Mt 19:17

Yes, there is a grammatical reason for rendering eis estin o
agathos as "There is one who is good."  It is simply that
normally a Greek substantive adjective refers to a person.  The
argument has always been that Matthew is embarrassed by Mark's
having Jesus deny his goodness and attempts to correct it.  There
is, however, no possible personal referent in Matthew and none is
implied.  I take it that Luke was baffled by Matthew's awkward
Greek here and did the best he could to correct it.  There is
much more to Matthew's passage to suggest that he means Torah by
"the good" than just this line.  The parallels to Proverbs 3:35-4:4
and its similar use in Pirke Aboth 6:3 (where good, Torah, live
and perfect are interwoven) strongly suggest that the Matthean
passage is based on a traditional Jewish treatment of these
issues.  And we need to remember that we are reading Matthew
here, not Jesus.  The first gospel has problems with Jesus'
unkosher behavior but it insists that Jesus' followers must keep
the Torah better than the scribes and Pharisees or "you will
never enter the kingdom of heaven."  On balance I take the entire
pericope to be one of the strongest passages favoring the
priority of Matthew.
Lamar Cope
Carroll College
Waukesha, WI 53186