Matthew the Apostle
Among the early followers and apostles of Jesus, Matthew is mentioned in Mt 9:9 and Mt 10:3 as a former tax collector from Capernaum who was called into the circle of the Twelve by Jesus. He is also named among the number of the Twelve, but without identification of his background, in Mk 3:18, Lk 6:15 and Acts 1:13. He is called Levi, son of Alpheus, in Mk 2:14 and Lk 5:27. He may have collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. Matthew was "called" by Jesus of Nazareth to be one of the Twelve Disciples. According to the New Testament he was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension.
Matthew was a first century Galilean (presumably born in Galilee, which was not part of Judea or the Roman Iudaea province) and the son of Alpheus. During the Roman occupation (which began in 63 BC with the conquest of Pompey), Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. His tax office was located in Capernaum. Jews who became rich in such a fashion were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic and Greek.
It was in this setting, near what is today Almagor, that Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve Disciples. After his call, Matthew invited Jesus home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners. This prompted Jesus to answer, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17)
When Matthew is mentioned in the New Testament, he is sometimes found paired with Thomas. The New Testament records that as a disciple, he followed Jesus, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, the disciples withdrew to an upper room (Acts 1:10-14) (traditionally the Cenacle) in Jerusalem. The disciples remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
Matthew may also be mentioned in the Talmud.
Later Church fathers such as Ireneaus and Clement of Alexandria claim that Matthew, for 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Judea, before going to other countries. Ancient writers are not agreed as to what these other countries are. The Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church each hold the tradition that Matthew died as a martyr.
Although the first of the Synoptic Gospels is technically anonymous, traditionally the Gospel of Matthew was held to be written by the apostle. As a government official in Capernaum, in "Galilee of the Gentiles", a tax-collector would probably have been literate in both Greek and Aramaic. Greek was the language used in the market-place. Some early church fathers recorded that Matthew originally wrote in "Hebrew", but still regarded the Greek text as canonical.
Many scholars today, such as Raymond E. Brown, believe that "canonical Matt[hew] was originally written in Greek by a non-eyewitness whose name is unknown to us and who depended on sources like Mark and Q", a theory known as Markan priority. However some scholars, notably Craig Blomberg, disagree variously on these points. The more traditional interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels posits a Matthean priority, most notably in the Augustinian hypothesis after one of the earliest and most notable proponents Saint Augustine of Hippo. This position once held with veritable consensus in the Medieval church has since waned, but still has several proponents.
Non-canonical or Apocryphal Gospels
In the third century Jewish-Christian Gospels attributed to Matthew were used by Jewish-Christian groups such as the Nazarenes and Ebionites. Fragments of these gospels survive in quotations by Jerome, Epiphanius and others. Most academic study follows the distinction of Gospel of the Nazarenes (26 fragments), Gospel of the Ebionites (7 fragments), and Gospel of the Hebrews (7 fragments) found in Schneemelcher's New Testament Apocrypha. Critical commentators generally regard these texts as having been composed in Greek and related to Greek Matthew. A minority of commentators consider them to be fragments of a lost Aramaic or Hebrew language original.
The Infancy Gospel of Matthew is a seventh century compilation of three other texts: the Protevangelium of James, the Flight into Egypt and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.
Origen said the first Gospel 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. The Hebrew original was kept at the Library of Caesarea. The Nazarene Community transcribed a copy for
Jerome which he used in his work. Matthew's Gospel was called the Gospel according to the Hebrews or sometimes the Gospel of the Apostles  and it was once believed that it was the original to the Greek Matthew found in the Bible. However this has been challenged by modern biblical scholars such as Bart Ehrman and James R. Edwards.
Jerome relates that Matthew was supposed by the Nazarenes to have composed their Gospel of the Hebrews though Irenaeus and Epiphanius of Salamis consider this simply a revised version canonical Gospel. This Gospel has been partially preserved in the writings of the Church Fathers, said to have been written by Matthew. Epiphanius does not make his own the claim about a Gospel of the Hebrews written by Matthew, a claim that he merely attributes to the heretical Ebionites.