Who was Matthew in the Bible – Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, playing a significant role in the New Testament. As a tax collector by profession, Matthew was considered a reviled figure in ancient Judaism. However, his life changed when Jesus called him to follow and learn from him, eventually becoming one of Jesus’ most devoted followers.
Though little is known about Matthew’s personal life, his influence and contributions to Christianity continue to be of great importance. He is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four Gospels in the New Testament, providing a written account of Jesus’ life, teachings, and miracles.
Table of Contents
- Matthew was a tax collector who became one of Jesus’ twelve apostles
- He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Gospel of Matthew
- Matthew holds a significant role in Christian theology due to his contributions as an apostle and evangelist.
Who was Matthew in the Bible
here are some bullet points about who Matthew was in the Bible:
- Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus to be His disciples and closest followers.
- He is traditionally regarded as the author of the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four Gospels in the New Testament.
- Before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Matthew worked as a tax collector, a profession that was often looked down upon by the Jewish community because tax collectors were seen as collaborators with the Roman authorities.
- In the Bible, Matthew’s call to follow Jesus is recorded in the Gospel accounts. Jesus approached him while he was sitting at the tax booth, and Matthew immediately left his work to become a disciple.
- As one of the apostles, Matthew witnessed Jesus’ teachings, miracles, and His crucifixion and resurrection.
- Matthew’s Gospel is known for its focus on Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and its emphasis on the teachings and ethical principles of Jesus, including the Sermon on the Mount.
- He is often symbolized by an angelic figure in Christian iconography, emphasizing the divine inspiration behind his Gospel.
- Matthew’s Gospel is considered one of the Synoptic Gospels, along with Mark and Luke, as they share many similarities in content and structure.
- Tradition holds that after the death of Jesus, Matthew continued to spread the message of Christianity and may have undertaken missionary work, though specific details are limited.
- His Gospel has had a profound influence on Christian theology and the understanding of Jesus’ life and ministry, and it continues to be an essential text in the Christian faith.
Matthew as a Person in the Bible
Matthew’s Original Name
Before becoming an apostle, Matthew was known as Levi. He was a native of Galilee, a region in ancient Israel. Matthew was also called the son of Alphaeus, indicating his father’s name (Mark 2:14).
Etymology of the Biblical name “Matthew
The etymology of the biblical name “Matthew” is one of the most fascinating aspects of biblical study. Knowing where a name comes from and what its meaning is can help us understand the significance of the individual who bears it. The name “Matthew” is derived from Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin, which are all languages spoken in the time of the Bible.
Origin of Matthew
The origin of the name “Matthew” is found in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew root of the name is “mattan”, which means “gift”. This root is also shared with the name “Matthan” which means “gift of God”. It is thought that the name “Matthew” was given to the biblical tax collector of the same name due to the fact that he was seen as a gift from God.
Hebrew of Matthew
The Hebrew version of the name “Matthew” is “Mattityahu”, which means “gift of Yahweh”. Yahweh is the Hebrew name for God, and the name was likely bestowed upon the biblical tax collector in recognition of the fact that he was seen as a gift from God.
Greek of Matthew
The Greek version of the name “Matthew” is “Matthaios”, which means “gift of Yahweh”. The Greek spelling of the name is slightly different than the Hebrew version, but the meaning remains the same.
Aramaic of Matthew
The Aramaic version of the name “Matthew” is “Matthai”, which also means “gift of Yahweh”. This version of the name is likely the closest to the original form of the name, as Aramaic was the language spoken by many of the people in the biblical era.
Latin of Matthew
The Latin version of the name “Matthew” is “Matthaeus”, which means “gift of Yahweh”. This version of the name was likely the most popular during the Middle Ages, and it is still used today in some parts of the world.
List of Names Derived from Matthew
The name “Matthew” has spawned a variety of derivatives in various languages. Some of these derivatives include:
- Mattias (Swedish)
- Matthias (German)
- Matvey (Russian)
- Mathieu (French)
- Mateo (Spanish)
- Maciej (Polish)
- Madhav (Hindi)
- Mateus (Portuguese)
- Matti (Finnish)
- Madhava (Sanskrit)
Matthew’s occupation before meeting Jesus was that of a tax collector. In ancient Judaism, tax collectors or “publicans” were considered morally compromised due to their relationship with the Roman Empire and their history of extorting the Jewish population. As a tax collector in the city of Capernaum, his fellow countrymen despised him, and he was largely considered an outcast.
One day, while Matthew was working at his tax collector’s booth, Jesus approached him and said, “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9). Despite his social standing as a tax collector, Matthew left everything behind and accepted Jesus’s invitation, demonstrating his willingness to abandon his former life in pursuit of a life dedicated to Christ.
As one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, Matthew devoted himself to spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ. He played a significant role in the early Christian movement, serving as a witness to Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Traditionally, he is also believed to have authored the Gospel of Matthew, a key text in the New Testament that provides the most comprehensive account of Jesus’s life and teachings. Today, he is recognized not only as an important figure in Christianity but also as Saint Matthew, honored by many denominations worldwide.
Matthew and the Gospel
Gospel Authored by Matthew
Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ and the traditional author of the Gospel of Matthew. This gospel is an account of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Written primarily for a Jewish audience, it is believed to have been composed in both Hebrew and Greek. As an evangelist, Matthew’s main aim was to present Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and to demonstrate that Jesus was the Messiah.
Major Themes in Matthew’s Gospel
Matthew’s Gospel covers a few major themes, such as:
- Fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies: Throughout the gospel, Matthew quotes the Hebrew scriptures to show that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah. This serves as an essential connection for his Jewish audience.
- Kingdom of Heaven: The phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” appears more than 30 times, emphasizing the inbreaking of God’s kingdom through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
- Teachings of Jesus: Matthew records many of Jesus’ teachings, including the well-known Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7). He presents Jesus as the authoritative teacher and interpreter of the law.
- Miracles: Matthew highlights Jesus’ miraculous powers, validating his divinity and authority as the Son of God.
Comparison with Other Synoptic Gospels
The Gospel of Matthew is one of the three synoptic gospels, along with the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke. These gospels share similarities in content, style, and perspective. While each gospel has its unique characteristics, they all cover the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus. However, Matthew differs from the other synoptic gospels in providing a more extensive presentation of Jesus’ teachings and a particular focus on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
Though the Gospel of Matthew is traditionally attributed to the apostle, some scholars debate the authorship, asserting that it was written by an unknown individual who had access to the Gospel of Mark and other sources. Furthermore, since the gospel was written several decades after the events it describes, some question the accuracy and reliability of the information recorded.
Despite these debates, the Gospel of Matthew stands as an essential part of the New Testament scripture and remains crucial for understanding the life, teachings, and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Historical Context of Matthew’s Life
Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and is believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew. He was a tax collector in the city of Capernaum, and tax collectors at that time were hated by their fellow Jews for representing the oppressive Roman Empire. Matthew’s ministry began when Jesus called him to be a disciple, leaving behind his profession to follow Jesus and spread his teachings.
Matthew’s Gospel is unique in its emphasis on Jesus’ fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and his connection to the line of King David. This focus on Jesus as the new Moses and the Messiah, the prophesied King of the Jews, helps to establish Jesus’ authority within Jewish tradition. Matthew often quotes the Old Testament, particularly the prophet Isaiah, to assert that Jesus fulfills the long-awaited promises of a savior.
Here is a table of the travels of Matthew the Apostle from becoming a disciple to his death based on biblical accounts and Catholic tradition:
|After becoming a disciple of Jesus||Galilee, Israel||Matthew likely accompanied Jesus and the other disciples as they traveled throughout Galilee preaching and performing miracles.|
|After the Ascension of Jesus||Judea, Israel||Matthew is believed to have preached in and around Jerusalem after Pentecost.|
|Mid 1st century AD||Ethiopia||Catholic tradition holds that Matthew traveled to Ethiopia to spread the Gospel. He is credited with introducing Christianity to the country.|
|Late 50s AD||Parthia (modern Iran and Iraq)||According to tradition, Matthew traveled east and preached the Gospel in Parthia.|
|60s AD||Macedonia (modern Greece and Bulgaria)||Tradition says Matthew later journeyed to Macedonia and preached in the region.|
|Martyrdom||Syria or Macedonia||Biblical sources are unclear on the location, but Matthew is traditionally believed to have been martyred for his faith, possibly by being burned, stabbed or beheaded around the 60s-70s AD.|
This table summarizes the key locations Matthew is believed to have traveled to and preached based on both biblical accounts of his ministry as one of the twelve apostles as well as Catholic traditions surrounding the later missions and martyrdom of Matthew. His travels helped spread the Gospel throughout the ancient Near East and northeast Africa in the earliest decades of the Church.Claude
The Gospel of Matthew is considered one of the three Synoptic Gospels, along with Mark and Luke. The Synoptic Gospels are called as such because they share many similarities in their accounts of Jesus’ life, including his birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. However, each gospel also provides unique perspectives and details, offering more comprehensive insights into Jesus’ life and teachings.
The early church held Matthew’s Gospel in high regard with church fathers like Papias of Hierapolis citing him as an important source of information about Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel played a significant role in the establishment of the early Christian church and remains an essential text for both understanding Jesus’ life and the Jewish context in which he lived.
Throughout his Gospel, Matthew gives accounts of Jesus interacting with the religious leaders of the time, such as the Pharisees and scribes. These confrontations often highlight the hypocrisy and corruption within the religious establishment, as Jesus calls them out for neglecting the poor, the sick, and the marginalized. Matthew’s Gospel emphasizes Jesus’ focus on inner righteousness and individual relationships with God over false adherence to religious rituals and regulations.
Matthew also shares stories of Jesus’ compassion for the downtrodden, emphasizing his teachings on mercy and forgiveness. The Gospel describes Jesus’ encounters with social outcasts like tax collectors, which would have particularly resonated with Matthew’s own past as a tax collector and his transformation through Jesus’ teachings.
In conclusion, the historical context of Matthew’s life as a tax collector and disciple of Jesus has greatly influenced his Gospel. His writing seeks to establish Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies while also emphasizing the importance of moral integrity and compassion for those in need.
Role of Matthew in Christian Theology
Matthew’s Depiction of Jesus
Matthew was a disciple of Jesus Christ and author of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. His writings aim to present Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah, a spiritual King whose teachings would form the basis of the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew frequently referred to Jesus as the “Son of David”, highlighting his status as the promised ruler from the line of David and a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.
One of the most notable parts of Matthew’s Gospel is the genealogy tracing Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham, emphasizing his Jewish heritage and connection to the nation of Israel. Furthermore, Matthew’s Jesus is also often shown as a divine figure with authority to forgive sins and perform miraculous healings.
Teachings and Miracles
Matthew’s Gospel is filled with the teachings and miracles of Jesus. These accounts aim to demonstrate Jesus’ divine powers and knowledge, as well as to instruct his followers in proper behavior and beliefs. Some notable miracles in this Gospel include the healing of the paralytic, the feeding of the 5,000, and the resurrection of a young girl.
Additionally, this Gospel contains some of Jesus’ most famous teachings, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the parables of the mustard seed and the sower. Matthew focuses on themes like ethics, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the role of Jesus’ ministry as a continuation of Old Testament prophecy.
Near the end of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus issues the Great Commission to his disciples, instructing them to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). This command represents the culmination of Jesus’ earthly ministry and sets the stage for the continued spread of Christianity after his resurrection and ascension.
The Great Commission underscores the importance of evangelism and the global outreach of Jesus’ message of salvation. It also highlights the disciples’ transformation from ordinary fishermen and sinners to the foundations of the Christian church, beginning with Matthew himself, the former tax collector who became an evangelist and petitioner of Jesus’ teachings.
Best Bible Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
Below is a table featuring some highly regarded Bible Encyclopedias and Dictionaries along with their publishers and websites where they can be found or purchased.
|The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia||Eerdmans||Eerdmans|
|Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary||Zondervan||Zondervan|
|Easton’s Bible Dictionary||Thomas Nelson||Thomas Nelson|
|Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary||B&H Publishing Group||B&H Publishing Group|
|The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary||Moody Publishers||Moody Publishers|
|HarperCollins Bible Dictionary||HarperOne||HarperOne|
|Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words||Thomas Nelson||Thomas Nelson|
You can generally find these resources on the publishers’ websites, as well as other online book retailers such as Amazon or Christianbook. It’s always good practice to confirm availability and review additional details on the specific websites or other reliable online bookstores.Purpose of Life Launcher by Gregory Gaines