There’s no scholarly agreement about the question of who wrote the Gospel of Matthew. However, some early sources demonstrate that the Apostle of Matthew is the one who wrote the first Gospel.
You see, the New Testament starts with the Gospel of Matthew. However, what do people understand about the origin of the First Gospel? In the age where traditional scholarship is questioned and often ignored, numerous theories exist as to whom the author of the First Gospel might be.
Traditionally speaking, the church has credited the First Gospel to the apostle referred to as Matthew. Nonetheless, what proof do we discovered about the author of the first book in the New Testament?
What are the Gospels?
The term “gospel” is translated from the Greek word euangeliou or euaggelion that means good news. In the Holy Bible, the Gospels are the four accounts of the life, death, ministry, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as written by His disciples.
Did you know that these gospels are considered to be narrative, historical, and theological literature? They are also deemed to be the full truth about Christ’s miracles and His teachings, either recounting what occurred after the events of the Gospels and how the church spread, or particular teachings by different apostles on how people are to live as followers of Christ and how to better understand the teachings of Christ. They are intended to be truthful and to share historically correct information.
Keep in mind that the Gospels are composed of the books of John, Luke, Mark, and Matthew. Traditionally, scholars think the previous tax collector Matthew, also referred to as Levi, and one of the apostles of Jesus who traveled along with him wrote the Gospel of Matthew.
The account is anonymous, but first church fathers universally agree Matthew was the sole author. Further, they also think John Mark—a close friend of Peter the apostle—wrote the Gospel of Mark.
What is the Gospel of Matthew about?
The book of Matthew was the first of four books in the New Testament, referred to as the Gospels. Matthew, whose name means gift of the Lord, was a tax collector. He left his job to follow Jesus Christ. In the books of Luke and Mark, he is called by his other name, Levi. Take note that he’s also known as the son of Alphaeus.
The purpose of this book is to sanction for the readers that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. That’s mainly done by presenting how Jesus in his life and ministry fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.
Some of the notable events described in the Gospels of Matthew includes the following:
- The genealogy tracing of Jesus to David and Abraham
- The beginnings of Jesus’ ministry, which involves his baptism by John the Baptist
- The appointing of the twelve apostles
- A collection of miracles
- The parables and teachings of Jesus
- The arrest, trials, and deaths of Jesus
- The resurrection of Jesus
When was the Gospel of Matthew written?
The date of Matthew’s Gospel is far from certain. Three pieces of confirmation have been advanced to show that he wrote it after 70 CE. First, Matthew himself is dependent upon the Gospel of Mark, and Mark is typically dated to the late sixties or early seventies.
Further, the Gospel of Matthew has established Christology that recommends a late date towards the end of the first century. Ultimately, the reference of the city’s destruction in Matthew 22:7 can and must be taken as a direct reference to the Jewish War as well as Jerusalem’s destruction in particular. You see, none of such arguments is totally convincing.
In connection to the use of Mark by Matthew, the data of Mark isn’t specific. A few scholars date it early than the sixties. As for the developed Christology of Matthew, it’s no more developed than the Paul’s, and the Pauline letters were created in the fifties.
That leaves the reference to the city’s destruction in the parable of the wedding feast as the ultimate piece of proof for dating Matthew after the Jewish War. Still, that’s decisive, as the question correctly maintains, particularly if you consider the metaphorical nature of the Gospel parables.
Most scholars also think that Matthew took the passage from a hypothetical sayings source known as Q and made massive revisions. If yes, Jesus didn’t speak the parable in exactly that form. However, even if people think that’s the direct reference to the annihilation of Jerusalem, the question remains as to why the evangelist considered that even in such an indirect way, and there aren’t more mentions of it in the Gospel.
Overall, the Gospel of Matthew is one of the four Gospels that are real, explicit words intended by their writers to convey what happened in the life of Christ and what happened after his death and revival. They are important, valid, and helpful and deserve daily study and meditation.