Original Research

The foundational statement in Matthew 5:17-20 on the continuing validity of the law

F.P. Viljoen
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 45, No 2/3 | a20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v45i2/3.20 | © 2011 F.P. Viljoen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2011 | Published: 22 June 2011

About the author(s)

F.P. Viljoen, Unit for Reformed Theology, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, POTCHEFSTROOM

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The statement of Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20 forms a pivotal point of Matthew’s teaching on the law. Yet, some scholars argue that these verses reveal a strong Jewish character, with eclectic layers of traditions that even contradict one another. Matthew is being accused of careless inclusion of this material into his text which led to an inconsistent overall teaching of the law. This article proposes that a careful reading of the different elements of the statement within its context reveals its coherence. The statement forms an inherent part of the Sermon on the Mount and the rest of the Gospel through which Matthew in a pastoral manner addresses concerns of his community regarding their righteousness.


Law; Abrogation; Righteousness; Torah


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