We define a simple, explicit map sending a morphism f : M → N of pointwise finite dimensional persistence modules to a matching between the barcodes of M and N. Our main result is that, in a precise sense, the quality of this matching is tightly controlled by the lengths of the longest intervals in the barcodes of ker f and coker f . As an immediate corollary, we obtain a new proof of the algebraic stability theorem for persistence barcodes [5, 9], a fundamental result in the theory of persistent homology. In contrast to previous proofs, ours shows explicitly how a δ-interleaving morphism between two persistence modules induces a δ-matching between the barcodes of the two modules. Our main result also specializes to a structure theorem for submodules and quotients of persistence modules. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).