Matthew (who was also known as Levi – pronounced Leh-vee, as in Levine) was one of the first disciples of Jesus, and he was later appointed by him to be an Apostle or Sent One.
According to ancient Christian writers such as Origen (who wrote during the early 3rd century), Matthew’s account was the first recorded Gospel. Origen wrote:
‘The first book was written by Matthew. This Gospel was composed in Hebrew near Jerusalem for Hebrew Christians and translated into Greek, but the Greek copy was lost.’
While many of Origin’s personal religious views reflect pagan influences (that began entering Christianity in the early 2nd century), our research of Matthew indicates that Origen was probably right about it being the first written Gospel (regardless of what modern critics have said). It was likely written in Aramaic, and then later translated into Greek.
We also think that the first Greek copies of the Gospel of Matthew were lost. The many errors and additions (mentioned in these translator notes) indicate that the existing Greek text was in fact translated again and corrupted sometime in the 2nd century by the same person or group that translated other 1st century books into Greek.
We have partly drawn this conclusion from the use of certain unusual Greek words (such as parousias) that are found only in later Greek translations of the writings of Matthew, Paul, James, Peter, and John (which were likely originally penned in Aramaic).
For more information, please see the commentary Coming, Presence, or Nearness?
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