Matthew was a publican, or tax collector in Capurnum (Mt 9:9 and Mt 10:3), before he was called into the circle of the Twelve by Jesus. Because of that profession, we can guess that he was well educated and knew how to read and write, probably in several languages, including Greek. He also knew arithmetic. He saw and heard many wonderful things while with the Saviour, and it is likely he wrote down some of the sayings of the Saviour as notes or in a journal. Later, these notes would have helped him when he wrote what he remembered about the teachings of Jesus.
In his book, Matthew often stresses that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and came to fulfil the Old Testament prophecies. Matthew wrote specifically to the Jews, who were familiar with those prophecies.
According to the New Testament he was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension.
Matthew was a man who could have moved comfortably in political circles, and his book mentions things that someone in his position would know. For example, his account of the Resurrection tells that those assigned to guard the Saviour’s tomb saw two angels roll back the stone that covered the door of the tomb. They told their superiors what had happened, so the soldiers were offered large sums of money to say that the Lord’s followers had crept in and carried His body away. This lie was then spread among the Jews. (See Matthew 28:2–15.) Matthew must have been informed about the bribery - the book of Matthew is the only place this interesting bit of information is told.
The gospel texts offer no information on how old Matthew might have been when he became one of Jesus’ disciples. If he was the author of the gospel of Matthew, then he probably wrote it sometime around 90 AD (it is unlikely, therefore, that the two Matthews are the same).
There is a belief that Matthew was martyred (killed with a spear).
For 15 years Matthew preached the Gospel
in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea.
Later in his ministry, he travelled to Macedonia
He also travelled to Persia (modern Iran), and Parthia (north-east Iran).