Authenticity of Bible - Matthew 9:9

(Ashish Money) #1

This Muslim Sister, posed one more question using a video of Sheik Ahemad Deedat. And I am so very confused with different translations and don’t understand how to approach an answer to the question. Because I feel the next question would be “Why so many translations?”

The text in question is Matthew 9:9

Why would Matthew use his name or use the the third pronoun he instead of ** I**, if he was the author himself.

Similar kind of question had come to my mind several years ago when I had come to the Lord and started to read the bible. The text in question was Numbers 12: 1-4

If Moses was the author why would he write, “Now Moses was the most humble” contradicting his authorship and humility?

Friends please suggest!

(SeanO) #2

@Ashishraj Ancient historians / authors referred to themselves in the 3rd person, so the fact that Matthew referred to himself in 3rd person does not mean that he did not write the book.

The fellow at the following website broke down the argument very well and showed that the major premise is false.

Major Premise: If a writer refers to himself in the third person, then it is the case that the author did not write the book.

Minor Premise: Matthew refers to himself in the third person (Matthew 9:9).

Conclusion: Therefore, it is the case that Matthew did not write the gospel of Matthew.

The major premise is not sound. If we were to look to other non-biblical ancient literature like Xenophon (Xenophon, Anabasis 1.8.15; 2.5.40; 3.1.10, 47), then a person would discover that Xenophon wrote also in the third person as a historian. There are several other historians who did the same thing. Is the skeptic willing to state that these ancient historians did not write the books they claimed to have written even though they put themselves in it in the third person? To ask is to answer.

(SeanO) #3

@Ashishraj Regarding what Moses said about himself, here are some thoughts from the NET Bible and from another article. In essence, it is not wrong for Moses to say that about himself if it is true. Also, the word ‘humble’ could be translated ‘miserable’, so there is an alternative understanding of the word itself. It is also possible the line was added by those who compiled the works at a later date, though by no means is this understanding demanded by the text.

The statement of Moses’ humility (v. 3) was not a boastful claim by the writer but an inspired statement of fact. We need not conclude that another writer added it later since it is essential to the argument of this passage. That another writer added it later is a distinct possibility , however. One writer suggested that on the basis of etymology, usage, and context the qere reading of the Hebrew word used here is preferable. He believed the Hebrew word should be translated “miserable” rather than “meek”[109**] (my emphasis). Net Bible

This article points out that John, when he wrote his Gospel, called himself the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’. Therefore, there are occasions where God inspires Biblical authors to write things that sound arrogant to us - but are actual descriptors of the reality of the situation. The fact that they offend us says more about our own hearts than it does about the Biblical author.

(Kathleen) #4

Hi, @Ashishraj! Thanks for keeping us updated on these conversations. :slight_smile: Not much else to add to Sean’s reply, but I wonder if another way to think about it is that this is not Matthew’s autobiography of his travels with Jesus. It’s Matthew’s distinct (and markedly Jewish) take on Jesus, the rabbi he followed and whom he subsequently believed to be the Messiah, the Son of God. The story is not about Matthew; it’s about Jesus. The focus is not on Matthew; it’s on Jesus. Furthermore, it is possible that Matthew may not have written it with his own hand, so it makes even more sense of the use of third person. (Even if it was Matthew’s story of Jesus, why would a scribe refer to Matthew as ‘I’ or ‘me’?)

(SeanO) #5

I did not realize this @KMac - interesting that sometimes an amanuensis would use the third person.


(Ashish Money) #6

Thank you Sean and Kmac for your answers they were really helpful to me. I am praying for the sister ans waiting for her reply.

(SeanO) #7

@Ashishraj May the Lord Jesus open her heart to His glory!