Bible Notes on “What Is the Kingdom of Heaven?”

The scripture references below go with today’s post of A Scriptural Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Matthew 4:17  (Jesus speaks of “the kingdom of heaven.”)

Mark 1:14-15  (Jesus speaks of “the kingdom of God.”)

The two passages referenced both speak of the same activity of Jesus.  Matthew seems to be written more for Jewish than Gentile readers.  This may account for why Matthew mentions “the kingdom of God” 4 times and “the kingdom of heaven” 31 times while Mark mentions “the kingdom of God” 14 times and “the kingdom of heaven” not at all.

To round out the accounting, the Gospel of Luke has “the kingdom of God” 31 times and “the kingdom of heaven” not at all.  (Luke was probably the Gentile, and therefore the only Gentile who authored a New Testament book; he wrote the Gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.)  The Gospel of John has two references to “the kingdom of God” and none to “the kingdom of heaven.”  Thus Matthew is the only Gospel to use the expression “kingdom of heaven.”

In total the phrase “the kingdom of God” appears 51 times in the Gospels and the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” appears 31 times.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, “the kingdom of God” appears 14 times and “the kingdom of heaven” not at all.  Neither phrase appears in the Old Testament (at least in the NASB).

Sometimes the Gospels just use the shortened term “the kingdom.”  It’s obvious in the reading that all these phrasings are synonymous and refer to the same idea.

Any quotations of Scripture are taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

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