Startup: Talk together about any time you can recall in the past when you were faced with a particularly tough dilemma, and saw no positive way out of it.
1. From the long list of names in verses 2-16, identify all the people you’re familiar with, and tell the most interesting facts you know about them.
2. For helpful background on the dilemma Joseph faced in verses 18-19, look together at Deut 22:22-24.
3. For background on the name “Immanuel” for Jesus in verse 23, look together at Isa 7:14.
4. Bible teachers often note that the apostle Matthew wrote this gospel essentially for a Jewish audience. How do you see that reflected in this chapter?
5. EYE FOR DETAIL—If everyone in the group has read the entire chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: The first part of this chapter is a genealogy of Jesus. Besides Jesus, the names of two outstanding biblical heroes are repeated in both the sentence that introduces the genealogy, and in the summary sentence at the end of the genealogy. Who are these two important men? (For the answer, see verses 1 and 17.)
6. If you were Joseph and had the dream he had and heard the words he heard in verses 20-21, what thoughts and questions might come to your mind?
7. Why did Joseph marry Mary, though under the circumstances it did not appear socially or morally proper for him to do so?
8. From what you see in this chapter, how would you describe Joseph’s relationship with God?
9. In verses 18-25 we are presented with the fact of Jesus’ virgin birth. Why is this an important truth for us to know and believe?
10. How could you use this chapter to help explain to someone why Jesus came to earth?
Compare the way in which this gospel begins (verses 1-17), with the way the other three gospels begin (in Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, and John 1:1-18). What do these different “start-up styles” tell you about the purpose of each gospel?
(from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament, © 1992 by Questar Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.)

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