What is the Synoptic Problem?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
When the first three Gospels-Matthew, Mark, and Luke-are compared, it is unmistakable that the accounts are very similar to one another in content and expression. As a result, Matthew, Mark, and Lu...

July 01 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The “synoptic (see together) problem” supposes that since Matthew, Mark, and Luke are more alike than the “autoptic (see by itself)” gospel of John, that one of them is the source of the others or that there is a source document called "Q" for "Quelle" (German for “source”) from which these were written. Mark Goodacre, the author of “The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze,” described the synoptic problem as “the most fascinating literary enigma of all time.” 

Eta Linnemann, a scholar who for most of her career held to the historical-critical theology which built up the theories concerning the synoptic problem, later rejected this theology. It was, as she claimed, not theological but philosophical, and that it undermined the authority of God’s Word. She likened the evidence of the lost gospel Q as flying to a non-existent island on an airplane not yet invented and flying in the 13th month of the year.

Eventually, she wrote “Is There a Synoptic Problem?” in which she revealed her linguistic analysis of the three gospels. She stated the gospels were indeed composed independently of one another and have no literary relationship. The conclusion is that the writers did not copy each other. The Synoptic problem is contrived and the “Q source” is a phantom. 

The four gospels are distinctly different and independent. The four gospel authors from different backgrounds with different perspectives wrote to four different audiences so that the gospels are uniquely different from each other. To not see the difference is as one thinking that all birds are the same because they fly, have beaks, and chirp.

MATTHEW was a tax collector, one of the twelve apostles. He wrote primarily to the Jews who are looking for the Messiah and king. As an accountant he grouped some of his material. He presented Christ as the fulfiller of the law, the king and promised Savior. 

MARK was a servant, an associate of the apostle Peter. He wrote primarily to the Romans who seek power and accomplishments. His approach was like a reporter narrating episodes of actions and miracles of the Lord. He presented Christ as the servant and powerful Savior. 

LUKE, a physician, was an associate of the apostle Paul. He wrote primarily to the Greeks who seek wisdom, beauty, culture, and the ideal man. He assembled his material as a historian and researcher. He presented Christ as the Son of Man and the perfect Savior. 

JOHN was an apostle, a fisherman, one of the three in the inner circle of disciples. His audience was to the world which seeks the way, the truth, and the life. He wrote as an evangelist with the message of how to have eternal life. He presented Christ as the Son of God and the personal Savior.

Revelation 4:7 (compare Ezekiel 1:10) describes the four creatures. The gospels have been likened to these:
Matthew – the lion
Mark – the calf
Luke – the man
John – the eagle

The gospels are not alike but distinctively different.

May 30 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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