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A Gnostic doctrinal treatise mentioned by Epiphanius (Haer., xxvi.2) in which Jesus is represented as saying in a loud voice, "I am thou, and thou art I, and wherever thou art there am I, and in all things I am sown. And from whencesoever thou gatherest me, in gathering me thou gatherest thyself."

See LOGIA; and compare Ropes, Die Spruche Jesu, 56.


gos'-pel (to euaggelion): The word gospel is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word which meant "the story concerning God." In the New Testament the Greek word euaggelion, means "good news." It proclaims tidings of deliverance. The word sometimes stands for the record of the life of our Lord (Mark 1:1), embracing all His teachings, as in Acts 20:24. But the word "gospel" now has a peculiar use, and describes primarily the message which Christianity announces. "Good news" is its significance. It means a gift from God. It is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and sonship with God restored through Christ. It means remission of sins and reconciliation with God. The gospel is not only a message of salvation, but also the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works (Romans 1:16).

The gospel differs from the law in being known entirely from revelation. It is proclaimed in all its fullness in the revelation given in the New Testament. It is also found, although obscurely, in the Old Testament. It begins with the prophecy concerning the `seed of the woman' (Genesis 3:15), and the promise concerning Abraham, in whom all the nations should be blessed (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 15:5) and is also indicated in Acts 10:43 and in the argument in Roman 4.

In the New Testament the gospel never means simply a book, but rather the message which Christ and His apostles announced. In some places it is called "the gospel of God," as, for example, Romans 1:1 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 9; 1 Timothy 1:11. In others it is called "the gospel of Christ" (Mark 1:1 Romans 1:16; Romans 15:19 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18 Galatians 1:7). In another it is called "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24); in another "the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15); in another "the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13); and in yet another "the glorious gospel" (2 Corinthians 4:4 the King James Version). The gospel is Christ: He is the subject of it, the object of it, and the life of it. It was preached by Him (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 11:5 Mark 1:14 Luke 4:18 margin), by the apostles (Acts 16:10 Romans 1:15; Romans 2:16 1 Corinthians 9:16) and by the evangelists (Acts 8:25).

We must note the clear antithesis between the law and the gospel. The distinction between the two is important because, as Luther indicates, it contains the substance of all Christian doctrine. "By the law," says he, "nothing else is meant than God's word and command, directing what to do and what to leave undone, and requiring of us obedience of works. But the gospel is such doctrine of the word of God that neither requires our works nor commands us to do anything, but announces the offered grace of the forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation. Here we do nothing, but only receive what is offered through the word." The gospel, then, is the message of God, the teaching of Christianity, the redemption in and by Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, offered to all mankind. And as the gospel is bound up in the life of Christ, His biography and the record of His works, and the proclamation of what He has to offer, are all gathered into this single word, of which no better definition can be given than that of Melanchthon: "The gospel is the gratuitous promise of the remission of sins for Christ's sake." To hold tenaciously that in this gospel we have a supernatural revelation is in perfect consistency with the spirit of scientific inquiry. The gospel, as the whole message and doctrine of salvation, and as chiefly efficacious for contrition, faith, justification, renewal and sanctification, deals with facts of revelation and experience.

David H. Bauslin


(Euaggelion kath' Hebraious, to Hebraikon, to Ioudaikon; Evangelium Hebraeorum, Judeorum):

1. References in Early Church History

2. Its Character and Contents

3. Its Circulation and Language

4. Relation to Matthew

5. Time of Composition

6. Uncanonical Sayings and Incidents

7. Conclusion


"The Gospel according to the Hebrews" was a work of early Christian literature to which reference is frequently made by the church Fathers in the first five centuries, and of which some twenty or more fragments, preserved in their writings, have come down to us. The book itself has long disappeared. It has, however, been the subject of many critical surmises and discussions in the course of the last century. It has been regarded as the original record of the life of Jesus, the Archimedespoint of the whole gospel history. From it Justin Martyr has been represented as deriving his knowledge of the works and words of Christ, and to it have been referred the gospel quotations found in Justin and other early writers when these deviate in any measure from the text of the canonical gospels. Recent discussions have thrown considerable light upon the problems connected with this Gospel, and a large literature has grown up around it of which the most important works will be noted below.

1. References in Early Church History:

Speaking of Papias Eusebius mentions that he has related the story of a woman who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the "Gospel according to the Hebrews." This does not prove that Papias was acquainted with this Gospel, for he might have obtained the story, which cannot any longer be regarded as part of John's Gospel, from oral tradition. But there is a certain significance in Eusebius' mentioning it in this connection (Euseb., HE, III, xxxix, 16). Eusebius, speaking of Ignatius and his epp., takes notice of a saying of Jesus which he quotes (Ep. ad Smyrn, iii; compare Luke 24:39), "Take, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit." The saying differs materially from the saying in Luke's Gospel, and Eusebius says he has no knowledge whence it had been taken by Ignatius. Jerome, however, twice over attributes the saying to the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," and Origen quotes it from the "Teaching of Peter." Ignatius may have got the saying from oral tradition, and we cannot, therefore, be sure that he knew this Gospel.

The first early Christian writer who is mentioned as having actually used the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" is Hegesippus, who flourished in the second half of the 2nd century. Eusebius, to whom we owe the reference, tells us that Hegesippus in his Memoirs quotes passages from "the Syriac Gospel according to the Hebrews" (Historia Ecclesiastica, IV, xxii, 7).

Irenaeus, in the last quarter of the 2nd century, says the Ebionites use only the "Gospel according to Matthew" and reject the apostle Paul, calling him an apostate from the law (Adv. Haer., i. 26, 2). There is reason to believe that there is some confusion in this statement of Irenaeus, for we have the testimony of Eusebius, Jerome and Epiphanius that it was the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" that was used by the Ebionites. With this qualification we may accept Irenaeus as a witness to this Gospel.

Clement of Alexandria early in the 3rd century quotes from it an apocryphal saying with the same formula as he employs for quotation of Holy Scripture (Strom., ii.9). Origen, Clement's successor at Alexandria, has one very striking quotation from the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" (Comm. in Joann, ii), and Jerome says this Gospel is often used by Origen. Eusebius, in the first half of the 4th century, mentions that the Ebionites use only the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" and take small account of the others (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, xxvii, 4). He has, besides, other references to it, and in his widely known classification of Christian Scriptures into "acknowledged" "disputed," and "rejected," he mentions this Gospel which he says some have placed in the last category, although those of the Hebrews who have accepted Christ are delighted with it (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, xxv, 5). Eusebius had himself in all probability seen and handled the book in the library of his friend Pamphilus at Caesarea, where Jerome, half a century later, found it and translated it.

Epiphanius, who lived largely in Palestine, and wrote his treatise on heresies in the latter half of the 4th century, has much to say of the Ebionites, and the Nazarenes. Speaking of the Ebionites, he says they receive the "Gospel according to Matthew" to the exclusion of the others, mentioning that it alone of the New Testament books is in Hebrew speech and Hebrew characters, and is called the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" (Haer., xxx.3). He goes on to say, that their "Gospel according to Matthew," as it is named, is not complete but falsified and mutilated, "and they call it the Hebrew Gospel" (Haer., xxx. 13). The quotations which Epiphanius proceeds to make show that this Gospel diverges considerably from the canonical Gospel of Matthew and may well be that according to the Hebrews. It is more likely that "the Gospel according to Matthew, very full, in Hebrew," of which Epiphanius speaks, when telling about the Nazarene, is the Hebrew "Gospel of Matthew" attested by Papias, Irenaeus, and a widespread early tradition. But as Epiphanius confesses he does not know whether it has the genealogies, it is clear he was not himself acquainted with the book.

Jerome, toward the end of the 4th century, is our chief authority for the circulation and use of the "Gospel according to the Hebrews," although his later statements on the subject do not always agree with the earlier. He was proud of being "trilinguis," acquainted with Hebrew as well as with Latin and Greek. "There is a Gospel," he says, "which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use, which I lately translated from the Hebrew tongue into Greek and which is called by many the authentic Gospel of Matthew" (Commentary on Matthew 12:13). The fact here mentioned, that he translated the work, seems to imply that this Gospel was really something different from the canonical Matthew which he had in his hands. In another place, however, he writes: "Matthew. first of all composed the Gospel of Christ in Hebrew letters and words, in Judea, for behoof of those of the circumcision who had believed, and it is not quite certain who afterward translated it into Greek. But the very Hebrew is preserved to this day in the Caesarean library, which Pamphilus the Martyr, with such care, collected. I myself was allowed the opportunity of copying it by the Nazarenes in Berea who use this volume. In which it is to be observed that the evangelist, when he uses the testimonies of the Old Testament, either in his own person, or in that of the Lord and Saviour, does not follow the authority of the Septuagint translators, but the Hebrew. Of those, the following are two examples: `Out of Egypt have I called my Son' (Matthew 2:15 the King James Version); and `He shall be called a Nazarene' (Matthew 2:23)" (De Vir. Ill., iii). It certainly looks as if in the former instance Jerome meant the Gospel according to the Hebrews, and in the latter the well-authenticated Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. At a later time, however, Jerome appears to withdraw this and to introduce a confusing or even contradictory note. His words are: "In the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which was written indeed in the Chaldee-Syr (Aramaic) language, but in Hebrew characters, which the Nazarenes use as the `Gospel of the Apostles,' or as most people think `according to Matthew,' which also is contained in the library at Caesarea, the narrative says" (Adv. Pelag., iii.2). As he proceeds, he quotes passages which are not in the canonical Matthew. He also says: "That Gospel which is called the Gospel of the Hebrews which was latedly translated by me into Greek and Latin, and was used frequently by Origen" (Catal. Script. Eccl., "Jacobus"). Jerome's notices of the actual Gospel were frequent, detailed and unequivocal.

Nicephorus at the beginning of the 9th century puts the Gospel according to the Hebrews in his list of disputed books of the New Testament along with the Apocalypse of John, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Epistle of Barnabas. This list is believed to rest upon an authority of about the year 500 A.D., and, in the stichometry attached, this Gospel is estimated to have occupied 2,200 lines, while the canonical Matthew occupied 2,500.

Codex Lambda of the 9th century, discovered by Tischendorf, and now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, has marginal notes affixed to four passages of Matthew giving the readings of to Ioudaikon, the lost Gospel according to the Hebrews (Scrivener, Textual Criticism, I4, 160; see also Plate XI, 30, p. 131).

2. Its Character and Contents:

All that survives, and all that we are told, of this work, show that it was of the nature of a Gospel, and that it was written in the manner of the Synoptic Gospels. But it seems not to have acquired at any time ecclesiastical standing outside the very limited circles of Jewish Christians who preferred it. And it never attained canonical authority. The Muratorian Fragment has no reference to it. Irenaeus knew that the Ebionites used only the Gospel according to Matthew in Hebrew, although, as we have seen, this may be really the Gospel according to the Hebrews; but his fourfold Gospel comprises the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which we know. There is no reason to believe that it was the source of the quotations made by Justin from the Apomnemoneumata, or of quotations made anonymously by others of the early Fathers. Like the Synoptic Gospels, however, it contained narratives of events as well as sayings and discourses. It had an account of John the Baptist's ministry, of the baptism of Jesus, of the call of the apostles, of the woman taken in adultery, of the Last Supper, of the denial of Peter, of appearances of Jesus after the resurrection; and it contained the Lord's Prayer, and sayings of Jesus, like the forgiveness of injuries seventy times seven, the counsel to the rich young ruler, and others. One or two sayings have a Gnostic tinge, as when Jesus calls the Holy Spirit His mother, and is made to express His unwillingness to eat the flesh of the Passover Lamb. There are apocryphal additions, even where incidents and sayings are narrated belonging to the canonical Gospels, and there are sayings and incidents wholly apocryphal in the fragments of the Gospel which have survived. But these superfluities do not imply any serious deviation from Catholic doctrine; they only prove, as Professor Zahn says, "the earnestness of the redactor of the Gospel according to the Hebrews to enrich the only Gospel which Jewish Christians possessed up to that time from the still unexhausted source of private oral tradition" (GK, II, 717).

The very title of the work suggests that it circulated among Jewish Christians. Those Christians of Palestine to whom Jerusalem was the ecclesiastical center betook themselves, after the troubles which befell the Holy City, to the less frequented regions beyond the Jordan, and were thus cut off from the main stream of catholic Christianity.

3. Its Circulation and Language:

It was accordingly easier for the spirit of exclusiveness to assert itself among them and also for heretical tendencies to develop. The Ebionites went farthest in this direction. They denied the supernatural birth of our Lord, and insisted upon the binding character of the Law for all Christians. The Nazarenes, as all Jewish Christians were called at first, observed the ceremonial law themselves, but did not impose it upon GentileChristians. And they accepted the catholic doctrine of the person of Christ. It was among a community of these Nazarenes at Berea, the modern Aleppo, that Jerome, during a temporary residence at Chalcis in Northern Syria, found the Gospel according to the Hebrews in circulation. No fewer than 9 times does he mention that this Gospel is their one Gospel, and only once does he connect the Ebionites with them in the use of it. Epiphanius draws a clear line of distinction between the Ebionites and the Nazarenes; and we can scarcely suppose that a Gospel which satisfied the one would be wholly acceptable to the other. There is reason to believe that the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew was most to the mind of the Hebrew Christians, and that it took different forms in the hands of the sects into which the Jewish Christian church became divided. Thus the Gospel of the Nazarenes was the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which in all probability had some affinity with the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of the Ebionites, which seems to have been the same as the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, was something of a more divergent doctrinal tendency suited to the exclusive and heretical views of that sect. But it is not easy to reconcile the statements of Epiphanius with those of Eusebius and Jerome.

That the Hebrew tongue in which Papins says Matthew composed his Logia was the Aramaic of Palestine is generally accepted. This Aramaic was closely akin to the Syriac spoken between the Mediterranean and the Tigris. It was the same as the Chaldee of the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel, of which examples have so recently been found in the Aramaic papyri from Elephantine at Assouan. Eusebius and Jerome are emphatic and precise in recording the fact that the Gospel according to the Hebrews was not only Hebrew or Aramaic in composition, but written in the square Hebrew characters, so different from the Old Hebrew of the Moabite Stone and the Siloam inscription. That there was a Greek translation before the time of Jerome of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, which was used by Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and others, is strenuously affirmed by Professor Harnack (Altchristliche Literatur, I, 6) and as strenuously denied by Professor Zahn (GK, II, 648). One reason why the book never attained to any ecclesiastical authority was no doubt its limited circulation in a tongue familiar, outside the circle of Jewish Christians, to only a learned few. For this reason also it is unlikely that it will ever be found, as the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd, and other works have been.

4. Relation to Matthew:

It is natural to seek for traces of special relationship between the Gospel according to the Hebrews, circulating among communities of Jewish Christians, and the Gospel according to Matthew which grew up on the soil of Palestine, and which was originally composed in the interest of Jewish Christians, and circulated at a very early period in a Hebrew recension, soon superseded by the canonical Gospel of Matthew and now altogether lost. We have already seen that Irenaeus in all likelihood confused the "Gospel according to the Hebrews" with the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew; and that Jerome says the Gospel used by the Nazarenes was called by many the authentic Gospel of Matthew. Moreover, among the fragments that have survived, there are more which resemble Matthew's record than either of the other Synoptics. E.B. Nicholson, after a full and scholarly examination of the fragments and of the references, puts forward the hypothesis that "Matthew wrote at different times the canonical Gospel and the Gospel according to the Hebrews, or, at least, that large part of the latter which runs parallel to the former" (The Gospel according to the Hebrews, 104). The possibility of two editions of the same Gospel-writing coming from the same hand has recently received illustration from Professor. Blass' theory of two recensions of the Acts and of Luke's Gospel to explain the textual peculiarities of these books in Codex Bezae (D). This theory has received the adhesion of eminent scholars, but Nicholson has more serious differences to explain, and it cannot be said that his able argument and admirably marshaled learning have carried conviction to the minds of New Testament scholars.

5. Time of Composition:

If we could be sure that Ignatius in his Epistle to the Smyrneans derived the striking saying attributed to our Lord, "Take, handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit," from the Gospel according to the Hebrews, we should be able to fix its composition as at any rate within the 1st century. The obscurity of its origin, the primitive cast of its contents, and the respect accorded to it down into the 5th century, have disposed some scholars to assign it an origin not later than our Synoptic Gospels, and to regard it as continuing the Aramaic tradition of the earliest preaching and teaching regarding Christ. The manifestly secondary character of some of its contents seems to be against such an early origin. Professor Zahn is rather disposed to place it not earlier than 130, when, during the insurrection of Bar-cochba, the gulf that had grown up between Jews and Jewish Christians was greatly deepened, and with an exclusively Gentilechurch in Jerusalem, the Jewish Christians had lost their center and broken off into sects. The whole situation seems to him to point to a date somewhere between 130-50 A.D. The data for any precise determination of the question are wanting.

6. Uncanonical Sayings and Incidents:

There is a saying which Clement of Alexandria quotes from it as Scripture: "He that wonders shall reign and he that reigns shall rest" (Strom., ii.9). Origen quotes from it a saying of Jesus, reminding us somewhat of Ezekiel (8:3): "Just now My Mother the Holy Spirit took me by one of my hairs, and bore me away to the great mountain Thabor" (Orig., In Joann., ii; it is quoted several times both by Origen and Jerome). Jerome more than once quotes from it a saying of the Lord to His disciples: "Never be joyful except when ye look on your brother in love" (Hieron. in Ephesians 5:4; in Ezekiel 18:7). In his commentary on Matthew (6:11) Jerome mentions that he found in the third petition of the Lord's prayer for the difficult and unique Greek word epiousios, which he translates "supersubstantialis," the Aramaic word machar, crastinus, so that the sense would be, "Tomorrow's bread give us today." Of unrecorded incidents the most notable is that of the appearance of the Risen Lord to James: "And when the Lord had given His linen cloth to the servant of the priest, He went to James and appeared to him. For James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the cup of the Lord until he saw Him rising from the dead. Again a little afterward the Lord says, Bring a table and bread. Immediately it is added: He took bread and blessed and brake, and afterward gave it to James the Just and said to him, My brother, eat thy bread for the Son of Man has risen from them that sleep" (Hieron., De Vir. Illustr., "Jacobus").

Jerome also tells that in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, there is the following passage: "Lo, the mother of the Lord and His brethren said unto Him: John the Baptist is baptizing for the remission of sins; let us go and be baptized by him. But He said to them: What sin have I committed that I should go and be baptized by him? Unless perchance this very word which I have spoken is a sin of ignorance" (Hieron., Adv. Pelag., iii.2).

7. Conclusion:

This Gospel is not to be classed with heretical Gospels like that of Marcion, nor with apocryphal Gospels like that of James or Nicodemus. It differed from the former in that it did not deviate from any essential of catholic truth in its representation of our Lord. It differed from the latter in that it narrated particulars mostly relating to our Lord's public ministry, while they occupy themselves with matters of curiosity left unrecorded in the canonical Gospels. It differs from the canonical Gospels only in that it is more florid in style, more diffuse in the relation of incidents, and more inclined to sectional views of doctrine. Its uncanonical sayings and incidents may have come from oral tradition, and they do lend a certain interest and picturesqueness to the narrative. Its language confined it to a very limited sphere, and its sectional character prevented it from ever professing Scriptural authority or attaining to canonical rank.



E.B. Nicholson, The Gospel according to the Hebrews (1879); R. Handmann, Das Hebrder-Evangelium: Texte u. Untersuchungen, Band V (1889); Zahn, GK, II, 642-723 (1890); Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, I, 6; II, 1, 625-51 (1897); Neutestamentliche Apocryphen (Hennecke), I, 11-21 (1904).

T. Nicol



1. Scope of Gospel

2. State of Opinion as to Date of Appearance, etc.


1. At the End of 2nd Century

2. Irenaeus-Theophilus

3. Middle of 2nd Century

4. Ignatius, etc.

5. John the Presbyter

6. Summary


1. General Lines of Attack and Defence

2. Unwarrantable Critical Presuppositions

3. Real Aim of Gospel-Results

(1) Relation to Synoptics

(2) Time Occupied in the Gospel

(3) A Personal Record

(4) Reminiscences of an Eyewitness

(5) Reminiscence Illustrated

(6) Conclusions


1. The Presentation of Jesus in the Gospel

(1) Alleged Absence of Development in Character of Jesus

(2) Alleged "Autonomy" of Jesus

(3) "Inconceivability" of Logos-Presentation

2. The Logos-Doctrine of the Prologue

3. Growth of Faith and Development of Unbelief

(1) Early Confessions

(2) Growth of Faith in the Disciples

(3) Gradual Disclosure of Messiahship: Growth of Unbelief


I. Introductory.

1. Scope of Gospel:

The Fourth Gospel has a form peculiar to itself, as well as a characteristic style and attitude, which mark it as a unique document among the books of the New Testament.

(1) There is a prologue, consisting of John 1:1-18, of which something will be said later on.

(2) There is a series of scenes and discourses from the life of Jesus, descriptive of Himself and His work, and marking the gradual development of faith and unbelief in His hearers and in the nation (1:19-12:50).

(3) There is a more detailed account of the closing events of the Passion Week-of His farewell intercourse with His disciples (John 13-17), of His arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and burial (John 18-19).

(4) There are the resurrection, and the manifestations of the risen Lord to His disciples on the resurrection day, and on another occasion eight days after (20:1-29). This is followed by a paragraph which describes the purpose of the Gospel, and the reason why it was written (John 20:30, 31).

(5) Finally, there is a supplementary chapter (21), which has all the characteristic marks of the Gospel as a whole, and which probably, therefore, proceeds from the same pen (thus Lightfoot, Meyer, Alford, etc.; some, as Zahn, prefer to take the chapter as the work of a disciple of John). The concluding verses (21:24, 25) read: "This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his witness is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did," etc. "We know that his witness is true" seems to be a testimony on the part of those who knew as to the identity of the disciple, and the trustworthiness of his witness. Nor has this earliest testimony been discredited by the attacks made on it, and the natural meaning has been vindicated by many competent writers. The present tense, "beareth witness," indicates that the "disciple" who wrote the Gospel was still alive when the testimony was given.

2. State of Opinion as to Date of Appearance, etc.:

As to the time of the appearance of the Johannine literature, apart from the question as to the authorship of these writings, there is now a growing consensus of opinion that it arose at the end of the 1st century, or at the beginning of the 2nd century. This is held by those who assign the authorship, not to any individual writer, but to a school at Ephesus, who partly worked up traditional material, and elaborated it into the form which the Johannine writings now have; by those also, as Spitta, who disintegrate the Gospel into a Grundschrift and a Bearbeitung (compare his Das Johannes-Evangelium als Quelle der Geschichte Jesu, 1910). Whether the Gospel is looked on as a compilation of a school of theologians, or as the outcome of an editor who utilizes traditional material, or as the final outcome of theological evolution of certain Pauline conceptions, with few exceptions the appearance of the Johannine writings is dated early in the 2nd century. One of the most distinguished of these exceptions is Schmiedel; another is the late Professor Pfleiderer. One may respect Pfleiderer in the region of philosophical inquiry, but in criticism he is a negligible quantity. And the writings of Schmiedel on the Johannine question are rapidly passing into the same category.

Thus, the appearance of the Johannine writings at the end of the 1st century may safely be accepted as a sound historical conclusion. Slowly the critics who assigned their appearance to the middle of the 2nd century, or later, have retraced their steps, and assign the emergence of the Johannine writings to the time mentioned. This does not, of course, settle the questions of the authorship, composition and trustworthiness of the Gospel, which must be determined on their merits, on the grounds of external, and still more of internal, evidence, but it does clear the way for a proper discussion of them, and gives us a terminus which must set a limit to all further speculation on matters of this kind.

II. External Evidence for the Fourth Gospel.

Only an outline of the external evidence for the Fourth Gospel, which concerns both date and authorship, can be given in this article. Fuller information may be sought in the Intros to the Commentaries on the Gospel, by Godet, Westcott, Luthardt, Meyer; in Ezra Abbot's The Fourth Gospel and Its Authorship; in Zahn's Introduction to the New Testament, III; in Sanday's The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel; in Drummond's The Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel. All these and many others defend the Johannine authorship. On the other side, reference may be made to the author of Supernatural Religion, of which many editions have appeared. Among recent works, Moffatt's Introduction to the New Testament, and B.W. Bacon's Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate, may be mentioned as denying the Johannine authorship.

1. At End of 2nd Century:

The external evidence is as follows. At the end of the 2nd century, the Christian church was in possession of four Gospels, which were used as sacred books, read in churches in public worship, held in honor as authoritative, and treated as part of a Canon of Scripture (see GOSPELS). One of these was the Fourth Gospel, universally ascribed to the apostle John as its author. We have the evidence on this point of Irenaeus, of Tertullian, of Clement of Alexandria, a little later of Origen. Clement is witness for the belief and practice of the church in Egypt and its neighborhood; Tertullian for the church in Africa; and Irenaeus, who was brought up in Asia Minor, was a teacher at Rome, and was bishop of Lyons in Gaul, for the churches in these lands. The belief was so unquestioned, that Irenaeus could give reasons for it which would of themselves have convinced no one who had not already had the conviction which the reasons were meant to sustain. To discount the evidence of Irenaeus, Tertullian and Clement on the ground of the desire to find apostolic authorship for their sacred books, is not argument but mere assertion. There may have been such a tendency, but in the case of the four Gospels there is no proof that there was necessity for this at the end of the 2nd century. For there is evidence of the belief in the apostolic authorship of two Gospels by apostles, and of two by companions of the apostles, as an existing fact in the churches long before the end of the 2nd century.

2. Irenaeus-Theophilus:

The importance of the testimony of Irenaeus is measured by the efforts which have been made to invalidate his witness. But these attempts fail in the presence of his historical position, and of the means at his command to ascertain the belief of the churches. There are many links of connection between Irenaeus and the apostolic age. There is specially his connection with Polycarp. He himself describes that relationship in his letter to Florinus, a fellow-disciple of Polycarp, who had lapsed into Gnosticism, in which he says, "I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and the others who had seen the Lord" (Euseb., HE, V, 20: McGiffert's translation). We cannot say what was the age of Irenaeus at that time, but he was of sufficient age to receive the impressions which, after many years, he recorded. Polycarp was martyred in 155 A.D., and he had been a Christian for 86 years when he was martyred. Thus there was only one link between Irenaeus and the apostolic age. Another link was constituted by his association with Pothinus, his predecessor in Lyons. Pothinus was a very old man when he was martyred, and had in his possession the traditions of the church of Gaul. Thus, Irenaeus, through these and others, had the opportunity of knowing the belief of the churches, and what he records is not only his own personal testimony, but the universal tradition of the church.

With Irenaeus should be adduced the apologist Theophilus (circa 170), the earliest writer to mention John by name as the author of the Gospel. In prefacing a quotation from the commencement of the prologue, he says, "This is what we learn from the sacred writings, and from all men animated by the Spirit, amongst whom John says" (Ad Autol., ii.22). Theophilus is further stated by Jerome to have composed a Harmony of the four Gospels (De Viris Illustr., 25).

3. Middle of 2nd Century:

From Irenaeus and Theophilus we ascend nearer to the middle of the 2nd century, and here we encounter the Diatessaron of Tatian, on which much need not be said. The Diatessaron is likewise a Harmony of the four Gospels, and this Harmony dates not later than 170. It begins with the 1st verse of the Fourth Gospel, and ends with the last verse of the appendix to the Gospel. Tatian was a pupil of Justin Martyr, and that fact alone renders it probable that the "Memoirs of the Apostles," which Justin quotes so often, were those which his pupil afterward combined in the Diatessaron. That Justin knew the Fourth Gospel seems clear, though we cannot argue the question here. If he did, it follows that it was in existence about the year 130.

4. Ignatius, etc.:

But there is evidence that helps us to trace the influence of the Fourth Gospel back to the year 110. "The first clear traces of the Fourth Gospel upon the thought and language of the church are found in the Epistles of Ignatius (circa 110 A.D.). How unmistakable these traces are is shown by the fact that not infrequently this dependence of Ignatius upon John has been used as an argument against the genuineness of the Ignatian letters" (Zahn, Introduction, III, 176). This argument may now be safely used since the Epistles have been vindicated as historical documents by Lightfoot and by Zahn. If the Ignatian Epistles are saturated with the tone and spirit of the Johannine writings, that goes to show that this mode of thought and expression was prevalent in the church of the time of Ignatius. Thus at the beginning of the 2nd century, that distinctive mode of thought and speech which we call Johannine had an existence.

A further line of evidence in favor of the Gospel, which need only be referred to, lies in the use made of it by the Gnostics. That the Gospel was used by the Valentinians and Basilides has been shown by Dr. Drummond (op. cit., 265-343).

5. John the Presbyter:

To estimate aright the force of the above evidence, it is to be remembered that, as already observed, there were many disciples of the John of Ephesus, to whom the Johannine writings were ascribed, living far on in the 2nd century-bishops like Papias and Polycarp, the presbyters" so often mentioned by Irenaeus-forming a chain connecting the time of the origin of the Gospel with the latter half of the century. Here arises the question, recently so largely canvassed, as to the identity of "the presbyter John" in the well-known fragment of Papias preserved by Euseb. (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39). Were there, as most, with Eusebius, understand, two Johns-apostle and presbyter (compare e.g. Godet)-or was there only one? If only one, was he the son of Zebedee? On these points wide difference of opinion prevails. Harnack holds that the presbyter was not the son of Zebedee; Sanday is doubtful; Moffatt believes that the presbyter was the only John at Ephesus. Zahn and Dom J. Chapman (John the Presbyter and the Fourth Gospel, 1911) think also that there was only one John at Ephesus, but he was the son of Zebedee. It is hardly necessary to discuss the question here, for the tradition is explicit which connected the Gospel with the apostle John during the latter part of his residence in Ephesus-a residence which there is no sufficient ground for disputing (see JOHN, THE APOSTLE).

6. Summary:

On a fair consideration of the external evidence, therefore, we find that it is unusually strong. It is very seldom the case that conclusive proof of the existence and influence of a writing can be brought so near to the time of its publication as in the case of the Fourth Gospel. The date of its publication is at the end of the 1st century, or at the latest in the beginning of the 2nd. Traces of its influence are found in the Epistles of Ignatius. The 1st Epistle of John is quoted in the Epistle of Polycarp (chapter 7). The thought and style of the Gospel had influenced Justin Martyr. It is one of the four interwoven in the Diatessaron of Tatian. It was quoted, commented on, and interpreted by the Gnostics. In truth the external evidence for the early date and Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is as great both in extent and variety as it is for any book of the New Testament, and far greater than any that we possess for any work of classical antiquity.

The history of the controversy on the Johannine authorship is not here entered into. Apart from the obscure sect of the Alogi (who attributed the Gospel to Cerinthus!) in the 2nd century, no voice was heard in challenge of the authorship of John till the close of the 17th century, and serious assault did not begin till the 19th century (Bretschneider, 1820, Strauss, 1835, Weisse, 1838, Baur and his school, 1844 and after, Keim, 1865, etc.). The attacks were vigorously repelled by other scholars (Olshausen, Tholuck, Neander, Ebrard, Bleek, etc.). Some adopted, in various forms and degrees, the hypothesis of an apostolic basis for the Gospel, regarded as the work of a later hand (Weizsacker, Renan, etc.). From this point the controversy has proceeded with an increasing dogmatism on the side of the opponents of the genuineness and trustworthiness of the Gospel, but not less firmness on the part of its defenders. The present state of opinion is indicated in the text.

III. Characteristics of the Gospel: Internal Evidence.

1. General Lines of Attack and Defence:

The external evidence for the Fourth Gospel is criticized, but it is chiefly on internal grounds that the opposition to the Johannine authorship and historical trustworthiness of the Gospel is based. Stress is laid on the broad contrast which admittedly exists in style, character and plan, between the Fourth Gospel and the Synoptics; on its supposed philosophical dress (the Logos-doctrine); on alleged errors and contradictions; on the absence of progress in the narrative, etc. The defense of the Gospel is usually conducted by pointing out the different aims of the Gospel, rebutting exaggerations in the above objections, and showing that in a multitude of ways the author of the Gospel reveals his identity with the apostle John. He was, e.g., a Jew, a Palestinian Jew, one familiar with the topography of Jerusalem, etc., an apostle, an eyewitness, the disciple whom Jesus loved (13:23; 20:02; 21:7, 20). The attestation in 21:24 of those who knew the author in his lifetime is of the greatest weight in this connection. Instead of following these familiar lines of argument (for which see Godet, Luthardt, Westcott, Ez. Abbot, Drummond, etc., in works cited), a confirmation is here sought on the lines of a fresh comprehensive study.

2. Unwarrantable Critical Presuppositions:

The study of the Johannine writings in general, and of the Fourth Gospel in particular, has been approached in many ways and from various points of view. One of the most common of these ways, in recent works, is that which assumes that here we have the product of Christian reflection on the facts disclosed in the other Gospels, and that these facts have been modified by the experience of the church, and reflect the consciousness of the church at the end of the 1st century or the beginning of the 2nd century. By this time, it is assumed that the church, now mainly a Gentilechurch, has been greatly influenced by Greek-Roman culture, that she has been reflecting on the wonder of her own history, and has so modified the original tradition as to assimilate it to the new environment. In the Fourth Gospel, it is said, we have the highest and most elaborate presentation of the outcome of the process. Starting with Paul and his influence, Professor B.W. Bacon traces for us the whole process until a school of theologians at Ephesus produced the Johannine writings, and the consciousness of the church was satisfied with the completeness of the new presentation of Christianity (compare his Fourth Gospel in Research and Debate). Hellenistic ideas in Hebrew form, the facts of the Gospel so transformed as to be acceptable to the Hellenistic mind-this is what scholars of this class find in the Fourth Gospel.

Others again come to the Gospel with the presupposition that it is intended to present to the reader a complete view of the life of Jesus, that it is intended to supplement and to correct the statements of the Synoptics and to present Christ in such a form as to meet the new needs of the church at the beginning of the 2nd century. Others find a polemical aim in the Gospel. Weizsacker, e.g. finds a strong polemic aim against the Jews. He says, "There are the objections raised by the Jews against the church after its secession has been consummated, and after the development of the person of its Christ has passed through its most essential stages. It is not a controversy of the lifetime, but that of the school carried back into the history of the life" (Apostolic Age, II, 222). One would have expected that a statement so forcibly put would have been supported by some evidence; that we might have some historical evidence regarding a controversy between Jew and church beyond what we have in the Fourth Gospel itself. But nothing is offered by Weizsacker except the dictum that these are controversial topics carried on in the school, and that they are anachronisms as they stand. As it happens, we know from the Dial. between Justin Martyr and Trypho what were the topics discussed between Jew and Christian in the middle of the 2nd century, and it is sufficient to say that these topics, as reported by Justin, mainly regarded the interpretation of the Old Testament, and are not those which are discussed in the Fourth Gospel.

Perhaps the most surprising of all the presuppositions with regard to the Fourth Gospel is that which lays great stress on the supposition that the book was largely intended to vindicate a Christian doctrine of the sacraments which flourished at the beginning of the 2nd century. According to this presupposition, the Fourth Gospel set forth a doctrine of the sacraments which placed them in a unique position as a means of salvation. While scarcely contending that the doctrine of the sacraments held by the church of the 2nd century had reached that stage of development which meets us in the medieval church, it is, according to this view, far on the way toward that goal afterward reached. We do not dwell on this view, for the exegesis that finds sacramentarianism in the Fourth Gospel is hopeless. That Gospel does not put the sacraments in the place of Christ. Finally, we do not find the contention of those who affirm that the Fourth Gospel was written with a view of making the gospel of Jesus more acceptable to the Gentiles any more satisfactory. As a matter of fact, the Gospel which was most acceptable to the Gentiles was the Gospel according to Matthew. It is more frequently quoted than any other. In the writings of the early church, it is quoted as often as all the other Gospels put together. The Fourth Gospel did not come into prominence in the Christian church until the rise of the Christological controversies in the 3rd century.

3. Real Aim of Gospel-Results:

When, after dwelling on these ways of approaching the Fourth Gospel, and reading the demands made on the Gospel by those who approach it with these presuppositions and demands, we turn to the Gospel itself, and ask regarding its aim and purpose, we find a simple answer. The writer of it expressly says: "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30, 31). Pursuing this clue, and putting away all the presuppositions which bulk so largely in introductions, exegeses, histories of the apostolic and sub-apostolic ages, one meets with many surprises.

(1) Relation to Synoptics.

In relation to the Synoptics, the differences are great, but more surprising is the fact that the points of contact between these Gospels and the Fourth Gospel are so few. The critics to whom reference has been made are unanimous that the writer or the school who compiled the Johannine writings was indebted to the Synoptics for almost all the facts embodied in the Fourth Gospel. Apart, however, from the Passion Week, only two points of contact are found so obvious that they cannot be doubted, namely, the feeding of the 5,000, and the walking on the sea (John 6:4-21). The healing of the child of the royal officer (John 4:46-53) can scarcely be identified with the healing of the centurion's servant (Matthew, Luke); but even if the identification were allowed, this is all we have in the Fourth Gospel of the events of the ministry in Galilee. There is a ministry in Galilee, but the earlier ministry in Judea and in Galilee began before John was cast into prison (3:24), and it has no parallel in the Synoptics. In fact, the Fourth Gospel assumes the existence of the other three, and does not anew convey the knowledge which can be gathered from them. It takes its own way, makes its own selections, and sets these forth from its own point of view. It has its own principle of selection: that plainly indicated in the passage already quoted. The scenes depicted, the works done, the words spoken, and the reflections made by the writer, are all directed toward the aim of enabling the readers to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. In the writer's view this would issue in their obtaining life in His name.

(2) Time Occupied in the Gospel.

Accepting this principle for our guidance, we turn to the Gospel, and the first thing that strikes the reader is the small amount of the real time filled up, or occupied, by the scenes described in the Gospel. We take the night of the betrayal, and the day of the crucifixion. The things done and the words spoken on that day, from one sunset to another, occupy no fewer than 7 chapters of the Gospel (John 13-19). Apart from the supplementary chapter (21), there are 20 chapters in the Gospel, containing 697 vs, and these 7 chapters have 257 verses. More than one-third of the whole given to the ministry is thus occupied with the events of one day.

Again, according to Acts 1:3, there was a ministry of the risen Lord which lasted for 40 days, and of all that happened during those days John records only what happened on the day of the resurrection, and on another day 8 days after (John 20). The incidents recorded in the other Gospels fall into the background, are taken for granted, and only the signs done on these two days are recorded here. They are recorded because they are of significance for the purpose he has in hand, of inducing belief in the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If we continue to follow the clue thus afforded, we shall be surprised at the fewness of the days on which anything was transacted. As we read the story of the Fourth Gospel, there are many indications of the passing of time, and many precise statements of date. We learn from the Gospel that the ministry of Jesus probably lasted for 3 years. We gather this from the number of the feasts which He attended at Jerusalem. We have notes of time spent in journeys, but no account of anything that happened during them. The days on which anything was done or anything said are very few. We are told precisely that "six days before the passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was" (12:1;), and with regard to these 6 days we are told only of the supper and the anointing of the feet of Jesus by Mary, of the entry into Jerusalem, the visit of the Greeks, and of the impression which that visit made on Jesus. We have also the reflections of the evangelist on the unbelief of the Jews, but nothing further. We know that many other things did happen on these days, but they are not recorded in this Gospel. Apart from the two days during which Jesus dwelt in the place where he was, of which days nothing is recorded, the time occupied with the raising of Lazarus is the story of one day (John 11). So it is also with the healing of the blind man. The healing is done one day, and the controversy regarding the significance of that healing is all that is recorded of another day (John 9). What is recorded in John 10 is the story of two days. The story of the 7th and 8th chapters, interrupted by the episode of the woman taken in adultery, which does not belong to the Gospel, is the story of not more than two days. The story of the feeding of the 5,000 and of the subsequent discourse (John 6) is the story of two days. It is not necessary to enter into fuller detail. Yet the writer, as remarked, is very exact in his notes of time. He notes the days, the number of days on which anything was done, or when anything was said. We make these remarks, which will be obvious to every reader who attends to them, mainly for the purpose of showing that the Gospel on the face of it does not intend to, at least does not, set forth a complete account of the life and work of Jesus. It gives at the utmost an account of 20 days out of the 1,000 days of our Lord's ministry. This is of itself sufficient to set aside the idea of those who deal with the Fourth Gospel as if it were meant to set aside, to supplement, or to correct, the accounts in the Synoptics. Plainly it was not written with that purpose.

(3) A Personal Record.

Obviously the book professes to be reminiscences of one who had personal experience of the ministry which he describes. The personal note is in evidence all through the book. It is present even in the prologue, for in that verse in which he describes the great fact of the incarnation he uses the personal note, "We beheld his glory" (John 1:14). This might be taken as the keynote of the Gospel. In all the scenes set forth in the Gospel the writer believes that in them Jesus manifested forth His glory and deepened the faith of His disciples. If we were to ask him, when did he behold the glory of the incarnate Word, the answer would be, in all these scenes which are described in the Gospel. If we read the Gospel from this point of view, we find that the writer had a different conception of the glory of the incarnate Word from that which his critics ascribe to him. He sees a glory of the Word in the fact that He was wearied with His journey (John 4:6), that He made clay of the spittle and anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay (John 9:6), that He wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35), that He groaned in the spirit and was troubled (John 11:38), and that He could sorrow with a sorrow unspeakable, as He did after the interview with the Greeks (John 12:27). For he records all these things, and evidently thinks them quite consistent with the glory of the incarnate Word. A fair exegesis does not explain these things away, but must take them as of the essence of the manifested glory of the Word.

The Gospel then is professedly reminiscences of an eyewitness, of one who was personally present at all the scenes which he describes. No doubt the reminiscences often pass into reflections on the meaning and significance of what he describes. He often pauses to remark that the disciples, and he himself among them, did not understand at the time the meaning of some saying, or the significance of some deed, of Jesus (John 2:22; John 12:16, etc.). At other times we can hardly distinguish between the words of the Master and the reflections of the disciple. But in other writings we often meet with the same phenomenon. In the Epistle to the Galatians, e.g., Paul writes what he had said to Peter at Antioch: "If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:14). Shortly after, he passes into reflections on the situation, and it is impossible to ascertain where the direct speech ends and the reflections begin. So it is in the Fourth Gospel. It is impossible in many instances to say where the words of Jesus end and the reflections of the writer begin. So it is, e.g., with his record of the witness of the Baptist in John 3. The record of the Baptist's words may end with the sentence, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (3:30), and the rest may be the reflections of the writer on the situation.

(4) Reminiscences of an Eyewitness.

The phenomena of the Gospel are thus, apparently at least, reminiscences of an eyewitness, with his reflections on the meaning of what he has experienced. He was present at the scenes which he describes. He was present on the night on which the Master was betrayed; he was present in the hall of the high priest; he was present at the cross, and bears testimony to the reality of the death of Jesus (John 18:15; John 19:35). As we read the Gospel we note the stress he lays on "witness." The term frequently occurs (John 1:7, 8, 19; John 3:11, 26, 33; 5:31; 12:17; 21:24, etc.), and is used to set forth the verified facts of experience. In these testimonies we have an unusual combination of elevated thought and minute observation. At one time the evangelist soars aloft into a spiritual world, and moves with ease among the richest and highest elements of spiritual experience.

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A "Gospel of Judas" is mentioned by Irenaeus (Adv. Haer., i.31), Epiphanius (Haer., xxxviii.1), Theodoret, etc., as current in the Gnostic sect of the Cainites, to whom Judas was a hero. It must have been in existence in the 2nd century, but no quotation is given from it (see Baring-Gould, Lost and Hostile Gospels, III, chapter v).


" 1. Text

2. Canonicity

3. Authorship

4. Sources

5. Credibility

6. Characteristics

7. Date

8. Analysis


1. Text:

The five primary uncials (Codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Ephraemi, Bezae) are the chief witnesses for the text of Luke's Gospel. This group is reinforced by L, Codex Delta and the Freer (Detroit) MS; R, T, X and Xi are also valuable in fragments. The other uncials are of secondary value. The Latin, Egyptian and Syriac versions are also of great importance. There are 4 Latin versions (African, European, Italian, Vulgate), 3 Egyptian (Memphitic, Sahidic, Bohairic), 5 Syriac (Curetonian, Sinaitic, Peshitto, Harclean, Palestinian or Jerusalem). Many of the cursive (minuscule) manuscripts are also of considerable worth, as are some of the quotations from the Fathers.

Blass, Philology of the Gospels (1898), has advanced theory of two recensions of this Gospel (a longer and a shorter), such as he holds to be true of Acts. In the case of Acts, theory has won some acceptance (see ACTS OF THE APOSTLES), but that is not true of the Gospel to any extent. The Western text of the Gospel is the shorter text, while in Acts it is the longer text. In both instances Blass holds that the shorter text was issued after the longer and original text. His idea is that Luke himself revised and issued the shorter text. In itself this is, of course, possible, since the books are both addressed to an individual, Theophilus. The other edition may have been meant for others. Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek explain the omission in the Western text of the Gospel as "Western non-interpolations," and often hold them to be the true text. As samples one may note Luke 10:41; Luke 12:19; Luke 24:36, 40, 42, where the Western text is the shorter text. This is not always true, however, for in 6:2; Codex Bezae (D) has the famous passage about the man working on the Sabbath, which the other documents do not give. In Luke 3:22, D has the reading of Psalm 2:7 (" Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten thee") for the usual text. Zahn (Introduction, III, 38) accepts this as the true text. There is no doubt of the interest and value of the Western readings in Luke, but it cannot be said that Blass has carried his point here. The peculiar mutilation of the Gospel by Marcion has an interest of its own.

2. Canonicity:

Plummer (Commentary on Luke, lxxx) says: "In the second half of the 2nd century this Gospel is recognized as authentic and authoritative; and it is impossible to show that it had not been thus recognized at a very much earlier date." On the other hand, Schmiedel (Encyclopedia Biblica) says: "This `tradition,' however, cannot be traced farther back than toward the end of the 2nd century (Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria and the Muratorian Fragment); there is no sound basis for the contention of Zahn (II, 175) that the existence of the tradition can also be found as early as in Marcion, because that writer, from his aversion to the Third Gospel (which nevertheless was the only one he admitted into his collection-with alterations it is true) omitted the expression of honor applied to Luke in Colossians 4:14." Here the two views are well stated. Schmiedel shows dogmatic bias and prejudice against Luke. Julicher, however, frankly admits (Intro, 330) that "the ancients were universally agreed that the writer was that Luke, disciple of Paul, who is mentioned in Philemon 1:24 2 Timothy 4:11, and called `the physician' in Colossians 4:14; presumably a native of Antioch." This statement bears more directly on the question of authorship than of canonicity, but it is a good retort to the rather cavalier tone of Schmiedel, who is reluctant to admit the facts. The recognition of the Third Gospel in the Muratorian Canon (170 A.D.) is a fact of much significance. It was used in Tatian's Diatessaron (circa 170 A.D.) as one of the four recognized Gospels (compare Hemphill, Diatessaron of Tatian, 3;). The fact that Marcion (140 A.D.) mutilated this Gospel to suit his theology and thus used it is even more significant (compare Sanday, Gospels in the 2nd Century, Appendix). Other heretics like the Valentinians (compare Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, 5-7) made use of it, and Heracleon (compare Clement of Alexandria, Strom., iv.9) wrote a commentary on it. Irenaeus (end of the 2nd century) makes frequent quotations from this Gospel. He argues that there could be only "four" Gospels because of the four points of the compass-an absurd argument, to be sure, but a powerful testimony to the general acceptance of this Gospel along with the other three. It is needless to appeal to the presence of the Third Gospel in the Curetonian Syriac, the Sinaitic Syriac, the African Latin-versions that date to the 2nd century, not to mention the probability of the early date of the Memphitic (Coptic) versions. Examples of the early use of this Gospel occur in various writings of the 2nd century, as in Justin Martyr (150 A.D.), the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (circa 140 A.D.), Celsus (circa A.D. 160), the Gospel of Peter (2nd century), the Epistle of the Church of Lyons and Vienne (177 A.D.), probably also the Didache (2nd century), Clement of Alexandria (190-202 A.D.), Tertullian (190-220 A.D.). It is doubtful about Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp; and the Epistle of Barnabas seems to make no use of the Third Gospel. But Clement of Rome, Ignatius and Polycarp quote Acts. But surely the general use and acceptance of the Third Gospel in the early 2nd century is beyond reasonable doubt. It is not easy to decide when the actual use began, because we have so little data from the 1st century (compare Plummer, Commentary, lxxiii).

The fact that the author was not an apostle affected the order of the book in some lists. Most manuscripts and versions have the common order of today, but the Western order (Matthew, John, Luke, Mark) is given by D, many Old Latin manuscripts, the Gothic VS, the Apostolical Constitutions. The object was probably to place the books by apostles together and first. The Old Latin has Luke second (John, Luke, Mark, Matthew), while the Curetonian Syriac has Luke last of the four. The cursives 90 and 399 also have Luke second.

3. Authorship:

The first writers who definitely name Luke as the author of the Third Gospel belong to the end of the 2nd century. They are the Canon of Muratori (possibly by Hippolytus), Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria. We have already seen that Julicher (Introduction, 330) admits that the ancients Universally agreed that Luke wrote the Third Gospel. In the early part of the 2nd century the writers did not, as a rule, give the names of the authors of the Gospels quoted by them. It is not fair, therefore, to use their silence on this point as proof either of their ignorance of the author or of denial of Luke's authorship. Julicher for instance, says (Introduction, 330): "There is no tradition worthy of the name concerning Luke, whom Papias did not mention, or at any rate did not know." But we owe to Eusebius all the fragments that we have preserved from the writings of Papias. Our ignorance of Papias can hardly be charged up to him. Plummer (Commentary, xii) says that nothing in Biblical criticism is more certain than the fact that Luke wrote the Third Gospel. On the other hand, Julicher (Introduction, 331) is not willing to let it go as easily as that. He demands appeal to Acts, and there (ibid., 447) he denies the Lukan authorship save as to the "we" sections. J. Weiss (Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments; das Lukas Evang., 1906, 378) admits that but for Acts no sufficient reason would exist for denying the authorship of the Third Gospel to Luke, the disciple of Paul. A Pauline point of view in this Gospel is admitted generally. Many modern critics take it for granted that the Lukan authorship of Acts is disproved, and hence, that of the Gospel likewise falls by the way. So argue Baur, Clemen, De Wette, Hausrath, Hilgenfeld, Holtzmann, Julicher, Pfleiderer, Schurer, Spitta, von Soden, J. Weiss, Weizsacker, Zeller. Men like Blass, Credner, Harnack, Hawkins, Hobart, Klostermann, Plummer, Ramsay, Renan, Vogel, Zahn, stand by the tradition of Lukan authorship, but Harnack is almost irritated (Luke the Physician, 1907, 6), since "the indefensibility of the tradition is regarded as being so clearly established that nowadays it is thought scarcely worth while to reprove this indefensibility, or even to notice the arguments of conservative opponents." Harnack proceeds to make a plea for a hearing. Jacobus (Standard Bible Dictionary) admits that "Acts tells us nothing more of the author than does the Gospel." That is true so far as express mention is concerned, but not so far as natural implication goes. It is true that the place to begin the discussion of the Lukan authorship of the Gospel is Acts. For detailed discussion of the proof that Luke wrote Acts, see ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. It is there shown that the line of argument which has convinced Harnack, the leader of the liberal criticism of Germany, ought to convince any openminded critic. It means a good deal when Harnack (Luke the Physician, 14) says: "I subscribe to the words of Zahn (Einleitung, II, 427): `Hobart has proved for everyone who can at all appreciate proof that the author of the Lukan work was a man practiced in the scientific language of Greek medicine-in short, a Greek physician.' " It is here assumed that the line of argument pursued in the article on ACTS OF THE APOSTLES is conclusive. If so, little remains to be done in the way of special proof for the Gospel. The author of Acts specifically refers (Acts 1:1) to a former treatise which was likewise addressed to Theophilus. This we find to be the case with the Gospel passing under the name of Luke (1:4). The critics who admit the Lukan authorship of Acts and deny the Lukan authorship of the Gospel are hardly worth considering.

It is, therefore, largely a work of supererogation to give at length the proof from internal grounds that Luke wrote the Gospel, after being convinced about Acts. Still it may be worth while to sketch in outline the line of argument, even though it is very simple. Plummer (Comm., x-xvii) argues three propositions:"

(1) The author of the Third Gospel is the author of the Acts.

(2) The author of Acts was a companion of Paul.

(3) This companion was Luke."

Harnack (The Acts of the Apostles, 1909) has argued with great minuteness and skill theory that the same linguistic peculiarities occur in all portions of Acts, including the "we-"sections. He accepts the facts set forth by Hawkins (Horae Synopticae) and adds others. He agrees, therefore, that the author of Acts was a companion of Paul. Harnack is convinced by the exhaustive labors of Hobart (Medical Language of Luke) that this author was a physician, as we know Luke to have been (Colossians 4:14). He shows this to be true of the author of Acts by the use of "us" in Acts 28:10, showing that the author of Acts received honors along with Paul, probably because he practiced medicine and treated many (compare Barnack, Luke the Physician, 15). These medical terms occur in the Gospel of Luke also, and the same general linguistic style is found in both the Gospel and Acts. Hawkins has made a careful study of likenesses and variations in style in these two books (compare Horae Synopticae, 15-25, 174-89). The argument is as conclusive as such a line of proof can be expected to be. For further discussion see Ramsay, Luke the Physician, 1908, 1-68; Zahn, Introduction, III, 160;. There are no phenomena in the Gospel hostile to this position save the Semitic character of Luke 1 and 2 (barring the classical introduction 1:1-4). Luke, though a Gentile, has in these chapters the most Semitic narrative in the New Testament. But the explanation is obvious. He is here using Semitic material (either oral or written), and has with true artistic skill preserved the tone of the original. To a certain extent the same thing is true of the opening chapters of Acts.

4. Sources:

The synoptic problem (see GOSPELS, THE SYNOPTIC) remains the most difficult one in the realm of New Testament criticism. But the Gospel of Luke yields on the whole more satisfactory results than is yet true of Matthew.

(1) Unity.

If the Lukan authorship of the book is accepted, there remains no serious doubt concerning the unity and integrity of the Gospel. The abridgment of Luke's Gospel used by Marcion does not discredit those portions of the Gospel omitted by him. They are omitted for doctrinal reasons (compare Sanday, Gospels in the 2nd Century, chapter viii). His readings are of interest from the viewpoint of textual criticism, as are the quotations of other early writers, but his edition does not seriously challenge the value of Luke's work.

(2) Luke's Method.

Luke has announced his methods of work in a most classic introduction (1:1-4). Here we catch a glimpse of the author's personality. That is not possible in Mark nor in Matthew, and only indirectly in passing shadows in the Fourth Gospel. But here the author frankly takes the reader into his confidence and discloses his standpoint and qualifications for the great task. He writes as a contemporary about the recent past, always the most difficult history to interpret and often the most interesting. He speaks of "those matters which have been fulfilled among us," in our time. He does not himself claim to have been an eyewitness of "those matters." As we know already, Luke was a Gentile and apparently never saw Jesus in the flesh. He occupies thus a position outside of the great events which he is to record. He does not disguise his intense interest in the narrative, but he claims the historical spirit. He wishes to assure Theophilus of "the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed." He claims to have investigated "the course of all things accurately from the first," just as the true historian would. He thus implies that some of the attempts made had been fragmentary at any rate, and to that extent inaccurate. He has also produced an "orderly" narrative by which Theophilus may gain a just conception of the historical progress of the events connected with the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The fact that "many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters" does not deter Luke from his task. The rather he is stirred thereby ("It seemed good to me also") to give his interpretation of the life and work of Jesus as the result of his researches. He stands not farther away than one generation from the death of Jesus. He has the keen interest natural to a cultured follower of Jesus in the origin of what had become a great world-movement. He is able to get at the facts because he has had intercourse with eyewitnesses of Jesus and His work, "even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word." Luke had abundant opportunity during the two years at Caesarea with Paul (Acts 24-26) to make careful and extended investigations. Many of the personal followers of Jesus were still living (1 Corinthians 15:6). It was a golden opportunity for Luke's purpose. He had also the written narratives which others ("many") had already drawn up. We are, then, to expect in Luke's Gospel a book closely akin to Acts in style and plan, with the historian's love of accuracy and order, with the author's own contribution in the assimilation and use of this oral and written material. One would not expect in such a writer slavish copying, but intelligent blending of the material into an artistic whole.

(3) The Aramaic Infancy Narrative.

The very first section in this Gospel (Luke 1:5-2:52) illustrates Luke's fidelity in the use of his material. Wellhausen drops these two chapters from his edition of Luke's Gospel as not worthy of consideration. That is conjectural criticism run mad and is not to be justified by the example of Marcion, who begins with chapter 4. Wright (Gospel according to Luke in Greek, 1900, viii f; under the word "Luke's Gospel," DCG) holds that this section was the last to be added to the Gospel though he holds that it comes from Luke. It may be said in passing that Wright is a stout advocate for the oral source for all of Luke's Gospel. He still holds out against the "two-document" or any document theory. However, he claims rightly that Luke's information for these two chapters was private. This material did not form part of the current oral Gospel. In Matthew the narrative of the birth of Jesus is given from the standpoint of Joseph, and Mary is kept in the background, according to Eastern feeling (Wright). But in Luke the story is told from Mary's point of view. Luke may, indeed, have seen Mary herself in the years 57-59 A.D. (or 58-60). He could easily have seen some of Mary's intimate friends who knew the real facts in the case. The facts were expressly said to have been kept in Mary's heart. She would tell only to sympathetic ears (compare Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 74). It is not possible to discredit Luke's narrative of the Virgin Birth on a priori grounds (compare Orr, The Virgin Birth of Christ, 1907; Sweet, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ, 1906). The curious Semitic flavor of this narrative argues strongly for its genuineness, since Luke was a Greek. We do not know whether Luke knew Aramaic or not. That was possible, since he spent these 2 years in Palestine. We do not know whether this information came to him in written form (note especially the hymns of Mary and of Zacharias) or in oral tradition. But it is hardly possible to credit a Greek with the invention of these birth-narratives and poems which ring so true to the soil and the Hebrew life. Immediately after Luke's statement about historical research comes the narrative of the birth of Jesus. It is the first illustration of his work on his sources.

(4) Luke's Relation to Mark's Gospel.

Luke knew Mark in Rome (Colossians 4:10, 14 Philemon 1:24). He may have met him in Palestine also. Had he seen Mark's Gospel when he wrote his own? Was it one of the "many" narratives that came under Luke's eye? Wright (compare DCG) denies that Luke had our Mark. He admits that he may have had an Urmarkus or proto-Mark which he heard in oral form, but not the present (written) Gospel of Mark. He thinks that this can best be accounted for by the fact that out of 223 sections in Mark there are 54 not in Luke. But most modern critics have come to the conclusion that both Matthew and Luke had Mark before them as well as other sources. Matthew, if he used Mark, in the early chapters, followed a topical arrangement of his material, combining Mark with the other source or sources. But Luke has followed the order of Mark very closely in this part and indeed throughout. Luke has a special problem in 9:51-19:27, but the broad general outline follows that of Mark. But it cannot be said that Luke made a slavish use of Mark, if he had this Gospel before him. He gives his own touch to each incident and selects what best suits his purpose. It is not possible for us to tell always that motive, but it is idle to suppose that Luke blindly recorded every incident found in every document or every story that came to his ears. He implies in his introduction that he has made a selection out of the great mass of material and has woven it into a coherent and progressive narrative. We may admit with Harnack (New Testament Studies: Sayings of Jesus, xiii) that the Markan problem "has been treated with scientific thoroughness" and that Luke had Mark as one of his sources. The parallel between Luke and Mark in the narrative portion is easily seen in any Harmony of the Gospels, like Broadus or Stevens and Burton.

(5) Q (Quelle) or the Logia.

It is a matter of more uncertainty when we come to the mass of material common to Matthew and Luke, but absent from Mark. This is usually found in the discourses of Jesus. The more generally accepted theory today is that both Matthew and Luke made use of Mark and also this collection of Logia called Q for short (Ger. Quelle, "source"). But, while this theory may be adopted as a working hypothesis, it cannot be claimed that it is an established fact. Zahn (compare Introduction) stoutly stands up for the real authorship of the First Gospel of Matthew. Arthur Carr ("Further Notes on the Synoptic Problem," The Expositor, January, 1911, 543-553) argues strongly for the early date and Matthean authorship of the First Gospel. He says on the whole subject: "The synoptic problem which has of late engaged the speculation of some of our keenest and most laborious students is still unsolved." He even doubts the priority of Mark's Gospel. Wellhausen (Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, 73-89) advocates the priority of Mark to Q. But Harnack balances the problem of "Q and Mark" (Sayings of Jesus, 193-233) and decides in favor of Q. In any case, it is to be noted that the result of critical research into the value of Q is to put it quite on a paragraph with Mark. Harnack is quite impressed with the originality and vivid reality of the matter in Q. The material present in Q cannot be gauged so accurately as that in Mark, since we have the Gospel of Mark in our hands. Where both Matthew and Luke give material not found in Mark, it is concluded that this is drawn from Q. But it cannot be shown that Matthew may not have used Q at some points and Luke at still others independently. Besides Q may have contained material not preserved either in Matthew or Luke. A careful and detailed comparison of the material common to both Matthew and Luke and absent from Mark may be found in Hawkins, Horae Synopticae, 10713; Harnack, Sayings of Jesus, 127-82; Wellhausen, Einleitung, 66; Robertson, "Matthew" in Bible for Home and School, 14-19. But, if it is true that Luke made use of Q as of Mark, he was no mere copyist. No solution of the synoptic problem can ever be obtained on the idea that the Gospels are mere reproductions of previous documents. There was freedom in the use of all the material, both oral and written, and the writer gave his own interpretation to the result. It was often a restatement in the author's own language, not formal quotation. Wright (DCG) calls this editorial element "editorial notes"; that is, of course, often true when the author makes comments on the matters presented, but "ancient authors took immense pains to reduce the rude chronicles which they used, into literary form" (same place). The point of all this is that a great deal of criticism of the Gospels is attempting the impossible, for many of the variations cannot possibly be traced to any "source." Wright (same place) puts it tersely again: "And if in John's Gospel it is more and more recognized that the mind of the evangelist cast the utterances of our Lord into the peculiar form which they there hold, the same process of redaction may be observed in Luke, who comes nearest of the synoptists to the methods of John." As a matter of fact, this is as it should be expected. The frank recognition of this point of view marks progress in synoptic criticism.

(6) Other Sources.

There is a large block of material in Luke 9:51-18:14 which is given by him alone. There are various sayings like some reported by Matthew (or Mark) in other connections. Some of the incidents are similar to some given elsewhere by Matthew and Mark. There are various theories concerning this position of Luke. Some critics hold that Luke has here put a mass of material which he had left over, so to speak, and which he did not know where to locate, without any notion of order. Against this theory is the express statement of Luke that he wrote an orderly narrative (1:3). One is disposed to credit Luke's own interpretation unless the facts oppose it. It is common for traveling preachers, as was Jesus, to have similar experiences in different parts of the country and to repeat their favorite sayings. So teachers repeat many of their sayings each year to different classes. Indeed, it is just in this section of Luke that the best parts of his Gospel are found (the parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Pharisee and the Publican, etc.). "The more we consider this collection, the more we are entranced with it. It is the very cream of the Gospel, and yet (strange to say) it is peculiar to Luke" Wright DCG) Wright calls this "a Pauline collection, not because Paul is responsible for the material, but because the chapters breathe cosmopolitan spirit of Paul. That is true, but Jesus loved the whole world. This side of the teaching of Jesus may have appealed to Luke powerfully because of its reflection in Paul. Matthew's Gospel was more narrowly Jewish in its outlook, and Mark's had fewer of the sayings of Christ. But it is to be noted that this special material in Luke extends more or less all through the Gospel. Burton (Some Principles of Literary Criticism and Their Application to the Synoptic Problem, 49) calls this special material in Luke 9:51-18:14 "the Perean document." We do not know, of course, anything of the actual source of this material. Whether Luke has here followed one or more documents, he has, as elsewhere, given his own stamp to the whole, while preserving in a marvelous way the spirit of Jesus. (For the possible parallel between this section of Luke and John see Robertson's "Notes" to Broadus, Harmony of the Gospels, 249-52.) For the earlier material in Luke not found elsewhere (3:7-15, 17, 18; 4:2b-13(14, 15), 16-30; 5:1-11; 6:21-49; 7:1-8:3) Burton suggests "the Galilean document" as the source. Wright, on the other hand, proposes "anonymous fragments" as the source of Luke's material not in the infancy narrative, nor in Mark, nor in Q, nor in the "Pauline" or Perean document. At any rate, it is certain that Luke's own words of explanation should warn us against drawing too narrow a line around the "sources" used by him. His "many" may well have included a dozen sources, or even more. But it may be said, in a word, that all that criticism has been able to learn on the subject has confirmed the statement of Luke himself concerning his method of research and his use of the material.

5. Credibility:

More fault has been found with Luke as a historian in Acts than in the Gospel. Harnack (Acts of the Apostles) is not disposed to give Luke full credit as a reliable historian. But Ramsay (Luke the Physician, 5) champions the reliability of Luke (compare also Paul the Traveler; The Church in the Roman Empire) against the skepticism of Harnack, which is growing less, since in the Theol. Literaturzeitung (July 7, 1906, S. 4) he speaks well of Luke's ability to secure correct information. So in Luke the Physician (121-45) Harnack urges that the possible "instances of incredibility have been much exaggerated by critics." He adds about Acts 5:36: "It is also possible that there is a mistake in Joshua" (compare Chase, Credibility of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles; see also ACTS OF THE APOSTLES).

But the Gospel is not free from attack. The chief matter in the Gospel of Luke which is challenged on historical grounds, apart from the birth-narratives, which some critics treat as legendary, is the census in Luke 2:1;. Critics, who in general have accepted Luke's veracity, have sometimes admitted that here he fell into error and confused the census under Quirinius in 6-7 A.D. when Quirinius came, after the banishment of Archelaus, to take a census and to collect taxes, much to the indignation of the Jews (compare Acts 5:37; Josephus, Ant, XVIII, i). It was not known that Quirinius had been governor of Syria before this time, nor was there any other knowledge of a census under Augustus. The case against Luke seemed strong. But Ramsay (Was Christ Born at Bethlehem? 227;) shows that the inscription at Tibur, as agreed by Mommsen and like authorities, shows that Quirinius "twice governed Syria as legatus of the divine Augustus." He was consul in 12 B.C., so that the first mission was after that date. Ramsay shows also from the papyri that the 14-year cycle was used for the Roman census (many census papers are known from 20 A.D. on). He argues that the first one was instituted by Augustus in 8 B.C. Herod, as a vassal king, would naturally be allowed to conduct it in the Jewish fashion, not the Roman, and it was probably delayed several years in the provinces. Thus once more Luke is vindicated in a remarkable way (see CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, sec. I, 1, (2)).

The Acts of the Apostles has come out of the critical ordeal in a wonderful manner, so that Luke's credit as a historical writer is now very high among those qualified to know the facts. He has been tested and found correct on so many points that the presumption is in his favor where he cannot as yet be verified. Moffatt (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 265) finds Luke "more graphic than historical."

6. Characteristics:

He was the most versatile of the Gospel writers. He was a Greek, a Christian, a physician, a man of travel, a man of world-outlook, sympathetic, cultured, poetic, spiritual, artistic, high-minded. His Prologue is the most classic piece of Greek in the New Testament, but the rest of chapter 1 and all of chapter 2 are the most Semitic in tone. The breadth of his literary equipment is thereby shown. He not only uses many medical terms common to technical circles, but he has the physician's interest in the sick and afflicted, as shown in the large number of miracles of healing narrated. His interest in the poor is not due to Ebionitic prejudice against the rich, but to human compassion for the distressed. His emphasis on the human side of the work of Jesus is not due to Ebionitic denial of the Divinity of Jesus, but to his keen appreciation of the richness of the human life of the Son of God. His rich and varied vocabulary reveals a man who read and mingled with the best life of his time. He wrote his books in the vernacular, but the elevated vernacular of an educated man touched with a distinct literary flavor. His poetic temperament is shown in the preservation of the beautiful hymns of the nativity and in the wonderful parables of Jesus in chapters 10, 15-18. They are reported with rare grace and skill. Luke is fond of showing Christ's sympathy with women and children, and he has more to say about prayer than the authors of the other Gospels. His interest in individuals is shown by the dedication of both his books to Theophilus. His cosmopolitan sympathies are natural in view of his training and inheritance, but part of it is doubtless due to his association with the apostle Paul. He comes to the interpretation of Jesus from a world-standpoint and does not have to overcome the Pharisaic limitations incident to one reared in Palestine. It is a matter of rejoicing that we have this book, called by Renan the most beautiful book in the world, as a cultured Greek's interpretation of the origin of Christianity. He thus stands outside of the pale of Judaism and can see more clearly the world-relations and world-destiny of the new movement.

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1. Scope

2. Material Peculiar to Mark

3. Quotations

4. A Book of Mighty Works

5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher

6. A Book of Graphic Details



1. General Character

2. Vocabulary

3. Style

4. Original Language


1. External Evidence

2. Internal Evidence





1. The Gospel for Romans

2. Plan of the Gospel


1. Person of Christ

2. The Trinity

3. Salvation

4. Eschatology


I. Our Second Gospel.

The order of the Gospels in our New Testament is probably due to the early conviction that this was the order in which the Gospels were written. It was not, however, the invariable order. The question of order only arose when the roll was superseded by the codex, our present book-form. That change was going on in the 3rd century. Origen found codices with the order John-Matthew-Mark-Luke-due probably to the desire to give the apostles the leading place. That and the one common today may be considered the two main groupings-the one in the order of dignity, the other in that of time. The former is Egyptian and Latin; the latter has the authority of most Greek manuscripts, Catalogues and Fathers, and is supported by the old Syriac.

Within these, however, there are variations. The former is varied thus: John-Matthew-Luke-Mark, and Matthew-John-Mark-Luke, and Matthew-John-Luke-Mark; the latter to Matthew-Mark-John-Luke. Mark is never first; when it follows Luke, the time consideration has given place to that of length.

II. Contents and General Characteristics.

1. Scope:

The Gospel begins with the ministry of John the Baptist and ends with the announcement of the Resurrection, if the last 12 verses be not included. These add post-resurrection appearances, the Commission, the Ascension, and a brief summary of apostolic activity. Thus its limits correspond closely with those indicated by Peter in Acts 10:37-43. Nothing is said of the early Judean ministry. The Galilean ministry and Passion Week with the transition from the one to the other (in Acts 10) practically make up the Gospel.

2. Material Peculiar to Mark:

Matter peculiar to Mark is found in 4:26-29 (the seed growing secretly); 3:21 (his kindred's fear); 7:32-37 (the deaf and dumb man); 8:22-26 (the blind man); 13:33-37 (the householder and the exhortation to watch); 14:51 (the young man who escaped). But, in addition to this, there are many vivid word-touches with which the common material is lighted up, and in not a few of the common incidents Mark's account is very much fuller; e.g. 6:14-29 (death of John the Baptist); Mark 7:1-23 (on eating with unwashen hands); 9:14-29 (the demoniac boy); 12:28-34 (the questioning scribe). There is enough of this material to show clearly that the author could not have been wholly dependent on the other evangelists. Hawkins reckons the whole amount of peculiar material at about fifty verses (Hor. Syn., 11).

3. Quotations:

In striking contrast to Matthew who, in parallel passages, calls attention to the fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus, Mark only once quotes the Old Testament and that he puts in the very forefront of his Gospel. The Isaiah part of his composite quotation appears in all 4 Gospels; the Malachi part in Mark only, though there is a reflection of it in John 3:28. This fact alone might convey an erroneous impression of the attitude of the Gospel to the Old Testament. Though Mark himself makes only this one twofold reference, yet he represents Jesus as doing so frequency. The difference in this respect between him and Matthew is not great. He has 19 formal quotations as compared with 40 in Matthew, 17 in Luke and 12 in John. Three of the 19 are not found elsewhere. The total for the New Testament is 160, so that Mark has a fair proportion. When Old Testament references and loose citations are considered the result is much the same. Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek give Matthew 100, Mark 58, Luke 86, John 21, Acts 107. Thus. the Old Testament lies back of Mark also as the authoritative word of God. Swete (Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, 393) points out that in those quotations which are common to the synoptists the Septuagint is usually followed; in others, the Hebrew more frequently. (A good illustration is seen in Mark 7:7 where the Septuagint is followed in the phrase, "in vain do they worship me"-a fair para-phrase of the Hebrew; but "teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men" is a more correct representation of the Hebrew than the Septuagint gives.) Three quotations are peculiar to Mark, namely, 9:48; 10:19; 12:32.

4. A Book of Mighty Works:

Judged by the space occupied, Mark is a Gospel of deeds. Jesus is a worker. His life is one of strenuous activity. He hastens from one task to another with energy and decision. The word euthus, i.e. "straightway," is used 42 times as against Matthew's 7 and Luke's 1. In 14 of these, as compared with 2 in Matthew and none in Luke, the word is used of the personal activity of Jesus. It is not strange therefore that the uneventful early years should be passed over (compare John 2:11). Nor is it strange that miracles should be more numerous than parables. According to Westcott's classification (Introduction to Study of the Gospel, 480-86), Mark has 19 miracles and only 4 parables, whereas the corresponding figures for Matthew are 21 to 15 and for Luke 20 to 19. Of the miracles 2 are peculiar to Mark, of the parables only 1. The evangelist clearly records the deeds rather than the words of Jesus. These facts furnish another point of contact with Peter's speeches in Acts-the beneficent character of the deeds in Acts 10:38, and their evidential significance in Acts 2:22 (compare Mark 1:27; Mark 2:10, etc.).

The following are the miracles recorded by Mark: the unclean spirit (1:21-28), the paralytic (2:1-12), the withered hand (3:1-5), the storm stilled (4:35-41), the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-17), Jairus' daughter (5:22;), the woman with the issue (5:25-34), feeding the 5,000 (6:35-44), feeding the 4,000 (8:1-10), walking on the water (6:48;); the Syrophoenician's daughter (7:24-30), the deaf mute (7:31-37), the blind man (8:22-26), the demoniac boy (9:14;), blind Bartimeus (10:46-52), the fig tree withered (11:20;), the resurrection (16:1;). For an interesting classification of these see Westcott's Introduction to Study of the Gospels, 391. Only the last three belong to Judea.

5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher:

Though what has been said is true, yet Mark is by no means silent about Jesus as a teacher. John the Baptist is a preacher (Mark 1:4, 7), and Jesus also is introduced as a preacher, taking up and enlarging the message of John. Very frequent mention is made of him as teaching (e.g. Mark 1:21; Mark 2:13; Mark 6:6, etc.); indeed the words didache, and didasko, occur more frequently in Mark than in any other Gospel. Striking references are made to His originality, methods, popularity and peerlessness as a teacher (Mark 1:22; Mark 4:1, 33; 11:27-12:37; especially 12:34). A miracle is definitely declared to be for the purpose of instruction (Mark 2:10), and the implication is frequent that His miracles were not only the dictates of His compassion, but also purposed self-revelations (Mark 5:19; Mark 11:21-23). Not only is He Himself a teacher, but He is concerned to prepare others to be teachers (Mark 3:13; Mark 4:10 f). Mark is just as explicit as Matthew in calling attention to the fact that at a certain stage He began teaching the multitude in parables, and expounding the parables to His disciples (Mark 4:2-11 f). He mentions, however, only four of them-the Sower (Mark 4:1-20), the Seed Growing Secretly (Mark 4:26-29), the Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32) and the Husband-men (Mark 12:1-12). The number of somewhat lengthy discourses and the total amount of teaching is considerably greater than is sometimes recognized. Mark 4 and 13 approach most nearly to the length of the discourses in Matthew and correspond to Matthew 13 and 24 respectively. But in Mark 7:1-23; Mark 9:33-50; 10:5-31, 39-45 and 12:1-44 we have quite extensive sayings. If Jesus is a worker, He is even more a teacher. His works prepare for His words rather than His words for His works. The teachings grew naturally out of the occasion and the circumstances. He did and taught. Because He did what He did He could teach with effectiveness. Both works and words reveal Himself.

6. A Book of Graphic Details:

There is a multitude of graphic details: Mark mentions actions and gestures of Jesus (7:33; 9:36; 10:16) and His looks of inquiry (5:32), in prayer (6:41; 7:34), of approval (3:34), love (10:21), warning (to Judas especially 10:23), anger (3:5), and in judgment (11:11). Jesus hungers (11:12), seeks rest in seclusion (6:31) and sleeps on the boat cushion (4:38); He pities the multitude (6:34), wonders at men's unbelief (6:6), sighs over their sorrow and blindness (6:34; 8:12), grieves at their hardening (3:5), and rebukes in sadness the wrong thought of His mother and brothers, and in indignation the mistaken zeal and selfish ambitions of His disciples (8:33; 10:14). Mark represents His miracles of healing usually as instantaneous (1:31; 2:11; 3:5), sometimes as gradual or difficult (1:26; 7:32-35; 9:26-28), and once as flatly impossible "because of their unbelief" (6:6). With many vivid touches we are told of the behavior of the people and the impression made on them by what Jesus said or did. They bring their sick along the streets and convert the market-place into a hospital (1:32), throng and jostle Him by the seaside (3:10), and express their astonishment at His note of authority (1:22) and power (2:12). Disciples are awed by His command over the sea (4:41), and disciples and others are surprised and alarmed at the strange look of dread as He walks ahead alone, going up to Jerusalem and the cross (10:32). Many other picturesque details are given, as in 1:13 (He was with the wild beasts); 2:4 (digging through the roof); 4:38 (lying asleep on the cushion); 5:4 (the description of the Gerasene demoniac); 6:39 (the companies, dressed in many colors and looking like flower beds on the green mountain-side). Other details peculiar to Mark are: names (1:29; 3:06; 13:03; 15:21), numbers (5:13; 6:7), time (1:35; 2:01; 11:19; 16:2), and place (2:13; 3:08; 7:31; 12:41; 13:03; 14:68 and 15:39). These strongly suggest the observation of an eyewitness as the final authority, and the geographical references suggest that even the writer understood the general features of the country, especially of Jerusalem and its neighborhood. (For complete lists see Lindsay, Mark's Gospel, 26;.)

III. The Text.

Of the 53 select readings noted by Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek (Into), only a few are of special interest or importance. The following are to be accepted: en to Esaia to prophete (Mark 1:2) hamartematos (Mark 3:29); pleres (indeclinable, 4:28); to tekton (Mark 6:3; Jesus is here called "the carpenter"); autou (Mark 6:22, Herod's daughter probably had two names, Salome and Herodias); pugme (Mark 7:23, "with the fist," i.e. "thoroughly," not pukna "oft"). Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek are to be followed in rejecting pisteusai (leaving the graphic To Ei dune (Mark 9:23)); kai nesteia (Mark 9:29); pasa...halisthesetai (Mark 9:49); tous...chremasi (Mark 10:24); but not in rejecting huiou Theou (Mark 1:1). They are probably wrong in retaining hous...onomasan (Mark 3:14; it was probably added from Luke 6:31); and in rejecting kai klinon and accepting hrantisontai instead of baptisontai (Mark 7:4; ignorance of the extreme scrupulosity of the Jews led to these scribal changes; compare Luke 11:38, where ebaptisthe is not disputed). So one may doubt eporei (Mark 6:20), and suspect it of being an Alexandrian correction for epoiei which was more difficult and yet is finely appropriate.

The most important textual problem is that of Mark 16:9-20. Burgon and Miller and Salmon believe it to be genuine. Miller supposes that up to that point Mark had been giving practically Peter's words, that for some reason those then failed him and that 16:9-20 are drawn from his own stores. The majority of scholars regard them as non-Markan; they think 16:8 is not the intended conclusion; that if Mark ever wrote a conclusion, it has been lost, and that 16:9-20, embodying traditions of the Apostolic Age, were supplied later. Conybeare has found in an Armenian manuscript a note referring these verses to the presbyter Ariston, whom he identifies with that Aristion, a disciple of John, of whom Papias speaks. Many therefore would regard them as authentic, and some accept them as clothed with John's authority. They are certainly very early, perhaps as early as 100 A.D., and have the support of Codices Alexandrinus, Ephraemi, Bezae, Xi, Gamma, Delta, Zeta all late uncials, all cursives, most versions and Fathers, and were known to the scribes of Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, who, however, do not accept them.

It is just possible that the Gospel did end at verse 8. The very abruptness would argue an early date when Christians lived in the atmosphere of the Resurrection and would form an even appropriate closing for the Gospel of the Servant (see below). A Servant comes, fulfills his task, and departs-we do not ask about his lineage, nor follow his subsequent history.

IV. Language.

1. General Character:

Mark employs the common coloquial Greek of the day, understood everywhere throughout the Greek-Roman world. It was emphatically the language of the Character people, "known and read of all men." His vocabulary is equally removed from the technicalities of the schools and from the slang of the streets. It is the clean, vigorous, direct speech of the sturdy middle class.

2. Vocabulary:

Of his 1,330 words, 60 are proper names. Of the rest 79 are peculiar to Mark, so far as the New Testament is concerned; 203 are found elsewhere only in the Synoptics, 15 only in John's Gospel, 23 only in Paul (including Hebrews), 2 in the Catholic Epistles (1 in James, 1 in 2 Peter), 5 in the Apocalypse (Revelation) (see Swete, Commentary on Mark). Rather more than a fourth of the 79 are non-classical as compared with one-seventh for Luke and a little more than one-seventh for Mr. Hawkins also gives a list of 33 unusual words or expressions. The most interesting of the single words are schizomanous, ephien, komopoleis, ekephaliosan, proaulion, and hoti, in the sense of "why" (Mark 2:16; Mark 9:11, 28); of the expressions, the distributives in Mark 6:7, 39 and 14:19, the Hebraistic ei dothesetai, and hotan with the indicative. Of ordinary constructions the following are found with marked frequency: kai (reducing his use of de to half of Matthew's or Luke's), historic present (accounting for the very frequent use of legei instead of eipen the periphrastic imperfect), the article with infinitives or sentences, participles, and prepositions.

There are indications that the writer in earlier life was accustomed to think in Aramaic. Occasionally that fact shows itself in the retention of Aramaic words which are proportionately rather more numerous than in Matthew and twice as numerous as in Luke or John. The most interesting of these are taleitha koum, ephphatha, and Boanerges, each uttered at a time of intense feeling.

Latinisms in Mark are about half as numerous as Aramaisms. They number 11, the same as in Matthew, as compared with 6 in Luke and 7 in John. The greater proportion in Mark is the only really noteworthy fact in these figures. It suggests more of a Roman outlook and fits in with the common tradition as to its origin and authorship.

For certain words he has great fondness: euthus 42 times; akathartos 11 times; blepo, and its compounds very frequently; so eperotan, hupagein, exousia, euaggelion, proskaleisthai, epitiman compounds of poreuesthai, sunzetein, and such graphic words as ekthambeisthai, embrimasthai, enagkalizesthai, and phimousthai. The following he uses in an unusual sense: eneichen, pugme, apechei, epibalon.

The same exact and vivid representation of the facts of actual experience accounts for the anacolutha and other broken constructions, e.g. Mark 4:31; 5:23; 6:8; 11:32. Some are due to the insertion of explanatory clauses, as in 7:3-5; some to the introduction of a quotation as in 7:11 f. These phenomena represent the same type of mind as we have already seen (II, 6 above).

3. Style:

The style is very simple. The common connective is kai. The stately periods of the classics are wholly absent. The narrative is commonly terse and concise. At times, however, a multitude of details are crowded in, resulting in unusual fullness of expression. This gives rise to numerous duplicate expressions as in Mark 1:32; Mark 2:25; Mark 5:19 and the like, which become a marked feature of the style. The descriptions are wonderfully vivid. This is helped out by the remarkably frequent use of the historic present, of which there are 151 examples, as contrasted with 78 in Matthew and 4 in Luke, apart from its use in parables. Mark never uses it in parables, whereas Matthew has 15 cases, and Luke has 5. John has 162, a slightly smaller proportion than Mark on the whole, but rather larger in narrative parts. But Mark's swift passing from one tense to another adds a variety and vividness to the narrative not found in John.

4. Original Language:

That the original language was Greek is the whole impression made by patristic references. Translations of the Gospel are always from, not into, Greek. It was the common language of the Roman world, especially for letters. Paul wrote to the Romans in Greek. Half a century later Clement wrote from Rome to Corinth in Greek. The Greek Mark bears the stamp of originality and of the individuality of the author.

Some have thought it was written in Latin. The only real support for that view is the subscription in a few manuscripts (e.g. 160, 161, egraphe Rhomaisti en Rhome) and in the Peshitta and Harclean Syriac. It is a mistaken deduction from the belief that it was written in Rome or due to the supposition that "interpreter of Peter" meant that Mark translated Peter's discourses into Latin

Blass contended for an Aramaic original, believing that Luke, in the first part of Acts, followed an Aramaic source, and that that source was by the author of the Second Gospel which also, therefore, was written in Aramaic. He felt, moreover, that the text of Mark suggests several forms of the Gospel which are best explained as translations of a common original. Decisive against the view is the translation of the few Aramaic words which are retained.

V. Authorship.

1. External Evidence:

The external evidence for the authorship is found in the Fathers and the manuscripts. The most important patristic statements are the following:

Papias-Asia Minor, circa 125 A.D.-(quoted by Eus., HE, III, 39): "And this also the elder said: Mark, having become the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, wrote accurately what he remembered (or recorded) of the things said or done by Christ, but not in order. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him; but afterward, as I said (he attached himself to) Peter who used to frame his teaching to meet the needs (of his hearers), but not as composing an orderly account (suntaxin) of the Lord's discourses, so that Mark committed no error in thus writing down some things as he remembered them: for he took thought for one thing not to omit any of the things he had heard nor to falsify anything in them."

Justin Martyr-Palestine and the West, circa 150 A.D.-(In Dial. with Trypho, cvi, Migne ed.): "And when it is said that He imposed on one of the apostles the name Peter, and when this is recorded in his `Memoirs' with this other fact that He named the two sons of Zebedee `Boanerges,' which means `Sons of Thunder,' " etc.

Irenaeus-Asia Minor and Gaul, circa 175 A.D.-(Adv. Haer., iii. 1, quoted in part Eus., HE, V, 8): "After the apostles were clothed with the power of the Holy Spirit and fully furnished for the work of universal evangelization, they went out ("exierunt," in Rufinus' translation) to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel. Matthew went eastward to those of Hebrew descent and preached to them in their own tongue, in which language he also (had?) published a writing of the gospel, while Peter and Paul went westward and preached and founded the church in Rome. But after the departure (exodon. "exitum" in Rufinus) of the, Mark, the disciple and interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, even he has delivered to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter."

Clement of Alexandria-circa 200 A.D.-(Hypotyp. in Eus., HE, VI, 14): "The occasion for writing the Gospel according to Mark was as follows: After Peter had publicly preached the word in Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present entreated Mark, as one who had followed him for a long time and remembered what he said, to write down what he had spoken, and Mark, after composing the Gospel, presented it to his petitioners. When Peter became aware of it he neither eagerly hindered nor promoted it."

Also (Eus., HE, II, 15): "So charmed were the Romans with the light that shone in upon their minds from the discourses of Peter, that, not contented with a single hearing and the viva voce proclamation of the truth, they urged with the utmost solicitation on Mark, whose Gospel is in circulation and who was Peter's attendant, that he would leave them in writing a record of the teaching which they had received by word of mouth. They did not give over until they had prevailed on him; and thus they became the cause of the composition of the so-called Gospel according to Mk. It is said that when the apostle knew, by revelation of the Spirit, what was done, he was pleased with the eagerness of the men and authorized the writing to be read in the churches."

Tertullian-North Africa, circa 207 A.D.-(Adv. Marc., iv. 5): He speaks of the authority of the four Gospels, two by apostles and two by companions of apostles, "not excluding that which was published by Mark, for it may be ascribed to Peter, whose interpreter Mark was."

Origen-Alexandria and the East, c. 240 A.D.-("Comm. on Mt" quoted in Eus., HE, VI, 25): "The second is that according to Mark who composed it, under the guidance of Peter (hos Petros huphegesato auto), who therefore, in his Catholic (universal) epistle, acknowledged the evangelist as his son."

Eusebius-Caesarea, circa 325 A.D.-(Dem. Evang., III, 5): "Though Peter did not undertake, through excess of diffidence, to write a Gospel, yet it had all along been currency reported, that Mark, who had become his familiar acquaintance and attendant (gnorimes kat phoitetes) made memoirs of (or recorded, apomnemoeusai) the discourses of Peter concerning the doings of Jesus." "Mark indeed writes this, but it is Peter who so testifies about himself, for all that is in Mark are memoirs (or records) of the discourses of Peter."

Epiphanius-Cyprus, circa 350 A.D.-(Haer., 41): "But immediately after Matthew, Mark, having become a follower (akolouthos) of the holy Peter in Rome, is entrusted in the putting forth of a gospel. Having completed his work, he was sent by the holy Peter into the country of the Egyptians."

Jerome-East and West, circa 350 A.D.-(De vir. illustr., viii): "Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, at the request of the brethren in Rome, wrote a brief Gospel in accordance with what he had heard Peter narrating. When Peter heard it he approved and authorized it to be read in the churches."

Also xi: "Accordingly he had Titus as interpreter just as the blessed Peter had Mark whose Gospel was composed, Peter narrating and Mark writing."

Preface Commentary on Matthew: "The second is Mark, interpreter of the apostle Peter, and first bishop of the Alexandrian church; who did not himself see the Lord Jesus, but accurately, rather than in order, narrated those of His deeds, which he had heard his teacher preaching."

To these should be added the Muratorian Fragment-circa 170 A.D.-"which gives a list of the New Testament books with a brief account of the authorship of each. The account of Matthew and most of that of Mark are lost, only these words relating to Mark being left: `quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit' " (see below).

These names represent the churches of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, and practically every quarter of the Roman world. Quite clearly the common opinion was that Mark had written a Gospel and in it had given us mainly the teaching of Peter.

That our second Gospel is the one referred to in these statements there can be no reasonable doubt. Our four were certainly the four of Irenaeus and Tatian; and Salmon (Introduction) has shown that the same four must have been accepted by Justin, Papias and their contemporaries, whether orthodox or Gnostics. Justin's reference to the surname "Boanerges" supports this so far as Mark is concerned, for in the Gospel of Mark alone is that fact mentioned (3:17).

A second point is equally clear-that the Gospel of Mark is substantially Peter's. Mark is called disciple, follower, interpreter of Peter. Origen expressly quotes "Marcus, my son" (1 Peter 5:13 the King James Version) in this connection. "Disciple" is self-explanatory. "Follower" is its equivalent, not simply a traveling companion. "Interpreter" is less clear. One view equates it with "translator," because Mark translated either Peter's Aramaic discourses into Greek for the Hellenistic Christians in Jerusalem (Adeney, et al.), or Peter's Greek discourses into Latin for the Christians in Rome (Swete, et al.). The other view-that of the ancients and most moderns (e.g. Zahn, Salmon)-is that it means "interpreter" simply in the sense that Mark put in writing what Peter had taught. The contention of Chase (HDB, III, 247) that this was a purely metaphorical use has little weight because it may be so used here. The conflict in the testimony as to date and place will be considered below (VII).

There is no clear declaration that Mark himself was a disciple of Jesus or an eyewitness of what he records. Indeed the statement of Papias seems to affirm the contrary. However, that statement may mean simply that he was not a personal disciple of Jesus, not that he had never seen Him at all.

The Muratorian Fragment is not clear. Its broken sentence has been differently understood. Zahn completes it thus: "(ali) quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit," and understands it to mean that "at some incidents (in the life of Jesus), however, he was present and so put them down." Chase (HDB) and others regard "quibus tamen" as a literal translation of the Greek hois de, and believe the meaning to be that Mark, who had probably just been spoken of as not continuously with Peter, "was present at some of this discourses and so recorded them." Chase feels that the phrase following respecting Luke: "Dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne," compels the belief that Mark like Luke had not seen the Lord. But Paul, not Mark, may be there in mind, and further, this interpretation rather belittles Mark's association with Peter.

The patristic testimony may be regarded as summarized in the title of the work in our earliest manuscripts, namely, kata Markon. This phrase must refer to the author, not his source of information, for then it would necessarily have been kata Petron. This is important as throwing light on the judgment of antiquity as to the authorship of the first Gospel, which the manuscripts all entitle kata Matthaion.

2. Internal Evidence:

The internal evidence offers much to confirm the tradition and practically nothing to the contrary. That Peter is back of it is congruous with such facts as the following:

(1) The many vivid details referred to above (III, 6) must have come from an eyewitness. The frequent use of legei, in Mark and Matthew where Luke uses eipen, works in the same direction.

(2) Certain awkward expressions in lists of names can best be explained as Mark's turning of Peter's original, e.g. Mark 1:29, where Peter may have said, "We went home, James and John accompanying us." So in Mark 1:36 (contrasted with Luke's impersonal description, Luke 4:42); Mark 3:16; Mark 13:3.

(3) Two passages (Mark 9:6; Mark 11:21) describe Peter's own thought; others mention incidents which Peter would be most likely to mention: e.g. Mark 14:37 and 14:66-72 (especially imperfect erneito); 16:07; 7:12-23 in view of Acts 10:15).

(4) In Mark 3:7 the order of names suits Peter's Galilean standpoint rather than that of Mark in Jerusalem-Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Perea, Tyre, Sidon. The very artlessness of these hints is the best kind of proof that we are in touch with one who saw with his own eyes and speaks out of his own consciousness.

(5) Generally Mark, like Matthew, writes from the standpoint of the Twelve more frequently than Luke; and Mark, more frequently than Matthew, from the standpoint of the three most honored by Jesus.

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(euaggelion kata Maththaion (or Matthaion)):

1. Name of Gospel-Unity and Integrity

2. Canonicity and Authorship

3. Relation of Greek and Aramaic Gospels

4. Contents, Character, and Purpose

5. Problems of Literary Relation

6. Date of Gospel


1. Name of Gospel-Unity and Integrity:

The "Gospel according to Matthew," i.e. the Gospel according to the account of Matthew, stands, according to traditional, but not entirely universal, arrangement, first among the canonical Gospels. The Gospel, as will be seen below, was unanimously ascribed by the testimony of the ancient church to the apostle Matthew, though the title does not of itself necessarily imply immediate authorship. The unity and integrity of the Gospel were never in ancient times called in question. Matthew 1; 2, particularly-the story of the virgin birth and childhood of Jesus-are proved by the consentient testimony of manuscripts, VSS, and patristic references, to have been an integral part of the Gospel from the beginning (see VIRGIN BIRTH). The omission of this section from the heretical Gospel of the Ebionites, which appears to have had some relation to our Gospel, is without significance.

The theory of successive redactions of Matthew, starting with an Aramaic Gospel, elaborated by Eichhorn and Marsh (1801), and the related theories of successive editions of the Gospel put forth by the Tubingen school (Baur, Hilgenfeld, Kostlin, etc.), and by Ewald (Bleek supposes a primitive Greek Gospel), lack historical foundation, and are refuted by the fact that manuscripts and versions know only the ultimate redaction. Is it credible that the churches should quietly accept redaction after redaction, and not a word be said, or a vestige remain, of any of them?

2. Canonicity and Authorship:

(1) Canonicity.

The apostolic origin and canonical rank of the Gospel of Matthew were accepted without a doubt by the early church. Origen, in the beginning of the 3rd century could speak of it as the first of "the four Gospels, which alone are received without dispute by the church of God under heaven" (in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 25). The use of the Gospel can be traced in the apostolic Fathers; most distinctly in Barnabas, who quotes Matthew 22:14 with the formula, "It is written" (5). Though not mentioned by name, it was a chief source from which Justin took his data for the life and words of Jesus (compare Westcott, Canon, 91;), and apostolic origin is implied in its forming part of "the Memoirs of the Apostles," "which are called Gospels," read weekly in the assemblies of the Christians (Ap. i.66, etc.). Its identity with our Matthew is confirmed by the undoubted presence of that Gospel in the Diatessaron of Tatian, Justin's disciple. The testimony of Papias is considered below. The unhesitating acceptance of the Gospel is further decisively shown by the testimonies and use made of it in the works of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and by its inclusion in the Muratorian Canon, the Itala, Peshitta, etc.


(2) Authorship.

The questions that cluster around the First Gospel have largely to do with the much-discussed and variously disputed statement concerning it found in Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 39), cited from the much older work of Papias, entitled Interpretation of the Words of the Lord. Papias is the first who mentions Matthew by name as the author of the Gospel. His words are: "Matthew composed the Logia (logia, "words," "oracles") in the Hebrew (Aramaic) tongue, and everyone interpreted them as he was able." Papias cannot here be referring to a book of Matthew in which only the discourses or sayings of Jesus had been preserved, but which had not any, or only meager accounts of His deeds, which imaginary document is in so many critical circles regarded as the basis of the present Gospel, for Papias himself uses the expression ta logia, as embracing the story, as he himself says, in speaking of Mark, "of the things said or done by Christ" (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24; compare particularly T. Zahn, Introduction to New Testament, section 54, and Lightfoot, Supernatural Religion, 170;). Eusebius further reports that after Matthew had first labored among his Jewish compatriots, he went to other nations, and as a substitute for his oral preaching, left to the former a Gospel written in their own dialect (III, 24). The testimony of Papias to Matthew as the author of the First Gospel is confirmed by Irenaeus (iii.3, 1) and by Origen (in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, V, 10), and may be accepted as representing a uniform 2nd-century tradition. Always, however, it is coupled with the statement that the Gospel was originally written in the Hebrew dialect. Hence, arises the difficult question of the relation of the canonical Greek Gospel, with which alone, apparently, the fathers were acquainted, to this alleged original apostolic work.

3. Relation of Greek and Aramaic Gospels:

One thing which seems certain is that whatever this Hebrew (Aramaic) document may have been, it was not an original form from which the present Greek Gospel of Matthew was translated, either by the apostle himself, or by somebody else, as was maintained by Bengel, Thiersch, and other scholars. Indeed, the Greek Matthew throughout bears the impress of being not a translation at all, but as having been originally written in Greek, and as being less Hebraistic in the form of thought than some other New Testament writings, e.g. the Apocalypse. It is generally not difficult to discover when a Greek book of this period is a translation from the Hebrew or Aramaic. That our Matthew was written originally in Greek appears, among other things, from the way in which it makes use of the Old Testament, sometimes following the Septuagint, sometimes going back to the Hebrew. Particularly instructive passages in this regard are 12:18-21 and 13:14, 15, in which the rendering of the Alexandrian translation would have served the purposes of the evangelist, but he yet follows more closely the original text, although he adopts the Septuagint wherever this seemed to suit better than the Hebrew (compare Keil's Commentary on Matthew, loc. cit.).

The external evidences to which appeal is made in favor of the use of an original Hebrew or Aramaic. Matthew in the primitive church are more than elusive. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, V, 10) mentions as a report (legetai) that Pantaenus, about the year 170 A.D., found among the Jewish Christians, probably of South Arabia, a Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew, left there by Bartholomew; and Jerome, while in the Syrian Berea, had occasion to examine such a work, which he found in use among the Nazarenes, and which at first he regarded as a composition of the apostle Matthew, but afterward declared not to be such, and then identified with the Gospel according to the Hebrews (Evangelium secundum or juxta Hebraeos) also called the Gospel of the Twelve Apostles, or of the Nazarenes, current among the Nazarenes and Ebionites (De Vir. Illustr., iii; Contra Pelag., iii0.2; Commentary on Matthew 12:13, etc.; see GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE HEBREWS). For this reason the references by Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius to the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew are by many scholars regarded as referring to this Hebrew Gospel which the Jewish Christians employed, and which they thought to be the work of the evangelist (compare for fuller details See Hauck-Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche, XII, article "Matthaeus der Apostel"). Just what the original Hebrew. Mathew was to which Papias refers (assuming it to have had a real existence) must, with our present available means, remain an unsolved riddle, as also the possible connection between the Greek and Hebrew texts. Attempts like those of Zahn, in his Kommentar on Matthew, to explain readings of the Greek text through an inaccurate understanding of the imaginary Hebrew original are arbitrary and unreliable. There remains, of course, the possibility that the apostle himself, or someone under his care (thus Godet), produced a Greek recension of an earlier Aramaic work.

The prevailing theory at present is that the Hebrew Matthean document of Papias was a collection mainly of the discourses of Jesus (called by recent critics Q), which, in variant Greek translations, was used both by the author of the Greek Matthew and by the evangelist Luke, thus explaining the common features in these two gospels (W.C. Allen, however, in his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, disputes Luke's use of this supposed common source, Intro, xlviff;). The use of this supposed Matthean source is thought to explain how the Greek Gospel came to be named after the apostle. It has already been remarked, however, that there is no good reason for supposing that the "Logia" of Papias was confined to discourses. See further on "sources" below.

4. Contents, Character and Purpose:

(1) Contents and Character.

As respects contents, the Gospel of Matthew can be divided into 3 chief parts:

(1) preliminary, including the birth and early youth of the Lord (Matthew 1; 2);

(2) the activity of Jesus in Galilee (Matthew 3-18);

(3) the activity of Jesus in Judea and Jerusalem, followed by His passion, death, and resurrection (Matthew 19-28).

In character, the Gospel, like those of the other evangelists, is only a chrestomathy, a selection from the great mass of oral tradition concerning the doings and sayings of Christ current in apostolic and early Christian circles, chosen for the special purpose which the evangelist had in view. Accordingly, there is a great deal of material in Matthew in common with Mark and Luke, although not a little of this material, too, is individualistic in character, and of a nature to vex and perplex the harmonist, as e.g. Matthew's accounts of the temptation, of the demoniacs at Gadara, of the blind man at Jericho (4:1-11; 8:28-34; 20:20-34); yet there is much also in this Gospel that is peculiar to it. Such are the following pericopes: Matthew 1; 2; 9:27-36; 10:15, 37-40; 11:28-30; 12:11, 12, 15-21, 33-38; 13:24-30, 36-52; 14:28-31; 16:17-19; 17:24-27; 18:15-35; 19:10-12; 20:1-16; 21:10, 14-16, 28-32; 22:1-14; 23:8-22; 24:42-25:46; 27:3-10, 62-66; 28:11;. The principle of arrangement of the material is not chronological, but rather that of similarity of material. The addresses and parables of Jesus are reported consecutively, although they may have been spoken at different times, and material scattered in the other evangelists-especially in Luke-is found combined in Matthew. Instances are seen in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), the "mission address" (Matthew 10), the seven parables of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13), the discourses and parables (Matthew 18), the woes against the Pharisees (Matthew 23), and the grand eschatological discourses (Matthew 24; 25) (compare with parallel in the other gospels, on the relation to which, see below).

(2) Purpose.

The special purpose which the writer had in view in his Gospel is nowhere expressly stated, as is done, e.g., by the writer of the Fourth Gospel in John 20:30, 31, concerning his book, but it can readily be gleaned from the general contents of the book, as also from specific passages. The traditional view that Matthew wrote primarily to prove that in Jesus of Nazareth is to be found the fulfillment and realization of the Messianic predictions of the Old Testament prophets and seers is beyond a doubt correct. The mere fact that there are about 40 proof passages in Matthew from the Old Testament, in connection even with the minor details of Christ's career, such as His return from Egypt (2:15), is ample evidence of this fact, although the proof manner and proof value of some of these passages are exegetical cruces, as indeed is the whole way in which the Old Testament is cited in the New Testament.


The question as to whether the Gospel was written for Jewish Christians, or for Jews not yet converted, is less important, as this book, as was the case probably with the Epistle of James, was written at that transition period when the Jewish and the Christian communions were not yet fully separated, and still worshipped together.

Particular indications as to this purpose of the Gospel are met with at the beginning and throughout the whole work; e.g. it is obvious in Matthew 1:1, where the proof is furnished that Jesus was the son of Abraham, in whom all families of the earth were to be blessed (Genesis 12:3), and of David, who was to establish the kingdom of God forever (2 Samuel 7). The genealogy of Luke, on the other hand (3:23;), with its cosmopolitan character and purpose, aiming to show that Jesus was the Redeemer of the whole world, leads back this line to Adam, the common ancestor of all mankind. Further, as the genealogy of Matthew is evidently that of Joseph the foster and legal father of Jesus, and not that of Mary, as is the case in Luke, the purpose to meet the demands of the Jewish reader is transparent. The full account in Matthew of the Sermon on the Mount, which does not, as is sometimes said, contain a "new program of the kingdom of God"-indeed does not contain the fundamental principles of the Gospel at all-but is the deeper and truly Biblical interpretation of the Law over against the superficial interpretation of the current Pharisaism, which led the advocates of the latter in all honesty to declare, "What lack I yet?" given with the design of driving the auditors to the gospel of grace and faith proclaimed by Christ (compare Galatians 3:24)-all this is only intelligible when we remember that the book was written for Jewish readers. Again the gegraptai-i.e. the fulfillment of Old Testament Scripture, a matter which for the Jew was everything, but for the Gentile was of little concern-appears in Matthew on all hands. We have it e.g. in connection with the birth of Jesus from a virgin, His protection from Herod, His coming to Nazareth (Matthew 1:22; Matthew 2:5, 6, 15, 17, 23), the activity of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3; compare Matthew 11:10), the selection of Galilee as the scene of Jesus' operations (Matthew 4:14), the work of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets (Matthew 5:17), His quiet, undemonstrative methods (Matthew 12:17), His teaching by parables (Matthew 13:35), His entrance into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:4, 16), His being arrested (Matthew 26:54), the betrayal of Judas (Matthew 27:9), the distribution of His garments (Matthew 27:35). Throughout, as Professor Kubel says, the Gospel of Matthew shows a "diametrical contrast between Christ and Pharisaism." Over against the false Messianic ideas and ideals of contemporary teachings among the Jews, Matthew selects those facts from the teachings and deeds of Christ which show the true Messiah and the correct principles of the kingdom of God. In this respect the Gospel can be regarded as both apologetic and polemical in its aim, in harmony with which also is its vivid portraiture to the growing hostility of the Jews to Christ and to His teachings which, in the latter part of Matthew, appears as intense as it does in John. Nowhere else do we find such pronounced denunciations of the Pharisees and their system from the lips of Jesus (compare Matthew 9:11;; 12:1;; 15:1;; 16:1;; and on particular points 5:20;; 9:13; 23:23; see also 8:12; 9:34; 12:24; 21:43). It is from this point of view, as representing the antithesis to the narrow Pharisaic views, that we are to understand the writer's emphasis on the universality of the kingdom of Jesus Christ (compare Matthew 3:1-12; Matthew 8:10-12; 21:33-44; 28:18-20)-passages in which some have thought they discerned a contradiction to the prevailing Jewish strain of the Gospel.

5. Problems of Literary Relation:

The special importance of the Gospel of Matthew for the synoptic problem can be fully discussed only in the article on this subject (see GOSPELS, THE SYNOPTIC), and in connection with Mark and Luke. The synoptic problem deals primarily with the literary relations existing between the first 3 Gospels. The contents of these are in many cases so similar, even in verbal details, that they must have some sources in common, or some dependence or interdependence must exist between them; on the other hand, each of the 3 Gospels shows so many differences and dissimilarities from the other two, that in their composition some independent source or sources-oral or written-must have been employed. In general it may be said that the problem itself is of little more than literary importance, having by no means the historical significance for the development of the religion of the New Testament which the Pentateuchal problem has for that of the Old Testament. Nor has the synoptic problem any historical background that promises a solution as the Pentateuchal problem has in the history of Israel. Nothing save an analysis of the contents of these Gospels, and a comparison of the contents of the three, offers the scholar any material for the study of the problem, and as subjective taste and impressions are prime factors in dealing with materials of this sort, it is more than improbable, in the absence of any objective evidence, that the synoptic problem in general, or the question of the sources of Matthew in particular, will ever be solved to the satisfaction of the majority of scholars. The hypothesis which at present has widest acceptance is the "two-source" theory, according to which Mark, in its existing or some earlier form, and the problematical original Matthew (Q), constitute the basis of our canonical Gospel.

In proof of this, it is pointed out that nearly the whole of the narrative-matter of Mark is taken up into Matthew, as also into Luke, while the large sections, chiefly discourses, common to Matthew and Luke are held, as already said, to point to a source of that character which both used. The difficulties arise when the comparison is pursued into details, and explanation is sought of the variations in phraseology, order, sometimes in conception, in the respective gospels.

Despite the prestige which this theory has attained, the true solution is probably a simpler one. Matthew no doubt secured the bulk of his data from his own experience and from oral tradition, and as the former existed in fixed forms, due to catechetical instruction, in the early church, it is possible to explain the similarities of Matthew with the other two synoptics on this ground alone, without resorting to any literary dependence, either of Matthew on the other two, or of these, or either of them, on Matthew. The whole problem is purely speculative and subjective and under present conditions justifies a cui bono? as far as the vast literature which it has called into existence is concerned.

6. Date of Gospel:

According to early and practically universal tradition Matthew wrote his Gospel before the other three, and the place assigned to it in New Testament literature favors the acceptance of this tradition. Irenaeus reports that it was written when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome (ill.1), and Eusebius states that this was done when Matthew left Palestine and went to preach to others (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24). Clement of Alexandria is responsible for the statement that the presbyters who succeeded each other from the beginning declared that "the gospels containing the genealogies (Matthew and Luke) were written first" (Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, VI, 14). This is, of course, fatal to the current theory of dependence on Mark, and is in consequence rejected. At any rate, there is the best reason for holding that the book must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (compare 2415). The most likely date for the Greek Gospel is in the 7th Christian decade. Zahn claims that Matthew wrote his Aramaic Gospel in Palestine in 62 A.D., while the Greek Matthew dates from 85 A.D., but this latter date is not probable.


Introduction to the Commentary on Matthew (Meyer, Alford, Allen (ICC), Broadus (Philadelphia, 1887), Morison, Plummer, Schaeffer in Lutheran Commentary (New York, 1895), etc.); works on Introduction to the New Testament (Salmon, Weiss, Zahn, etc.); articles in Bible Dictionaries and Encyclopedia may be consulted. See also F.C. Burkitt, The Gospel History and Its Transmission; Wellhausen, Das Evangelium Matthaei and Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien; Sir J.C. Hawkins, Horae Synopticae; Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels; Lightfoot, Essays on Supernatural Religion, V, "Papias of Hierapolis" (this last specially on the sense of Logia).

See also the works cited in MARK, THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO.

G. H. Schodde



2097. euaggelizo -- to announce good news
... good news NASB Word Usage bring...good news (2), bring good news (1), brought...
good news (1), good news (5), good news preached (2), gospel (2), gospel ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2097.htm - 10k

4283. proeuaggelizomai -- to announce good news beforehand
... of Speech: Verb Transliteration: proeuaggelizomai Phonetic Spelling: (pro-yoo-ang-
ghel-id'-zom-ahee) Short Definition: I preach the gospel beforehand Definition ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/4283.htm - 7k

2098. euaggelion -- good news
... Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: euaggelion Phonetic Spelling:
(yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on) Short Definition: the good news, the gospel Definition: the ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2098.htm - 7k

2782. kerugma -- a proclamation
... Cognate: 2782 -- properly, , the preaching (heralding) of the Gospel -- especially
its fundamentals (like Jesus' life, death and resurrection, etc.). ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2782.htm - 7k

2099. euaggelistes -- an evangelist, a bringer of good news
... 2099 (from 2097 , "evangelize") -- properly, an "evangelist" (, 1, 53.76);
someone with a to announce the of the Gospel (see Eph 4:11). ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2099.htm - 7k

652. apostolos -- a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle
... envoy, delegate, one commissioned by another to represent him in some way, especially
a man sent out by Jesus Christ Himself to preach the Gospel; an apostle. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/652.htm - 7k

2784. kerusso -- to be a herald, proclaim
... it. [2784 () is "" (, " 3:703). To "gospelize" (2097 ) stresses the of
God's Gospel-message in the of His "good news."]. Word ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2784.htm - 9k

3551. nomos -- that which is assigned, hence usage, law
... law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specially,
(of Moses (including the volume); also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3551.htm - 7k

2150. eusebeia -- piety
... godliness, holiness. From eusebes; piety; specially, the gospel scheme -- godliness,
holiness. see GREEK eusebes. (eusebeia) -- 5 Occurrences. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/2150.htm - 7k

3011. leitourgos -- a public servant, a minister, a servant
... From a derivative of laos and ergon; a public servant, ie A functionary in the Temple
or Gospel, or (genitive case) a worshipper (of God) or benefactor (of man ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3011.htm - 8k


Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews
Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews. <. Homilies
on the Gospel of St. John and the Epistle to the Hebrews St. ...
/.../chrysostom/homilies on the gospel of st john and hebrews/

The Gospel of St. Mark
The Gospel of St. Mark. <. The Gospel of St. Mark GA Chadwick. Table of Contents.
Title Page. Strong Meat for Hungry Souls: The Gospel of St. Mark. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/chadwick/the gospel of st mark/

Homilies on the Gospel of John
Homilies on the Gospel of John. <. Homilies on the Gospel of John St. Augustine.
Schaff, Philip (Editor) Table of Contents. Title Page. Preface. St. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/augustine/homilies on the gospel of john/

Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. <. Origen's Commentary on
the Gospel of Matthew Origen. Table of Contents. Title Page. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/origen/origens commentary on the gospel of matthew/

The Four-Fold Gospel
The Four-Fold Gospel. <. The Four-Fold Gospel JW McGarvey. Table of
Contents. Title Page. Introduction. Preserving the Text. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/

Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew
Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew. <. Homilies on the Gospel of Saint
Matthew Saint Chrysostom. Schaff, Philip (Editor) Table of Contents. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/chrysostom/homilies on the gospel of saint matthew/

The Gospel of Nicodemus.
The Gospel of Nicodemus. . The Gospel of Nicodemus. Unknown. Alexander
Walker, Esq. (Translator) Table of Contents. Title Page. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/unknown/the gospel of nicodemus /

Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John. <. Origen's Commentary on the
Gospel of John Origen. Table of Contents. Title Page. Book I. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/origen/origens commentary on the gospel of john/

A Collection of Gospel Hymns in Ojibway and English
A Collection of Gospel Hymns in Ojibway and English. <. A Collection
of Gospel Hymns in Ojibway and English Anonymous. ...
/.../anonymous/a collection of gospel hymns in ojibway and english/

The Gospel of Luke, An Exposition
The Gospel of Luke, An Exposition. <. The Gospel of Luke, An Exposition
Charles R. Erdman. Produced by Stephen Hope, Fox ...
//christianbookshelf.org/erdman/the gospel of luke an exposition/

Easton's Bible Dictionary
A word of Anglo-Saxon origin, and meaning "God's spell", i.e., word of God, or rather, according to others, "good spell", i.e., good news. It is the rendering of the Greek evangelion, i.e., "good message." It denotes (1) "the welcome intelligence of salvation to man as preached by our Lord and his followers.

(2.) It was afterwards transitively applied to each of the four histories of our Lord's life, published by those who are therefore called `Evangelists', writers of the history of the gospel (the evangelion).

(3.) The term is often used to express collectively the gospel doctrines; and `preaching the gospel' is often used to include not only the proclaiming of the good tidings, but the teaching men how to avail themselves of the offer of salvation, the declaring of all the truths, precepts, promises, and threatenings of Christianity." It is termed "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matthew 4:23), "the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16), "the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15), "the glorious gospel," "the everlasting gospel," "the gospel of salvation" (Ephesians 1:13).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (v.) Glad tidings; especially, the good news concerning Christ, the Kingdom of God, and salvation.

2. (n.) One of the four narratives of the life and death of Jesus Christ, written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

3. (n.) A selection from one of the gospels, for use in a religious service; as, the gospel for the day.

4. (n.) Any system of religious doctrine; sometimes, any system of political doctrine or social philosophy; as, this political gospel.

5. (v.) Anything propounded or accepted as infallibly true; as, they took his words for gospel.

6. (a.) Accordant with, or relating to, the gospel; evangelical; as, gospel righteousness.

7. (v. t.) To instruct in the gospel.

Gospel (108 Occurrences)
... each of the four histories of our Lord's life, published by those who are therefore
called `Evangelists', writers of the history of the gospel (the evangelion ...
/g/gospel.htm - 101k

Gospel's (3 Occurrences)
... Multi-Version Concordance Gospel's (3 Occurrences). ... 1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I
do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. ...
/g/gospel's.htm - 7k

/e/endirons.htm - 8k

Caesar's (10 Occurrences)
... Philippi. They give us most interesting information in regard to the progress
made in the propagation of the gospel in Rome. It ...
/c/caesar's.htm - 18k

Preparation (28 Occurrences)
... In Ephesians 6:15 the apostle speaks of the equipment of the Christian as including
the "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," which means ...
/p/preparation.htm - 19k

... shama`, "to hear"): 1. Simon, a Magician 2. Simon and the Apostles (1) Simon and
Philip (2) Simon and Peter John 3. The Magicians and the Gospel 4. Testimony ...
/m/magus.htm - 23k

Evangelist (2 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary A "publisher of glad tidings;" a missionary preacher
of the gospel (Ephesians 4:11). This title is applied ...
/e/evangelist.htm - 23k

Glad (421 Occurrences)
... British and American) translations "good tidings." The verb is also very frequently
translated in the King James Version "to preach the gospel," the original ...
/g/glad.htm - 37k

Tidings (169 Occurrences)
... British and American) translations "good tidings." The verb is also very frequently
translated in the King James Version "to preach the gospel," the original ...
/t/tidings.htm - 38k

... The triumph of the gospel, it is held, must be looked for by the wider and more
efficient operation of the very forces that are now at work in extending the ...
/m/millennium.htm - 24k

Bible Concordance
Gospel (108 Occurrences)

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Matthew 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Matthew 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Mark 8:35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,

Mark 13:10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.

Mark 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luke 3:18 Then with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people,
(See NAS)

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

Luke 9:6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Luke 16:16 The law and the prophets 'were' until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it.

Luke 20:1 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,

Acts 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Acts 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached the gospel to all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Acts 14:7 And there they preached the gospel.

Acts 14:15 "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them;
(See NAS)

Acts 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Acts 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
(See RSV)

Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Romans 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:

Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

1 Corinthians 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

1 Corinthians 4:15 For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!

1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Corinthians 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;

2 Corinthians 9:13 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;

2 Corinthians 10:14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:

2 Corinthians 10:16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand.

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

2 Corinthians 11:7 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

Galatians 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.

Galatians 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.

Galatians 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Galatians 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

Galatians 4:13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Ephesians 3:7 of which I was made a servant, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power.

Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

Philippians 1:5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

Philippians 1:7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

Philippians 1:16 the one 'do it' of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel;

Philippians 1:17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Philippians 2:22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Philippians 4:15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

1 Thessalonians 2:2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.

1 Thessalonians 2:9 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

2 Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 Timothy 1:11 For this, I was appointed as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

2 Timothy 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

2 Timothy 2:9 in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God's word isn't chained.
(See RSV)



Gospel According To the Hebrews

Gospel Of John

Gospel Of Luke

Gospel Of Mark

Gospel Of Matthew

Gospel: Called the New Covenant

Gospel: Called: Doctrine According to Godliness

Gospel: Called: Form of Sound Words

Gospel: Called: Glorious Gospel of Christ

Gospel: Called: Gospel of Christ

Gospel: Called: Gospel of God

Gospel: Called: Gospel of Jesus Christ

Gospel: Called: Gospel of Peace

Gospel: Called: Gospel of Salvation

Gospel: Called: Gospel of the Kingdom

Gospel: Called: Ministration of the Spirit

Gospel: Called: Mystery of Christ

Gospel: Called: Mystery of the Gospel

Gospel: Called: Preaching of Jesus Christ

Gospel: Called: The Dispensation of the Grace of God

Gospel: Called: The Grace of God

Gospel: Called: The Kingdom of God

Gospel: Called: Word of Christ

Gospel: Called: Word of Faith

Gospel: Called: Word of God

Gospel: Called: Word of Life

Gospel: Called: Word of Reconciliation

Gospel: Called: Word of Salvation

Gospel: Called: Word of Truth

Gospel: Compared to a Feast

Gospel: Compared to a Householder

Gospel: Compared to a Mustard Seed

Gospel: Compared to a Pearl of Great Price

Gospel: Compared to a Treasure Hidden in a Field

Gospel: Compared to Good Seed

Gospel: Compared to Leaven (Yeast)

Gospel: Prophecies Relating To

Gospel: Unclassified Scriptures Relating To

The Gospel is Called the Dispensation of the Grace of God

The Gospel is Called the Doctrine According to Godliness

The Gospel is Called the Form of Sound Words

The Gospel is Called the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of Christ

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of God

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of Peace

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of Salvation

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of the Grace of God

The Gospel is Called the Gospel of the Kingdom

The Gospel is Called the Ministration of the Spirit

The Gospel is Called the Mystery of the Gospel

The Gospel is Called the Preaching of Jesus Christ

The Gospel is Called the Word of Christ

The Gospel is Called the Word of Faith

The Gospel is Called the Word of God

The Gospel is Called the Word of Grace

The Gospel is Called the Word of Life

The Gospel is Called the Word of Reconciliation

The Gospel is Called the Word of Salvation

The Gospel is Called the Word of Truth

The Gospel is Everlasting

The Gospel is Glorious

The Gospel is Good Tidings of Great Joy for all People

The Gospel is Hid to Them That are Lost

The Gospel is the Power of God to Salvation

The Gospel: Awful Consequences of not Obeying

The Gospel: Be Careful not to Hinder

The Gospel: Brings Peace

The Gospel: Exhibits the Grace of God

The Gospel: Foretold

The Gospel: Let Him Who Preached Another, be Accursed

The Gospel: Life and Immortality are Brought to Light by Jesus Through

The Gospel: Ministers Have a Stewardship to Preach

The Gospel: Must be Believed

The Gospel: Preached Beforehand to Abraham

The Gospel: Preached by Christ

The Gospel: Preached to Every Creature

The Gospel: Preached to The Gentiles

The Gospel: Preached to The Jews First

The Gospel: Preached to The Poor

The Gospel: Preached Under the Old Testament

The Gospel: Produces Hope

The Gospel: Profession of, Attended by Afflictions

The Gospel: Promises to Sufferers

The Gospel: Rejection of, by Many, Foretold

The Gospel: Rejection of, by the Jews, a Means of Blessing to The

The Gospel: Saints Have Fellowship In

The Gospel: Testifies to the Final Judgment

The Gospel: The Knowledge of the Glory of God is By

The Gospel: There is Fulness of Blessing In

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Adhere to the Truth of

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Earnestly Contend for the Faith of

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Have Their Conversation Becoming

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Live in Subjection To

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should not be Ashamed of

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Sacrifice Friends and Property For

The Gospel: Those Who Receive, should Sacrifice Life Itself For

Related Terms

Gospel's (3 Occurrences)


Caesar's (10 Occurrences)

Preparation (28 Occurrences)


Evangelist (2 Occurrences)

Glad (421 Occurrences)

Tidings (169 Occurrences)




Euodia (1 Occurrence)

Bartholomew (4 Occurrences)


Retribution (14 Occurrences)


Committed (201 Occurrences)

Thomas (12 Occurrences)

Truth (380 Occurrences)

Liberty (32 Occurrences)

Intrusted (5 Occurrences)

Furtherance (5 Occurrences)

Thaddaeus (2 Occurrences)

Eunice (1 Occurrence)

Dispensation (8 Occurrences)


Praetorian (2 Occurrences)

Advocate (7 Occurrences)

Aenon (1 Occurrence)

Andrew (12 Occurrences)

Baptismal (1 Occurrence)

Anathema (6 Occurrences)

Minister (150 Occurrences)

Syriac (2 Occurrences)


Latin (2 Occurrences)

Matthew (5 Occurrences)


Martha (12 Occurrences)

Word (8118 Occurrences)

Nicodemus (5 Occurrences)

Gifts (144 Occurrences)


Flame (61 Occurrences)

Peace (523 Occurrences)

Parable (52 Occurrences)

Bethsaida (7 Occurrences)

Son (25967 Occurrences)

Trophimus (3 Occurrences)


Commandment (209 Occurrences)



Titus (15 Occurrences)

Preach (72 Occurrences)


Colossians (1 Occurrence)

Scribes (85 Occurrences)

Ascension (1 Occurrence)

Galilee (73 Occurrences)

Iscariot (11 Occurrences)

Saviour (157 Occurrences)

Persecution (22 Occurrences)

Fellowship (114 Occurrences)

Lest (282 Occurrences)

Father (11359 Occurrences)

Guard (185 Occurrences)

Verily (146 Occurrences)

Zealot (4 Occurrences)

Apostles (79 Occurrences)


Wheresoever (17 Occurrences)

Wealthy (22 Occurrences)

Wealth (340 Occurrences)

Illyricum (1 Occurrence)

Infancy (2 Occurrences)

Further (121 Occurrences)

Theophilus (2 Occurrences)

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