand (4:12‑17)

Ω. Fishers of Men — New Testament generations according to the spirit (4:18‑25)

ς. Call of Peter and Andrew; they leave nets and follow (4:18‑20)

ζ. Call of James and John; they leave ship and father and follow (4:21‑22)

η. Call of great multitudes by teaching, preaching, and healing; they follow (4:23‑25)

The Kingdom of Heaven at Hand (ch. 5–26:2)

Discourse Α. The Sermon on the Mount (ch. 5–8:1)

Intro: Up the mountain (5:1‑2)

α. And seeing the multitudes,

β. he went up into a mountain:

χ. and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (5:1‑2)

HEAD (Ϛ). Call to Beatitude (5:3‑16)

α. Beatitudes one through four (5:3‑6)                                 See SUBSTACK 

β. Beatitudes five through eight (5:7‑10)                              See CLOSE-UP

 ξ. Blessed are ye when persecuted for my sake, as were the prophets (5:1112)

o. Salt of the earth (5:13)

ω. Light of the world (5:14‑16)

BELL (Ζ). Fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets (5:17–7:12)

       The Law and the Prophets...
Α.             ...all will be fulfilled (5:17‑18)

To enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (5:19‑20)

On murder: be reconciled with your brother (5:21‑26)

Β.                On adultery (lust and divorce): cast away your right eye/hand (5:27‑32)

On swearing oaths: let you logos be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay (5:33‑37)

        Against avenging evil: give to him that asketh thee 


Χ.         Love your enemies: be perfect (5:43‑48)

        Against vanity: when thou doest alms... (6:1‑4)

And when thou prayest... (6:5‑15)

Ο.                 When ye fast... (6:16‑34)

Judge not (7:1‑6)

Knock; it shall be opened (7:7‑11)

Ω.             The Golden Rule recapitulates...
       ...the Law and the Prophets (7:12)

FEET (Η). Tree of Good and Evil (7:13‑27)

α. Not the broad way (7:13)
        The narrow way (7:14)

β. False prophets in sheep’s clothing (7:15)

 χ. Good tree, good fruit; corrupt tree, evil fruit (7:16‑17)

 χ’. Good tree, no evil fruit; corrupt tree, no good fruit (7:18‑20)

o. Not he that saith but he that doeth (7:21‑23)

        Build on rock (7:24‑25)
ω. Not on sand (7:26‑27)

Extro: Down the mountain (7:28–8:1)

χ’. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings,
the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them
as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (7:28‑29)

o. When he was come down from the mountain,

ω. great multitudes followed him. (8:1)

Narrative Α. The Son of God and Man Descends and Heals (8:2–9:34)

Α. From the mount to Capernaum to the sea, with healings (8:2‑23)

α. Touching a leper and making him clean (instead of becoming unclean) (8:2‑4)

β. In Capernaum, the centurion’s unique faith in Jesus’ authoritative word (8:5‑13)

χ. Peter’s wife’s mother cured of a fever by touch, rises and serves (8:14‑15)

ο. That evening, many exorcisms and healings by word, fulfilling Isaiah (8:1617)

ω. To depart by ship to the other side: nowhere to lay his head; let the dead bury the dead (8:1823)

Β. Some manner of man that calms the tempest at sea — power over nature (8:24‑27)

Full text

α. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep {as a man}. (8:24)

β. And his disciples came to him, and roused him, saying, ‘Lord, save us: we are perishing.’ (8:25)

χ/ξ. And he saith unto them, ‘Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?’

ο. Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (8:26)

ω. But the men marvelled, saying, ‘What manner of man is this, that {sleeps, yet} even the winds and the sea obey him!’ (8:27)

Χ. On the other side: the Son of God among the Gergesenes — power over demons (8:28–9:1a)

Full text

     And when he was come to the other side
α.        into the country of the Gergesenes,
                    there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce,
                    so that no man might pass by that way. (8:28)

     And, behold, they cried out, saying, ‘What have we to do with thee,
β.     Jesus, thou Son of God?
            art thou come hither to torment us before the time?’ (8:29)

        α. And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine
        feeding. (8:30)
                  β. So the devils besought him, saying, ‘If thou cast us out,
                  suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.’ (8:31)
χ/ξ.                      χ. And he said unto them, ‘Go.’
                  ο. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of
        ω. and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep
        place into the sea, and perished in the waters. (8:32)

      And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city,
ο.     and told every thing,
            and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. (8:33)

                   And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus:
ω.        and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
     And he entered into a ship, and passed over, (9:1a)

Ο. In his own city, the Son of Man forgives and heals the paralytic — power over sin and sickness (9:1b8)

Full text

α. and came into his own city {Capernaum}. (9:1b)

β. And, behold, they brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed:

     α. and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the paralytic;
     ‘Take courage, child; thy sins be forgiven thee.’ (9:2)

                β. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves,
                This man blasphemeth. (9:3)

χ.                       χ. And Jesus seeing their thoughts said, ‘Why think ye evil in your hearts?
                          For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee;
                          or to say, Arise, and walk? (9:45)

                ο. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,’

     ω. (then saith he to the paralytic,) ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.’ (9:6)

ο. And he arose, 

ω. and departed to his house. (9:7)

Extro: But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (9:8)

Ω. As Jesus passed forth from thence: Incarnation dispensation in miniature (9:934)

        Repast at Matthew’s house

        α. As Jesus passed forth from thence: The call of Matthew the publican; he rises and follows him (9:9)
                  β. To the Pharisees, on dining with publicans: Mercy will I have, not sacrifice (9:10‑13)

α.                        χ. To disciples of John: fast not when the bridegroom is with you, but when he is taken from you (9:14‑15)
                  ο. Unprompted: new cloth not on old garment; new wine not in old, but in new bottles (9:16‑17)
        ω. A ruler interrupts and begs his dead daughter be revived; he rises and follows him (9:18‑19)

β.   The woman with an issue of blood — saved by faith (9:2022)

χ/ξ.   The ruler’s daughter — resurrection once the faithless clamoring crowd is cast out (9:2326)

ο.   When Jesus passed forth from thence: Two blind men — healed according to their faith (9:2731)

ω.   A devil is cast out of a deaf man, who then hears — the multitudes marvel, but the Pharisees credit the prince of the devils (9:3234)

St. Gregory Palamas on Matthew 9:9‑31 — Incarnation dispensation in miniature

“‘When Jesus,’ it says, ‘passed forth from thence’ [9:27]. Whence? And why does the evangelist put this in, not just here but a little earlier as well? ‘As Jesus passed forth from thence,’ he says, ‘he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom’ [9:9], the man in question being the evangelist himself, who was transformed by a word at that point. It is my opinion that the evangelist speaks in this way so as to give thoughtful hearers an opportunity to interpret the events he relates in a figurative way as well. Anyone examining this account carefully will see that it gives a succinct outline of the whole dispensation of the Lord’s incarnation and wisely and wonderfully makes it known.

“The Lord definitely had somewhere to stay in Capernaum, since it says, ‘He dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast’ [4:13]. But clearly this dwelling-place symbolizes heaven, as it bears within it the Inhabitant of heaven. That is why the Lord says elsewhere, ‘Thou Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven’ [Luke 10:15]. As the Lord set out from that city, so He left heaven by assuming flesh. If you consider His departure from heaven, you will find that as He went out thence He chose the apostles, and healed the impure proclivity of human nature. On the other hand, if you think of His departure from the house in Capernaum, you will see that His actions represent these same events. It was when He passed by that He turned Matthew into an apostle from being a tax collector, and healed the woman with the issue of blood [cf. Matt. 9:20]. He went as far as Jairus’ daughter who had died, and by bringing her back to life showed Himself victorious over death [cf. 9:18‑26]. Then He returned whence He had come.

“As He passed a second time along the same road on His return, He opened the eyes of the blind men who had followed Him, just as, having gone down to death and destroyed the power of death through His resurrection, it is written that, as He passed by on His way back, He opened His disciples’ minds that they might understand the Scriptures [cf. Luke 24:45]. They then went out and proclaimed Him all over the world, just as the evangelist tells us that the blind men whose sight was restored, ‘when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country’ [Matt. 9:31]. Did you notice that this account contains a clear outline of almost the whole of God’s plan for our salvation through His becoming man? That is why the phrase, ‘as he passed forth from thence,’ appears twice [9:9, 27] [and nowhere else in Matthew’s Gospel; the verb ‘passed forth’ occurs only one other time, in 20:30, again when about to heal two blind men –CJ], so that we might understand that these words refer to His departure and His return.”

– St. Gregory Palamas, The Homilies, ed. by Christopher Veniamin (Waymart, Pennsylvania: Mount Thabor Publishing, 2009), pp. 238–39.

Discourse Β. The Missionary Sermon (9:35–11:1)

Α. The twelve sent forth to heal and preach like Jesus (9:35–10:10)

α. Jesus goes about the cities and villages teaching, preaching, and healing (9:35)

β. He sees them as sheep with no shepherd and tell the disciples to pray the Lord send workers to harvest (9:3638)

χ/ξ. The twelve disciples called and given power to cast out devils and heal all diseases (10:1)

ο. The names of the twelve apostles in six pairs (10:24)

ω. Jesus sends them not to Gentiles or Samaritans but to the lost sheep of Israel, to preach the kingdom of heaven at hand (10:510)

Β. Instructions for encountering unworthy strangers (10:11‑15)

Full text

α. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye depart thence. (10:11)

β. And when ye enter into an house, salute it. (10:12)

χ. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it:

χ. but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. (10:13)

ο. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (10:14)

ω. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. (10:15)

Χ. Beware of men but fear them not, that the servants be as their Lord (10:16‑33)

α. α. I send you as sheep among wolves; be wise as serpents, harmless as doves (10:16)

   Beware of men 

   They shall deliver you up
β.    for my sake,
             for a testimony against them and the Gentiles (10:17‑18)

β.            χ.  Think not what to say beforehand; the Spirit of the Father speaks in you (10:19‑20)

   Brother shall deliver up the brother to death (10:21)
ο.     You’ll be hated for my sake
             he that endureth to the end shall be saved (10:22)

ω. When persecuted, keep going, until the Son of Man come (10:23)

χ.            That disciples be as their teacher, servants as their lord 

α. If the master is called Beelzebub, so will you (10:24‑25)

     Fear them not

β.  Nothing hid shall not be made known (10:26)

     What I tell you in darkness, speak in the light (10:27)

ο.            χ. Fear rather him that can destroy both soul and body in hell (10:28)

ο. Your Father keeps track of sparrows; fear not, you’re more valuable (10:2931)

ω. ω. He who confesses/denies me before men, I will confess/deny before my Father (10:32‑33)

Ο. Your foes shall be of your own household (10:34‑39)

Full text

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: 

α. I came not to send peace, 

    but a sword. (10:34)



     He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me:
ο.         and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (10:37)

    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (10:38)

ω. He that findeth his life {soul} shall lose it: 

     and he that loseth his life {soul} for my sake shall find it. (10:39)

Ω. The rewards: he that receiveth you receiveth me and him that sent me (10:40–11:1)

α. He that receiveth you receiveth me; he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me (10:40)

    He shall receive a reward 

β. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet

    He shall receive a reward 

χ. He that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man (10:41)

    He shall in no way lose a reward 

ο. He that gives drink in the name of a disciple (10:42)

ω. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, 

he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. (11:1)

Narrative Β. The Kingdom Withstands Rejection (11:2–13:2)

Α.  α. The disciples of John approach Jesus (11:26)

β. None greater than John – the least in the kingdom is greater than he (11:7‑15)

Β.             χ. Wisdom is justified of her children (11:1619)

 ο. Woe to the cities: Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum (11:20‑24)

α. Son as Mediator between the Father and whoever will take his light burden (11:25‑30)

β. Plucking corn on the sabbath (12:1‑4)

Χ.                     χ. The Son of man is Lord of the sabbath (12:58)

ο. Healing a withered hand on the sabbath (12:913)

ω. Jesus as gentle judgment (Is. 42:1‑4) — the Pharisees’ decision to kill him (12:1421)

 β. A city divided against itself shall not stand (refuting the Beelzebub accusation) (12:22‑30)

Ο.             χ. A tree is known by its fruit (12:31‑37)

ο. This evil generation asks for a sign – one greater than Jonas and Solomon is here (12:38‑45)

Ω.  ω. Mother and brethren approach Jesus (12:46–13:2)

Discourse Χ. Parables on the Kingdom (13:3‑53)

“The whole world is one long parable, made up of innumerable parables.”

– St. Nikolai Velimirovich,

opening line of his homily on the Parable of the Sower

Of relevance to this remark, one might very well muse that the terms ‘parable’ and ‘parabola’ derive from the same Greek word, meaning juxtaposition or comparison, and that the parabola with its two symmetrical arcs curving into a center is precisely the shape of the chiasmus when conceived graphically.

But St. Nikolai continues: “This world and all that is in it is as ephemeral as a tale that is told. But the spiritual kernel that is hidden within the layers of every parable is enduring and does not decay. Those who nourish only their eyes and ears by these parables remain spiritually hungry, for the spirit is nourished by the kernel of these parables, and they are not capable of penetrating to this kernel. An unspiritual, sensual man feeds on the green leaves of many parables, and remains always hungry and restless from this hunger. A spiritual man seeks the kernel of these manifold parables and, feeding on it, becomes satisfied and filled with peace. All things that exist are parables, for they are all, like green leaves or layers, wrapped round the hidden kernel. All that happens is the stuff of parable, for it is the clothing for the spiritual content, kernel, and nourishment.

“Placed in this world, man is as though encompassed by a sea of God’s wisdom expressed in parables. But he who looks on this wisdom only with his eyes sees nothing but the vesture in which this wisdom is clothed; he looks, and sees the vesture of nature, but does not see its spirit and kernel; he listens, and hears nature, but he hears only empty voices, not understanding their meaning. The eye is not given to see nature’s kernel, nor the ear given to hear its meaning. Spirit finds spirit; meaning looks to meaning; understanding meets understanding; love senses love.”

And again he writes: “All spiritual truth is from the other world — the spiritual, heavenly world — and it can be perceived and grasped only with spiritual sight, hearing, and understanding. But these spiritual truths are set forth in this world under the form of things and incidents. Many have lost the sight, hearing, and understanding of spiritual truths. Many only see the form, and only listen to the outward voice, and understand only the outward content, form, and nature of things and incidents. This is bodily sight, bodily hearing, and bodily understanding. The Lord Jesus knew men’s blindness and therefore, as a most wise Teacher, led men from bodily subjects to spiritual, and from physical facts to spiritual. He therefore spoke to them in parables — in a form that was able to be grasped by their sight, hearing, and understanding.”

St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homilies: A Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays throughout the Year, Volume Two, td. by Mother Maria (Birmingham, UK: Lazarica Press, 1996), pp. 211–12, 216.

Ϛ. Purification: The Parable of the Sower (13:323)

Intro (13:3a)

ς. Parable #1 (to the multitude): The parable of the sower (13:3b‑9)

ζ. Why speak in parables: to give knowledge, in fulfillment of the prophecy (Is. 6:9‑10) (13:9‑17)

η. Explanation to the disciples of the parable of the sower (delayed) (13:18‑23)

Ζ. Illumination: Parables of the field of wheat and tares, the mustard seed, and the leaven (13:24‑43)

Parables #2–4 (to the multitude)

The field of wheat and tares (13:2430)

ς.            The grain of mustard seed (13:3132)

The leaven hidden in meal (13:33)

   ζ.   Prophecy fulfilled — secret things uttered (Ps. 77:2) (13:3435)

η.   Explanation to the disciples of the parable of the field of wheat and tares (delayed) 


Η. Perfection: Parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl, and the dragnet (13:44‑53)

Parables #57 (to the disciples)

The treasure hidden in the field (13:44)

ς.            The pearl of great price (13:4546)

The dragnet gathering good and bad — with immediate explanation (13:4750)

   ζ.   The disciples understand (13:51)

η.   Parable #8: A parable of parable-creating
             — the householder’s treasury of things new and old (13:52)

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables,
he departed thence. (13:53)

Narrative Ο. The Kingdom Overcomes Resistance (13:54–ch. 17)

Α.   A prophet without honor in his country (13:54‑58)

Passion premonition — Jesus is (the Baptist) risen from the dead (14:1‑2)

The great lengths necessary to achieve understanding 

ς. The passion of John the Baptist (14:312)

ζ. Pedagogical miracles — teaching of the heart

α. (Mass healing) Feeding the 5,000 (14:1322)

Β.                 β. Walking on the water — O thou Peter of little faith (14:2333)

χ. (Mass healing) Scribes and Pharisees on tradition (14:34–15:20)

ο. The Canaanite woman — O Gentile woman, great is thy faith (15:2128)

ω. (Mass healing) Feeding of the 4,000 (15:2939)

η. The disciples require further explaining to exceed the Pharisees (16:112)

To savor the things that be of God, not those that be of men

α. Peter’s confession of Christ — ‘the Son of the living God’ (16:1320)

β. Passion prediction — the first, at Caesarea Philippi (16:21)

Χ.                      χ. Peter and Christ exchange rebukes (16:2223)

ο. Passion prescription for disciples (16:2427)

ω. Transfiguration — ‘This is my beloved Son’ (16:28–17:9)

Not but by prayer and fasting

ς. Elias is come already (John the Baptist), and has suffered from them (17:1013)

Ο.          ζ. Jesus exorcises and heals where the disciples fail (17:1418)

η. The disciples require further instruction to gain power over demons (17:1921)

Passion prediction — the second, in Galilee (17:2223)

Ω.   Jesus and Peter taxed as strangers — reconciliation before the Ecclesial Sermon (17:2427)

Discourse Ο. The Ecclesial Sermon (ch. 18–19:2)

Α. On offenses to little ones (18:1‑14)

α. Little children as examples of humility (18:1‑5)

β. It would be better for an offender of such ones to be cast in the sea with a millstone on his neck (18:6)

χ. Offenses must come, but woe to them through whom they come (18:7)

ο. It would be better to enter life maimed than to be cast whole into hell fire (18:89)

ω. The little ones as lost sheep — it is not your Father’s will that even one of a hundred should perish (18:1014)

Β. If thy brother shall sin against thee (18:1517)

Full text (through Ο.)

Admonish thy brother

Moreover if thy brother shall sin against thee, 

go and admonish him

α.             between thee and him alone: 

if he shall hear thee, 

thou hast gained thy brother. (18:15)

The church as the final arbiter — above the Law and separate from the Gentiles

But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY WORD MAY BE ESTABLISHED [Deut. 19:15]. (18:16)

β.        And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: 

   but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a Gentile and a publican.’ (18:17)

Χ. What you bind and loose on earth is bound and loosed in heaven (18:18)

χ.Verily I say unto you, 

Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth

shall be bound in heaven: 

and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth 

shall be loosed in heaven.’ (18:18)

Ο. If two of you shall agree on earth (18:1922)

The church incorporated into the relationship between the Father and the Son

Again I say unto you, 

That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, 

ο.            it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (18:19)

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, 

there am I {the Son} in the midst of them.’ (18:20)

Forgive thy brother 

Then came Peter to him, and said,

‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? 

till seven times?’ (18:21)

ω.   Jesus saith unto him,

‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: 

but, Until seventy times seven.’ (18:22)

Ω. Parable of the unforgiving servant (18:23–19:2)

Full text

α. ‘Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. (18:23)

Lord forgives a servant’s large debt

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. (18:24)

     ς.    But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him, his wife, children, and all that he had to be sold, 

and payment to be made. (18:25)

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, 

β.           ζ.      saying, “Lord, have patience with me, 

and I will pay thee all.” (18:26)

Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, 

   η.     and loosed him, 

and forgave him the debt. (18:27)

Servant condemns a fellowservant for his small debt

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence:

     ς.    and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat,  

saying, “Pay me that thou owest.” (18:28)

And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, 

χ.           ζ.      saying, “Have patience with me, 

and I will pay thee all.” (18:29)

And he would not: 

   η.     but went and cast him into prison, 

till he should pay the debt. (18:30)

Lord condemns the servant for his debt

So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. (18:31)

     ς.    Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, “O thou evil servant, 

I forgave thee all that debt,

because thou desiredst me: (18:32)

ο.           ζ.      Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, 

even as I had pity on thee?” (18:33)

And his lord was wroth, 

   η.     and delivered him to the tormentors, 

till he should pay all that was due unto him. (18:34)

ω. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’ (18:35) 


And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, 

he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; 

And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. (19:12)

Narrative Ω. David’s Son and Lord Enters into Jerusalem (19:3–ch. 22)

Α. Questions and responses — on the border of Judaea (19:3‑29)

ς. On marriage, divorce, and celibacy — childlike innocence (19:3‑15)

ζ. On keeping commandments — the sorrowful young man with great possessions (19:16‑22)

η. The twelve thrones for those who forsake all — with God all things are possible (19:23‑29)

Β. The first shall be last, and the last shall be first going up to Jerusalem (19:30–20:28)

ς. Parable of the eleventh hour many are called, but few chosen (19:30–20:16)

ζ. Passion prediction — the third, on the way to Jerusalem (20:1719)

η. The two sons of Zebedee request privilege in the kingdom (20:20‑28)

Χ. From Jericho to Jerusalem to Bethany, and back into the city (20:2921:22)

α.  After departing Jericho — miraculous healing of two blind men (20:2934)

β.  When they drew nigh to Jerusalem, at Bethphage, the Mount of Olives (21:1a)

      Jesus commands two disciples to fetch an ass and colt, fulfilling the prophet
α.  (Zech. 9:9) (21:1b5)

     The disciples put garments on the animals for Jesus to sit on; the
β.  multitudes put down garments and branches on the way (21:68)

The multitudes: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’ (21:9)

χ.                       χ.            Jesus enters Jerusalem (21:10)

The multitudes: This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee’ (21:11)

ο.  In the temple, the ‘house of prayer,’ Jesus casts out merchants and customers
     and heals the blind and lame (21:1214)

ω.  The chief priests and scribes are sore displeased, but ‘Out of the mouth of babes
     and sucklings thou hast perfected praise’ (Ps. 8:2) (21:1516)

ο.  He went out of the city unto Bethany and lodged there (21:17)

ω.  As he returned into the city in the morning — miraculous cursing of the fig tree (21:18‑22)

Ο. Parables on obedience and disobedience — when he was come into the temple (21:2322:14)

ς. Parable of the two sons two reactions to John the Baptist (21:2332)

ζ. Parable of the vineyard, foretelling the Passion (21:3346)

η. Parable of the wedding feast — many are called, but few chosen (22:114)

Ω. Questions and responses — outside Jerusalem (22:1546)

intro (22:15)

ς.  Response to the Herodians: render Caesar’s unto Caesar and God’s unto God (22:1622)

  ζ.  Response to the Sadducees: God is not the God of the dead but of the living (22:2333)

ς. Response to the Pharisee lawyer: the first and great commandment, and the second like unto it (22:23‑33)

 η.           ζ. Question to the Pharisees: How is the Messiah both David’s son and Lord? (22:4146a)

η. No one dared ask him any more questions (22:46b)

Discourse Ω. The Eschatological Sermon (ch. 23–26:2)

Α. Do not after the Pharisees — the exalted shall be humbled, and the humbled exalted (23:1‑12)

α. The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat; do what they say, not what they do (23:1‑3)

β. They bind heavy burdens to men’s shoulders but won’t move them with a finger (23:4)

χ. To be seen of men: broad phylacteries, uppermost rooms at feasts, and greetings in the markets (23:5‑7)

ο. But Christ is your one leader, your Father in heaven is your one father (23:8‑10)

ω. The greatest among you shall be your servant; the exalted humbled, the humbled exalted (23:1112)

Β. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (23:1339)

ς. Woe #1: Devouring widows’ houses — damnation (23:14)

ς.         ζ. Woe #2: Shutting up the kingdom neither entering, nor suffering to enter (23:13)

    η. Woe #3: Perverting the proselytes gehenna (23:15)

ζ.   Woes #4–6: Blind guides (23:1626)                                                    See CLOSE-UP

η.   Woes #7–8: For killing the prophets, all these things shall come upon this generation (23:2739)

Χ. The end of the world (24:1‑31)

α. On the destruction of the temple; on the sign of Jesus’ coming and the world’s end (24:1‑3)

β. False messiahs and the beginnings of sorrows (24:412)

χ. Salvation: Flee Judaea — endure unto the end (24:1322)

ο. False messiahs — I have told you before (24:2328)

ω. The coming of the Son of man — the end of the world (24:2931)

Ο. Parables on the coming of the Lord (24:3225:30)

ς.   Parable of the fig tree two reactions to John the Baptist (24:3236)

ζ.   Parables on the coming of the Son of man — watch (24:37‑44)

    ς. Parable of the faithful servant and the evil servantweeping and gnashing (24:4551)

η.         ζ. Parable of the ten virginsfive enter, five shut out (25:1‑13)

η. Parable of the talentsweeping and gnashing (25:14‑30)

Ω. Dividing the sheep from the goats: Exalting the humbled, and humbling the exalted (25:31–26:2)

α. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, he shall judge the nations from his throne (25:3132)

β. The sheep on the right,

the goats on the left (25:33)

χ. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these (25:34‑40)

χ’. Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these (25:41‑45)

These shall go away into everlasting punishment,

ο. but the righteous into life eternal (25:46)

ω. And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 

‘Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.’ (26:1‑2)

Passion and Resurrection (26:3–ch. 28)

Ϛ. The Cross (26:3–27:61)

Intro: Treacherous men surround the anointing for burial (26:3‑16)

ς. The chief priests conspire to kill Jesus (26:3-5)

    In Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper (26:6)

α.        A woman pours very precious myrrh on Jesus (26:7)

To what purpose is this waste? (26:8)

β.       It could have been sold

and given to the poor (26:9)

ζ.                       χ.        Why trouble her? She has done a good work upon me (26:10)

You have the poor always with you

ο.        but me you do not always have (26:11)

She did it to prepare me for burial (26:12)

ω. Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world

It will be told as a memorial of her (26:13)

η. Judas conspires with the chief priests (26:14-16)

Α. The Mystical Supper, and on to the Mount of Olives (26:17‑30)

ς. The passover meal arranged — prediction of Judas’ betrayal of the Son of man (26:1725)

ζ. Mystical Supper — the body and blood of Christ, shed for many (26:26‑28)

η. Vow not to drink of the vine until the Father’s kingdom on to the Mount Olives (26:2930)

Β. Gethsemane: Agony and arrest; Judas’ betrayal (26:31‑56)

ς. I will smite the shepherd (Zech. 13:7) — prediction of Peter’s (Simon’s) denial (26:31-35)

ζ. Agony in Gethsemane — Jesus to the Father: not my will, but thy will be done (26:36‑46)

η. Judas’ betrayal; the arrest — abstaining from political rebellion (26:4756)

Χ. Trial before Caiaphas and the sanhedrin (26:57–27:2)

intro: To Caiaphas the high priest, with the scribes and elders (26:57)

α.   Peter enters the high priest’s courtyard and sits (26:58)

The sanhedrin seeks false witnesses to put Jesus to death (26:5960a)

β.       Two false witnesses testify (26:60b62)

Jesus holds his peace (26:63a)

β.            χ. The high priest demands to know if Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

χ’. Jesus accepts the question as a declaration and exalts the Son of man (26:63b‑64)

The high priest rends his clothes

ο.        and claims there is no more need of witnesses (26:65)

They pronounce him guilty of death and buffet him (26:6668)

χ.     Peter sits in the courtyard (26:69a)

(out of doors, yet interior to the palace, surrounded by the building)

β. A damsel identifies Peter as a follower of Jesus and he deflects (26:69b‑70)

ο.            χ. On the porch another does the same and he denies knowing the man (26:7172)

ο. Peter’s speech is marked; he curses and swears and denies knowing the man (26:7374a)

ω.   The cock crows — Peter goes out and weeps bitterly (26:74b75)

extro: The chief priests and elders agree to put Jesus to death and deliver him to Pilate (27:1‑2)

Ο. Judas’ suicide; Jesus’ fate determined by Pilate (27:3‑32)

ς. Judas’ suicide — abstaining from self-defense before the authorities (27:3‑14)

ζ. Sentenced to crucifixion Pilate to the people: not my will, but your will be done (27:1526)

η. Torture of Jesus — and Simon of Cyrene compelled to bear the cross (27:27‑32)

Ω. On to Golgotha: The crucifixion and death (27:3354)

ς. To a place called Golgotharefusal to drink vinegar and gall (27:3334)

ζ. Crucifixion and death (27:3550)See CLOSE-UP

η. Miraculous paschal imagery — the centurion confesses the Son of God (27:5154)

Extro: Faithful women surround the burial (27:55‑61)

ς. Many women beholding afar off (26:55-56)

α. There came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph (26:57)

β. He begs Pilate for the body, who orders it given (26:58)

  ζ.                     χ. Joseph receives the body and wraps it in linen (26:59)

ο. He places it in a new tomb hewn out of rock 

ω. Having rolled a great stone over the door of the tomb, he departs (26:60)

ς. Mary and Mary by the sepulcher (26:61)

Ζ. The Empty Tomb (27:62–28:15)

Α. The chief priests and Pharisees obtain a watch (27:6266)

intro (27:62) 

α. ‘That deceiver said he would rise again’ (27:63)

β. ‘Make sure the sepulcher’ 

χ. ‘Lest his disciples steal him and say he has risen’ (27:64)

ο. Pilate grants watch guards to the Jews (27:65)

ω. The chief priests set in place the watch guards (27:66)

Β. The appearance of the angel to the women (28:14)

intro: The women come (28:1)

α. There is a great earthquake 

β. An angel descends from heaven 

and rolls back the stone from the door 

χ. And sits on it (28:2)

His countenance like lightning 

ο. His raiment white as snow (28:3)

ω. The guards quake, become as dead (28:4)

Χ. The angel’s discourse (28:57)

intro: The angel says, 

α.   ‘Fear not

  You seek Jesus (28:5)

β.   He is not here 

χ.   He is risen

Come, see (28:6)

Quickly go, tell

χ’.   That he is risen

ο.   He’ll be in Galilee

  You’ll see him there

ω.   I have spoken’ (28:7)

Ο. The appearance of Jesus to the women (28:811a)

extro: The women depart (28:8)

α. As they go, behold

β. Jesus meets them 

‘All hail’ 

χ. They come, hold his feet, and worship him (28:9)

‘Be not afraid’ 

ο. ‘I’ll meet the disciples in Galilee’ (28:10)

ω. When they are going, behold... (28:11a)

Ω. The chief priests and elders conspire against the Resurrection (28:11b15)

α. ...the watch guards return to the chief priests (28:11b)

β. The chief priests and elders give large money to the guards (28:12)

χ. ‘Say that his disciples stole him’ (28:13)

ο. ‘We’ll secure you before Pilate’ (28:14)

ω. This saying is commonly reported among the Jews (28:15)

Η. Worship on the Mountain (28:16‑17)

α. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee,

β. into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. (28:16)

χ. And when they saw him, (18:7)

ο. they worshipped him:

ω. but some doubted. (28:17)

Extro: Commission (28:18‑19)

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying,

α. ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (28:18)

β. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,

χ. baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: (28:19)

ο. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

ω. and, behold, I am with you every day, unto the end of the world.




Beatitudes & Woes

From Discourse Α. 

α. Blessed are the poor in spirit: 

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)

β. Blessed are they that mourn: 

for they shall be comforted. (5:4)

χ. Blessed are THE MEEK

for they SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH. (Ps. 36:11) (5:5)

ο. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: 

for they shall be filled. (5:6)

ω. Blessed are the merciful: 

for they shall obtain mercy. (5:7)

ς. Blessed are the pure in heart: 

    for they shall see God. (5:8)

ζ. Blessed are the peacemakers: 

    for they shall be called the sons of God. (5:9)

η. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: 

     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (5:10)

From Discourse Ω.

English Bibles, when they contain both the first two Woes, verses 23:13 and 23:14, commonly place them in the wrong order according to the Byzantine Majority textual tradition proliferated by the Church. Even the Textus Receptus on which the King James Bible is based contains this discrepancy. I only know how to make sense of the literary structure using the Church’s text. Besides the structures suggested here in this close-up, there is also the chiastic parallel of the first three Woes in their proper order — damnation (v. 14) / neither entering, nor suffering to enter (v. 13) / gehenna (v. 15) — with the three parables on the other side of the Eschatological Sermon: weeping and gnashing (24:45‑51) / five enter, five shut out (25:1‑13) / weeping and gnashing (25:14‑30). See Discourse Ω.

ς. Woes #1–3: Shutting up the kingdom (23:13‑15)

But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye devour widows’ houses,

ς.       and for a pretence make long prayer:

therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (23:14)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men:

ζ.        for ye neither go in yourselves,

neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (23:13)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye compass sea and dry land to make one proselyte,

η.       and when he has become so,

ye make him twofold more the son of gehenna than yourselves. (23:15)

ζ. Woes #4–6: Blind guides (23:16‑26)

Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say,

“Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing;

but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!” (23:16)

Ye fools and blind:

for whether is greater, the gold, 

or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? (23:17)

And, “Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; 

ς.                                      but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.” (23:18)

Ye fools and blind: 

for whether is greater, the gift, 

or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? (23:19)

Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. (23:20)

And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. (23:21)

And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. (23:22)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, 

and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, 

ζ.                  these ought ye to have done, 

and not to leave the other undone. (23:23)

Ye blind guides, 

which strain out a gnat, 

and a camel, ye swallow. (23:24)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, 

but within they are full of extortion and injustice. (23:25)

η.                      Thou blind Pharisee, 

cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, 

that the outside of them may be clean also. (23:26)

η. Woes #7–8: Killing the prophets (23:2739)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward,

but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. (23:27)

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men,

but within ye are replete with hypocrisy and unlawfulness. (23:28)

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

ς.                            because ye build the sepulchres of the prophets,

and garnish the tombs of the righteous, (23:29)

And say, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, 

we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” (23:30)

Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, 

that ye are the sons of them which killed the prophets. (23:31)

Fulfill ye then the portion of your fathers. (23:32)

Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye flee the damnation of gehenna? (23:33)

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: 
and some of them ye shall slay and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (23:34)

ζ.                       That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth,

from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye killed between the temple and the altar. (23:35)

Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (23:36)

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 

thou that slayest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, 

how often would I 

have gathered thy children together, 

η.                                 even as a hen 

gathereth her chickens under her wings, 

and ye would not! (23:37)

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (23:38)

For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.’ (Ps. 117 :26) (23:39)

Moreover, the Woes represent an undoing of the Beatitudes. After the first Woe — which aligns with the first Beatitude, thus functioning as a kind of heading — the rest of the Woes correspond to the rest of the Beatitudes in reverse order.


1. poor in spirit, kingdom of heaven (5:3)

2. mourn, comforted (5:4)

3. meek, inherit the earth (5:5)

4. hunger and thirst for righteousness, filled (5:6)

5. merciful, find mercy (5:7)

6. pure in heart, see God (5:8)

7. peacemakers, sons of God (5:9)

8. persecuted for righteousness, kingdom of heaven (5:10)


1. devour widows’ houses, shall receive the greater damnation (23:14)

2. shutting up the kingdom of heaven (23:14)

3. making a proselyte twofold the son of gehenna (23:14)

4. fools and blind, swearing (23:14)

5. leaving undone judgement, mercy, and faith (23:14)

6. only cleaning the outside of the cup and platter (23:14)

7–8. upon you will come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth 

7–8. for killing the prophets: Jerusalem, Jerusalem (23:27‑39)

Woes #7 and #8 go hand in hand and are swept into a larger structure that contains
the relevant passages at 23:35 and 23:37. See in the close-up directly above.

The Crucifixion

From HEAD (Η). Passion and Resurrection (26:3–ch. 28),
subsection Ϛ. The Cross (26:3–27:61)

Full text

The Crucifixion (27:35‑50)

And they crucified him, 

α.       and parted his garments, casting lots (cf. Ps. 21:18): (27:35)

  And sitting down they watched him there; (27:36)

β.   And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (27:37)

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. (27:38)

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, (27:39)
‘Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself.

If thou be Son of God, come down from the cross.’ (27:40)

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 

ζ.                                χ.                              ‘He saved others; himself he cannot save.

If he be King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross,

and we will believe him. (27:41‑42)

He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him:

for he said, “I am Son of God.”’ (27:43)

The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. (27:44)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the earth unto the ninth hour. (27:45)

ο.       And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,

saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say,

  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, 

ω.       said, ‘This man calleth for Elijah.’ (27:47)

  And immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, 

  and put it on a reed, and would give him to drink (cf. Ps. 68:26). (27:48)

The rest said, ‘Let be, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ (27:49)

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit. (27:50)


I have the full text of the Gospel of Matthew outlined — more than I’ve been able to show here.
This section of close-ups could be expanded greatly as desired or as requested.

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