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Tuesday
Mar252014

Theological Term of the Week 

synoptic gospels
The first three gospels in the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—which are quite similar in their content, and all very different from John’s gospel.

  • From scripture, the three accounts of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law in the synoptic gospels. (There is no account of this incident in John’s gospel.):

    And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. (Matthew 8:14-15 ESV)

    And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them. (Mark 1:29-31 ESV)

    And he arose and left the synagogue and entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they appealed to him on her behalf. And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her, and immediately she rose and began to serve them. (Luke 4:38-39 ESV)

    Although many spurious gospels were written, the church from earliest times has accepted only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as inspired Scripture. While each Gospel has its unique perspective, … Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when compared to John, share a common point of view. Because of that, they are known as the synoptic (from a Greek word meaning “to see together,” or “to share a common point of view”) Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, for example, focus on Christ’s Galilean ministry, while John focuses on his ministry in Judea. The synoptic Gospels contain numerous parables, while John records none. John and the synoptic Gospels record only two common events (Jesus’ walking on the water, and the feeding of the 5,000) prior to Passion Week. These differences between John and the synoptic Gospels, however, are not contradictory, but complementary.

Learn more:

  1. Bible Researcher: Table of Gospel Parallels
  2. Joe Botti & others: The Problem of Apparent Chronological Contradictions in the Synoptics

Related terms:

  • synoptic problem

Filed under Scripture

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