The Synoptic Problem Essay

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Liberty University

The Synoptic Problem

A paper submitted to Dr. Charles Powell
In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the course NBST 525

Liberty Theological seminary

La Shawn Self

Lynchburg, Virginia
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The books of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; where written over 2000 years ago. These books excluding the Gospel of John are often called the synoptic Gospels. The term synoptic is derived from the Greek word meaning “seeing together.” These three books are comparable in their recording of the existence and ministry of Jesus. The wording of the synoptic Gospels is similar as well. For example, the account of the healing of the leaper occurs in all three books and the
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The common belief among source critics is that, the Gospel of Mark is the oldest and Matthew and Luke used his gospel along with an unknown source to write their Gospels. Evidence supporting this view make the makes four points. First, the Luke’s Gospel is contains approximately half of Mark’s information and Matthew’s Gospel encompasses almost all of Mark’s views. Second, Mark’s words are used verbatium Matthew and Luke. Third, Matthew and Luke follow the same sequence of events as Mark. Finally, Matthew and Luke sometimes reword Mark’s uncomfortable passages of scripture to allow smooth transitions and ease of understanding.[5] Markan Priority The Markan Priority is the belief that Mark was the first to write his account then Matthew and Luke used his recordings along with an unknown source to write their accounts. Although it is said that Matthew and Luke used Mark’s account and another unknown source to write their versions of the gospel, it is also believed that Mark used some unknown source to supplement his gospel as well.[6] Weaknesses in the Markan Priority To accept the Markan Priority one must first denounce the word of Jesus, “that the Holy Spirit would bring all things back to their remembrance”; the testimonies of the early church leaders and historical facts. Also, if Matthew and Luke were present at the same time that Mark was present, why would they need to use Mark’s account?[7] Some authors believe that
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