Gospel of Matthew



We note two approaches for determining the authorship of Matthew. We may approach the authorship by assigning the authorship based on second century early church fathers, who unanimously believed that Matthew, one of the twelve apostles, was the author. In this approach the author was Matthew, a tax-collector among the Twelve, wrote either the Gospel or a collection of the Lord’s sayings in Aramaic. Some who reject this picture allow that something written by Matthew may have made its way into the present Gospel” (Brown, 1997 p. 172). Or we may approach the authorship by examining internal evidence. In regards to the second approach, internal evidence suggest that the author was “a Greek-speaker, who knew Aramaic or Hebrew or both and was not an eyewitness of Jesus’ ministry, drew on Mark and a collection of the sayings of the Lord—sayings whose origin is unknown [hence we refer to this unknown source as “Q,” as well as on other available traditions, oral or written. Probably a Jewish Christian” (Brown, 1997l p. 172).

According to the former approach, we note the dubious or uncertain nature of Church tradition that identifiesthe author as Matthew, whose name appears eighth in Matthew’s list with the title, “publican” (i.e., “tax collector” [Mt. 10:3]); seventh in the list of Mark (3:18) and Luke (6:17), and eighth in Acts (1:13). The publican of 10:3 is in connection with 9:9, where “Matthew” serves in lieu of “Levi” of mark 2:14 (=Luke 5:27). To be sure, the title “According to Matthew” was assigned to the gospel during the second century C. E. Papias stated: “Matthew arranged in order the sayings in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted/translated as he was able” (qtd in Brown, 1997, p. 209). The “kata” (meaning “according to”) does not affirm authorship. It means “drawn up according to the teachings of.” Since Church Fathers usually used an apostolic name to grant authority, they chose an obscure “publican” for an audience of Gentile predominance where tradition had been blended with legend, and when the ethical teachings of Jesus was being reinterpreted. Matthew could have collected a source not connect to Mark or Luke (an unknown source). Anyway, the name may be just a substitute rendering of “Levi,” or some non-descript publican who was sitting at a table.-- Rcnabi260 00:12, 9 December 2010 (UTC)


Due to Matthew's strong Jewish characteristics, some scholars date his Gospel around the early part of A.D. 50 when the church was largely Jewish and the gospel was preached to the Jews only (cf. Acts 11:19). Again, others who find that Matthew (and even Luke) were dependent upon Mark usually date his Gospel later, anywhere between A.D. 65-75.


Matthew's main purpose is to prove that Jesus is the fulfillment of the OT predictions concerning the Messiah. All of the Gospel writers quote the OT, however Matthew has nine OT proof-texts that are unique to his Gospel (Matt. 1:22-23; 2:15; 2:17-18; 2:23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 27:9-10).

It has also been observed that Matthew seems to group his material around blocks of material suited for instruction, so that Jesus' actions and other concerns seem less prominent in his overall purpose.


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Matthew's theme is that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah of the nation of Israel, as his frequent tying in of material with the Old Testament indicates. He specifically ties Jesus of Nazareth in with the promised descendant of David, which would have been crucial for Jewish readers of his day.

Thus Matthew's portrait of Jesus Christ is focused upon Him as the Lion of Judah more than as, for example, the suffering Servant or the preexistent Logos. As the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter indicates, Matthew is anxious to tie in the Son of God with a real person born of the Royal Line of David.

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See also