4. Growth Of The Gospels

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1. There is a considerable gap between Jesus’ Galilean Aramaic and the Greek of the gospels.

2. Also, the Jesus teaching has passed from Jewish hands to the gentiles.

3. Paul cites two definite traditions which had been passed on to him:

a. I Cor 11:23-25. The Lord’s supper.
b. I Cor 15:3-8. The resurrection.

4. Luke refers to “already written records.” The Q manuscript (Andrew’s notes).

5. Because of “resemblances” Matthew, Mark, and Luke have been called the “Synoptics.”

6. Use of written sources produces agreement; of oral tradition, disagreement.

7. Augustine first pointed out this problem of resemblances and differences in the gospels.

8. The generally accepted solution:

a. Mark is first of the four gospels.
b. In addition to Mark, Matthew and Luke had another Greek document.
c. But there is enough of additional matter to indicate still other sources of material.


1. Of 661 verses in Mark, 610 are in either Matthew or Luke—majority in both. Of 88 paragraphs in Mark only three are missing in both Matthew and Luke.

2. The order of sections in Mark is repeated in Matthew or Luke. Even the order of sentences in telling a story compares.

3. Fifty-five per cent of Luke’s language is from Mark. Matthew repeats 59 per cent.

4. There is an agreement as concerns the use of “unusual language.” Even peculiar sentence construction reappears.

5. All the evidence indicates that the Q document was in many ways like Mark.

6. It is fair to conclude that Matthew and Luke depended upon three sources:

a. Mark.
b. Q manuscript.
c. Other sources.


1. The Q manuscript furnishes for Matthew and Luke a considerable body (over 200 verses) of Jesus’ sayings.

2. Matthew and Luke tell identical stories about:

The temptation.
The centurion’s son.
Sermon on the Mount.
Lord’s prayer.

3. The use of identical words in Matthew and Luke indicate the existence of Q.

4. Luke differs more from Mark than Matthew. Luke either had other writings or else he made his own record of oral traditions.

5. Matthew contains a striking series of Old Testament quotations not found in Mark or Luke.

6. There are several stories peculiar to Matthew:

Coin in fish’s mouth.
Dream of Pilate’s wife.
Guard at the tomb.

7. It is generally believed (including the Urantia Book) that Mark is the gospel according to Peter. But the language is not that of Peter.

8. In Paul’s preaching he appeals to:

The Scriptures.
His personal experience.
Tradition—common knowledge.

9. Paul’s traditions differ in some respects from the narratives of the Synoptic gospels.

10. Form criticism is more recent in origin. It concerns the “form” ‘of the narrative as indicating date of origin. But the various scholars are not very well agreed on the basis of interpretation.


1. Aside from the passion narrative and four or five stories, the fourth gospel is wholly different from the Synoptics.

2. John even differs regarding the day of the crucifixion. The Urantia Book confirms John’s record.

3. It is likely that each of the larger churches had a body of tradition of its own. Maybe also some written notes.

4. John’s gospel is such a body of tradition associated with Alexandrian Greek philosophy.

5. There was the tradition of Rome, Antioch, Ephesus, and Jerusalem.

6. Much of the mythical tradition is contained in the final records of the Apocrypha.

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