Matthew 1: Jesus Christ Is Born

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 10


Matthew began his testimony with an important family history to show that Jesus was a descendent of Abraham and a descendant of king David. To be a descendant of Abraham was important because God had promised Abraham that his descendants would bless and bring salvation to the whole world (see Genesis 12:2–3; Abraham 2:9–11). To be a descendant of King David was important because the Jews knew that the Messiah would be a literal descendant of David (see Isaiah 11:1–9).Elder James E. Talmage, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught that if Judah had been continually ruled by kings since the time of David, Mary’s husband Joseph “would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd. ed. [1916], 87).The story of Christ’s birth is also found in Luke 2. Matthew 1 tells the story of Joseph and the birth of Christ, while Luke 1–2 tells Mary’s story. As you read Matthew 1:18–25, look for qualities in Joseph that would make him a good guardian and father to Jesus.

Understanding the Scriptures

Matthew 1

Found with child (v. 18)Going to have a baby, pregnant 
Be with child (v. 23)Going to have a baby, pregnant 
Of the Holy Ghost (v. 18)It happened by the power of the Holy Ghost (but the Holy Ghost is not His father) 
Just (v. 19)Righteous 
Being interpreted is (v. 23)Means, is translated 
Knew her not (v. 25)Did not have any sexual relations with her 

Matthew 1:18–19—“Espoused”

Espousal was a formal agreement to be married. The agreement was so strong that if a person was unfaithful during the espousal it was considered adultery and punishable by death (see Deuteronomy 22:23–24). This was the reason Joseph was so concerned about Mary’s pregnancy and what he should do about it.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Matthew 1.

Activity A iconPreparing a Father for Jesus

  1. 1.

    What did Joseph want to do when he found out Mary was expecting a baby? (see Matthew 1:18–19).

  2. 2.

    What did Joseph decide to do after the visit of the angel in his dream? (see Matthew 1:20–25).

  3. 3.

    Although Joseph was not the literal father of Jesus, he must have been the kind of man Heavenly Father trusted to be a father to Jesus in mortality. Notice how Joseph responded to situations in Matthew 1:18–25 and write about at least two qualities he demonstrated that you think you could develop as you prepare to be a parent.