Mark, Matt and Luke VS John

 

 

Introduction:

 

Almost all of the biblical information about the earthly ministry of Jesus is contained in the four gospels Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. The word “Gospel” is a translation into English of the Greek word “euangelion” which means “good news.” Many dozens of gospels were written in the first and second century CE; each was believed to be accurate by various groups within the early Christian movement and was extensively used by them. Four of them (Mark, Matthew, Luke and John) were eventually accepted by the early orthodox Christian movement as inspired by God. They were approved for inclusion in the official canon during the 4th century CE, and are found today in every Bible.

 

All of the original copies of the four gospels in the Christian Scriptures have been lost. We must rely upon hand-written copies which are an unknown number of hand-copied replications removed from the originals. The oldest known surviving part of a gospel dates from about 125 CE. It consists of about 50 lines from the Egerton gospel — one of the 40 or so gospels that never made it into the official canon, and whose author is unknown. Another portion of an ancient manuscript, containing part of the Gospel of John, is also dated to about 125 CE. The remaining manuscripts date to the second half of the second century CE or later.

 

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Differences between John and the Synoptic Gospels:

 

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often called the “synoptic” gospels. “Synoptic” is a Greek word meaning “having a common view.” 1 John differs significantly from the synoptic gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style. “Only ca. 8% of it is parallel to these other gospels, and even then, no such word-for-word parallelism occurs as we find among the synoptic gospels.” 2 The Gospel of John reflects a Christian tradition that is different from that of the other gospels. It was rejected as heretical by many individuals and groups within the early Christian movement. It was used extensively by the Gnostic Christians. But it was ultimately accepted into the official canon, over many objections. It is now the favorite gospel of many conservative Christians, and the gospel least referred to by many liberal Christians.

 

Some differences:

Item Matthew, Mark, Luke John
First event mentioned Jesus’ birth (baptism in Mark) Creation of the world
Authors: according to conservative Christians Apostle Matthew; Mark and Luke, co-workers of Paul Apostle John
Authors: according to liberal Christians Unknown authors 2 or more unknown authors
Virgin birth Mentioned in Matt, Luke Some interpret John 1:45 as denying the virgin birth
Jesus as Son of God… From the time of his birth or baptism From the time that the universe was created
Description of Jesus Jesus’ humanity emphasized Jesus’ deity emphasized
Jesus baptism Described Not mentioned
Preaching style Brief one-liners; parables Essay format
Jesus teaches as: A sage A philosopher and mystic
Exorcism A main function of his ministry None performed
True parables Many None
Theme of his teaching: Kingdom of God Jesus himself. Kingdom of God is a background theme.
Jesus’ theology Deviated little from 1st century CE liberal Judaism. Similar
to beliefs taught by Hillel.
Largely independent of Judaism and in opposition to much of its
teaching.
Response expected from the reader 20 Respond to God’s will as expressed in the Mosaic law Respond to Jesus as the definitive expression of God’s will
or revelation
Exorcism of demons Many None
Involvement with the poor and suffering Focus of his ministry Rarely mentioned
Involvement with Scribes (Jewish teachers) 26 references to scribes, who are puzzled and angered by
Jesus’ teachings
No references at all.
Miracles performed by Jesus Many “nature miracles,” healings, and exorcisms Few; all “nature miracles”
Jesus references to himself Rare Focus of the gospel, including the many “I am” sayings
Basis of personal salvation Good works, helping the poor, sick, imprisoned, and needy Belief in Jesus as the Son of God
Duration of ministry 1 year 3 years
Location of ministry Mainly Galilee Mainly Judea, near Jerusalem
Aggravated assault committed in the Temple courtyard: Near the end of his ministry Near the start of his ministry
Date of the Last Supper Passover eve Night before Passover eve
Ceremonial event at the Last Supper: Communal meal  Foot washing
Who carried the cross? Simon Jesus
Visitors to the tomb on Sunday with Mary Magdalene? One or more additional women None; Mary Magdalene went alone
Who was present in the tomb? One angel or two men Two angels
Burial shroud A single piece of cloth Multiple pieces of cloth, as was the Jewish practice at the
time. (John 20:5-7)
Jesus’ first appearance to disciples At Emmaus or Galilee Jerusalem

With thanks to the Religious Tolerance organization. All of the above was lifted from them without their permission but with the hope that they don’t mind promulgating their efforts so long as they are attributed.

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