The gospel of Matthew.

Our first canonical gospel.

Attributed author(s).
Matthew, or Levi.

Text(s) available.
Matthew 1-4, 5-7, 8-11, 12-14, 15-18, 19-21, 22-25, 26-28 (on site, Greek only).
Online Greek Bible (Greek only).
Bible Gateway (English only).
HTML Bible: Matthew 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (Greek and English).
HTML Bible: Matthew 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (Latin Vulgate only).
Zhubert (Greek and English).
Kata Pi: Matthew 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (Greek and English).
Sacred Texts: Matthew 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 (polyglot).

Useful links.
Listed inventory of the gospel of Matthew (on site).
Synoptic project (on site).
Matthew at the NT Gateway.
Matthew at Early Christian Writings.
Matthew by Daniel Wallace.
Matthew in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Matthew at Kata Pi (R. M. Grant).
ECW e-Catena: Matthew 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.
Mark Goodacre, NT Gateway Blog:

Fourteen Triads in the Sermon (Glen H. Stassen).
Gospel of pseudo-Matthew (Latin).
Gospel of pseudo-Matthew (English).

Matthean finales.
Ignatius and the gospel of Matthew.
The Matthean and Marcan miracle pattern.
Gospel manuscripts.
As your father (Matthew 5.38-48).
The five apocalyptic moments in the synoptic gospels.

Patristic tradition attributes our first canonical gospel to Matthew, one of the twelve disciples, also known as Levi. Tradition is, as far as I can tell, unanimous that the apostle Matthew wrote down the sayings of the Lord in Hebrew (or Aramaic).

Papias and the elder.

Late century I or early century II.

Papias, according to Eusebius, History of the Church 3.39.15-17:

Και τουθ ο πρεσβυτερος ελεγεν· Μαρκος μεν ερμηνευτης Πετρου γενομενος, οσα εμνημονευσεν ακριβως εγραψεν, ου μεντοι ταξει, τα υπο του κυριου η λεχθεντα η πραχθεντα. ουτε γαρ ηκουσεν του κυριου ουτε παρηκολουθησεν αυτω, υστερον δε, ως εφην, Πετρω, ος προς τας χρειας εποιειτο τας διδασκαλιας, αλλ ουχ ωσπερ συνταξιν των κυριακων ποιουμενος λογιων, ωστε ουδεν ημαρτεν Μαρκος ουτως ενια γραψας ως απεμνημοσευσεν. ενος γαρ εποιησατο προνοιαν, του μηδεν ων ηκουσεν παραλιπειν η ψευσασθαι τι εν αυτοις.

And the elder would say this: Mark, who had become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately, yet not in order, as many things as he remembered of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings to the needs, but not making them as an ordering together of the lordly oracles, so that Mark did not sin having thus written certain things as he remembered them. For he made one provision, to leave out nothing of the things that he heard or falsify anything in them.

Ταυτα μεν ουν ιστορηται τω Παπια περι του Μαρκου· περι δε του Ματθαιου ταυτ ειρηται· Ματθαιος μεν ουν Εβραιδι διαλεκτω τα λογια συνεταξατο, ηρμηνευσεν δ αυτα ως ην δυνατος εκαστος.

These things therefore are recorded by Papias about Mark. But about Matthew he says these: Matthew therefore in the Hebrew dialect ordered together the oracles, and each one interpreted them as he was able.

Κεχρηται δ ο αυτος μαρτυριαις απο της Ιωαννου προτερας επιστολης και απο της Πετρου ομοιως, εκτεθειται δε και αλλην ιστοριαν περι γυναικος επι πολλαις αμαρτιαις διαβληθεισης επι του κυριου, ην το καθ Εβραιους ευαγγελιον περιεχει. και ταυτα δ ημιν αναγκαιως προς τοις εκτεθεισιν επιτετηρησθω.

And he himself used testimonies from the first epistle of John and similarly from that of Peter, and set out also another record about a woman who was charged for many sins before the Lord, which the gospel according to the Hebrews has. And let these things also be necessarily observed by us on top of the things that have been set out.


Early or middle of century II.

Ignatius of Antioch uses gospel traditions which seem most similar to those contained in the gospel of Matthew. He never references any gospel by name.

Justin Martyr.

Middle of century II.

Justin Martyr uses gospel traditions which seem most similar to those contained in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. He never references the gospel of Matthew by name, and many of his gospel traditions seem to harmonize what we find in Matthew and Luke.


Late century II.

Irenaeus of Lyons refers explicitly to all four canonical gospels.

The Muratorian canon.

Late century II.

This canonical list witnesses to the gospel of Matthew only indirectly, since the beginning of the list, which would have given notice of Matthew and Mark, is missing; the wording of the notices for Luke and John, however, makes clear that two gospels preceded these in the list, and they almost indubitably must have been those to Matthew and Mark.

Theophilus of Antioch.

Late century II.

Jerome writes in epistle 121 that Theophilus compiled the sayings of the four evangelists into one work, and he refers in general to inspired gospels (in the plural).

Theophilus also quotes from or alludes to Matthew 5.28 and Matthew 5.32 = Luke 16.18 in To Autolycus 3.13:

Η δε ευαγγελιος φωνη επιτατικωτερον διδασκει περι αγνειας, λεγουσα· Πας ο ιδων γυναικα αλλοτριαν προς το επιθυμησαι αυτην ηδη εμοιχευσεν αυτην εν τη καρδια αυτου. και ο γαμων, φησιν, απολελυμενην απο ανδρος μοιχευει, και ος απολυει γυναικα παρεκτος λογου πορνειας ποιει αυτην μοιχευθηναι.

And the evangelical voice teaches more urgently concerning chastity, saying: Every one who looks upon another woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.1 And the one who marries, it says, a woman divorced from the man commits adultery, and whoever divorces his wife except by reason of fornication makes her commit adultery.2

1 Refer to Matthew 5.28.
2 Refer to Matthew 5.32 = Luke 16.18.

In To Autolycus 3.14 he quotes from or alludes to Matthew 5.44, 46 = Luke 6.28, 32 and Matthew 6.3:

Το δε ευαγγελιον· Αγαπατε, φησιν, τους εχθρους υμων και προσευχεσθε υπερ των επηρεαζοντων υμας. εαν γαρ αγαπατε τους αγαπωντας υμας, ποιον μισθον εχετε; τουτο και οι λησται και οι τελωναι ποιουσιν. τους δε ποιουντας το αγαθον διδασκει μη καυχασθαι, ινα μη ανθρωπαρεσκοι ωσιν. Μη γνωτω, γαρ φησιν, η χειρ σου η αριστερα τι ποιει η χειρ σου η δεξια. ετι μην και περι του υποτασσεσθαι αρχαις και εξουσιαις, και ευχεσθαι υπερ αυτων, κελευει ημας ο θειος λογος, οπως ηρεμον και ησυχιον βιον διαγωμεν. και διδασκει αποδιδοναι πασιν τα παντα, τω την τιμην την τιμην, τω τον φοβον τον φοβον, τω τον φορον τον φορον, μηδενι μηδεν οφελειν η μονον το αγαπαν παντας.

And the gospel says: Love your enemies, and pray on behalf of those who revile you. For, if you love those who love you, what kind of reward do you have? Even the thieves and tax-collectors do this.1 And it teaches those who do good not to boast, lest they become pleasers of men. For it says: Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.2 Moreover, also concerning subjection to rulers and authorities, and prayer on their behalf, the divine word gives us orders, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life.3 And it teaches to render all things to all, honor to whom honor, fear to whom fear, tax to whom tax, [and] to owe nothing to anyone except only to love all.4

1 Refer to Matthew 5.44, 46 = Luke 6.28, 32.
2 Refer to Matthew 6.3.
3 Refer to 1 Timothy 2.2.
4 Refer to Romans 13.7-8.

Clement of Alexandria.

Late century II.

From Eusebius, History of the Church 6.14.5-7:

Αυθις δ εν τοις αυτοις ο Κλημης βιβλιοις περι της ταξεως των ευαγγελιων παραδοσιν των ανεκαθεν πρεσβυτερων τεθειται τουτον εχουσαν τον τροπον· Προγεγραφθαι ελεγεν των ευαγγελιων τα περιεχοντα τας γενεαλογιας, το δε κατα Μαρκον ταυτην εσχηκεναι την οικονομιαν· του Πετρου δημοσια εν Ρωμη κηρυξαντος τον λογον και πνευματι το ευαγγελιον εξειποντος, τους παροντας, πολλους οντας, παρακαλεσαι τον Μαρκον, ως αν ακολουθησαντα αυτω πορρωθεν και μεμνημενον των λεχθεντων, αναγραψαι τα ειρημενα, ποιησαντα δε το ευαγγελιον μεταδουναι τοις δεομενοις αυτου· οπερ επιγνοντα τον Πετρον προτρεπτικως μητε κωλυσαι μητε προτρεψασθαι. τον μεντοι Ιωαννην εσχατον, συνιδοντα οτι τα σωματικα εν τοις ευαγγελιοις δεδηλωται, προτραπεντα υπο των γνωριμων, πνευματι θεοφορηθεντα, πνευματικον ποιησαι ευαγγελιον. τοσαυτα ο Κλημης.

And again in the same books Clement sets the tradition of the earliest elders concerning the order of the gospels, in this way: He says that those of the gospels having the genealogies were published openly,* but that the gospel according to Mark had this economy: While Peter was preaching the word publicly in Rome and speaking out the gospel by the spirit, those who were present, who were many, called upon Mark, as having followed him from far back and remembering what was said, to write up the things that were said, and having made the gospel he gave it out to those who had requested it. When Peter came to know, he neither directly prevented nor encouraged it. But John, last of all, knowing that the bodily facts had been made clear in the gospels, urged by friends, borne by the spirit of God, made a spiritual gospel. So much for Clement.

* For translational details on the verb προγεγραφθαι, see the online article by Stephen Carlson.


Early century III.

Tertullian affirms the four gospels as authoritative.


Early century III.

Origen knows all four canonical gospels by name.

Victorinus of Pettau.

Late century III.

Victorinus knows all four canonical gospels by name.


Early century IV.

Eusebius knows all four canonical gospels by name.


Late century IV or early century V.

Jerome knows all four canonical gospels by name.

The Monarchian prologues.

Century IV or V.

These Latin prologues precede the gospels in some manuscripts of the Latin Bible. A prologue is extant for each of the four canonical gospels.

Attestation for the gospel: The Didache (?), the epistle of Barnabas, the epistles of Ignatius, the gospel of Thomas (?), the long ending of Mark (?), Papias, the gospel of Peter (?), 2 Clement, Basilides (?), Marcion (?), Ptolemy (epistle to Flora, in Epiphanius, Panarion 33.3.1-33.7.10), Justin Martyr, the Jewish gospels, the Epistula Apostolorum, the Diatessaron of Tatian, the gospel prologues, Irenaeus, the Muratorian canon (implied), Theophilus of Antioch (Jerome, epistle 121), Celsus (Origen, Against Celsus), Clement of Alexandria, Ƿ64, Ƿ67 (century II), Origen, Victorinus of Pettau (On the Apocalypse, book 4), Ƿ1, Ƿ37, Ƿ45, Ƿ53, Ƿ70 (century III), Eusebius, Ƿ19, Ƿ21, Ƿ25, Ƿ35, Ƿ62, Ƿ71, Ƿ86, א, B, 0058, 0160, 0171, 0231, 0242 (century IV), Jerome, A, C, D, L, W, Δ, Θ. Refer to my page on gospel origins.