Who was Matthew in the New Testament?
- Matthew was one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ and the author of the gospel that bears his name.
- Matthew is the same person as Levi and he is the son of Alphaeus.
- He was a tax collector before following Jesus (Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14 ; Luke 5:27). It’s probable that he collected the dues and customs from travelers crossing the Lake of Gennesareth.
- As a tax collector, he was an employee of Herod Antipas.
- Tax collectors were notorious for adding confiscatory fees on top of the taxes due.
- Jews despised Jews who became tax collectors. As a rule, only the most desperate Jews accepted the job.
- Matthew’s job would require him to know the value of all kinds of goods as well as the value of local and foreign monetary systems.
- Matthew’s job would require him to know Greek, the language of commerce, as well as the local Aramaic language.
- In the Mark 3:18 and Luke 6:15, Matthew is coupled with Thomas, which has given rise to the conjecture that Matthew was the twin brother of Thomas.
- Others speculate that Matthew and James (the less) are brothers or half-brothers because the father of James the less is also named Alphaeus (Mark 3:18; Matthew 10:3; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).
- Others think if Matthew had a brother among the 12 it would have been clearly mentioned.
- According to tradition, Matthew remained in Jerusalem about 15 years after the resurrection of Jesus.
- After that, Matthew traveled to Persia and Ethiopia.
- Some traditions claim, Matthew was one of the few apostles who did not suffer martyrdom. However, other traditions claim he was martyred in Ethiopia.
Matthew in Scripture
Mat 9:9: As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Mat 10:3: Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Mar 3:18: Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
Luk 6:15: and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot,
Mar 2:14: And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.
Luk 5:27: After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.”
Luk 5:29: And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
American Tract Society: Matthew
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary: Matthew
Easton’s Bible Dictionary: Matthew
Fausset Bible Dictionary: Matthew
Holman Bible Dictionary: Matthew
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Matthew, the Apostle
Kitto’s Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature: Matthew
Morrish Bible Dictionary: Matthew
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Matthew
McClintock and Strong: Matthew
The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Matthew
Matthew means “given; a reward” – Hitchcock’s Bible Names
Resources: Gospel of Matthew
Where to next?
Background & History
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