In the last several posts, we have looked at various theories behind why Levi was changed to Matthew in Matthew 9:9 (cf. 10:3). Was it felt to be necessary to include Levi in the list of twelve apostles? Did the evangelist connect the name Matthew to the Greek word for disciple? Were these verses designed to buttress the credibility of ascribing the Gospel to the Apostle Matthew? Was there a memory that the Apostle Matthew had really been a tax collector? Or is the change based on a simple scribal error? In the next few posts, I want to weigh the following arguments in defense of Matthew’s authorship of the Gospel:
- The Apostle Matthew would not have had a problem with copying Mark’s Gospel since it was a record of the preaching of the chief Apostle Peter.
- Although Matthew’s Greek text does not appear to be a translation of a Hebrew or Aramaic original and seems to rely on Greek sources like Mark’s Gospel, it is possible to understand Papias’s testimony as referring to the Hebrew rhetorical style of argumentation evident in Matthew’s Gospel. Alternatively, Papias was mistaken about the Gospel’s original language (i.e. Aramaic), but was right about its authorship.
- As a tax collector, the Apostle Matthew would have been bilingual and able to compose the Greek text of the Gospel.
- The Apostle Matthew may have been behind one of the major sources that was translated and incorporated into the Greek text of the first canonical Gospel.