God as father, with special reference to Matthew's Gospel
This is an inductive study of the ideas associated with God as father, particularly in the context of Matthew's gospel. The ideas associated with God as father in the Old Testament, early Judaism and rabbinic literature are linked to covenant relationships which affirm God's trustworthiness and faithfulness and require his people's obedience. Matthew's understanding of God as father shows kinship with these ideas. One group of texts refers to the character or nature of God as father. Matthew gives particular attention to the will of God and its fulfillment. In a second group of texts Matthew affirms God's care for the world in general and for disciples in particular and assures disciples that the events of their lives are under the Father's control. A third group of texts refers to the fact that the disciple's life from beginning to end is marked by God's grace and includes the certainty of reward for the righteous. This interplay of the Father's grace and the disciple's response of righteousness is given explicit form in a fourth group of texts which addresses particular expectations or stipulations. The citations in this last section are particular illustrations of Matthew's general tendency to intertwine references to God as father with practical concerns. His references to God as father thus form part of the wider ethical interests which characterize the First Gospel.