Evidence The Four Gospels Are Separate And Distinct Narratives

The Four Faces of The Four Gospels

One of the contentions made by critics of the New Testament is the idea that the writers of the four Gospels borrowed from each other. Some critics assert that the text is identical, others allege the Gospel writers invented their narratives to make Jesus God, when He never stated this Himself.[1]

One of the benefits of having 24,593 surviving New Testament manuscripts, dated from 175-225 A.D., is that we can analyze the text and determine what the truth is. First, the 27 books of the New Testament come to us from the historical record.[2] The Gospels were not written decades or centuries ago; they were written two millennia  before and reside today as historical accounts of events these narratives claim really happened. The laws of evidence require that any person who asserts that an event of antiquity did not happen—when the ancient text itself claims it did happen—requires the opposing party to prove the text is not true.[3]

The manner in which the critics of the New Testament have chose to impeach these narratives, is to assert that they are all contrived and never happened.

Examining The Massive Record Of Evidence

Part of the difficulty in proving these events did not happen, resides in the massive number of texts that have survived the past 2,000 years. The documents which comprise the New Testament are not made up of a single narrative, but 27 separate books, written by eight different authors. In spite of so many books and authors, every one of these texts describe the same person, and were written for the express purpose of proving that Jesus is a real historical person who said and did everything that is written about Him.

Were The Gospels Written By Eyewitnesses?

Added to the difficulty of impeaching so many different books, by so many different authors, the entirety of the New Testament is also written as a fulfillment of all that the entire Old Testament predicted. The Bible exists as a body of 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a 1,450 period of history. The Old Testament describes the promise of God in Genesis 3:15 to send the world a Savior. The rest of the Old Testament describes how God will accomplish this through the Jewish people, whom God called to bring a revelation of this Savior to the world.

When Jesus arrived onto the world scene, there was already a tremendous body of evidence that predicted His arrival. Most of the men who saw and heard Jesus at that time, did not realize that He was the Messiah. They didn’t understand that Jesus was following a script from the Old Testament that was written for Him, describing precisely how He must fulfill all that the Hebrew prophets had written for the Messiah.

See The Prophecies Of The Messiah

After Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead, all of these men realized that Jesus was the Messiah promised by God, and everything He had said and done, was to prove His identity. After Jesus had risen, He met with the disciples and told them that all He had done, was to fulfill the words of the prophets and demonstrate that He is the Messiah God promised:

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. ~Luke 24:25-27 (NLT)

Then Jesus said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. ~Luke 24:44-48 (NLT)

In these two texts, we see that the entire time Jesus was here on earth, He was following a roadmap written for the Messiah that Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets had written for Him.

I wrote three books that detail the 400 prophecies Jesus fulfilled—the prophecies Jesus described in the above texts from Luke 24:25-48

  1. The Prophecies of the Messiah
  2. The Messianic Prophecy Bible
  3. These Things Were Written

This means that the New Testament cannot be evaluated strictly on its own merits, but must also be teamed with the entire text of the Old Testament. Now we are faced with the dilemma of whether the Old and New Testaments are both lying to us about the one person they both describe.

In order to accept that the New Testament Gospels are lying about Jesus, we would also have to accept that the Old Testament was in on this fraud—for all of these 39 books are also about Jesus.

  • 39 Old Testament Books/32 Authors
  • 27 New Testament Books/8 Authors

Did 40 men get together and determine that they would write 66 books in order to deceive the world into believing that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God? If so, then how did 40 men, most of whom never knew each other, conspire to accomplish such a feat of deception? Of course when we begin to imagine that this had actually happened, we quickly realize that there is no possibility this feat of deception could ever take place.

The men who penned the Old Testament had no idea that Jesus would come into the world and fulfill the very words they had written. These Old Testament writers often did not understand the words God had given them to record. In the New Testament Peter states that these Old Testament writers didn’t understand what they were given to write down, but looked at these future events they described and wondered what they meant.

This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. ~1 Peter 1:10-12 (NLT)

Peter states that the prophecies which the Old Testament writers recorded, were not written for them, nor did they understood them fully. These men wondered what the words God had given to them, met. God told these men that the words they were writing were not for them or their generation, but for a future generation that would be alive when the Messiah came into the world.

This brings us back to the narratives of Jesus in the New Testament. Now we understand that we are not simply considering what the writers of the New Testament wrote concerning Jesus, but also that the 39 books of the Old Testament are also in confirmation of all that Jesus said and did.

  • The 39 books of the Old Testament predicted what Messiah would say and do.
  • The 27 books of the New Testament record the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophets, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah.

Looking At The New Testament In The Light Of The Old Testament

Understanding that the text of the 27 books that comprise the New Testament are not an isolated narrative, but resulting from, and dependant upon, the 39 books of the Old Testament that came before, we cannot discount the entirety of the New Testament as a fabrication. We must evaluate the evidence at hand, and this evidence meets every requirement set forth for valid historical events. In addition, there is not a scintilla of evidence that the writers are not telling the truth, but every evidence the narratives are truthful.

How Forensic Evidence Proves The New Testament Is Historical And Reliable

The writers of the New Testament realized after Jesus had been raised from the dead, He has systematically fulfilled over 400 Hebrew prophecies which predicted a Messiah exactly like Jesus. Throughout the text of the New Testament we see the writers including citations from these 400 Hebrew scriptures, and applying them directly to Jesus as the Messiah.

See The Messianic Prophecy Bible

The Writers Of The New Testament Used The Prophecies Of The Old Testament To Prove Jesus Is The Messiah

In the book of Acts, we see Peter before the leaders at Jerusalem, delivering one of the most incredible sermons of all time. In these texts, Peter recounts 25 events from the Old Testament prophets who predicted what the Messiah would say and do. Peter attributes these 25 texts directly to Jesus.

In the following list, the first verse from Acts is the location of Peter’s speech before the leaders of Israel; the second verses are the Old Testament scriptures where Peter is quoting from, and applying these texts to Jesus. Peter is seeking to prove from the Old Testament, that Jesus is the Messiah, the One whom these prophets are describing.

Peter’s Scholarly Dissertation Of Acts Chapters Two And Three

  1. Acts 2:17-21~Joel 2:28-32
  2. Acts 2:18~Numbers 11:29
  3. Acts 2:25-28~Psalms 16:8-11
  4. Acts 2:29~1 Kings 2:10
  5. Acts 2:30~2 Samuel 7:12-14
  6. Acts 2:30~Psalms 89:4
  7. Acts 2:30~Psalms 132:11
  8. Acts 2:31~Psalms 16:10
  9. Acts 2:34-35~Psalms 110:1
  10. Acts 2:39~Isaiah 43:3
  11. Acts 2:39~Isaiah 57:19
  12. Acts 2:40~Deuteronomy 32:5
  13. Acts 3:13~Exodus 3:6, 15
  14. Acts 3:18~Psalms 22;
  15. Acts 3:18~Psalms 41:v9
  16. Acts 3:18~Psalms 69:4, 21
  17. Acts 3:18~Isaiah 50:6
  18. Acts 3:18~Isaiah 53:4-11
  19. Acts 3:18~Zechariah 12:10
  20. Acts 3:18~Zechariah 13:7
  21. Acts 3:22~Deuteronomy 18:15, 18
  22. Acts 3:23~Leviticus 23:29
  23. Acts 3:23~Deuteronomy 18:19
  24. Acts 3:25~Genesis 22:18
  25. Acts 3:25~Genesis 26:4

Modern Critics Do Not Consider The Old Testament

This important point of Old Testament corroboration is often unknown by a majority of people who analyze the New Testament. Many New Testament critics and most lay people who read the comments of liberal scholars that assert the New Testament cannot be relied upon, don’t realize that everything written about Jesus in the New Testament, was predicted by the Old Testament. Very rarely will you read a commentary by a liberal New Testament scholar who states that the writers of the New Testament were seeking to prove Jesus’ identity by His fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecies of the Messiah, from the Old Testament.

This is what Peter did in Acts; this is what Paul did in nearly all of his letters.

Why? Because proving Jesus is the Messiah by demonstrating He had fulfilled the very words these men had written in the Old Testament, was essential to establishing Jesus as the One Moses described, the One God promised in Genesis 3:15.

Modern critics don’t know these texts from the Old Testament, nor do they understand that all Jesus said and did, was predicted before He arrived. This is why I wrote Prophecies of the Messiah. A good working knowledge of the 400 Hebrew prophecies Jesus fulfilled, is essential to a complete understanding of the Bible.

This is one of the primary reasons that Paul took such care in crafting his letters to the various churches in Asia Minor. Paul wanted to demonstrate by the Gospel testimony of the men who had seen Jesus, and by what the Hebrew prophets had written in predicting all Jesus had done, that He is the Messiah.

Notice in the following text from Hebrews how carefully Paul details Jesus’ fulfillment of Psalms 45:

Note: I believe that the text of Hebrews proves the Paul is the true writer. The style of Paul as a preeminent Hebrew scholar with a vast knowledge of these ancient texts, is proven in the narratives of Hebrews. In all of Paul’s letters he makes use of his vast knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures and includes these texts in his letters as proof that what he is writing is true. In my opinion, only Paul was capable of the detailed scholarship we see in the narratives of Hebrews.

The Book Of Hebrews And Paul’s Commentary On Jesus

In Hebrews 1:8 Paul writes his commentary on the well known prophecy of the coming Messiah from Psalms 45:6. Paul wrote in the first chapter of Hebrews that this Messianic prophecy was written for Jesus:

  • Hebrews 1:8-9 “But to the Son (Jesus) He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
  • Psalms 45:6-7 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

It is clear that Paul believed Psalms 45:6 was written for the Messiah, and specifically, Jesus Christ. Paul’s quotation of Psalms 45:6 in context with Hebrews 1:8 defines for us accurately who Jesus is:

  1. The “Son” is Jesus Christ.
  2. The Son is “God.”
  3. Psalms 45:6 was a prophecy written for Jesus Christ.
  4. Jesus Christ is the Messiah promised by the Old Testament.

Paul was convinced that Jesus was the fulfillment of every Messianic Prophecy of the Hebrew scriptures, including Psalms 45:6. When Paul penned the words in Hebrews Chapter 1:8—But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom”—he was pointing to the fact that not only was Jesus the Messiah but He was and is the Living God.

Not only do we learn from Psalms 45:6 that God intended from the foundation of the world, that the Messiah would be God but also that Jesus was the person to whom this prophecy was written.

A second false assumption made by critics of the New Testament, is the idea that the Synoptic Gospels are forgeries, copied from other texts. When we really understand what we are reading, and analyze the four Gospels together, we find that they are all describing Jesus, performing miracles to prove He is God, dying on a cross, and rising from the dead—seen by over 500 eyewitnesses at one time.

See the following page for the primary issues of New Testament Criticism

In this next section we will examine the texts from all four Gospels which described the same events. By examination of the Synoptic Gospels together, we can prove that these Gospels were written by different authors, men who had either seen Jesus do what they recorded, or the text was dictated  by the eyewitness to the scribe who penned the words.

Adequate Unanimity But Sufficient Variation To Eliminate Collaboration

Upon personal examination of the following 34 texts found in all four Gospels, we see that they all agree with each other on many of the most important and fundamental events of Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection. This list confirms that these four Gospels are independant accounts written by four authors, yet they all agree with each other concerning many of the most important events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

  1. John the Baptist Mt 3:1-6 Mk 1:2-6 Lk 3:1-6 Jn 1:19-23
  2. John’s Messianic Preaching Mt 3:11-12 Mk 1:7-8 Lk 3:15-18 Jn 1:24-28
  3. The Baptism of Jesus Mt 3:13-17 Mk 1:9-11 Lk 3:21-22 Jn 1:29-34
  4. Jesus’ Journey into Galilee Mt 4:12 Mk 1:14a Lk 4:14a Jn 4:1-3
  5. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee Mt 4:13-17 Mk 1:14b-15 Lk 4:14b-15 Jn 4:43-46a
  6. Jesus Heals the Paralytic Mt 9:1-8 Mk 2:1-12 Lk 5:17-26 Jn 5:8-9a
  7. Jesus and the Centurion of Capernaum Mt 8:5-13 Mk 7:30 Lk 7:1-10
    13:28-29 Jn 4:46b-54
  8. Jesus Predicts Persecution Mt 10:17-25 24:9-14 Mk 13:9-13 Lk 6:40 12:11-12
    21:12-19 Jn 13:16
  9. Requirements For Discipleship Mt 10:37-39 Mk 14:25-27 LK 17:33 Jn 12:25
  10. The Rewards of Discipleship Mt 10:40-42 Mk 9:41 Lk 10:16 Jn 13:20
  11. Mary Anoints Jesus Mt 26:6-13 Mk 14:3-9 Lk 7:36-50 Jn 12:1-8
  12. The True Members of Jesus’ Family Mt 12:46-50 Mk 3:31-35 Lk 8:19-21 Jn 15:14
  13. Jesus Feeds Five Thousand Mt 14:13-21 Mk 6:32-44 Lk 9:10b-17 Jn 6:1-15
  14. Peter’s Profession That Jesus Is The Messiah Mt 16:13-20 Mk 8:27-30 Lk 9:18-21 Jn 6:67-71
  15. Jesus’ Requirements To Follow Him Mt 16:24-28 Mk 8:34-9:1 Lk 9:23-27 Jn 12:25
  16. Jesus Defines True Leaders Mt 18:1-5 Mk 9:33-37 Lk 9:46-48 Jn 13:20
  17. Jesus’ Entry Into Jerusalem As Messiah Mt 21:1-9 Mk 11:1-10 Lk 19:28-40 Jn 12:12-19
  18. Jesus Predicts His Betrayal Mt 26:21-25 Mk 14:18-21 Lk 22:21-23 Jn 13:21-30
  19. Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial Mt 26:30-35 Mk 14:26-31 Lk 22:31-34 Jn 13:36-38
  20. Jesus at Gethsemane Mt 26:36-46 Mk 14:32-42 Lk 22:39-46 Jn 18:1 12:27
  21. Jesus is Arrested Mt 26:47-56 Mk 14:43-52 Lk 22:47-53 Jn 18:2-12
  22. Jesus’ Trial Before the Sanhedrin Mt 26:57-68 Mk 14:53-65 Lk 22:54-71 Jn 18:13-24
  23. Peter Denies Jesus Mt 26:69-75 Mk 14:66-72 Lk 22:56-62 Jn 18:25-27
  24. Jesus’ Trial Before Pilate Mt 27:1-2 Mk 15:1 Lk 23:1 Jn 18:28
  25. Pilate Examines Jesus Mt 27:11-14 Mk 15:2-5 Lk 23:2-5 Jn 18:29-38
  26. The Jews Choose Barabbas Over Jesus Mt 27:15-23 Mk 15:6-14 Lk 23:17-23 Jn 18:39-40
  27. Pilate Delivers Jesus to be Crucified Mt 27:24-26 Mk 15:15 Lk 23:24-25 Jn 19:16
  28. Jesus Carries His Cross Mt 27:31b-32 Mk 15:20b-21 Lk 23:26-32 Jn 19:17
  29. Jesus Is Crucified Mt 27:33-37 Mk 15:22-26 Lk 23:33-34 Jn 19:17b-27
  30. The Death of Jesus Mt 27:45-54 Mk 15:33-39 Lk 23:44-48 Jn 19:28-30
  31. Eyewitnesses of Jesus’ Crucifixion Mt 27:55-56 Mk 15:40-41 Lk 23:49 Jn 19:25-27
  32. Jesus Is Buried Mt 27:57-61 Mk 15:42-47 Lk 23:50-56 Jn 19:38-42
  33. Women First At The Tomb Mt 28:1-8 Mk 16:1-8 LK 24:1-12 Jn 20:1-13
  34. Women First To See Jesus Raised Mt 28:9-10 Mk 16:9-11 Lk 24:10-11 Jn 20:14-18

Even if we did not have all of the other events described in the four Gospels, and our knowledge of Jesus came only from these 34 common events found in all four of the Gospels (above), this would be sufficient to prove that the narratives of Jesus are reliable.

The facts are, we have a substantial number of additional accounts in the Synoptic Gospels which are the same, but the writers use different words and phrases to record these events. The writers also include details that the other Synoptic writers do not include. The writers leave out certain details that the other Synoptic writers do include. This is forensic evidence of reliable written testimony.

How Forensic Evidence Proves The New Testament Is Historical And Reliable

With the additional testimony of dissimilar events found in the Synoptic Gospels, we have even greater forensic proof that we are reading narratives by four separate writers, still telling us about just one man, Jesus, the Messiah.

This is important because critics of the New Testament who seek to impeach the reliability of these narratives, allege that these attributes cannot be found. The idea that the four writers borrowed from each other is disproven by the great dissimilarities of these texts.

Why is John’s Gospel So Different?

When we understand that John wrote his Gospel for a different purpose than the other writers, we understand the reason he describes events that the Synoptic Gospels were not focussed on. John wanted the reader to clearly understand that Jesus is God, Yahweh from the Old Testament, the Creator of the universe and all that exists.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. ~John 1:1-4 (NLT)

Who is “the Word?” John states it is Jesus, the Son of God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. ~John 1:14 (NLT)

This is the primary focus of John’s Gospel, and for this reason he writes text that will lead us to this conclusion.

John confirms this certainty in his three shorter Epistles. John states that he is an eyewitness to what he declares in his texts:

We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. ~1 John 1:1-4 (NLT) 

In the following charts which exhibit the miracles Jesus performed, we see that each of the three synoptic Gospels describe the same miracles. At the same time, they also are individual accounts because each writer uses slightly different words, order of words, or descriptions, that the other writers do not use. This is an artifact of truthful testimony. If you and I and two other people are at the scene of an important event and we each go off to write what we remember, we will not all include the precise same details of this event. This is with the exception of exact words that the primary person in the story said. In the case of Jesus, when He stated something very profound, the disciples wrote exactly what Jesus said and these accounts do match each other nearly exactly.

The Miracles Jesus Performed

In the first example above describing the miracle of healing for the man who is plagued by leprosy, notice the different way each writer described this event. Read carefully each account and note the slight differences between how each writer states this event:

Matthew 8:2-4 (NKJV)

2 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
3 Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

Mark 1:40-42 

40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.”
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.

Luke 5:12-13 

12 And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”
13 Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him.

As you can see from these three narratives of the same event, they are not exactly alike. Each writer uses slightly different words to describe what happened. When it comes to quoting what the man said to Jesus and His response, these are exactly alike, as we would expect them to be.

If you do an independent study on your own, you will see these same artifacts in every one of the miracles listed in the chart above.

Jesus’ Power Over Nature

Matthew 8:23-27

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Mark 4:37-41

37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Luke 8:22-25

22 Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 But He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!”

Once again, all three describing the same event, but each in their own individual way. It is easy to see that these are three separate writers, writing an independent account.

Jesus’ Power Over Death

Matthew 9:18-19

18 While He spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.” 19 So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples.

Mark 5:22-24

22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him.

Luke 8:41-42

41 And behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue. And he fell down at Jesus’ feet and begged Him to come to his house, 42 for he had an only daughter about twelve years of age, and she was dying. But as He went, the multitudes thronged Him.

Matthew and Mark do not name the man, Jairus, while Luke, who often includes greater details in his narratives, does name Jairus. Matthew does not describe Jairus as the ruler of the Synagogue, while Mark and Luke do. Matthew and Mark do not tell us the age of the girl, Luke states she is 12. These are clear examples of independent writers, not three fabricated narratives. If you continue your own study through every one of the above miracles in the charts displayed, you will see the same result. differing details of the same events; evidence of truthful written testimony.

In the above charts, we see that in the three Synoptic Gospels, the writers agree on the miracles, but they often include or omit, different details. This is forensic evidence that the accounts are genuine. In all written texts, when the witnesses are recounting events, they remember different details. In false accounts, the witnesses make certain that their stories are a match. We often see this in Hollywood movies where people who have committed a crime will get together to agree on what they will say or write in their testimonies. In the text of the four Gospels, we do not see agreement on all the details, but separate recollections about the same events.

Examining The Gospels Together At Once

In this section, I have provided the texts from the three synoptic Gospels for you, side-by-side, so you can compare the different details for yourself.

Jesus Heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law

(Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41)

Jesus’ Temptation in the Wilderness

(Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13)

Jesus Heals A Leper

(Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16)

Jesus Heals a Man’s Withered Hand on a Sabbath

(Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11)

 

The Beatitudes

(Matthew 5:1-16; Luke 6:17-26)

The Parable of the Soils

(Matthew 13:1-9; Mark 4:1-9; Luke 8:4-8)

Jesus Explains The Reason For The Parable Of The Soils

(Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-12; Luke 8:9-10)

Jesus Explains The Parable Of The Soils

(Matthew 13:18-23; Mark 4:13-20; Luke 8:11-15)

As we go through the entire texts of the four Gospels, we see this similarity between the narratives of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, while also being aware that the descriptions vary in the details. This is evidence that impeaches the idea that the writers borrowed from each other. In fact, what we see is that each writer is recording his own recollection of these events as the Holy Spirit enabled them, for the particular purpose that Jesus called each man to be His witness.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 24, verse 26, Jesus told the Apostles before He was crucified, that when He rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit to “bring to their remembrance all things concerning Him.”

These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ~John 14:25-26 (NKJV)

Jesus called Matthew to witness to the Jews regarding Jesus as the Messiah, the King of the Jews. Mark was the scribe of Peter who recorded a narrative to present Jesus as the Servant of God, who laid down His life for the world. Luke was a medical doctor who was well acquainted with the physiology of man, presents Jesus as a man, like us, yet with God dwelling within, ready to give His life for the sins of the world. John presents Jesus unique from the other three Gospels, as proof that Jesus is God. John writes to highlight different events about Jesus which demonstrate evidence that Jesus is God.

This brief essay allows us to see that the Synoptic Gospels are not contrived as the writers borrowed from each other. The evidence is clear, these are three separate and distinct narratives by three individual writers, all of whom saw the things they record, or received them from the eyewitnesses who saw these events.


Notes:

[1] 1. Eighty-five percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him, according to the Jesus Seminar.
2. Ehrman, Bart D.. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (p. 1). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
[2] Essay by the same author, “Is The New Testament A Valid Historical Narrative?
[3] Essay by the same author: “Legal Analysis Of The Four Gospels As Valid Eyewitnesses.”

 

 



Categories: Agnostics and Skeptics, Alleged Contradictions, Anonymity of the Four Gospels, Contradictions in the Bible, Exegesis and Hermeneutics, How The NT Writers Remembered, New Testament Criticism, Origin of the four Gospels, Robert Clifton Robinson, Secular sources for Jesus, The Historical Jesus

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