We can't trust Eusebius. But fortunately, we don't need Papias. We have the Gospels. The internal evidence shows Matthew is the most likely suspect by far to have kept some journals about what Jesus did and said during his ministry. The rest is logical extrapolation. IF Matthew took notes, WHAT would most likely have happened next? How would Mark and Luke make use of Matthew's notes? And finally, when and why did Matthew decide to revise his collection of writings into a mature literary composition? My own working hypothesis is already on record.
This is realistic thought experimentation. This is logistical plausibility, reconstructed in chronological sequence. This is natural consequences, strictly postulated. This is practical analysis. In other words, this is good common sense!
This is what would have probably happened... IF... IF Matthew took first-hand notes, live, during Jesus' ministry. But don't take my word for it. You tell me. Start from that premise, and what do YOU think would have happened?
Remember, Matthew was alive, in Israel, for about 30 years after the cross. He was in Israel when Mark wrote. He was in Israel when Luke began writing. These are basic facts, not extra assumptions, no matter how much people overlook TIME and object permanence in the New Testament.
Admittedly, we can't prove this hypothesis. But it works. It works far better than that silly "Q" mess. And it's based on what we DO have. I don't care that it's not provable. Praise the Lord! We don't have to claim certainty over such a nonessential area as Gospel Origins (aka, "Source Theory"). BUT... BUT... BUT...
But since we DO have this effective, common sense, plausible hypothesis, we should state it as such. I can't believe it strongly enough to fight over it. But I can believe it until God himself reveals something better. It fits. It's beautiful. It's simple. And it just makes perfect sense.
For the moment, I still think this is pretty close to exactly what happened. :)