Who was the author? The Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew through Matthew, the former tax collector, turned Jesus's disciple, turned apostle and evangelist, who is also known as Levi.
What is the book? The book is a first-hand account of the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, written primarily for Greek-speaking Jewish Christians who knew the Old Testament well.
Where was it written? Matthew's Gospel account was written likely in Palestine or Syrian Antioch.
When was it written? Matthew's Gospel account seems to have been written relatively early, when the church was largely Jewish, perhaps between 50 and 60 A.D.
Why? In addition to teaching his hearers about Jesus, Matthew may have written this particular account to defend the faith from false accusations made against it and to comfort and strengthen Jewish hearers persecuted for belief in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.
How? In a form that in some ways resembles the five books of Moses, Matthew portrays Jesus as a sacrificial king.
For further reading on the book of Matthew:
- Lenski, R. C. H. The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel . Columbus, OH: The Wartburg Press, 1943. (Lenski's commentary is out of date as scholarship goes, but his interpretations are generally reliable and quite accessible to most readers.)
- Scaer, David P. Discourses in Matthew: Jesus Teaches the Church. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2004. (Not a commentary in the traditional sense, this book by The Rev. Dr. Scaer is more up-to-date than Lenski's commentary and draws together key themes of the Gospel account, even if it doesn't comment on every single verse of the book.)