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It may surprise the modern reader to realize that for the first two centuries of the Christian era, Matthew's Gospel prevailed as the most popular of the Gospel accounts. Not only was Matthew's text the most frequently quoted NT book among the second century Christians, but in virtually all textual witnesses and canonical lists Matthew is placed first. In short, both in form and content, Matthew's Gospel provided second century Christianity with an eminently practical and useful compendium of what was foundational to the Christian faith.