The Gospel of Matthew follows many of the ancient traditions of the biography of the holy man, a subgenre of the encomium. The traditional elements of the genre, as set out in Menander Rhetor and other rhetoricians of the period, include distinguished ancestry, miraculous signs at birth, evidence of precocious childhood, and famous deeds and sayings.
The Gospel of Matthew derives its materials from two sources, the Gospel of Mark and a collection of the sayings of Jesus sometimes called "Q". Some of this material was shaped into typical rhetorical forms such as the chreia ( a short narrative followed by a moral maxim).
The Gospel of Matthew begins with an extended genealogy tracing Jesus' ancestry back to Abraham and then describes his miraculous conception and the events surrounding his birth. The central section begins with Jesus' encounter with John the Baptist, focuses on the ministry of Jesus, and incorporates many of his sayings and teachings. The central section ends with a description of the Last Supper and the trial and death of Jesus. The final section addresses the Resurrection of Jesus and foundation of Christianity as Jesus instructs his apostles to go out to evangelize the world.