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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Matthew (măth'thu). Derived from the same word as Matthias, Acts 1:23; Acts 1:26 (gift of God), apostle, and author of the first gospel. His original name was Levi, Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27; Luke 5:29, which, like that of Simon and of Saul, was changed on his being called to the apostleship. He first appears in the gospels as a publican or tax-gatherer near the Sea of Galilee, and the last mention of him is in the list of those who met in the upper room at Jerusalem after the ascension of our Lord. Acts 1:13. The tradition of his martyrdom in Ethiopia is not very trustworthy.

The Gospel according to Matthew was probably written in Palestine, and for Jewish Christians. It was probably first composed in Hebrew—i.e., Syro-Chaldaic, or Western Aramaic, the dialect spoken in Palestine by the Jewish Christians, and then later in Greek, as we now possess it. The date of its composition was clearly before the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:1-51, and yet some time after the crucifixion of Christ. Matthew 27:7-8; Matthew 28:15. Some of the ancients give the eighth year after the ascension as the date, others the fifteenth. We would place it between 60 and 66 a.d.—a period during which both Mark and Luke probably wrote their gospels.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Matthew'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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