age of matthew unknown

How Old Was Matthew in the Bible

Ponder the age-old mystery of Apostle Matthew's age in the Bible, a debate that invites thoughtful speculation and deeper exploration.

Have you ever wondered about the truth behind Matthew's age in the Bible?

While the Bible doesn't explicitly mention his age, many theories have surfaced over the years, based on his role as a tax collector and his position as one of Jesus's twelve apostles.

Some scholars suggest he could have been in his early twenties, while others propose he might have been older. But without concrete proof, it's all speculation.

Intriguing, isn't it? There's certainly more to explore here.

Key Takeaways

  • Matthew, initially a tax collector, was likely in his late 20s to early 30s when he started following Jesus, based on professional maturity.
  • Comparing with other apostles, Peter was probably older, while John was likely a teenager, indicating Matthew's possible middle-range age.
  • Matthew's meticulous writing style suggests extensive education, uncommon in the 1st century, implying he was older and experienced.
  • Scholarly theories and historical context suggest Matthew's lifespan was relatively short, typical for the Roman era, but his exact age remains a subject of debate.

Understanding Matthew's Biblical Role

exploring matthew s gospel account

To fully grasp Matthew's age in the Bible, you first need to understand his significant role within the biblical narrative. Known as Levi before his conversion, Matthew was a tax collector, a profession viewed as sinful by his Jewish community. Despite this, he was chosen by Jesus to be one of his apostles. Matthew's tax collection background gave him a unique perspective and a keen eye for detail, traits which would later prove instrumental in his Gospel authorship.

Matthew's gospel, the first in the New Testament, is a pivotal piece of Christian literature. He provides a comprehensive account of Jesus' life, teachings, death, and resurrection, which is renowned for its depth and detail. His writing style reflects his meticulous nature as a former tax collector, delivering a thorough and structured presentation of Jesus' ministry.

Matthew's Gospel authorship has been subject to scrutiny over the centuries. Despite debates, Matthew's gospel remains a cornerstone of Christian faith. Understanding Matthew's role as both a tax collector and a Gospel author helps you appreciate the depth of his character and his contribution to biblical history. His age, while not explicitly stated, can be inferred from his significant roles and responsibilities.

Decoding Historical Context

analyzing historical texts deeply

Deciphering the historical context of Matthew's life is crucial to understanding his age in the Bible. You must consider the Roman era lifespan and the impact of Jewish traditions to get a clearer picture.

During the Roman era, the average lifespan was significantly shorter than it's today, often no more than 40 years. High infant mortality rates and the harsh realities of life, like disease and war, contributed to this. Therefore, if Matthew lived during this period, he wouldn't have been very old by modern standards.

The Jewish traditions of the time also play a role in determining Matthew's age. In that era, Jewish boys became men at the age of 13, following their Bar Mitzvah. After this, they were considered adults, able to marry and start families. This cultural norm could suggest that Matthew was at least a teenager when he began his Biblical journey.

Age Theories Based on Matthew's Profession

matthew s profession and age

Building on the cultural and historical context, we can also glean insights about Matthew's possible age from his profession as a tax collector. The role of a tax collector required maturity, responsibility, and a certain level of education and social standing. This profession's impact on Matthew's life could potentially provide clues about his age.

The tax collector timeline in the Roman Empire context is crucial here. Typically, tax collectors held their roles during their mature years, usually starting in their late twenties or thirties. This was a time when they'd have gained enough experience and knowledge to manage this demanding job.

Let's examine these insights in a table:

Age Estimate
Early Career as Tax Collector
Late 20s to early 30s
Peak Career as Tax Collector
Mid 30s to early 40s
Late Career as Tax Collector
Mid 40s to 50s

It's important to remember that these are estimates, not definitive facts. However, they provide a reasonable range based on the profession impact and the tax collector timeline, hinting that Matthew could have been in his 30s or 40s when he started following Jesus.

Comparing Apostles' Age Estimates

age estimates of apostles

When you compare Matthew's age estimates with those of the other Apostles, an interesting pattern begins to emerge. Matthew's personality and the accounts of his Apostolic travels provide clues that might help us approximate his age.

To illustrate this, let's consider three points:

  1. Matthew's Maturity: Matthew was a tax collector before his call to apostleship. This profession required a level of maturity, suggesting that he wasn't a young man at the time. Comparatively, John was likely the youngest Apostle, traditionally believed to be a teenager when he joined Jesus.
  2. The Length of Apostolic Travels: The duration and extent of Matthew's travels can also infer his age. He's believed to have journeyed extensively for many years, implying he was in his prime when he started.
  3. Comparison with Other Apostles: Lastly, consider the ages of other Apostles. Peter, for example, was married and had a mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14), indicating he was likely older than Matthew.

These insights, when pieced together, give us an intriguing perspective on Matthew's possible age. Remember, these are estimates and the Bible doesn't provide definitive ages for the Apostles.

Scholarly Interpretations of Matthew's Age

interpreting matthew s age range

Scholars' interpretation of Matthew's age in the Bible offers a fascinating blend of historical context, textual clues, and theological speculation. Your understanding of this matter can be enriched by considering the implications of Matthew's education and his role as a tax collector.

Matthew's education is believed to have been extensive, as suggested by his ability to write. This is a significant detail, as literacy wasn't common in the 1st century AD. Scholars suggest that he must've been in his late teens or early twenties when he began his education, which might point to his approximate age.

The tax collector implications are quite revealing too. This job was usually undertaken by mature individuals who had the capacity to handle the complexities involved. This further indicates that Matthew was not a young man when he started following Jesus.

Here's a table summarizing these interpretations:

Matthew's Education
His literacy
Likely in late teens or early twenties during education
Tax Collector Role
Job complexity
Not a young man when he followed Jesus

Matthew's Lifespan: Theories and Discussion

analyzing matthew s theories deeply

Diving into the theories and discussions about Matthew's lifespan, you'll find a range of perspectives and interpretations that can shed light on this biblical figure's life. The ambiguity of details about Matthew's life sparks debates among scholars, historians, and theologians.

  1. Apostolic Succession Theory: Some scholars, adhering to the apostolic succession, propose Matthew lived well into his 80s or 90s. This theory is based on the longevity of other apostles and the need for stable leadership in the early Christian church.
  2. Gospel Authorship Theory: Another theory, based on the timing of Gospel authorship, suggests Matthew may have been younger, possibly living only into his 60s. This is based on the assumption that Matthew wrote his gospel in AD 70, and considering a reasonable age for writing such a significant work.
  3. Historical Lifespan Theory: A third perspective considers the average lifespan during the 1st century, which was significantly lower than today due to harsh conditions and lack of medical knowledge.

While none can be definitive, these theories offer insight into Matthew's possible lifespan. You're encouraged to explore these perspectives, understanding the limitations and possibilities each presents.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Did Matthew's Age Affect His Role as an Apostle?

Matthew's exact age isn't mentioned, but it's assumed he was mature when he became an apostle. His age likely impacted his apostolic maturity, allowing him to handle responsibilities and situations with wisdom.

His age-based influence could've made him a respected figure among the apostles and followers.

It's essential to remember that age doesn't necessarily determine effectiveness in roles, it's about the spirit's willingness.

Are There Any Scriptures That Directly Mention Matthew's Age?

No, there aren't any scriptures that directly mention Matthew's age. However, you can glean some insight from his profession.

As a tax collector, Matthew would've been mature and experienced, suggesting he wasn't extremely young. But remember, age doesn't necessarily influence one's spiritual journey.

It's his experiences and perspective from his profession that added unique value to his role as an apostle.

What Cultural or Societal Factors During Matthew's Time Could Have Impacted His Lifespan?

You're examining how factors like Roman Rule influence and Early Christianity impact could've affected a person's lifespan during Matthew's era.

Under Roman rule, life expectancy was low due to harsh conditions and disease. Early Christianity also had its dangers, as followers often faced persecution.

These factors likely contributed to a shorter average lifespan, making it a tough period to survive, even without knowing Matthew's exact age.

How Does the Bible Describe Matthew's Lifestyle or Habits That Could Hint Towards His Age?

The Bible doesn't provide specific clues about Matthew's age. However, it does mention Matthew's occupation as a tax collector, which implies he was an adult. His religious influence, as a disciple of Jesus, suggests a maturity in faith and understanding. These factors might hint towards his age, but it's speculative.

How Does Matthew's Estimated Age Compare to the Average Lifespan During His Era?

When comparing Matthew's estimated age to the average lifespan of his era, you have to consider his occupations and their age implications. He was a tax collector and later an apostle, roles unlikely for a very young or old man.

The average lifespan was lower then, but if we assume Matthew was of typical working age, he'd likely be in his 30s or 40s, possibly living longer due to his status.


In conclusion, determining Matthew's age in the Bible requires an analysis of his profession, historical context, and scholarly interpretations.

Various theories arise when comparing apostles' ages, offering differing perspectives. It appears Matthew's age remains a topic of debate among scholars, with no definitive answer.

Understanding Matthew's biblical role and lifespan continues to be a fascinating subject for biblical studies, enriching our comprehension of this apostle's life and times.