Matthew, or Levi, was a tax collector and one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus (Matthew 10:3; Luke 5:27; Mark 2:14). As a native of Judea and in the employment of the Romans, Matthew would have been fluent in Aramaic and Greek, and probably also Hebrew and Latin, although Koine Greek was the international language of the realm. Years after the life of Jesus, Matthew wrote a Gospel, perhaps in Judaea Province with the intention of reaching the Hebrew audience primarily in Judaea and also in the diaspora. The authorship of Matthew is stated only decades after its composition by Ignatius who quoted the Gospel of Matthew prior to his death in 108 AD, and Papias who as early as 95 AD mentioned that Matthew recorded the sayings of Jesus (Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Letter to Polycarp; Eusebius, Chronicon, Canons; Papias in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History; cf. Matthew 9:9). According to ancient Church sources, after an initial ministry around Judea Province for 15 years, Matthew left and traveled to places such as Syria, Parthia, and Macedonia (Irenaeus; Clement of Alexandria; Eusebius). It is unclear exactly where and when he died, but there are early sources which claim that Matthew was martyred for his faith in Christ, perhaps in Hierapolis of the Roman province Asia in western Turkey, or more likely that he died in Hierees of Parthia (Hippolytus of Rome, On the Twelve Apostles).
Mark, or John Mark, an early convert to Christianity from Jerusalem, the cousin of Barnabus, colleague of Paul and Timothy, and close friend of Peter has been considered the author of the Gospel according to Mark since the 1st century (Mark 14:51-52; Acts 12:12-17; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; 1 Peter 5:13). Around 95 AD or so, Papias wrote that Mark was the scribe of the Apostle Peter, and therefore may have acquired much of his information from Peter even though Mark lived in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus (Papias in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History). Mark probably wrote this Gospel account around 30 years after Jesus, subsequent to Matthew, following decades of ministry around the Roman Empire with Paul, Barnabas, Peter, and others (Clement, Hypotyposeis). Early Church history records that Mark went to Alexandria and helped establish the Church there, supposedly being martyred in about 68 AD (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History).
Luke the physician was apparently living elsewhere in the Roman Empire during the ministry of Jesus, as he was a native of Antioch (Colossians 4:14; Acts 6:5). Although it has been suggested that Luke was present in Jerusalem at the end of the life of Jesus and mentioned as the anonymous disciple on the road to Emmaus, this hypothesis is unsubstantiated (Luke 24:13-18). Therefore, it is likely that Luke collected information from many eyewitnesses, but did not see those events himself (Luke 1:1-4). According to the “we” sections in Acts, it seems that Luke joined Paul by about 48 AD (Acts 16:10 etc.). Prior to this, Luke could have been investigating the life of Jesus in Judaea Province which resulted in him becoming a Christian, but his whereabouts and actions are unknown. The book of Acts does not mention the deaths of Peter, Paul, or James, suggesting a date prior to 62 AD, but after the appointment of Porcius Festus as Procurator of Judaea Province in ca. 58 AD (Acts 24:27). The Gospel of Luke must have been written sometime before the completion of Acts, and therefore after writing the Gospel, Luke continued traveling with Paul and wrote the book of Acts (Irenaeus, Against Heresies). While Paul was imprisoned in Rome, before his execution of 67 AD, Luke was also in the city (2 Timothy 4:11). According to a 2nd century source, Luke died in Boetia of Achaia at the age of 84, which indicates that he left Rome and continued to spread the Gospel after the death of Paul (Anti-Marcionite Prologue).
The Apostle John was with Jesus from the early days of His ministry, and thus an eyewitness to the events of the Gospels (Matthew 4:21-22). In the initial years of the Church, John was primarily in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas, and often was working with Peter (Acts 3:1, 4:13, 8:14). John, who was the brother of James the son of Zebedee, probably witnessed the execution of his brother in Jerusalem by order of Herod Agrippa I in about 41 AD or so (Matthew 4:21; Luke 5:10; Acts 12:2). After this, John seems to have left Judaea Province and traveled elsewhere to proclaim the Gospel, eventually settling in Ephesus. John was probably present at the Jerusalem council in about 48 AD, perhaps while he had been traveling around proclaiming the Gospel, but before he had moved to the province of Asia (Galatians 2:9). John composed his Gospel account in Ephesus around 66 AD and supplemented Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History). Although it is unknown exactly when John moved to Ephesus, it was probably after Paul went to Ephesus ca. 53 AD, and perhaps even after Timothy’s time in Ephesus in the early 60s AD (Acts 19:1-20:31; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:9; Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses; Tertullian, De Praescriptione Haereticorum). After writing the Gospel, John stayed in Ephesus and wrote three epistles and taught Polycarp of Smyrna and Ignatius of Antioch who both became significant Church leaders (1 John; 2 John; 3 John; Irenaeus, Against Heresies). Years later, during the persecutions against Christians under Domitian, John was arrested dipped into boiling oil in Rome, then banished to a prison on the isolated island of Patmos (Tertullian, Prescription of Heretics). It was on the island of Patmos that John wrote the book of Revelation in about 95 AD (Revelation 1:9). However, after Nerva became Emperor in 96 AD, it seems that John was allowed to leave Patmos and return to Ephesus, living into the reign of Emperor Trajan which began in 98 AD (Polycarp, Harris Fragments; Irenaeus). In a source tracing back to about 100 AD, John was apparently killed by Jews in Ephesus, similar to the fate of his brother James in Jerusalem which seems to have been prophesied by Jesus (Papias in Philip of Side, History of the Church; Rasimus, The Legacy of John; cf. Mark 10:35-39).