One of my favorite topics to teach about is the Biblical Christmas story.  We all have heard it and read it so often, that we think we know it–and maybe some people do.  But my experience is that when we start to read with a questioning eye and with our sanctified imagination turned on, there is a lot that we can learn about our Savior and His first coming to earth.

This month I will be working through the Christmas story in the Gospel of Matthew with my Sunday School class, and I thought I would post some of the teaser questions here today; next week I will update it with the answers as I understand them.  Remember:  I always start with the assumption that the Word of God as preserved and delivered to us is absolutely, literally true and free from contradiction.  My favorite historical source is Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.

Can you answer these questions?

  1. Why does the genealogy in Chapter 1 start with Abraham instead of Adam or Noah?
  2. It claims to be the genealogy of Joseph.  What historical evidence does it contain that confirms this?
  3. What is significant about vv. 3, 5, and 6?  What do they tell us about God?
  4. Verse 17 breaks the genealogy into three groups of 14 generations; but the first group covered about 1000 years; the second about 400; and the third about 600.  Is Matthew being literal, or is there some other explanation for his divisions?
  5. What does espoused mean in verse 18?
  6. What is the significance of Jesus Christ being “of the Holy Ghost”?  What major doctrines does this relate to?
  7. Did Joseph love Mary?  What does verse 19 indicate on this topic?
  8. Does verse 19 justify divorce?
  9. Verse 20 says that “the angel of the Lord” appeared to Joseph.  That term usually refers to the pre-incarnate Christ; did Jesus Himself appear to Joseph before He was born?
  10. Why did the angel appear in a dream, instead of face-to-face, as with Mary?  Does this tell us anything about Joseph’s spirituality?
  11. Joseph was told the sex of the baby before it was born.  Is that indirectly a justification for all the prenatal testing and scientific procedures we use today?
  12. In verse 23, does the word “virgin” mean a virgin, or a young lady, as some translations have it?  What doctrinal significance does the answer make?
  13. What comfort can we take from the fact that all this was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah?
  14. If His name is Jesus, why does verse 23 say He will be called Immanuel?  Did anyone in the Bible ever call Him Immanuel?
  15. What do we learn about Joseph’s character from verses 24 and 25?
  16. If Joseph didn’t consummate the marriage, were he and Mary really married?  Hypothetically, could they have had the marriage annulled?

Do you get the idea?  There’s a lot more to the Christmas story than a baby in a manger.  Visit me throughout the month of December for more questions (and eventual answers) to make this Christmas season a little more Biblical and blessed.