Ancient biographies could open with the subject's public vocation, as in Mark, but often began by rehearsing the background of the central character. Such background might include a noble or prominent ancestry (Mt 1:1-17), virtuous parents (1:18-25), childhood background that introduced themes relevant to the subject's later public activity (2:1-23), the attestation of others to the person's character (3:1-17), including that of the person's adherents (4:18-25), and qualifying tests through which the person's character was proved (4:1-11). Such introductory comments set the tone for the whole of the work that would follow.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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