What does Gospel mean in the Bible?

Greek / Hebrew Translation Occurance
εὐαγγέλιον a reward for good tidings. 36
εὐαγγελίου a reward for good tidings. 22
εὐαγγελίῳ a reward for good tidings. 11
εὐαγγελιζόμενοι to bring good news 4
εὐαγγέλιόν a reward for good tidings. 3
εὐαγγελίσασθαι to bring good news 3
εὐαγγελιζόμενος to bring good news 2
εὐηγγελίζετο to bring good news 2
εὐαγγελίζεσθαι to bring good news 2
εὐηγγελίσατο to bring good news 1
εὐηγγελίσθη to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελισαμένων to bring good news 1
εὐηγγελισμένοι to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελίζηται to bring good news 1
εὐηγγελισάμην to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελίζεται to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελίσωμαι to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελίζωμαι to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελιζομένου to bring good news 1
εὐηγγελίζοντο to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελιζομένῳ to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελισάμενοί to bring good news 1
εὐαγγελιζόμεθα to bring good news 1
προευηγγελίσατο to announce or promise glad tidings beforehand. 1

Definitions Related to Gospel

G2098


   1 a reward for good tidings.
   2 good tidings.
      2a the glad tidings of the kingdom of God soon to be set up, and subsequently also of Jesus the Messiah, the founder of this kingdom.
      After the death of Christ, the term comprises also the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ as having suffered death on the cross to procure eternal salvation for the men in the kingdom of God, but as restored to life and exalted to the right hand of God in heaven, thence to return in majesty to consummate the kingdom of God.
      2b the glad tidings of salvation through Christ.
      2c the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ.
      2d the Gospel.
      2e as the messianic rank of Jesus was proved by his words, his deeds, and his death, the narrative of the sayings, deeds, and death of Jesus Christ came to be called the Gospel or glad tidings.
      

G2097


   1 to bring good news, to announce glad tidings.
      1a used in the OT of any kind of good news.
         1a1 of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings.
      1b in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation.
      1c glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him.
      1d to proclaim glad tidings.
         1d1 instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation.
         

G4283


   1 to announce or promise glad tidings beforehand.
   

Frequency of Gospel (original languages)

Frequency of Gospel (English)

Dictionary

Easton's Bible Dictionary - Matthew, Gospel According to
As to the time of its composition, there is little in the Gospel itself to indicate. It was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24 ), and some time after the events it records. The probability is that it was written between the years A.D. 60,65.
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish Christians of Palestine. His great object is to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that in him the ancient prophecies had their fulfilment. The Gospel is full of allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ is predicted and foreshadowed. The one aim prevading the whole book is to show that Jesus is he "of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write." This Gospel contains no fewer than sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is much controversy. Many hold, in accordance with old tradition, that it was originally written in Hebrew (i.e., the Aramaic or Syro-Chaldee dialect, then the vernacular of the inhabitants of Palestine), and afterwards translated into Greek, either by Matthew himself or by some person unknown. This theory, though earnestly maintained by able critics, we cannot see any ground for adopting. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received as of authority in the Church. There is nothing in it to show that it is a translation. Though Matthew wrote mainly for the Jews, yet they were everywhere familiar with the Greek language. The same reasons which would have suggested the necessity of a translation into Greek would have led the evangelist to write in Greek at first. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been found in any other form than that in which we now possess it.
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Matthew uses the expression "kingdom of heaven" (thirty-two times), while Luke uses the expression "kingdom of God" (thirty-three times). Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes (Matthew 5:26 ), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for the Latin flagello. It must be remembered that Matthew was a tax-gatherer for the Roman government, and hence in contact with those using the Latin language.
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three) wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably first in point of time.
"Out of a total of 1071 verses, Matthew has 387 in common with Mark and Luke, 130 with Mark, 184 with Luke; only 387 being peculiar to itself." (See MARK; LUKE; GOSPELS .)
The book is fitly divided into these four parts:
Containing the genealogy, the birth, and the infancy of Jesus (1; 2).
The discourses and actions of John the Baptist preparatory to Christ's public ministry (3; 4:11).
The discourses and actions of Christ in Galilee ((4:12-20:16).).
The sufferings, death and resurrection of our Lord (20:17-28).
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Mark, Gospel According to
As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no definite information. Mark makes no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem, hence it must have been written before that event, and probably about A.D. 63.
The place where it was written was probably Rome. Some have supposed Antioch (Compare Mark 15:21 with Acts 11:20 ).
It was intended primarily for Romans. This appears probable when it is considered that it makes no reference to the Jewish law, and that the writer takes care to interpret words which a Gentile would be likely to misunderstand, such as, "Boanerges" (3:17); "Talitha cumi" (5:41); "Corban" (7:11); "Bartimaeus" (10:46); "Abba" (14:36); "Eloi," etc. (15:34). Jewish usages are also explained (7:3; 14:3; 14:12; 15:42). Mark also uses certain Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, as "speculator" (6:27, rendered, A.V., "executioner;" RSV, "soldier of his guard"), "xestes" (a corruption of sextarius, rendered "pots," 7:4,8), "quadrans" (12:42, rendered "a farthing"), "centurion" (15:39,44,45). He only twice quotes from the Old Testament (1:2; 15:28).
The characteristics of this Gospel are, (1) the absence of the genealogy of our Lord, (2) whom he represents as clothed with power, the "lion of the tribe of Judah."
Mark also records with wonderful minuteness the very words (3:17; 5:41; 7:11,34; 14:36) as well as the position (9:35) and gestures (3:5,34; 5:32; 9:36; 10:16) of our Lord.
He is also careful to record particulars of person (1:29,36; 3:6,22, etc.), number (5:13; 6:7, etc.), place (2:13; 4:1; 7:31, etc.), and time (1:35; 2:1; 4:35, etc.), which the other evangelists omit.
The phrase "and straightway" occurs nearly forty times in this Gospel; while in Luke's Gospel, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times. "The Gospel of Mark," says Westcott, "is essentially a transcript from life. The course and issue of facts are imaged in it with the clearest outline." "In Mark we have no attempt to draw up a continuous narrative. His Gospel is a rapid succession of vivid pictures loosely strung together without much attempt to bind them into a whole or give the events in their natural sequence. This pictorial power is that which specially characterizes this evangelist, so that 'if any one desires to know an evangelical fact, not only in its main features and grand results, but also in its most minute and so to speak more graphic delineation, he must betake himself to Mark.'" The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed in the motto: "Jesus came...preaching the gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14 ).
"Out of a total of 662 verses, Mark has 406 in common with Matthew and Luke, 145 with Matthew, 60 with Luke, and at most 51 peculiar to itself." (See MATTHEW .)
Easton's Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of
The design of John in writing this Gospel is stated by himself (John 20:31 ). It was at one time supposed that he wrote for the purpose of supplying the omissions of the synoptical, i.e., of the first three, Gospels, but there is no evidence for this. "There is here no history of Jesus and his teaching after the manner of the other evangelists. But there is in historical form a representation of the Christian faith in relation to the person of Christ as its central point; and in this representation there is a picture on the one hand of the antagonism of the world to the truth revealed in him, and on the other of the spiritual blessedness of the few who yield themselves to him as the Light of life" (Reuss).
After the prologue (1:1-5), the historical part of the book begins with verse 6, and consists of two parts. The first part (1:6-ch. 12) contains the history of our Lord's public ministry from the time of his introduction to it by John the Baptist to its close. The second part (ch. 13-21) presents our Lord in the retirement of private life and in his intercourse with his immediate followers (13-17), and gives an account of his sufferings and of his appearances to the disciples after his resurrection (18-21).
The peculiarities of this Gospel are the place it gives (1) to the mystical relation of the Son to the Father, and (2) of the Redeemer to believers; (3) the announcement of the Holy Ghost as the Comforter; (4) the prominence given to love as an element in the Christian character. It was obviously addressed primarily to Christians.
It was probably written at Ephesus, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), became the centre of Christian life and activity in the East, about A.D. 90.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Matthew, Gospel of Saint
The first book of the New Testament. Its author is the Apostle Saint Matthew, who wrote an account of Our Lord's life in the Hebrew dialect then in use by the Palestinian Jews (Aramaic), about 40 or 50. He wrote the Gospel in Palestine for converts from Judaism, to confirm them in their faith in Jesus as the promised Messias, and to convince the unbelievers that they had rejected the Redeemer. The characteristic which especially distinguishes this Gospel from the others is the frequent citations of and allusions to the Old Testament prophecies. The fulfillment of these prophecies in Jesus proves Him to be the Messias. The 28 chapters of the Gospel may be divided according to the following topics Jesus is proven the Messias in His ancestry, birth, and infancy (1-2); He is shown to be the Messias in the preparation for the public ministry (3-4); He manifests Himself as the Messias in public life, being teacher and legislator (5-7), wonder-worker (8-9), founder of the Kingdom of Goa (10-25); He is shown to be the Messias in the humility of His sufferings and the glory of His Resurreetion (26-28). The Biblical Commission, June 19, 1911, declared that the universal and constant tradition dating from the first centuries and expressed in early writings, ancient codices, versions and catalogues of the Bible, proves beyond doubt that Saint Matthew wrote the first Gospel, as we now have it in our Bibles, before the year 70, and that the Gospel is in conformity with historical truth. Chapters specially commendable for reading: 1-2, the hidden life; 5,6, 7, Sermon on the Mount; 13,16, 18,19, parables, and instructions on the Kingdom of God; 15, last judgment; 26-28, Passion, Death and Resurrection.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Last Gospel
The Gospel read at the end of Mass, usually from the first chapter of Saint John, except on days in Lent, vigils, and Sundays when a feast of major rite is celebrated, and the third on Christmas Day.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel Side of Altar
The left side of the altar as one faces it, so called because portions of the Gospels are read there at Mass.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Mark, Gospel of Saint
The second book of the New Testament, and the second Gospel to be written. Its author is Saint Mark, a disciple and companion of Saint Peter. He wrote an account of the life and teachings of Jesus as he heard these truths from the Prince of the Apostles. The Gospel was written in Greek between the years 50,60, and was addressed to Roman converts to Christianity. Writing for the Gentiles, Saint Mark's purpose was to show that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. To this end he demonstrates the power of Jesus which extended over all nature and which was manifested in His many miracles. The Gospel is characterized by its vivid descriptions of Our Lord's miracles, which occupy so prominent a place in the narrative that it is often called the "Gospel of Miracles." The sixteen chapters are written in the chronological order, with some exceptions, and follow these general divisions:
preparation through the preaching of Saint John, the baptism, and temptation (1,2-13)
the preaching and miracles of Jesus in Galilee (1,14, to 9,50)
the journey to Jerusalem for the feast of the Pasch, and the last days of Our Lord's teaching (10-13)
the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension (14-16)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that all reasonable doubt that Saint Mark is the author of the second Gospel as now contained in our Bibles, and that the Gospel was written before the year 70 and according to the preaching of Saint Peter, has been removed by the clear evidence of tradition from the earliest ages, as found in the testimony of the Fathers, in the use of the Gospel by early Christians, and its place in ancient codices and versions. Chapters specially commendable for reading:
2, the paralytic, the call of Saint Matthew
3, call of the Apostles, refutation of the Pharisees
14-16, Passion and Glory of Jesus
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Twelve Apostles, Gospel of
TWELVE APOSTLES, GOSPEL OF . See Gospels [1] ], 10 .
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - John, Gospel of Saint
The fourth Book of the New Testament and last of the Sacred Books written. Its author is the Apostle Saint John, who wrote the Gospel at Ephesus shortly before his death, about the year 100. He records how Jesus, during His life, manifested His glory and proved Himself to be the Messias and Son of God. While the first three Gospels are mainly concerned with the human side of the life of Christ and with His ministry in Galilee, Saint John is more intent on showing the Divine side of the Saviour's life and treats especially of His ministry in Judea and Jerusalem. The Gospel is characterized by its sublimity of doctrine and diction, and by the many discourses of Jesus which make up the greater portion of the narrative. Consisting of twenty-one chapters, it is written in chronological order and contains: prologue declaring the Eternity and Divinity of the Word made Flesh (1:1-18); manifestation of Christ's glory as Messias and Son of God in His public ministry (1:19 to 12:50); revelation of His glory to the Apostles on the night before His Passion (13-17); outer glorification of Jesus in His Passion and death (18,19); manifestation of His Glory as the Risen Lord (20,21). The Biblical Commission, May 29, 1907, declared that the constant and universal tradition from the 2century, the testimony of the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, the codices, versions and catalogs of the Sacred Books, all give convincing proof that the fourth Gospel was written by Saint John and that it is a strictly historical document. Chapters specially commendable for reading: 1, Prologue, First Disciples; 2, Cana, Cleansing of the Temple; 4, Samaritan Woman; 6, Promise of the Holy Eucharist; 10, Good Shepherd; 11, Raising of Lazarus; 12-18, Discourses after the Last Supper; 20,21, the Risen Lord.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel According to
Was written by Luke. He does not claim to have been an eye-witness of our Lord's ministry, but to have gone to the best sources of information within his reach, and to have written an orderly narrative of the facts (Luke 1:1-4 ). The authors of the first three Gospels, the synoptics, wrote independently of each other. Each wrote his independent narrative under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each writer has some things, both in matter and style, peculiar to himself, yet all the three have much in common. Luke's Gospel has been called "the Gospel of the nations, full of mercy and hope, assured to the world by the love of a suffering Saviour;" "the Gospel of the saintly life;" "the Gospel for the Greeks; the Gospel of the future; the Gospel of progressive Christianity, of the universality and gratuitousness of the gospel; the historic Gospel; the Gospel of Jesus as the good Physician and the Saviour of mankind;" the "Gospel of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;" "the Gospel of womanhood;" "the Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the publican, the harlot, and the prodigal;" "the Gospel of tolerance." The main characteristic of this Gospel, as Farrar (Cambridge Bible, Luke, Introd.) remarks, is fitly expressed in the motto, "Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil" (Acts 10:38 ; Compare Luke 4:18 ). Luke wrote for the "Hellenic world." This Gospel is indeed "rich and precious."
"Out of a total of 1151 verses, Luke has 389 in common with Matthew and Mark, 176 in common with Matthew alone, 41 in common with Mark alone, leaving 544 peculiar to himself. In many instances all three use identical language." (See MATTHEW; MARK; GOSPELS .)
There are seventeen of our Lord's parables peculiar to this Gospel. (See List of Parables in Appendix.) Luke also records seven of our Lord's miracles which are omitted by Matthew and Mark. (See List of Miracles in Appendix.) The synoptical Gospels are related to each other after the following scheme. If the contents of each Gospel be represented by 100, then when compared this result is obtained:
Mark has 7 peculiarities, 93 coincidences. Matthew 42 peculiarities, 58 coincidences. Luke 59 peculiarities, 41 coincidences.
That is, thirteen-fourteenths of Mark, four-sevenths of Matthew, and two-fifths of Luke are taken up in describing the same things in very similar language.
Luke's style is more finished and classical than that of Matthew and Mark. There is less in it of the Hebrew idiom. He uses a few Latin words ( Luke 12:6 ; 7:41 ; 8:30 ; 11:33 ; 19:20 ), but no Syriac or Hebrew words except sikera, an exciting drink of the nature of wine, but not made of grapes (from Heb. shakar, "he is intoxicated", Leviticus 10:9 ), probably palm wine.
This Gospel contains twenty-eight distinct references to the Old Testament.
The date of its composition is uncertain. It must have been written before the Acts, the date of the composition of which is generally fixed at about 63 or 64 A.D. This Gospel was written, therefore, probably about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner. Others have conjectured that it was written at Rome during Paul's imprisonment there. But on this point no positive certainty can be attained.
It is commonly supposed that Luke wrote under the direction, if not at the dictation of Paul. Many words and phrases are common to both; e.g., compare:
Luke 4:22 ; with Colossians 4:6 . Luke 4:32 ; with 1 Corinthians 2:4 . Luke 6:36 ; with 2 Corinthians 1:3 . Luke 6:39 ; with Romans 2:19 . Luke 9:56 ; with 2 Corinthians 10:8 . Luke 10:8 ; with 1 Corinthians 10:27 . Luke 11:41 ; with Titus 1:15 . Luke 18:1 ; with 2 Thessalonians 1:11 . Luke 21:36 ; with Ephesians 6:18 . Luke 22:19,20 ; with 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 . Luke 24:46 ; with Acts 17:3 . Luke 24:34 ; with 1 Corinthians 15:5 .
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Mark, the Gospel According to
(See ACTS; BARNABAS; GOSPELS.) "John (his Hebrew name) whose surname was Mark" (his Roman name): Mark 12:12; Mark 12:25; Mark 13:5; Mark 13:13; Mark 15:39; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; Philemon 1:24. The Roman supplanted the Jewish name, as Paul did Saul. The change marks his entrance on a new and worldwide ministry. The fathers unanimously testify that Mark was "interpreter" (hermeneutees , Papias in Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39; Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1,10, sec. 6) to Peter; meaning one who expresses and clothes in words the testimony of another. Papias, or John Presbyter (in Eusebius, H. E. iii. 39), states that Mark wrote "not in order," i.e. he wrote "some" leading facts, not a complete history. He attests Mark's accuracy, saying "he committed no error," but made it his aim "to omit nought of what he heard and to state nothing untrue."
Peter's name and presence are mentioned on occasions where apparently there is no reason for it; Mark herein wished to bring the apostle forward as his authority (see Luke 9:1-502; Mark 5:37; Mark 11:20-26; Mark 13:3). There are indications of the author having been a Galilean, which Peter was. Thus, Herod the tetrarch is styled "king"; the "lake' (as Luke 22:31-32 calls it, for he knew larger sects) is called "the sea of Galilee" (Mark 5:1). Only in Mark 6:30 the term of dignity, "apostle," is found; in Luke, as writing later, it frequently occurs. Things to their discredit are ingenuously stated by Matthew and Mark (Peter), as we might expect from apostles writing about themselves; but are sparingly introduced by Luke (Matthew 16:9; Mark 7:18; Mark 10:41; Mark 14:31; Mark 6:52; Mark 9:10; Mark 10:32, the last three not in Matthew).
The account of many things is marked by vivid touches suitable to an eye-witness only, which Peter was; e.g. Mark 6:39, "the green grass" in the feeding of the 5,000; "the pillow of the ship" (Mark 4:38); Mark 10:50, "casting away his garment"; Mark 11:4, "the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met." The details of the demon-possessed Gadarene: "no man could bind him, no not with chains, because he had often been bound, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, crying, and cutting himself with stones," etc. (Mark 5:2-5); and also the wild cry of another reproduced, "Ea" ("Ha!" not as KJV, "let us alone"), Mark 1:24.
Jesus' looks, Mark 3:5, "He looked round about on them in anger" (Mark 3:34); Mark 8:33; Mark 10:21-23, "Jesus beholding loved him," etc.; Mark 8:12, He sighed deeply in spirit ... why doth this generation seek after a sign?" Mark 1:41, "Jesus moved with compassion put forth His hand" touching the leper. All these minute touches, peculiar to him, show his Gospel is no epitome of the others but an independent witness, Mark tells Peter's humble origin (Mark 1:16-20), his connection with Capernaum (Mark 1:29), that Levi was son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14), that Boanerges was the title given by Christ to James and John (Mark 3:17), that, the ruler of the synagogue was named Jairus (Mark 5:22), that Jesus was a "carpenter" (Mark 6:3), that the Canaanite woman was a Syrophoenician (Mark 7:26). Mark gives Dalmanutha for Magdala (Mark 8:10; Matthew 15:39).
He names Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46), states that "Jesus would not suffer any to carry any vessel through the temple" (Mark 11:16), that Simon of Cyrene was father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). Peter would be the probable source of these particulars of Mark's information. Jesus' rebuke of Peter is recorded, but His preeminent praise of him is omitted (Mark 8:32-33; compare Matthew 16:18; Matthew 16:23). The account of the thrice denial is full, but "bitterly" is omitted from his repentance (Mark 14:72). This is just what we might expect from an apostle writing about himself. The Roman character preponderates, abounding in facts rather than doctrines, and practical details told with straightforward, energetic, manly simplicity.
Of passages peculiar to Mark are Mark 3:20-21, Christ's friends' attempt on Him; Mark 4:26-29, parable of the seed growing secretly; Mark 7:31-37, healing the deaf mute; Mark 8:22-26, gradual cure of the blind; Mark 11:11; Mark 14:51-52; Mark 16:7, the special message to Peter after the resurrection, to cheer him in his despondency after the thrice denial. Only twice Mark quotes Old Testament himself (Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3), namely, Mark 1:2; Mark 1:3; but often introduces Christ and those addressing Him quoting it. The Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus manuscripts omit Mark 15:28, which is an interpolation from Luke 22:37. Mark alone has "the sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27), and the scribe's admission that love is better than sacrifices (Mark 12:33); all suited for Gentile readers, to whom Peter, notwithstanding subsequent vacillation, first opened the door (Acts 10).
He notices Jesus being "with the wild beasts" when tempted by Satan in the wilderness; contrast Adam tempted amidst the tame animals in Eden (Genesis 2; 3). Adam changed paradise into a wilderness, Jesus changes the wilderness into paradise. Other scenes to Peter's honor omitted are Luke 5:1-11, his walking on the sea (Matthew 14:28-31), his commission to get, the tribute money from the fish (Matthew 17:24-27), Jesus' special intercession for him (Luke 8:22), his being one of the two sent to prepare the Passover (Luke 22:8). Mark's explanations of Jewish customs and names (Jordan is called a "river"; the Pharisees' fasting and customs, Mark 1:5; Mark 2:18; Mark 7:1-4; the Sadducees' tenets, Mark 12:18; the Passover described, Mark 14:1; Mark 14:12) which Jews would not need, and the absence of appeals by himself to Old Testament prophecy, also of the genealogy and of the term nomos , the Mosaic "law," show he wrote for Gentiles not for Jews.
Accordingly he omits the offensive references to the Gentiles found in Matthew 6:7-8; Matthew 10:5-6; compare Mark 6:7-11; so Luke writing for Gentiles (1618100417_4). Moreover Mark (Mark 11:17) inserts what is not in Matthew or Luke, cf6 "My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer." He abounds in Latinisms, agreeably to the theory that he wrote for Romans, whose terms his and Peter's intimacy with them would dispose him to use: thus "centurion" for hekatontarchos elsewhere in New Testament, paidiothen = "a puero", kodrantes = "quadrans", denarion = "denarius", halas analon = "sal insulsum", "specoulator", "censos", "fragelloo" (flagello ), xestes (sextarius ), megistanes = "magnates", legeon = "legio". The explanation of a Greek term aulee by the Latin proetorium (Mark 15:16) could only be for Roman readers. Style. Unusual Greek expressions occur: exapina , epistentrechein , pistike , eneileo , efie , proelaben murisai , alalos , enangkalizesthai . Diminutives abound, thugatrion , korasion , otarion , kunaria .
He employs as the phrase most characteristic of his Gospel eutheoos , "straightway," "immediately," 41 times. His use of the present tense for the past gives vivid present reality to his pictures. He details minutely localities, times, and numbers. He introduces persons' speaking directly. He is often abrupt as he is graphic, e.g. Mark 1, where he hurries on to our Lord's: official life, which he sketches with lifelike energy. "While the sequence and connection of the longer discourses was that which the Holy Spirit peculiarly brought to Matthew's mind, the apostle from whom Mark's record is derived seems to have been deeply penetrated by the solemn iterations of cadence and expression, and to have borne away the very words themselves and the tone of the Lord's sayings" (Alford), e.g. the sublime reply Mark 9:39-50, the thrice repeated "where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched," sounding in the ears as a peal of doom.
This Gospel especially pictures Jesus' outward gestures, e.g. His actions in curing the deaf (Mark 7:33-34), He takes him aside from the multitude, puts His fingers into his ears, spits, touches his tongue, looks up to heaven, sighs, and saith, "Εphphatha ". Hebrew (Aramaic) words are used, but explained for Gentile readers: Mark 3:17; Mark 3:22; Mark 5:41, Τalitha kumi ; Mark 7:11, korban ; Mark 9:43, gehenna ; Mark 10:46, Βar-timaeus ; Mark 14:36, Αbba ; Mark 15:22, Golgotha . The style, though abounding in Latinisms, is more related. to the Hebraistic style of Matthew than to Luke's pure Greek.
From the Latinisms, and the place where, and the persons to whom it was written, it was thought originally to have been in Latin; so the Syriac version states, and many Greek manuscripts, "it was written in Rome, in the Roman language." But Mark's assuming his readers' acquaintance with Jewish localities is opposed to the opinion that he wrote at Rome (after Peter's departure from or decease in that city) which John Presbyter and Irenaeus endorse. In the New Testament record of Paul's labors in and for Rome no allusion occurs to Peter in connection with Christianity there. The internal evidence of Mark's Gospel is in favor of its being early in date; this it could not be if it were written after any supposed date of Peter's having preached at Rome. If Peter ever was at Rome it must have been after Paul's two years spent in Rome, and after the writing of Acts which records it. Paul and Luke, the writer of Acts (Acts 28), evidently knew nothing of Peter having founded a church there.
All is clear, if Mark wrote the Gospel in connection with the Roman Caesarea. Here Peter first preached, and it was for his converts that Mark, his son in the faith, wrote a Gospel suited in style to the energetic character of their nation, and embodying the teaching of the first apostolic missionary to them, Peter. In exact agreement with the date which this would presume, Eusebius (Chronicle) fixes on the third year of Claudius, A.D. 43, shortly after Cornelius' conversion, a date when certainly Peter was not at Rome notwithstanding Eusebius' statement, to which he probably was led by the early circulation of Mark's Gospel at Rome by Roman converts passing there from Caesarea; hence probably originated the story of Peter's visiting Rome.
Possibly the last 12 verses of Mark 16, not found in the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus manuscripts but found in the Alexandrinus manuscript, were added at the later date assigned by Irenaeus, i.e. A.D. 64. This will agree with Mark 16:20, "they went forth and preached everywhere," which implies that by this time the apostles had left Judaea and had preached in most lands, though they had not done so before the Gospel itself was written. As Matthew's Gospel, adapted to Jewish readers, and probably written in and for Jerusalem or Judaea, answers to the earliest period (Acts 1-11), the Hebrew period ending about A.D. 40, so Mark answers to the second or Judaeo-Gentile period, A.D. 40 to 50, and is suited to Gentile converts such as the Roman soldiers concentrated at Caesarea, their head quarters in Palestine, the second center of gospel preaching as Jerusalem was the first, and the scene of Cornelius' conversion by Mark's father in the faith, Peter.
The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts omit Mark 16:9-20, but Alexandrinus and Beza and Paris manuscripts and Vulgate support them, and "they were afraid" would be a strangely abrupt close of the Gospel. Irenaeus (iii. 10, sec. 6) quotes from them. Justin Martyr quotes Mark 9:44; Mark 9:46; Mark 9:48; Mark 12:30; Mark 3:17. The motto of this Gospel may be taken from its probable author, Peter (Acts 10:38) "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him."
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Matthew, the Gospel According to
(See GOSPELS for its aspect of Christ compared with the other evangelists.)
Time of writing. As our Lord's words divide Acts (Acts 1:8) into its three parts, "ye shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth":
(1) the period in which the church was Jewish, Acts 1-11;
(2) the period when it was Gentile with strong Jewish admixture;
(3) the period when the Gentiles preponderated, Matthew's Gospel answers to the first or Jewish period, ending about A.D. 41, and was written probably in and for Jerusalem and Judea.
The expression (Matthew 27:7-8; Matthew 28:15) "unto this day" implies some interval after Christ's crucifixion. Language. Ancient testimony is unanimous that Matthew wrote in Hebrew Papias, a disciple of John (the Presbyter) and companion of Polycarp (Eusebius, H. E. 3:3), says, "Matthew wrote his oracles (logia ) in Hebrew, and each interpreted them in Greek as he could." Perhaps the Greek for "oracles," logia , expresses that the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew was a collection of discourses (as logoi means) rather than a full narrative. Matthew's Gospel is the one of the four which gives most fully the discourses of our Lord. Papias' use of the past tense (aorist) implies that "each interpreting" Matthew's Hebrew was in Papias' time a thing of the past, so that as early as the end of the first century or the beginning of the second the need for each to translate the Hebrew had ceased, for an authoritative Greek translation existed.
The Hellenists (Greek-speaking) Jews would from the first need a Greek version, and Matthew and the church would hardly leave this want unsupplied in his lifetime. Origen, Pantaenus, Eusebius (H. E. 6:25; 5:10; 5:8), and Irenaeus (adv. Haer. 3:1) state the same. Jerome (de Vir. Illustr. 3) adds, "who translated the Hebrew into Greek is uncertain." He identifies Matthew's Hebrew Gospel with "the Gospel of the Nazarenes," which he saw in Pamphilus' library at Caesarea. Epiphanius (Haer. 29, sec. 9) mentions this Nazarene Gospel as written in Hebrew. (Ηebruikois grammasin ) Probably this Nazarene was the original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew interpolated and modified, yet not so much so as the Ebionite Gospel. This view will account for the strange fact that nothing of the Hebrew Matthew has been preserved. Our Greek Gospel superseded the Hebrew, and was designed by the Holy Spirit (as its early acceptance, universal use, and sole preservation prove) to be the more universal canonical Gospel.
The Judaizing Nazarenes still clung to the Hebrew one; but their heresies and their corruptions of the text brought it into disrepute with the orthodox. Origen (on Prayer, 161:150) argues that epiousion , the Greek word for "daily" in the Lord's prayer, was formed by Matthew himself; Luke adopts the word. Eusebius (Lardher, Cred. 8 note p. 180) remarks that Matthew in quotations of the Old Testament does not follow the Septuagint, but makes his own translation. Quotations in his own narrative (1) pointing out the fulfillment of prophecy Matthew translates from the Hebrew. Quotations (2) of persons introduced, as Christ, are from the Greek Septuagint, even where differing from the Hebrew, e.g. Matthew 3:3; Matthew 13:14. A mere translator would not have done so. An independent writer would do just what Matthew does, namely, in speeches of persons introduced would conform to the apostolic tradition which used the Septuagint, but in his own narrative would translate the Hebrew as he judged best under the Spirit.
These are arguments for Matthew's authorship of the Greek Gospel. Mark apparently alters or explains many passages found in our Matthew, for greater clearness, as if he had the Greek of Matthew before him (Matthew 18:9; Matthew 19:1 with Mark 10:1; Mark 9:47); and if the Greek existed so early it must have come from Matthew himself, not a transistor. The Latinisms (fragellosas , Matthew 27:26; kodranteen , Matthew 5:26) are unlike a translation from Hebrew into Greek, for why not use the Greek terms as Luke (Luke 12:59) does, rather than Graecised Latinisms? The Latinisms are natural to Matthew, as a portitor or gatherer of port dues, familiar with the Roman coin quadrans, and likely to quote the Latin for "scourging" (fragellosas from flagellum ) used by the Roman governor in sentencing Jesus. Josephus' writing his history both in Greek and Hebrew (B. J. Preface 1) is parallel.
The great proof of Matthew's authorship of the Greek is that the Hebrew has left no trace of it except that which may exist in the Nazarene Gospel, whereas our Greek Matthew is quoted as authentic by the apostolic fathers (Polycarp, Ep. ii. 7; Ignatius, ad Smyr. 6; Clemens Romans i. 46; Barnabas, Ep. 4) and earliest Christians. Paul in writing to the Hebrew, Peter to the Jews of the dispersion, and James to the twelve tribes, write in Greek not Hebrew. How unlikely that Matthew's name should be substituted for the lost name of the unknown translator, and this in apostolic times; for John lived to see the completion of the canon; he never would have sanctioned as the authentic Gospel of Matthew a fragmentary compilation "in arrangement and selection of events not such as would have proceeded from an apostle and eye witness" (Alford). The Hebraisms accord with the Jewish character of Matthew's Gospel, and suit the earliest period of the church. At a later date it would have been less applicable to the existing state.
Early Christian writers quote the Greek, not the Hebrew, with implicit confidence in its authority as Matthew's work. The original Hebrew of which Papias, etc., speak none of them ever saw. If it had not been so, heretics would have gladly used such a handle against it, which they do not. The Syriac version of the second century is demonstrably made, not from its kindred tongue the Hebrew, but from the Greek Matthew; this to too in the country next Judea where Matthew wrote, and with which there was the freest communication. The Hebrew Matthew having served its local and temporary use was laid aside, just as Paul's temporary epistles (Colossians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 5:9) have not been transmitted to us, the Holy Spirit designing them to serve but for a time. Our Greek Matthew has few, if any, traces of being a translation; it has the general marks of being an independent work.
A translator would not have presumed to alter Matthew's original so as to have the air of originality which it has; if he had, his compilation would never have been accepted as the authentic Gospel of the inspired apostle Matthew by the churches which had within them men possessing the gift of "discerning spirits" (1 Corinthians 12:10). As Mark's name designates his Gospel, not that of Peter his apostolic guide, and Luke's name his Gospel not Paul's name, so if a translator had modified Matthew's Hebrew, his name not Matthew's would have designated it. All is clear if we suppose that, after inaccurate translations of his Hebrew by others such as Papias (above) notices, Matthew himself at a later date wrote, or dictated, in Greek for Greek speaking Jews the Gospel in fuller form than the Hebrew. His omission of the ascension (as included in the resurrection of which it is the complement) was just what we should expect if he wrote while the event was fresh in men's memory and the witnesses still at Jerusalem. If he had written at a later date he would have surely recorded it.
AIM. There is a lack in it of the vivid details found in the others, his aim being to give prominence to the Lord's discourses. Jesus' human aspect as the ROYAL. Son of David is mainly dwelt, on; but His divine aspect as Lord of David is also presented in Matthew 22:45; Matthew 16:16; proving that Matthew's view accords with that of John, who makes prominent Jesus' divine claims. From the beginning Matthew introduces Jesus as "Son of David," but Mark 1:1 as "the Son of God," Luke as "the Son of Adam, the son of God" (Luke 3:38), John as "the Word" who "was God" (John 1:4). In the earlier part, down to the Baptist's death, he groups facts and discourses according to the subjects, not according to the times, whereas Mark arranges according to the times, in the places where they differ. Papias' description of the Hebrew Matthew as a studied arrangement (suntaxis ) of our Lord's "discourses" accords with this view.
STYLE. The Greek of Matthew is the most Hebraic of the New Testament Hellenistic writers (Hellenistic is Hebrew in idiom and thoughts, Greek in words): for instance matheteuein , tafos sumboulion lambanein , distazein , katapontizesthai , metairein , proskunein with the dative (not the accusative as in Mark and Luke), sunairein logon , omnuoo eis or en of the thing or person sworn by; akousoo for akousomai ; pas hostis (but Luke pas hos ); brechein to rain (but in Luke to moisten); sunteleia tou aionos (elsewhere only in Hebrews 9:26, both Scriptures being for Jews); basileta ton ouranon (in the rest of the New Testament basileia tou ΤΗeou ); the phrase "that it might be fulfilled" (Matthew 2:15; Matthew 1:22) implies that the prophetic word necessitated the fulfillment (Matthew 24:35); "that which was spoken" (to rethen , errethee ) is the form of quotation 20 times, suitable to the Hebrew mode (Mark 13:14, the only other instance, is omitted in the two oldest manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus), compare Hebrews 2:2.
Three peculiar terms are common to Matthew and Mark, angareusei , fragelloosas , and koloboosai . So also ΗΙerosoluma (but ΗΙerousaleem in Luke mostly). If Mark adopted them from Matthew the Greek Matthew must be authentic for it must then have been written in Matthew's lifetime, when none durst have brought out a free translation of the Hebrew as Matthew's Gospel. The independence in the mode of Old Testament quotations is inconsistent with the notion of a mere translated "The Son of David" is eight times in Matthew, three times each in Mark and Luke. Jerusalem is "the holy city" (Matthew 4:5; Matthew 27:53), which it ceased to be regarded as by the time that subsequent New Testament writers wrote, when the Jews had continued to harden themselves against the truth.
CANONICAL AUTHORITY. Justin Martyr, the epistle to Diognetus, Irenaeus, Tartan, Origen, etc., quote Matthew as of undisputed authority. The genuineness of the first two chapters, disputed by some, is established by their presence in the oldest manuscripts and versions. The genealogy was necessary in a Gospel for Jews, to show that Jesus' claim to Messiahship accorded with His descent through king David from Abraham, to both of whom the promise of Messiah was given; while its insertion is proof of early date.
DESIGN. For the Jews; to show Jewish, readers (to whom were committed the Old Testament "oracles of God") that Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies, as born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:6); fleeing to Egypt and called out of it; heralded by John Baptist (Matthew 3:3); laboring in Galilee of the Gentiles (Matthew 4:14-16); healing (Matthew 8:17); teaching in parables (Matthew 13:14 ff). Matthew has 65 Old Testament quotations, of which 43 are verbal; Luke has 43, of which only 19 are verbal. Matthew takes for granted that his readers, as Jews, know Jewish customs and places; Mark for Gentile readers describes these (Matthew 15:1-2 with Mark 7:1-4, "with defiled, that is, unwashed hands," Matthew 27:62 with Mark 15:42, "the preparation, that is the day before the sabbath," Luke 23:54; John 19:14; John 19:31; John 19:42).
The interpretations of Ιmmanueel , Εloi , lama sabachthani , Αkeldama (Matthew 1:23; Matthew 27:8; Matthew 27:46) were designed for Greek speakers. In contrast with Judaic traditions and servility to the dead letter, the law is unfolded in its spirit (Matthew 5; 23). The epistle of James answers closely to the Sermon on the Mount (which Matthew alone gives fully) in its spiritual development of the law (James 5:12; James 1:25; James 1:2); the relation of the gospel to the law is the aspect which Matthew, like James, presents. (See JAMES.) What James is among the apostolic epistles that Matthew is among the evangelists. It is the Gospel of Judaeo-Christianity, setting forth the law in its deep spirituality brought to view by Jesus its fulfiller.
Mere Judaic privileges will not avail, for unbelief shall cast the children of the kingdom into outer darkness, while the saved shall come from every quarter to sit down with Abraham through faith (Matthew 8:10-12). Records found only in Matthew.
Christ's genealogy from Abraham to Joseph through the male line; the succession to the throne, from Abraham through king David to Joseph, 42 generations, with omissions. (See GENEALOGY.) Matthew 1: Joseph's dreams. Matthew 2: Christ worshipped by the wise men, Herod's massacre of the children at Bethlehem, Herod's death, and Christ's return to Nazareth. Matthew 5-7: the Sermon on the Mount in full. Matthew 9: healing of two blind men. Matthew 11: call to the heavy laden. Matthew 13: parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl, and the drag-net. Matthew 16: Peter's confession of Christ, and Christ's confirmation of Peter's name (compare at an early time John 1:42). Matthew 17: Christ's paying the tribute with money from a fish. Matthew 20: cures two blind men while going from Jericho. Matthew 22: parable of the wedding garment. Matthew 25: parables of the ten virgins, talents, and sheep and goats at the judgment. Matthew 27: dream of Pilate's wife, appearance of many saints after the crucifixion. Matthew 28: soldiers bribed to say that Christ's disciples had stolen His body.
QUOTATIONS IN MATTHEW Matthew 1:23 "Behold, a virgin" Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 2:6 "Thou Bethlehem" Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:15 "Out of Egypt" Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:18 "In Rama a voice" Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 3:3 "The voice of one crying" Isaiah 40:3 Matthew 4:4 "Man shall not live by bread" Deuteronomy 8:3 Matthew 4:6 "He shall give His angels charge" Psalms 91:11-12 Matthew 4:7 "Thou shalt not tempt " Deuteronomy 6:16 Matthew 4:10 "Thou shalt worship the Lord" Deuteronomy 6:13 Matthew 4:15-16 "The land of Zabulon" Isaiah 9:1-2 Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: they shall Psalms 37:11 inherit the earth" Matthew 5:21 "Thou shalt not kill" Exodus 20:13 Matthew 5:27 "Thou shalt not commit adultery" Exodus 20:14 Matthew 5:31 "Give her a writing of divorcement" Deuteronomy 24:1 Matthew 5:33 "Thou shalt not forswear"
Deuteronomy 23:23; Leviticus 19:12 Matthew 5:38 "An eye for an eye" Exodus 21:24 Matthew 5:43 "Love thy neighbor ... hate thine enemy" Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 23:6 Matthew 8:4 "Offer the gift ... Moses commanded" Leviticus 14:2 Matthew 8:17 "Himself took our infirmities" Isaiah 53:4 Matthew 9:13 "I will have mercy" Hosea 6:6 Matthew 10:35-36 "A man's foes ... of his own household" Micah 7:5-6 Matthew 11:5 "Blind receive sight" Isaiah 35:5 Matthew 11:10 "Behold, I send My messenger" Malachi 3:1 Matthew 11:14 "Elias, which was for to come " Malachi 4:5 Matthew 12:3 "Have ye not read what David did?" 1 Samuel 21:1-6 Matthew 12:5 "Priests profane sabbath" Numbers 28:9 Matthew 12:7 "Mercy, not sacrifice" Hosea 6:6 Matthew 12:18-21 "Behold My Servant" Isaiah 42:1-4 Matthew 12:40 "Jonas three days in whale's belly"
Jonah 1:17 Matthew 12:42 "Queen of the south came" 1 Kings 10:1 Matthew 13:14-15 "Hearing ye shall hear" Isaiah 6:9-10 Matthew 13:35 "I will open my mouth in parables" Psalms 78:2-3 Matthew 15:8 "This people draweth nigh ... with ... lips" Isaiah 29:13 Matthew 15:34 "Honor thy father" Exodus 20:12 Matthew 17:2 "Transfigured" Exodus 34:29 Matthew 17:11 "Elias shall first come" Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5 Matthew 18:15 "If thy brother trespass ... Leviticus 19:17 tell him his fault" Matthew 19:4 "He which made them at the beginning Genesis 1:27 made male and female" Matthew 19:5 "For this cause shall a man leave his father" Genesis 2:24 Matthew 19:7 "Divorcement" Deuteronomy 24:1 Matthew 19:18 "Do no murder" Exodus 20:13 Matthew 21:5 "Behold, thy King cometh" Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 21:9 "Blessed is he that cometh in the Psalms 118:25-26 name of the Lord, Hosanna"
Matthew 21:13 "My house the house of prayer" Isaiah 56:7 Matthew 21:16 "Out of the mouth of babes" Psalms 8:2 Matthew 21:42 "The stone which the builders rejected" Psalms 118:22-23 Matthew 21:44 "Whosoever shall fall on this stone Isaiah 8:14 shall be broken" Matthew 22:24 "Moses said, If a man die" Deuteronomy 25:5 Matthew 22:32 "I am the God of Abraham" Exodus 3:6 Matthew 22:37 "Thou shalt love the Lord" Deuteronomy 6:5 Matthew 22:39 "Thou shalt love thy neighbor" Leviticus 19:18 Matthew 22:45 "Sit thou on My right hand" Psalms 110:1 Matthew 23:35 "Blood of Abel" Genesis 4:8 Matthew 23:38 "Your house is left desolate" Psalms 69:25 Matthew 23:39 "Blessed is he that cometh in the Psalms 118:26 name of the Lord"
Matthew 24:15 "The abomination of desolation" Daniel 9:27 Matthew 24:29 "Sun ... darkened" Isaiah 13:10 Matthew 24:37 "The days of Noe" Genesis 6:11 Matthew 26:31 "I will smite the shepherd" Zechariah 13:7 Matthew 26:52 "They that take the sword shall Genesis 9:6 perish with the sword" Matthew 26:64 "Son of man ... in the clouds" Daniel 7:13 Matthew 27:9 "The thirty pieces of silver ... Zechariah 11:13 potter's field" Matthew 27:35 "They parted my garments" Psalms 22:18 Matthew 27:43 "He trusted in God" Psalms 22:8 Matthew 27:46 "My God, My God, why" Psalms 22:1.
DIVISIONS. Introduction; Christ's genealogy, birth; visit of the wise men; flight to Egypt; return to Nazareth; John the Baptist's preparatory ministry; Christ's baptism and consecration to His office by the Holy Spirit, with the Father's declared approval (Matthew 1-3). Temptation; ministry in Galilee; call of disciples (Matthew 4). Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Events in order, proving His claim to Messiahship by miracles (Matthew 8-9). Appointment of apostles; doubts of John's disciples; cavils of the Pharisees; on the other hand His loving invitations, miracles, series of parables on the kingdom; effects of His ministry on Herod and various classes; prophecy to His disciples of His coming death (Matthew 10 - 18:35). Ministry in Judea and Jerusalem (Matthew 19-20). Passion week: entry into Jerusalem; opposition to Him by Herodians, Sadducees, Pharisees; silences them all; denunciation of the Pharisees (Matthew 21-23_. Last discourses: His coming as Lord and Judge (Matthew 24-25). Passion and resurrection (Matthew 26-28).
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Gospel
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.
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).
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 ).
Holman Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel of
According to tradition the fourth Gospel was written by John the apostle in Ephesus, toward the end of his life. Perhaps because it is so different from the Synoptic Gospels, Clement of Alexandria called it the “spiritual Gospel.” Since the beginning of the modern era, scholars have debated the authorship and historicity of this Gospel. The Gospel itself says only that it was written by the beloved disciple (John 21:20-24 ). Although this disciple is traditionally identified as the apostle John, the Gospel itself does not make this identification. See John 1.
Part of the enigma of John is its distinctiveness from the other three canonical Gospels. John does not tell of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. Jesus tells no parables, and there is nothing like the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus heals no lepers, and demons are never mentioned. The kingdom of God, which is the primary theme of Jesus' preaching in the Synoptics, is scarcely mentioned in John. Instead of the short, pithy sayings that characterize Jesus' words in the Synoptics, one finds in John extended discourses. There is no list of the twelve disciples, and “the twelve” are mentioned only at the end of John 6:1 and once later ( John 20:24 ). The bread and the wine are not mentioned at the last supper. Instead, Jesus washes the disciples' feet. There are also differences in chronology. In the Synoptics Jesus spends His entire ministry in and around Galilee and makes one trip to Jerusalem, just a week before His death. According to John, however, Jesus made four trips to Jerusalem (John 2:13 ; John 5:1 ; John 7:10 ; John 12:12 ) and spent a significant part of His ministry in Judea.
The Gospel of John, therefore, gives a distinctive account of Jesus' “signs,” His words, and His ministry. Parts of the Gospel are remarkably parallel to the synoptic accounts, but the distinctive elements should not be overlooked as one ponders its mystery and message.
A widely accepted theory holds that the Gospel makes use of an account of the signs Jesus performed. The first two of these are numbered (John 2:1-11 ; John 4:46-54 ). At other points one can also see evidences of earlier stages in the Gospel's composition. In John 14:31 Jesus said, “Arise, let us go hence.” The next three chapters, however, continue the farewell discourse. Only at John 18:1 do we read the natural continuation of John 14:31 : “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples.” Many Bible students regard John 15-17 as a longer version of the discourse material contained in John 14:1 . Similarly, the Gospel seems to reach its conclusion at the end of John 20:1 . Jesus appeared to the disciples, comforted them, commissioned them, and consecrated them with the Holy Spirit. Thomas's doubt was overcome, and Thomas voiced the Gospel's climactic confession: “My Lord, and my God!” (John 20:28 ). Jesus pronounced a beatitude on all who would later believe, and the evangelist stated the purpose for which the Gospel was written (John 20:30-31 ). To many Bible students the end of John 20:1 appears to be the original ending of the Gospel. No ancient manuscript, however, lacks the last chapter, which these Bible students think was probably added shortly later by the final editor. Regardless of the whether material in the Gospel was added early or late in the process of composition, it all derived from the witness of the Beloved Disciple as his teachings were developed and used in the worship of the community that gathered around him. It is the inspired Word God has given us “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” ( John 20:31 ).
The earliest period of the history of John's community took place within a Jewish synagogue. The account of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, which makes frequent allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures, was probably shaped during this period. Other sections of the Gospel, such as the calling of the first disciples (John 1:35-51 ) may also reflect the preaching of this group at a time when they were appealing to fellow Jews.
As a result of their confession of Jesus as the Christ, these Christian Jews were expelled from the synagogue and persecuted by the Jewish community. The Gospel reflects conflict with the Jewish authorities both during the ministry of Jesus and at the time of the writing of the Gospel. By telling about the life of Jesus in such a way that later believers saw similarities with their own struggles, the Gospel's message took on greater significance for the Christian community. The expulsion from the synagogue is referred to in John 9:22 ; John 12:42 ; and John 16:2 , and other passages speak of “fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 ; John 17:1-26 ).
The Gospel was written after the separation from the synagogue to proclaim the gospel message that gave the Christian community its identity and purpose. The Gospel of John features episodes in which individuals are caught between Jesus' call for faith and the Jewish authorities' rejection of His claims (Nicodemus, John 3:1 ; the man at the Pool of Bethesda, John 5:1 ; the crowds in Galilee, John 6:1 ; and the man born blind, John 9:1 ). The purpose of the Gospel, therefore, was twofold: (1) to call believers to reaffirm their faith and move on to a more mature faith, and (2) to call the “secret believers” (John 12:42 ; John 19:38 ) to confess Jesus as the Christ and join the Christian community.
Eventually, a dangerous belief that either denied or diminished the significance of the incarnation began to develop. Some Johannine Christians taught that Jesus was certainly the Christ, but they denied that the Christ had come “in flesh” (see 1 John 4:2-3 ; 2 John 1:7 ). Finally, the community was divided. See John, The Letters of .
We do not know what happened to the Johannine community after the writing of the epistles, but we may conjecture that the remnant that followed the elder was assimilated into the emerging church of the second century while the elder's opponents, with their Docetic Christology, probably found their way into the developing Gnostic groups.
The roots of the Johannine tradition reach back to the ministry of Jesus, and the Gospel stands on eyewitness testimony (John 19:34-35 ; John 21:24-25 ). The composition of the Gospel, described above, probably stretched over several decades, with the Gospel reaching its present form around A.D. 90-100. Its place in the New Testament, following the other three Gospels, may reflect the memory that it was the last of the four Gospels.
The Gospel of John draws a portrait of Jesus as the divine Logos, the Christ, the Son of God. Its message is thoroughly Christological. Jesus has a dual role as Revealer and Redeemer. He came to reveal the Father and to take away “the sin of the world” (John 1:18 , John 1:29 ). As the Logos, Jesus continued God's creative and redemptive work, turning water to wine, creating eyes for a blind man, and breathing Holy Spirit into His disciples. As the Revealer, Jesus revealed that he and the Father were one (John 10:30 ), so those who saw Him (that is, received Him in faith) saw the Father (John 14:9 ). All that Jesus does and says points beyond and above to the knowledge of God. Through Jesus' revelation of the Father, which reaches its fulfillment in His death on the cross, Jesus delivers the world from sin. Sin is understood in the Gospel of John primarily as unbelief (John 16:9 ).
John contains a profound analysis of the experience of faith. The human condition apart from God is characterized in John as “the world,” which is under the power of sin. Some never believe because they love the darkness and the glory of men rather than the glory of God. All who believe are called, drawn, and chosen by the Father (John 6:37 , John 6:44 ; John 10:3 , John 10:27 ; John 17:6 ). Some believe only because of Jesus' signs. The Gospel accepts this response as faith but calls believers on to faith that is based on Jesus' words and on the knowledge of God revealed in Jesus.
Those who believe in His name are born “from above” (John 3:3 NRSV). They are the “children of God” ( John 1:12 ), whose life is sustained by living water and the bread of life. They live in community as His sheep (John 10:1 ), the branches of the true Vine (John 15:1 ). Jesus' disciples are to live “just as” he lived. The twin commands of the Johannine community were to have faith and to love one another (John 14:1 ; John 13:34 ; 1 John 3:23 ). Those who believe already have eternal life, here and now (John 17:3 ). They have already crossed from death into life (John 5:24 ), and the judgment occurs in one's response to Jesus (John 3:19 ). John emphasized the present fulfillment of future expectations. Believers, however, will also be raised “at the last day” (John 6:39-40 ,John 6:39-40,6:44 ,John 6:44,6:54 ).
Outline
I. The Prologue (John 1:1-18 )
II. Jesus Before the World (John 1:19-12:50 )
A. Calling Disciples (John 1:19-2:11 )
B. The Temple and Nicodemus (John 2:12-3:21 )
C. An interlude in Judea (John 3:22-36 )
D. The Samaritan woman and the nobleman (John 4:1-54 )
E. The man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-47 )
F. Feeding the multitude (John 6:1-71 )
G. Confrontation in Jerusalem (John 7:1-8:59 )
H. The blind man and the shepherd's sheep (John 9:1-10:42 ) ;
I. The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-54 )
J. Preparations for the Passover (John 11:55-12:50 )
III. Jesus with His Own (John 13:1-20:31 )
A. The Farewell Discourse (John 13:1-17:26 )
1. The footwashing (John 13:1-30 )
2. The Farewell Discourse: Part 1 (John 13:31-14:31 )
3. The Farewell Discourse: Part 2 (John 15:1-16:4 )
4. The Farewell Discourse: Part 3 (John 16:5-33 )
5. The high priestly prayer (John 20:19 )
B. The trial of Jesus (John 18:1-19:16 )
C. The death of Jesus (John 19:16-42 )
D. The resurrection of Jesus (John 20:1-29 )
E. Conclusion (John 20:30-31 )
IV. Epilogue (John 21:1-25 )
See John, The Letters of ; John the Apostle; and Logos .
R. Alan Culpepper
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Gospel (Simple): the Need of the Wisest
During an illness, that illustrious scholar Bengel sent for a student in the Theological Institution, and requested him to impart a word of consolation. The youth replied, 'Sir, I am but a pupil, a mere learner; I don't know what to say to a teacher like you.' 'What!' said Bengel, 'a divinity student, and not able to communicate a word of scriptural comfort!' The student, abashed, contrived to utter the text, 'The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanseth us from all sin.' 'That is the very word I want,' said Bengel, 'it is quite enough,' and taking him affectionately by the hand dismissed him.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Boldness (Holy): Congruous With the Gospel
Holy boldness honours the gospel. In the olden times, when Oriental despots had things pretty much their own way, they expected all ambassadors from the West .to lay their -mouths in the dust if permitted to appear before his Celestial Brightness, the Brother of the Sun and the Cousin of the Moon. Certain money-loving traders agreed to all this, and ate dust as readily as reptiles; but, when England sent her ambassadors abroad, the daring islanders stood bolt-upright. They were told that they could not be indulged with a vision of the Brother of the Sun and Cousin of the Moon, without going down on their hands and knees.' Very well,' said the Englishmen,' we will dispense with the luxury; but tell his Celestial Splendor, that it is very likely that his Serenity will hear our cannon at his palace gates before long, and that their booming is not quite so harmless as the cooing of his Sublimity's doves.' When it was seen that ambassadors of the British Crown were no cringing petitioners, our empire rose in the respect of Oriental nations. It must be just so with the cross of Christ. Our cowardice has subjected the gospel to contempt. Jesus was humble, and his servants must not be proud; but Jesus was never mean or cowardly, nor must his servants be. There was no braver man than Christ upon earth. He could stoop to save a soul, but he would stoop to nothing by which his character might be compromised, or truth and righteousness insulted. To preach the gospel boldly is to deliver it as such a message ought to be delivered. Blush to preach of a dying Savior? Apologize for talking of the Son of God condescending to be made man, that he might redeem us from all iniquity? Never! Oh! by the grace of God let us purpose, with. Paul,' to be yet more bold,' that the gospel may be yet more fully preached throughout all ranks of mankind.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Gospel: Duty of Spreading it
Huber, the great naturalist, tells us, that if a single wasp discovers a deposit of honey or other food, he will return his nest, and impart the good news to his companions, will will sally forth in great numbers to partake of the fare which has been discovered for them. Shall we who have found honey in the rock Christ Jesus, be less considerate of o; fellow men than wasps are of their fellow insects? Ought we not rather like the Samaritan woman to hasten to tell t good news? Common humanity should prevent one of them from concealing the great discovery which grace has enable us to make.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Gospel: Jesus the Sum of
IN a village church in one of the Tyrolese valleys, we saw upon the pulpit an outstretched arm, carved in wood, the hand of which held forth a cross. We noted the emblem as full of instruction as to what all true ministry should be, and must be: a holding forth of the cross of Christ to the multitude as the only trust of sinners. Jesus Christ must be set forth evidently crucified among them. Lord, make this the aim and habit of all our ministers.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Luke, the Gospel According to
In the preface to his Gospel Luke refers to "many" who before him had written accounts of what the "eye witnesses" and "ministers of the word" transmitted. This implies the "many" were not themselves eye witnesses or ministers of the word. Matthew's and Mark's Gospels therefore are not referred to in the term "many." But as the phrase "they delivered them to us" (paredosan ) includes both written and oral transmission (2 Thessalonians 2:15) Luke's words do not oppose, as Alford thinks, but favor the opinion that those two Gospels were among the sources of Luke's information, especially as Matthew was an "eye-witness," and Mark a "minister of the word." Luke himself applies" minister" (Acts 22:14-15 hufretees ) to John Mark. Luke differs from the "many" in that his work is: (1) "in order," (2) with a" perfect understanding of all things from the first" (pareekoloutheekoti anoothen akriboos , "having traced all things accurately from the remote beginning.")
Luke begins with earlier facts of John the Baptist's and of our Lord's history than Matthew and Mark, he writes methodically and in more chronological Order. Ancient testimony assures us that Paul's teaching formed the substratum of Luke's Gospel (the Muratorian Fragment; Irenaeus, Haer. iii. 1,14; Tertullian, Marcion iv. 2; Origen, Eusebius, H. E. vi. 25; Jerome, Vir. Illustr. 7). Compare as to the special revelation to Paul 1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:1; Galatians 1:11-12. Paul was an "eye-witness" (1 Corinthians 9:1; Acts 13:5,); his expression "according to my gospel" implies the independency of his witness; he quotes words of Christ revealed to him, and not found in the four Gospels (Acts 20:35). Thus, besides Matthew and Mark, to whose Gospels the "many" as well as Luke had access, Paul is the chief "eye witness" to whom Luke refers in the preface. Luke and Paul alone record Jesus' appearing to Peter first of the apostles (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5).
Luke's account of the Lord's Supper, making an interval between His giving the bread and the cup to the disciples, accords most with Paul's in 1 Corinthians 11:23, which that apostle says he received directly from the Lord Jesus. Luke (Luke 22:43) records the appearance of an angel unto Jesus during His agony; as no one else is mentioned as having seen the vision, (indeed the disciples were sleeping for sorrow), it must have been especially revealed by the Lord after His resurrection. Who so likely a person to have communicated it to Luke as Paul, who "received the gospel, not of man but by the revelation of Jesus Christ"? The selection of gospel materials in Luke, exhibiting forgiveness for the vilest, grace, and justification, is such as accords with Paul's large views as to the Gentiles and free justification by faith (Luke 18:14).
The allusion in 2 Corinthians 8:18, "the brother whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches," may be to Luke. The subscription of this epistle is "written from Philippi by Titus and Luke." Possibly during Paul's three months' sojourn there (Acts 20:3) Luke was sent to Corinth, and it is to his evangelistic labours the reference is. As being chosen of the churches of Macedonia to be their "messenger," traveling with Paul, the "brother" meant must have been one of those mentioned in Acts 20:4-6 as accompanying Paul into Asia with the alms. Now all the rest sailed away, leaving Paul to follow alone with Luke. Luke either by his written Gospel or by his evangelistic labours was one "whose praise in the Gospel was throughout the churches." Luke must be the "brother" meant. Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18 seems directly to quote and canonize the Gospel according to Luke (Luke 10:7), "the labourer is worthy of his hire" (as both passages ought to be translated, not "reward," the word being the same, misthou ); compare also Luke 24:26-27; Luke 24:46 with 1 Corinthians 15:3.
Alford rejects ancient testimony that Paul's teaching constitutes the substance of Luke's Gospel, on the grounds that the evangelist asserts that his Gospel is drawn from those who "from the beginning" were eye witnesses of Christ's ministry, among whom Paul cannot be reckoned. But Luke's drawing information from persons who had been with the Lord from the begining is quite consistent with Paul's revelations (Luke 3:1-97; 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 11:23) forming a prominent part of the substance of Luke's Gospel. Paul's words correspond with Luke's (Luke 10:7 with 1 Corinthians 10:27; Luke 17:27-29; Luke 21:34-35; with 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7). Luke's choice of materials accords with the new light in which "the apostle of the Gentiles" was inspired to set gospel facts, e.g. the parable of the prodigal son, the tracing of Christ's genealogy up to Adam the common parent of Jew and Gentile, not only to Abraham, as Matthew. Also Luke 2:32, "a ... Light to lighten the Gentiles"; Luke 4:25, Christ's reference to Elijah's mission to the Gentile widow of Sarepta; Luke 9:52; Luke 10:30, the good Samaritan; Luke 17:18, the only grateful one of the ten cleansed lepers, a Samaritan; the mission of the seventy, a number typical of the nations, as the twelve represent the twelve tribes of Israel.
Theophilus, to whom he writes, was a Gentile believer, as appears from the geographical and other explanations given of many things, which would have been needless had he been a Jew (Luke 1:26, Nazareth; Luke 4:31, Capernaum; Luke 23:51, Arimathea; Luke 24:13, Emmaus; Luke 2:1-3 Olivet). In the inscription over the cross the Greek and Latin are put before the Hebrew, in John the Hebrew is first. Matthew refers to Old Testament as what "Moses said," Luke as what "is written." The name Theophilus ("friend of God") is Greek Matthew calls Jerusalem" the holy city" and its temple "the temple of God"; but Mark and Luke omit these titles, doubtless because they were writing to Gentiles, after Jerusalem by continual persecutions of the church had sunk in the esteem of Christians, and when the temple made without hands, "the temple of the Holy Spirit," the church, was fully understood to have superseded the temple of stone.
STYLE. Luke's writing is classical and periodic. The pure Greek of the preface shows that he could have written similarly throughout, but he tied himself to the Hebraistic language of the written records and perhaps also of the received oral tradition which he embodied. In Acts too his style is purer in the latter parts, where he was an eye witness, than in the earlier where he draws from the testimony of others. The sea of Gennesaret is but a "lake" with him, as having seen more of the world than the Galilee fishermen. Peter is often called "Simon," which he never is by Paul, who uses only the apostolic name Peter, a proof that some of Luke's materials were independent of and earlier than Paul. Paul and Luke alone have the expressive word (atenizoo ) "stedfastly behold" or "look" (Matthew 19:1-22; Acts 14:9; Acts 3:4; 2 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Corinthians 3:13).
Awkward phrases in Matthew and Mark are so evidently corrected in Luke as to leave no doubt he had their Gospels before him. Compare the Greek in Mark 12:38 with Luke 20:46, where filounton is substituted for thelonton ; Luke 7:8, where the insertion of "set" removes the harshness of Matthew 8:9, "a man under authority." He substitutes the Greek foros ("tribute") in Luke 20:22 for the Latin census, which Matthew (Matthew 22:17) as a taxgatherer for, and Mark (Mark 12:14) writing to, Romans, use. He omits Hosanna, Eli Eli lama sabacthani, Rabbi, Golgotha (for which he substitutes the Greek kranios , "calvary:' or "place of a skull".)
The phrases (parakoloutheoo , katecheoo , pleroforeo ) "having perfect understanding," "instructed" (catechetically and orally), "most surely believed" (Luke 1:1-14) are all used similarly by Paul (1 Timothy 4:6; Romans 2:18; 2 Timothy 4:17). "Lawyers" six times stand instead of "scribes"; epistatees , "master," instead of rabbi six times, as more plain to Gentiles. "Grace" "favour" is never used by Matthew and Mark, thrice by John, but frequently in Luke. "To evangelize" or "preach the gospel" is frequent in Luke, once in Matthew, not at all in Mark and John. The style of Acts is less Hebraic than that of Luke's Gospel, because for the latter he used more of Hebraic materials and retained their language.
CANONICITY. The oldest reliable testimony to the Gospel according to Luke is Marcion, whose Gospel so called (A.D. 130) is Luke's, abridged and mutilated. Therefore, Luke's Gospel was in common use A.D. 120. The appendix to Tertullian (Praescr. adv. Haer) says his teacher Cerdon received the Gospel of Luke alone. Justin Martyr often quotes it. Celsus attacks it as a book of the Christians (Origen contra Celsus ii. 32). Tatian includes it in his Harmony.
SPECIALTY OF LUKE. He gives with especial accuracy not so much the discourses as the observations and occasional sayings of our Lord with the accompanying incidents. Appropriately to his profession Luke "the beloved physician" dwells on the healing power of the great Physician (Luke 5:17 end, Acts 10:38). He describes symptoms in a professional manner (compare "full of leprosy" Luke 5:12). He alone mentions the subject of Moses and Elias' conversation with our Lord at the transfiguration, "His decease (Exodus, Peter's very word, 2 Peter 1:15, in alluding to his own decease, and in the same context the transfiguration of which he was eyewitness) which He should accomplish at Jerusalem."
Luke is fullest of the evangelists in describing our Lord's private prayers. There are eight such instances: Luke 3:21, "Jesus praying, the heaven was opened" at His baptism; Luke 5:16, "in the wilderness"; Luke 6:12, "continued all night in prayer to God before ordaining the twelve; Luke 9:18, as He was alone praying, His disciples were with Him, and He asked whom say the people that I am?" Luke 9:28 Luke 9:29, at the transfiguration, "He went up into a mountain to pray, and as He prayed the fashion of His countenance was altered;" Luke 11:1, "as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased one of His disciples said (struck with the holy earnestness of His tone, words, and gestures), Lord teach us to pray" (Luke 22:32; Luke 22:41-42; Luke 22:44-46; Luke 23:46).
CONNECTION WITH PAUL. Luke may have first become connected with Paul in tending him in the sickness which detained him in Phrygia and Galatia (Galatians 4:13, "because of an infirmity of my flesh I preached," owing to his detention by sickness, (contrary to his original intention he preached there). This probably was early in the journey wherein Luke first appears in Paul's company, that apostle's second missionary journey (Acts 16:9-10). Thus Paul's allusion to Luke's being a "physician" is appropriate in writing to the Colossians as they were in Phrygia, the quarter wherein Luke ministered to his sickness. Luke, after being left behind at Luke 17:1, where the third person is resumed, went again with Paul to Asia (Luke 20:6) and to Jerusalem (Luke 21:15), and was with him in his captivity at Caesarea (Luke 24:23) and at Rome (Luke 28:16). Tertullian (adv. Marcion, iv. 2) ascribes the conversion of Luke to Paul.
DATE OF THE GOSPEL. The Book of Acts which was written before it (Acts 1:1) ends with Paul's two years' modified imprisonment at Rome, "dwelling in his own hired house, and receiving all that came in unto him" (Acts 28:30-31). Abruptly it closes without informing us of the result of his appeal to Caesar, doubtless because when he wrote no event subsequent to the two years had transpired; this was A.D.63. "The former treatise," i.e. the Gospel, was probably written at Caesarea during Paul's imprisonment there, A.D. 58-60 (Thiersch).
OBJECT. "That Theophilus might know the certainty of those things wherein he had been instructed" (Luke 1:4). The epithet "most excellent" prefixed shows that Theophilus was not an imaginary but a real person.
Luke's describing minutely, in Paul's journey, the places before reaching Sicily and Italy, but omitting such description of Syracuse, Rhegium, Puteoli, Appii Forum, and the Three Taverns, as if familiar to his reader, implies Theophilus was well acquainted with Sicily and Italy. (On the chronological order of events in Jesus Christ's history according to Luke (See JESUS CHRIST.) From Luke 9:51-18;Luke 9:15 there are no parallel notices in Matthew and Mark except Luke 11:17; Luke 13:18, probably repeating the same truths on a later occasion (Mark 3:24; Mark 4:30). This period begins with His journey in October to the feast of tabernacles, and ends with His arrival in Bethany six days before the Passover. From Luke 18:15, the blessing of the infants, Luke coincides with Matthew and Mark in the main. Even earlier, Luke 17:11 corresponds with 1618100417_78; Mark 10:1; John 11:54.
The portion Luke 9:51-18;Luke 9:15 is vague as to dates, and probably is designed by the Holy Spirit to supplement what the other evangelists had not recorded. The preface (Luke 1:1-4), the account of events preceding Jesus' ministry (Luke 1:5-2:52), are peculiar to Luke. From 1618100417_55:50 Luke mainly accords with Matthew and Mark in the order and the events of our Lord's ministry, which was chiefly about Capernaum. His testimony as a physician to the reality of demoniacal possession prevents its being confounded with lunacy (Luke 4:41). His accuracy appears in his giving exact dates (Acts 1:12, (See CYRENIUS and JESUS CHRIST, on the difficulty here; Cyrenius was twice governor of Syria; Luke 3:1-2; also in his marking the two distinct sightings of Jerusalem observed by travelers in coming across Olivet; first at Luke 19:37, secondly, at
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Gospel, a Law
It has been disputed whether the Gospel consists merely of promises, or whether it can in any sense be called a law. The answer plainly depends upon adjusting the meaning of the words Gospel and law: if the Gospel be taken for the declaration God has made to men by Christ, concerning the manner in which he will treat them, and the conduct he expects from them, it is plain that this includes commands, and even threatenings, as well as promises; but to define the Gospel so, as only to express the favourable part of that declaration, is indeed taking the question for granted, and confining the word to a sense much less extensive than it often has in Scripture: compare Romans 2:16 . 2 Thessalonians 1:8 . 1 Timothy 1:10-11 .; and it is certain, that, if the Gospel be put for all the parts of the dispensation taken in connection one with another, it may well be called, on the whole, a good message. In like manner the question, whether the Gospel be a law or not, is to be determined by the definition of the law and of the Gospel, as above. If law signifies, as it generally does, the discovery of the will of a superior, teaching what he requires of those under his government, with the intimation of his intention of dispensing rewards and punishments, as this rule of their conduct is observed or neglected; in this latitude of expression, it is plain, from the proposition, that the Gospel, taken for the declaration made to men by Christ, is a law, as in Scripture it is sometimes called, James 1:25 . Ron. 4: 15. Romans 8:2 . But if law be taken in the greatest rigour of the expression, for such a discovery of the will of God, and our duty, as to contain in it no intimation of our obtaining the Divine favour otherwise than by a perfect and universal conformity to it, in that sense the Gospel is not a law.
See NEONOMIANS. Witsius on Cov. vol.iii. ch. 1; Doddridge's Lect. lect. 172; Watts's Orthodoxy and Charity, essay 2.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Gospel: to be Preached Simply
Of the works of a famous alchemist of the thirteenth century, it is said that, 'whoever would react his book to find out the secret would employ all his labor in vain.' All the gold makers who have written upon their favorite mystery are in the like predicament, no one can comprehend w the secret is which they pretend to divulge. May we shrewdly guess that if they had any secret to tell they should put it in intelligible language, and that their pompous involved sentences are only a screen for their utter ignorant of the matter? When we hear preachers talking of div things in a style savoring more of metaphysical subtile than of gospel plainness; when the seeking sinner cam find out the way of salvation because of their philosophic jargon, may we not with justice suspect that the preach does not know the gospel, and conceals his culpable ignorant behind the veil of rhetorical magniloquence? Surely if a man understood a matter so important to all his hearers the way of salvation, he would feel constrained to tell it all in words which all might comprehend.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Gospel Call
See CALLING.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Gospel
The revelation of the grace of God to fallen man through a mediator. It is taken also for the history of the life, actions, death, resurrection, ascension, and doctrine of Jesus Christ. The word is Saxon, and of the same import with the Latin evangelium, which signifies glad tidings or good news. It is called the Gospel of his Grace, because it flows from his free love, Acts 20:24 . The Gospel of the kingdom, as it treats of the kingdoms of grace and glory. The Gospel of Christ, because he is the author and subject of it, Romans 1:16 . The Gospel of peace and salvation, as it promotes our present comfort and leads to eternal glory, Ephesians 1:13 ; Ephesians 6:15 . The glorious Gospel, as in it the glorious perfections of Jehovah are displayed, 2 Corinthians 4:4 . The everlasting Gospel, as it was designed from eternity, is permanent in time, and the effects of it eternal, Revelation 14:6 . There are about thirty or forty apocryphal Gospels; as the Gospel of St. Peter, of St. Andrew, of St. Barnabas, the eternal Gospel, &c. &c. &c. : but they were never received by the Christian church, being evidently fabulous and trifling.
See CHRISTIANITY.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Gospel
is the English word used to translate the Greek word for “good news.” Christians use the word to designate the message and story of God's saving activity through the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of God's unique Son Jesus. Although “gospel” translates a Greek word from the New Testament, the concept of good news itself finds its roots in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament.
Development in the Old Testament Bisar is the Hebrew verb which means “to proclaim good news.” Unlike the English language, Hebrew is able to convey the subject of the proclamation in the verb's root; no direct object was needed with the verb bisar to make clear that the subject of an announcement was “good news.” Originally, the word was used to describe the report of victory in battle ( 2 Samuel 4:10 ). Because the Israelites believed God was actively involved in their lives (including battles and wars) bisar came to have a religious connotation. To proclaim the good news of Israel's success in battle was to proclaim God's triumph over God's enemies. Believing credit for the victory belonged to God, the Israelites' proclamation of the good news of victory was, in fact, proclamation about God.
The transition from the use of bisar in a military setting to its use in a personal context is not difficult to envision. If Israel proclaimed good news when God delivered the nation from its enemies, individuals ought also to proclaim good news when God delivered them from personal distress ( Psalm 40:10 ). The nation's victores in war and a person's individual salvation both called for the announcement of what God had done. The Book of Isaiah marks the full religious development of the term within the Old Testament. By this time the word is most often used to describe the anticipated deliverance and salvation which would come from the hand of God when the long-awaited Messiah appeared to deliver Israel (Isaiah 52:7 ). The military-political and personal connotations of the word were fully united in the hope of a Deliverer who would both triumph over the earthly enemies of God's people and usher in a new age of salvation. The arrival of this Messiah would be good news.
In the Old Testament, the verbal form of bisar dominates in usage. A noun derived from the verb does appear on occasion, but the vast majority of references are to the verb itself. The good news of God's saving work and the proclamation of that news cannot be separated.
Development in the New Testament From approximately 300 B.C. until after the time of Christ, Greek was the dominant language of the biblical world. The Greek language crossed geographic and cultural barriers to provide a common tongue for government and commerce. During this same time period thousands of Jews emigrated from Palestine throughout Asia Minor. Consequently, many devout Greek-speaking Jews lived in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, many Jews who lived outside Palestine spoke Greek better than they spoke Hebrew. These people eventually translated their Scriptures and the important expressions of their faith into Greek.
As translators performed their work on the Hebrew Bible, the Greek word most commonly used for bisar was euangelizesthai. In its most ancient usage, this Greek verb had many similarities with bisar. Like the Hebrew verb, euangelizesthai was a word used to announce victory in battle. Another similarity could be found in that the Greek verb originally needed no direct object to convey the subject of the proclamation. However, by the time the New Testament was written the usage of euangelizesthai had changed slightly. In later usage the word simply meant “to proclaim,” and some object had to be used with the verb to explain the subject of the proclamation.
This small shift in meaning explains why during the Christian era a noun derived from the Greek verb became much more common. Christians increasingly used euanggelion (the noun derived from euangelizesthai) as a specific term to describe the good news of Jesus. Euanggelion was indeed the content of their preaching. However, because the Greek language now allowed the content of their proclamation to be separated from the idea of proclamation itself, writers of the New Testament could also say the good news was confessed, taught, spoken, told, announced, and witnessed. Development in English Translations bEarliest English editions of the Bible used the Anglo-Saxon word “godspell” to translate the noun euaggelion. Godspell meant “the story about a god” and was used because the story about Jesus was good news. As English developed, the word was shortened to “gospel,” and the Anglo-Saxon meaning was lost. Because euaggelion was used specifically to refer to good news of Jesus, some translators have used other words to translate bisar in the Old Testament, even though the meaning of the two words are roughly the same. This distinction has been drawn in order to differentiate between the good news promised by the prophets and the good news which Jesus actually brings. Translators who make such a distinction often use “glad tidings” or an equivalent for the Hebrew.
Usage in the New Testament In the New Testament “gospel” has two shades of meaning: it is both the actual message on the lips of Jesus about the reign of God (Mark 1:14 ), and it is the story told about Jesus after His death and resurrection (Galatians 1:11-12 ). In each case “gospel” refers to the work which God alone initiates and completes. Inasmuch as God has chosen to bring about the world's reconciliation in this one particular way, there is only one gospel (Hebrews 1:1-2 ). Furthermore, since God is the One working through the saving activity of Jesus, God is also the Author of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:13 ). The gospel is God's message to humankind (Romans 15:16 ). Only God calls and commissions the messengers of this good news, and, in addition, only God gives the messengers the story they are to make known (Romans 10:14-15 ; 1 John 1:5 ).
Therefore, the proclamation of the good news is the continuation of the work which God began in Jesus Christ. God's messengers are not merely telling about the history of salvation when they proclaim the good news; rather, they are an integral part of the work which continues through their efforts. The living Lord, Jesus Christ Himself, confronts listeners through the words of the messengers. To alter the message by adding extra requirements or by omitting crucial details is to pervert the gospel into a false message which ceases to have saving power (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 ; Galatians 1:6-7 ).
The Message of the Gospel The most basic summary of Jesus' preaching appears in Mark 1:15 . “The time is fulfilled,” He said. “The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Mark offers no explanation what the good news is or what information it contains. Those readers who live several centuries after the writing of the New Testament must glean the message from careful study of all its books.
The need for good news assumes a bad situation. The bad situation in which humans find themselves and the reason they need good news is that sin has entered each of their lives (John 8:7 ; Romans 3:23 ). Sin is a power that controls them and shapes their destinies (Romans 3:9 ; Romans 6:22 ). Sin's power must not be underestimated. In fact, humans are helpless by themselves to overcome its grip on their lives (Romans 7:21-24 ).
Because humans cannot overcome the power of sin by themselves, God has intervened on their behalf through Jesus. Jesus has come to seek out all persons so they may respond to God's grace (Luke 15:1-10 ; Luke 19:10 ). God's grace, which Jesus bears within Himself (John 1:14 ), overcomes sin's power and offers forgiveness for individual sins (Mark 2:5 ; Luke 1:1-2 ). See Matthew 19:20-22 ; John 1:12 ). Because Jesus bears God's grace in Himself, grace is accepted only by receiving him (John 14:9-12 ). The marks of having accepted Jesus are repentance (Luke 13:3 ) and a changed life (Matthew 3:8 ; 1 John 1:5-7 ).
The fact that forgiveness, freedom from sin, and a new life are possible is good news. Because all this is possible only through Jesus Christ, His message and His story are called the “gospel.”
Development of Written Gospels Within the New Testament, the word euanggelion always refers to oral communication, never to a document or piece of literature. Not until the beginning of the second century and the writings of the “church fathers” do we find references to “gospels” in the plural, indicating written documents. How did this transition from a spoken message to written books take place?
Literacy was uncommon in the ancient world. Books and writing equipment were expensive and the education needed to use them was usually reserved for the rich alone. Consequently, many societies preserved and transmitted their national stories, traditions, and faith by word of mouth. These societies stressed the importance of telling and remembering their traditions from one generation to another. Such a system may seem fragile and unreliable by modern standards, but ancient societies trusted the methods and forms they developed to sustain the process.
In times of crisis (such as an invasion by a foreign nation), however, certain learned individuals would try to guarantee the preservation of their society's oral traditions by writing them down. They often wrote out of the fear of what would happen if their nation was defeated or destroyed and no one was left to transmit orally the living traditions to the next generation. The gospels of the New Testament developed along a pattern similar to other ancient writings. For many years the stories and teachings of Jesus were communicated primarily by word of mouth. In addition to the fact of limited literacy, members of the early church believed Jesus would return soon, so they felt no urgency to write down His teachings for the future. Then, about thirty years after Jesus' ascension, three interrelated crises began to impinge upon the church. As a result of these crises, individuals responded to the leadership of God's Spirit to write down the teachings, stories, and message of Jesus into what we call the Gospels.
The first of these crises was persecution. The Emperor Nero initiated the first official persecution so he could use Christians as scapegoats for his own insane actions. After setting fire to the city of Rome in A.D. 64 as a way to clear a portion of the city for a construction project, Nero arrested Christians and accused them of committing the crime. Using torture, Roman officials extracted a “confession” from one Christian. On the basis of this supposed admission of guilt, Nero began a systematic persecution of Christians which included arrest, imprisonment, torture, and execution. The persecution begun by Nero continued in varying degrees of intensity during the reign of other emperors throughout the New Testament period. From a historical perspective, persecution may have strengthened the spirit of the early church, but that first generation of Christians felt their very existence was threatened. The second crisis involved the passing away of the generation of people who had actually seen Jesus in the flesh, heard His teachings, and witnessed His miracles. Some died in the persecutions and others simply aged enough to pass away from natural causes. The early church placed a high value on the experience of actually having seen and heard Jesus (Luke 1:2 ; 1 John 1:1 ). Therefore, the death of members of the original generation of Christians was viewed as a potential break in their linkage to the historical roots of their faith.
The third crises was the perceived delay in Christ's return to earth. Preaching recorded in the New Testament has a distinct sense of urgency about it. The apostles believed that Jesus would be returning any day and that it was imperative for them to give as many people as possible the opportunity to respond to Him. Their constant emphasis was to communicate the gospel today, not to preserve it for the future. As a longer and longer period of time passed after Jesus' ascension, the church became more and more concerned about preserving the message.
The Purposes of the Evangelists From approximately A.D. 60 until A.D. 90, four individuals responded to the inspiration of God by writing down the message of, and about, Jesus. As they did, these individuals surely held several goals in common. Responding to the crises around them, they wanted to preserve the gospel message in an accurate form for believers who would follow in future generations. In this sense the authors were each trying to produce a book for the Christian community. They wrote down the good news of Jesus to strengthen, to educate, and to encourage those who already accepted its message.
It is also clear that they intended to use a written form of the gospel as an additional tool for evangelism (John 20:30-31 ). The evangelists envisioned the written gospel as a vehicle to spread faith in Jesus Christ. In this sense, each evangelist was trying to produce a missionary book. Understanding the missionary character of the four Gospels is an important factor in their study. The Gospel writers' primary interest was not to produce great works of literature, nor was their intention to write a biography in the modern sense of the word. Their principal objective was to convert individuals to faith in Christ. Thus, they wrote primarily to convince, not to record facts. The primary intention of the evangelists determined the shape and content of the written Gospels. One may wish the Gospel writers had included additional information about Jesus' home life, His adolescence, or some other area of interest; but the Gospel writers were not led to believe that kind of data was crucial for faith. The evangelists structured their works to give the message maximum impact on the readers. They included material they felt was essential for the reader to know to be able to make a decision about Jesus' identity. All other concerns regarding form and content of the Gospels was secondary to the missionary objective.
While the teaching of the New Testament affirms that there is only one, true gospel, the books contained therein stand as testimony to the fact that the gospel is influenced by each personality which proclaims it. The church does not possess one account of the message of and work of Jesus which stands alone as the official record of His activity. Rather, the early church recognized the inspiration of four different accounts of the gospel. Each one was written from a slightly different perspective; each one had a different audience in mind; each one was designed to highlight the elements of the gospel which the author felt most important. The four Gospels witness both the divine inspiration of God and the individual, human personalities of their authors.
Out of several gospels and other accounts of the life of Jesus (Romans 6:14 ), God led the early church to choose four which He had inspired. See Matthew ; Mark; Luke ; John .
The Gospel of Mark Most scholars see Mark as the first written Gospel, though many scholars are providing reasons to claim Matthew was first. The simple structure, terse language, and sometimes poor grammar give the impression that this book was composed in a hurry. From references by church leaders in the second century, we learnfjcr pbthat the shortest Gospel was written near the year A.D. 65 by a man named Mark (possibly John Mark) who was a follower of the Apostle Peter. Mark recorded the life and message of Jesus as he heard it from the mouth of Peter during the apostle's teaching and preaching.
The best evidence indicates Mark wrote the Gospel for Christians in Rome faced with the first great persecution and the loss of leaders such as Peter. Mark shows a definite interest in the power of Jesus' words and actions—a power so great it destroys the forces of sin and evil. The exorcisms and other miracles were evidence to Roman Christians being victimized by evil that Jesus could deliver them just as He delivered the demoniac or healed the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 5:1-20 ; Mark 8:22-26 ).
The Gospel of Matthew Matthew is the most Jewish of the Gospels. It constantly presents Jesus as the fullfillment of Hebrew prophecy and in images which show Him similar to, but greater than, Old Testament personalities. For instance, the purpose of the nativity story in Matthew is to present Jesus as the royal Messiah from the lineage of David. The Sermon on the Mount portrays Jesus as a new Moses who teaches God's law from the mountain.
Written ten to twenty years after Mark, Matthew takes the general framework of the first written Gospel and adds to it extensive examples of Jesus' parables and other teachings. While Mark emphasized the power and activity of Jesus, Matthew underscored His teaching.
The Gospel of Luke Produced about the same time as Matthew, Luke is generally accepted as the only Gospel written by a Gentile and by a person who was not directly related to Jesus or to one of His original disciples. As one born outside the boundaries of Judaism, Luke had a profound interest in interpreting Jesus as the Savior of all humanity. Matthew traced Jesus' lineage to Abraham to prove His pure Jewish heritage. Luke, on the other hand, traced His lineage all the way back to Adam to accentuate His common bond with all the human race. Luke mentions shepherds as the witnesses of the Messiah's birth, because the filth associated with their occupation made them prime examples of society's outcasts. The fact they were invited to the manger of Bethlehem indicates Jesus' openness to everyone.
The Gospel of John John was the last Gospel written. It is undoubtedly the most reflective and the most theological of the four. Although scholars cannot agree whether John's primary audience was Jewish or Gentile, they do agree that a major emphasis of this Gospel was to combat the heresy of gnosticism. See Gnosticism .
The most striking characteristic of John is its difference from the other three Gospels. The sequence of Jesus' ministry, the vocabulary and tone of Jesus' words, even the day on which Jesus is crucified are different in John than in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The constant reference to miracles as “signs,” the “I am” speeches, and the total exclusion of story-like parables also set John apart from the other three.
Rejected Gospels The early church perceived God's inspiration in the four Gospels of the Bible, yet several other books which presented themselves as gospels also circulated during the church's early history. These “gospels” were either inadequate Jewish interpretations of Jesus, or works heavily influenced by Gnostic heretics. All of the known rejected gospels were written much later than the four included in the New Testament, most commonly between A.D. 120,150. Among these works are The Gospel of the Ebionites , The Gospel According to the Hebrews , The Gospel According to the Egyptians , The Gospel of the Naassenes , The Gospel of Peter , and The Gospel of Thomas .
God did lead the church to preserve four gospels so that it could continue to preserve and proclaim the richness of the gospel message of salvation to the diverse peoples of the world in their diverse needs.
P. Joel Snider
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Luke, Gospel According to
LUKE, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
1. The Third Gospel in the Early Church Of 2nd cent. writers the following can without doubt be said to have known the Gospel or to imply its previous composition: Justin Martyr ( c [1] . 150 a.d.), who gives particulars found in Lk. only; Tatian, his pupil, who included it in his Harmony ( the Diatessaron ); Celsus ( c [1] . a.d. 160 or c [1] . 177), who refers to the genealogy of Jesus from Adam; the Clementine Homities (2nd cent.); the Gospel of pseudo-Peter , a Docetic work ( c [1] . a.d. 165? Swete); the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs , a Jewish-Christian work (before a.d. 135, Sinker in Smith’s Dict. of Christ. Biog .); the Epistle of the Church of Lyons and Vienne (a.d. 177); Marcion, who based his Gospel upon Lk. and abbreviated it [5]; the Valentinians; and Heracleon, who wrote a commentary upon it. The first writers who name Luke in connexion with it are Irenæus and the author of the Muratorian Fragment (perhaps Hippolytus), Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria all at the end of the 2nd century. If we go back earlier than any of the writers named above, we note that Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, and the Didache writer perhaps knew Lk.; but we cannot be certain if their quotations are from Mt. or from Lk. or from some third document now lost, or even from oral tradition. Yet Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp probably quote Acts, and the title of the Didache seems to come from Acts 2:42 , and this presupposes the circulation of Luke. It will be observed that the ecclesiastical testimony shows the existence of Lk. before the second quarter of the 2nd cent., but we have not, as in the case of Mt. and Mk., any guidance from that early period as to the method of its composition or as to its author.
2. Contents of the Gospel . The preface ( Luke 1:1-4 ) and the Birth and Childhood narratives ( Luke 1:5 to Luke 2:52 ) are peculiar to Luke. The Evangelist then follows Mk. (up to Luke 6:19 ) as to the Baptist’s teaching and the early ministry, inserting, however, sections common to him and Mt. on the Baptist and on the Temptation, and also the genealogy, the miraculous draught of fishes, the anointing by the sinful woman, and some sayings (especially those at Nazareth) peculiar to himself. From Luke 6:29 to Luke 8:3 Lk. entirely deserts Mk. The intervening portion contains part of the Sermon on the Mount (not in the order of Mt.), the message of the Baptist, and the healing of the centurion’s servant (so Mt.) and some fragments peculiar to himself, especially the raising of the widow’s son at Nain (Lk. practically omits the section Mark 6:45 to Mark 8:26 = Matthew 14:22 to Matthew 16:12 ). The Markan narrative, containing the rest of the Galilæan ministry, the charge to the Twelve, the Transfiguration, etc., is then resumed, nearly in the same order as Mk., but with some omissions, to Luke 9:50 (= Mark 9:40 ), where a long insertion occurs ( Luke 9:51 to Luke 18:14 ). After this Luke takes up Mk. almost where he left it ( Luke 18:15 = Mark 10:13 ). The insertion deals largely with the Peræan ministry and the journeys towards Jerusalem, and contains many parables peculiar to Lk (the Good Samaritan, the Importunate Friend, the Rich Fool, the Barren Fig-tree, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Piece of Money, the Prodigal Son, the Unjust Steward, the Rich Man and Lazarus, the Ten Lepers, the Unjust Judge, the Pharisee and the Publican), and also several incidents and sayings peculiar to Lk., e.g . the Mission of the Seventy; this section also has portions of the Sermon on the Mount and some parables and sayings common to Mt. and Lk., a few also which are found in other parts of Mk. From Luke 18:15 to the end the Markan narrative is followed (from Luke 19:45 to Luke 22:14 very closely) with few omissions, but with some insertions, e.g . the parable of the Pounds, the narrative of Zacchæus, of the Penitent Robber, of the two disciples on the Emmaus road, and other incidents peculiar to Lk. In the Passion and Resurrection narrative Luke has treated Mk. very freely, adding to it largely, and in several cases following other sources in preference.
Viewing the Third Gospel as a whole, we may with Dr. Plummer divide it thus: Preface, Luke 1:1-4 ; Gospel of the Infancy, Luke 1:5 to Luke 2:52 ; Ministry, mainly in Galilee, Luke 3:1 to Luke 9:60 ; Jourueyings towards Jerusalem, and the Ministry outside Galilee, Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:28 ; the Ministry in Jerusalem in the last days, Luke 19:29 to Luke 21:28 ; the Passion and Resurrection, 22 24.
3. The Sources . The preface ( Luke 1:1-4 ), the only contemporary evidence of the manner in which Gospels were written, tells us that the Evangelist knew of written Evangelic narratives, and had access to eye-witnesses, though he himself had not seen the events which he chronicles. Of the former sources (documents), the preceding section will lead us to name two (see also art. Gospels), namely the ‘Petrine tradition’ (see art. Mark [6]), which is our Mk. or else something very like it, and which the First Evangelist also used; and another, which is often called the ‘Logia,’ but which it is safer to call the ‘non-Markan document,’ which is a common source of Mt. and Lk., but which is now lost (see art. Matthew [6]). In the use of the latter the order of Lk. differs greatly from that of Mt., and the question arises which of the two Evangelists has followed this source the more closely. Now we have seen (§ 2 ) that Luke has followed the order of his Markan source very closely; it is therefore probable that he did the same with the ‘non-Markan document.’ We may then presume that the order of the latter is more faithfully reproduced in Lk. than in Mt. With regard to the sections peculiar to Lk. we must probably separate Luke 1:5 to Luke 2:52 from the rest. This section has a strong Aramaic tinge; it is an ‘episode of family history of the most private character’ (Ramsay); it is told from the point of view of a woman, and is full of womanly touches; it represents the Mary side of the story, while the narrative in Mt. represents the Joseph side. It is therefore highly probable that the ultimate, if not the immediate, source was the Virgin Mother, and that the story had not passed through many hands. Some postulate an Aramaic written source for this section (Plummer). But it is by no means certain that Luke the Gentile understood Aramaic; and the character of the narrative rather points to an oral source (Ramsay). The introduction of the Aramaic style (which begins abruptly at Luke 1:5 after the very Greek preface) may probably be an intentional change on the author’s part, and be due to a diligent study of the LXX [8] . For the rest of the matter peculiar to Lk., it is usual, perhaps rightly, to assume a special source, oral or written; but it must be observed that the silence of Mt. does not negative the supposition that much or most of this matter was contained in the ‘non-Markan document.’ Silence does not necessarily mean ignorance.
Assuming now (see § 5 ) that the author was Luke, Paul’s companion, we can see at once that he was in a position to gather together not only written materials, but also first-hand oral reports. The two years at Cæsarea ( Acts 24:27 ) would give him good opportunities for collecting materials both for the Gospel and for Acts. Mary may well have been alive at the time ( c [1] . a.d. 57), or at least Luke may have met several of the women best known to her. And both in Palestine at this time and later at Rome, he would have direct access to Apostolic information: in the former case, of several of the Twelve; in the latter, of St. Peter. At Rome he would probably read the written ‘Petrine tradition,’ his Markan source.
We must notice that Lk. is not the Pauline Gospel in the same sense that Mk. is the Petrine. St. Paul could not be a ‘source’ as St. Peter was; and indeed the preface to Lk. contradicts such an idea. Yet the Pauline influence on Luke is very great, not only in his ideas but in his language. Many words and phrases are peculiar in NT to Luke and Paul. Among other topics insisted on by both may be mentioned the universality of the Gospel (Luke 3:5 f., Luke 4:24 ff., Luke 10:29 ff., Luke 13:29 etc.).
As a detail in the consideration of the treatment of his sources by Luke, we may notice the Lord’s Prayer, which is much shorter in Lk. than in Mt. (see RV [10] ). Does this mean that the Prayer was delivered twice, in two different forms, or that Luke abbreviated the original, or that Matthew enlarged it? The first hypothesis is a priori quite probable; but if we have to choose between the two others, the presence of the Lukan phrase ‘day by day’ ( Luke 11:3 , so Luke 19:47 , Acts 17:11 , not elsewhere in NT), and of others which seem to be simplifications (as ‘we forgive’ for ‘we have forgiven’ of Mt. RV [10] , or ‘sins’ for ‘debts’ of Mt.), points to the Matthæan prayer being the original. But it is difficult to believe that either Evangelist would deliberately alter the Lord’s Prayer as found in his sources; the case is not parallel with other alterations. If we hold the Prayer to have been given only once, the most probable explanation of the differences would seem to be that, our Lord not haying laid down fixed rules for worship, but only general principles, the first Christians did not feel bound to use, or did not know, His ipsissima verba ; hence the liturgical usage with regard to the Prayer would vary. The First and Third Evangelists might well incorporate in their Gospels that form to which they were accustomed in worship. We must not forget also that as originally delivered the Prayer was, doubtless, in Aramaic, and so in any case we have not Jesus’ exact words.
4. The writer’s style and interests The Third Evangelist is at once the most literary and the most versatile of the four. The sudden change from a classical to an Aramaic style at Luke 1:5 has been noticed in § 3 ; when the writer is working on the ‘Petrine tradition,’ and the ‘non-Markan document,’ the Aramaic tinge is much less marked. The same thing is seen in Acts, where the early chapters have a strong Aramaic tinge which is absent from the rest. Yet the special characteristics of language run through both the books, and their integrity and common authorship, is becoming more and more certain. The writer has a keen sense of effective composition, as we see by the way in which he narrates his incidents ( e.g . that of the sinful woman, Luke 7:36 ff.). Yet his descriptions are not those of an eyewitness; the autoptic touches which we find in the Second Gospel (see Mark [6]) are absent here. The author’s interests are many his sympathy with women, his ‘domestic tone’ shown by the social scenes which he describes, his medical language and descriptions of cures (a large number of technical phrases used by Greek medical writers and by Luke have been collected), and his frequent references to angels, are clearly marked in both books. It has been said that in his Gospel he avoids duplicates ; but this statement can hardly stand examination (cf. the two songs ( Luke 1:45 ; Luke 1:68 ), the two feasts ( Luke 5:29 , Luke 19:5 ), the mission of the Twelve and of the Seventy ( Luke 9:1 , Luke 10:1 ), the two disputes as to who is the greatest ( Luke 9:45 , Luke 22:24 ), etc.).
The Evangelic symbol usually ascribed by the Fathers to Luke is the calf, though pseudo-Athanasius gives him the lion; and it is said that the Gospel has a sacrificial aspect, the calf being the animal most commonly used for sacrifice. But this appears to be very fanciful, and it is not easy to see why Lk. is more sacrificial than the other Gospels.
5. Authorship and date . ( a ) The Third Gospel and Acts have the same author. Both books are addressed to the same person, Theophilus; the style of both is identical, not only in broad features, but in detail (see § 4 ), and Acts 1:1 refers to a ‘former’ (or ‘first’) treatise. Thus, if the author is not the same in both cases, the later writer has deliberately interwoven into his book the whole style of his predecessor, in a manner that absolutely defies detection. That this should have happened is a gross Improbability. ( b ) We have no external evidence of authorship before Irenæus, who names Luke (§ 1 ). But the internal evidence of Acts is very strong that the writer was Luke, the companion of St. Paul (see art. Acts of the Apostles). We must therefore conclude either that the author was Luke, or that he wished to pass for him. The latter hypothesis is maintained by some on the ground that the writer is indebted to Josephus, who wrote his Antiquities c [1] . a.d. 94. It may be remarked that this fact, if proved, would not preclude the Lukan authorship, for if Luke was a young man when travelling with St. Paul, he might well have been alive and active in a literary sense c [1] . a.d. 100 (so Burkitt). But it is extremely improbable that he had ever read Josephus. The crucial cases are those of the taxing in Luke 2:2 and of Theudas in Acts 5:36 , discussed in § 7 below, and in art. Theudas, where dependence is shown to be most unlikely (see also art. Egyptian [15]). Other things point to an absence of literary connexion; e.g . Acts describes Agrippa’s death quite independently of Josephus. The argument from language, on the other side, scarcely deserves serious refutation; the common use of the LXX [8] accounts for most of the resemblances (see, further, Plummer, St. Luke , p. xxx; the connexion between Lk. and Josephus is denied by Schürer, Harnack, Zabn, and by most English writers). For the reasons, then, which are stated in art. Acts of the Apostles, we conclude that Luke was the author. It may be added that it is difficult to conceive any reason which the author, if not Luke, could have had for the pretence. Luke was not sufficiently well known for a forger to use his name.
( b ) Date . For the reasons just stated we must probably choose a date immediately after Acts 28:30 (Blass, Headlam, Salmon, etc.), or else between a.d. 70 and 80 (Sanday, Plummer, Ramsay, etc.). To the present writer the earlier date for Acts, and therefore for Lk., seems on the whole more likely (see art. Acts of the Apostles), and this probability is not diminished by Luke 1:1 ; Luke 21:20 , the chief passages adduced for the later date. Sanday and Plummer think that the earlier date does not allow enough time for drawing up the narratives spoken of in Luke 1:1 ; but it is not obvious why written Gospels should not have been attempted at an early stage. The passage Luke 21:20 , where ‘Jerusalem compassed with armies’ replaces ‘the abomination of desolation’ of Mark 13:14 , is said to betoken a date later than the destruction of Jerusalem, and to describe what had actually happened. But if the change be due to Luke, it is just what we should expect a Hebraism interpreted for Gentile readers (see § 6 ); in any case it scarcely goes further than Daniel 9:26 . Sir J. Hawkins ( Horœ Synopticœ ) thinks that there must have been a considerable interval between Lk. and Acts. The whole question of date is far from certain.
6. Purpose of the Gospel. St. Luke clearly writes for the Gentiles, being a Gentile himself (see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 2), and undertakes his task because the works of his predecessors were incomplete, probably as not beginning with our Lord’s birth, and because he was in possession of good information. He writes to Theophilus, thought by Origen and Ambrose to be an imaginary Christian, but more probably a real person, perhaps, as Ramsay deduces from the epithet ‘most excellent’ ( Luke 1:3 ), a Roman citizen of rank [17]. He has also in view, however, other Gentile converts. He explains Jewish customs ( Luke 22:1 ), substitutes Greek names for Hebrew (‘Zelotes’ for ‘Cananæan’ Luke 6:15 , Acts 1:13 , ‘the Skull’ for Golgotha’ Luke 23:33 , ‘Master’ for ‘Rabbi’ often), is sparing of OT quotations and of references to prophecy, uses ‘Judæa’ for the whole of Palestine ( Luke 1:5 , Luke 7:17 , Luke 23:5 , Acts 2:9 ; Acts 10:37 ; Acts 11:29 ; but in Luke 4:44 RVm [18] and Acts 11:1 the more restricted sense is probable), and insists on the universality of the Gospel (see § 3 ). An Interesting detail which shows the readers to whom the book is addressed is pointed out by Sir Wm. Ramsay ( Was Christ born at Bethlehem p. 63). In Luke 5:19 Luke alters the description of the breaking up of the mud roof through which the paralytic was let down ( Mark 2:4 ) a description which would be unintelligible to a Western and speaks of the man being let down through the ‘tiles.’
7. Accuracy of Luke Very different estimates have been made as to the trustworthiness of Luke as a historian. He is the only Evangelist who connects his narrative with contemporary events in the world at large ( Luke 2:1 f., Luke 3:1 , Acts 11:28 ; Acts 18:2 ; Acts 24:27 , etc.), and who thus gives us some opportunities of testing his accuracy. His accuracy has been assailed by a large number of scholars, and as strongly defended by others. The former fix especially on two points: ( a ) Gamaliel’s speech about Theudas ( Acts 5:36 f.) is said to be absolutely unhistorical, and to be an invention of the writer, who had read and misread Josephus (see § 5 and art. Theudas). ( b ) The reference to the enrolment (AV [Note: Authorized V
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Mark, Gospel According to
MARK, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
1. External testimony . It is possible that the first reference to Mk. is the preface to Lk. ( Luke 1:1-4 ), which implies that the narratives spoken of were, in St. Luke’s opinion, incomplete and not in the best order. Mk. is certainly incomplete from the point of view of one who wished to begin ‘from the beginning.’ From internal evidence it is probable that St. Luke used Mk. (see §§ 3 5). Papias (quoted by Eusebius, HE iii. 39) gives the following account ( c [1] . a.d. 140 or earlier), as derived from ‘the Elder’ from whom he gleaned traditions:
‘Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he remembered, without, however recording in order what was either said or done by Christ [2]. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him, but afterwards, as I said, (attended) Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs (of his hearers), but had no design of giving a connected account of the Lord’s oracles [3]. So then Mark made no mistake while he thus wrote down some things as he remembered them; for he made it his one care not to omit anything that he heard, nor to set down any false statement therein.’
Here Papias vindicates Mark from in accuracy and from errors of omission as far as his knowledge went, but finds fault with his chronological order, which was due to his being dependent only on Peter’s oral teaching, He was Peter’s ‘interpreter’ a phrase which may mean that he translated Peter’s words into a foreign tongue during the Apostle’s lifetime, as a dragoman, or that, being Peter’s disciple, he made the Apostle’s teaching widely known through his written Gospel. Justin Martyr ( c [1] . a.d. 150) says ( Dial . 106) that Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter, and that this is written ‘in his Memoirs,’ and also that He changed the name of the sons of Zebedee to ‘Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder.’ But the last words occur only in Mark 3:17 , where also we read of Simon’s new name. It is reasonable (in spite of Harnack and Sanday’s opinion that Justin is here quoting the apocryphal Gospel of pseudo-Peter, which, as far as we know, did not contain these words it is only a fragment) to suppose that Justin by Peter’s ‘Memoirs’ means our Second Gospel; he elsewhere speaks of ‘Memoirs’ ‘the Memoirs composed by [5] which are called Gospels’ ( Apol . i. 66, cf. also Dial . 103, where he uses the same name for the narratives written by followers of the Apostles). Tatian included Mk. in his Diatessaron , or Harmony of the four Gospels. (Irenæus ( Hær . iii. 1. 1 and 10. 6) speaks of Mark as ‘Peter’s interpreter and disciple’ (cf. Papias), and says that he handed on to us in writing the things preached by Peter after the departure of Peter and Paul (note the indication of date). Tertullian calls Mark ‘Peter’s interpreter.’ The Muratorian Fragment ( c [1] . 170 200?) begins in the middle of a sentence which is generally believed to refer to Mk., and which may mean that the Evangelist was present at some of Peter’s discourses only, or perhaps that he heard some of our Lord’s discourses; but the latter interpretation is against the words that follow, which say of Luke: ‘Neither did he himself see the Lord in the flesh.’ The writer probably therefore had said that Mark had never seen our Lord. Clement of Alexandria ( c [1] . a.d. 200) says that while Peter was preaching the Gospel at Rome (ct. [8] Irenæus above), Mark wrote down what he said at the request of the hearers, Peter neither forbidding it nor urging it. Origen seems to bear this out, but in the Muratorian Fragment there is a similar story about John. Of later writers only Augustine need be quoted. He calls Mark ‘Matthew’s follower and abbreviator.’ This saying, which is probably widely removed from the truth, has had great influence on ecclesiastical opinion, and to a great extent brought about the comparative neglect into which the Second Gospel fell for many centuries. There are probable allusions to Mk. in Polycarp ( c [1] . a.d. 111) and pseudo-Clement of Rome (‘2 Clem, ad Cor .’) and Hermas, all early in the 2nd cent.; it was used by Heracleon, the Valentinians, and the authors of the Gospel of ( pseudo- ) Peter and the Clementine Homilies , and is found in all the old versions. We conclude that there is valid evidence that Mk. was in circulation before the middle of the 2nd century. By ecclesiastical writers Mark is connected almost uniformly with Peter, but (see above) there is a difference of tradition as to whether he wrote before or after Peter’s death. Some make him go from Rome to Alexandria and take his Gospel there; but it is remarkable that the Alexandrian Fathers Clement and Origen do not mention this.
2. The Second Gospel and the ‘Petrine tradition .’ Internal evidence to a considerable extent confirms, however indirectly, the Patristic evidence (§ 1) that Mark wrote down the preaching of Peter. Mk. tells us the facts of which Peter was an eye-witness. The vividness of description (especially in Mk.) in the scenes common to the Synoptics where only Peter, John, and James were present, suggests that one of them was the authority on which the common source rests such as the raising of Jairus’ daughter ( Mark 5:37-43 ), the Transfiguration ( Mark 9:2-13 ; the story in Mk. is told from the point of view of one of the three: cf. Mark 9:14 ‘ they saw’), and Gethsemane ( Mark 14:33-42 ). The authority could hardly be James, who was martyred early ( Acts 12:2 ), or John, on whom another account depends (even if he were not the author of the Fourth Gospel, we might probably say this). Peter therefore remains, and he alone would be likely to remember the confused words which he spoke on awakening at the Transfiguration ( Mark 9:5 ; cf. Luke 9:32 f.). Other passages suggesting a Petrine source are: Mark 1:36 ; Mark 11:21 ; Mark 13:3 (these are found only in Mk.); and the accounts of Peter’s denials ( Mark 14:54 ; Mark 14:66-72 ). As Eusebius noticed, Mk. is silent on matters which reflect credit on Peter. These facts and the autoptic character of the Gospel (§ 4) lead us to the conclusion that we have in Mk. the ‘Petrine tradition’ in a far more exact form than in the other Synoptics.
3. Presentation of Christ’s Person and work . The Second Gospel describes shortly the Baptist’s preaching and the baptism of our Lord, and then records at length the Galilæan ministry. It is noteworthy that in this account the proclamation of Jesus’ Messiahship in Galilee is very gradual (see art. Gospels, § 3). Even in the discourses to the Apostles there is great reserve. After the Transfiguration, the future glory and the Passion of our Lord are unfolded ( Mark 8:31 ; Mark 8:38 , Mark 9:12 ; Mark 9:31 etc.), but it is only after the short account (ch. 10) of the journeys in Judæa and Peræa, and on the final approach to Jerusalem, that this reserve passes away. In describing our Lord’s Person, the Evangelist lays great emphasis on His Divinity, but still more on His true humanity, ( a ) For the former we note how in Mk. Jesus claims superhuman authority, especially to forgive sins ( Mark 2:5 ff., Mark 2:28 , Mark 8:38 , Acts 5:1-427 ff., Mark 14:62 ); He is described as a Supernatural Person ( Mark 1:11 ; Mark 1:24 , Mark 3:11 , Mark 5:7 , Mark 9:7 , Mark 15:39 ); He knows the thoughts of man ( Mark 2:8 , Mark 8:17 , Mark 12:15 ), and what is to happen in the future ( Mark 2:20 , Mark 8:31 ; Mark 8:38 , Mark 9:31 , Mark 10:39 , Mark 13:2 ; Mark 13:10 , Mark 14:27 ); His death has an atoning efficacy ( Mark 10:45 , Mark 14:24 ). ( b ) For the latter we note not only (as with the other Evangelists) the references to Jesus’ human body weariness and sleep ( Mark 4:33 ), eating and drinking ( Mark 14:3 , Mark 15:35 ), etc. but especially the description of His human soul and spirit ( Mark 2:8 , Mark 14:34 ; Mark 14:36 ), His human compassion ( Mark 1:41 ) and love ( Mark 10:21 ), and the more painful emotions which Mk. has in a pre-eminent degree, while in the parallels in Mt. and Lk. the phrases are almost uniformly altered or omitted. Instances are Mark 1:43 RVm [10] (the word denotes sternness, not necessarily anger but deep feeling), Mark 3:5 , Mark 6:8 , Mark 10:14 ; note especially Mark 14:33 f. where St. Mark alone speaks of the surprise, added to the distraction from grief, of Jesus’ human soul in the Agony. St. Mark also refers to the sinless limitations of Jesus’ human nature. Questions are asked, apparently for information ( Mark 5:30 , Mark 8:5 , Mark 9:16 ). St. Mark relates the one perfectly certain instance of Jesus’ human ignorance, as to the Day of Judgment ( Mark 13:32 , so || Mt.). It is because so much stress is laid in Mk. on the true humanity of our Lord that Augustine assigns to the Second Evangelist the symbol of the man; by other Fathers the other Evangelic symbols are assigned to him. The Second Gospel represents an early stage of the Gospel narrative; it shows an almost childlike holdness in speaking of our Lord, without regard to possible misconceptions. An example of this is seen in passages where Mark tells us that Jesus ‘could not’ do a thing ( Mark 1:45 , Mark 6:5 , Mark 7:24 ). The inability is doubtless relative and conditional. Jesus ‘could not’ do that which was inconsistent with His plan of salvation. Yet here the other Synoptists, feeling that the phrase might he misunderstood as taking from the Master’s glory, have altered or omitted it.
4. Autopic character . Whereas Mk. was for centuries depreciated as telling us little that is not found in the other Gospels, we have now learned to see in it a priceless presentation of the story of our Lord’s life, inasmuch as no historical narrative in the Bible, except Jn., gives such clear signs of first-hand knowledge. Many of the instances lose much point in a translation, but even in English the fact is noticeable. An eye-witness is betrayed in such little details as the heavens ‘in the act of opening’ ( Mark 1:10 the present participle is used), the incoherent remarks of the crowd at the healing of the Capernaum demoniac ( Mark 1:27 RV [1]6 they are softened down by later scribes of Mk. and in Lk.), the breaking up of the mud roof in Mark 2:4 (see art. Luke [12], § 6), the single pillow, probably a wooden head-rest, in the boat ( Mark 4:38 RV [1]6 ), the five thousand arranged on the green grass ‘like garden heds’ ( Mark 6:40 : this is the literal translation; the coloured dresses on the ‘ green grass’ another autoptic touch had to the eye-witness the appearance of flowers), the taking of the children by Jesus into His arms ( Mark 9:36 , Mark 10:16 ), and His fervent blessing ( Mark 10:16 : this is the force of the Greek), the searching glance of love cast by Jesus on the rich young man, and the clouding over of the young man’s brow ( Mark 10:21 f. RV [1]6 ). All these details, and many others, are found in Mk. only; many of the signs of an eye-witness throughout the Gospel are removed by the alterations introduced in Mt. and Lk. For the vividness of the scenes at the Transfiguration, the raising of Jairus’ daughter, and the Agony, see § 2 . Notice also the evidence of exceptional knowledge of facts in Mark 1:29 (Andrew and Peter living together, though the latter was married; Andrew omitted in || Mt. Lk.), and in the mention of some names not found elsewhere ( Mark 2:14 , Mark 10:45 , Mark 15:21 ). We have then an eye-witness here; in this case we need not look for him in the writer, but the facts show that the latter was in the closest touch with one who had seen what is described.
5. Comparison with the other Synoptics . The facts which follow appear to prove that Mk., either in the form in which we have it, or at least in a form very closely resembling our present Gospel, was before the other Synoptists when they wrote, ( a ) Scope . Except about 30 verses, all the narrative of Mk. is found in either Mt. or Lk. or in both, and (especially as regards Lk.) in nearly the same order; though the other Synoptists interpolate matter from other sources. ( b ) Parallel passages . If we compare these, we see that though Mk. is as a whole shorter than Mt. and Lk., yet in the parallels it is longer. St. Mark’s style is diffuse, and it was necessary for the other Synoptists, in order to make room for the matter which they were to introduce from other sources, to prune Mk. considerably, ( c ) Correction of Markan details in Mt. and Lk . As we have seen, Mark describes our Lord’s painful emotions; these passages are softened down in Mt. and Lk. Sometimes a slip of the pen is corrected; e.g . Mark 1:2 f. RV [1]6 quotes as from Isaiah a passage which is a cento of Malachi 3:1 , Isaiah 40:3 , but the others silently avoid this by omitting the Malachi passage here, though they give it elsewhere ( Matthew 11:16 , Luke 7:27 ); the words in Mark 2:26 RV [1]6 , ‘when Abiathar was high priest,’ are omitted in Mt. and Lk., for Abiathar was not yet high priest at the time in question. The alteration of ‘abomination of desolation’ ( Mark 13:14 , so Matthew 24:15 ) into ‘Jerusalem compassed with armies’ ( Luke 21:20 ) is clearly an explanation of a writer later than Mk.; and so the change from ‘Son of God’ ( Mark 15:39 , so Matthew 27:54 ) to ‘a righteous man’ ( Luke 23:47 ). In some cases, by the turn of a phrase the accuracy of Mk. in minute points is lost by the other Synoptists. Thus cf. Mark 4:36 ; our Lord was already in the boat ( Mark 4:1 ); in || Mt. Lk. He is described by an oversight as embarking here. In Mark 10:1 Jesus comes ‘into the borders of Judæa and beyond Jordan’; the parallel Matthew 19:1 omits ‘and,’ but doubtless Mk. is right here, and Jesus went both into Judæa and into Peræa. But the most striking corrections of Mk. in Mt. Lk. are found in the phraseology. The Markan style is rough and unpolished, reflecting the Greek commonly spoken by the Jews of the 1st cent.; many diminutives and colloquialisms are found, but are usually corrected in Mt. or in Lk. or in both. In Mk. there are many awkward and difficult phrases sometimes smoothed over in a translation like ours, and usually corrected in Mt. or Lk. or both: e.g . Mark 3:16 , Mark 4:11 ; Acts 1:1-262 (see Luke 8:18 ) Mark 4:32 (the ‘yet’ of RV [1]6 is ‘and’ in Gr.) Mark 7:11 f. (grammatical but harsh) Mark 9:41 , Mark 13:19 , Mark 14:56 (note RV [1]6 in these cases). These facts are most significant, and appear to be conclusive as to the priority of Mk. For no writer having before him a smooth text would gratuitously introduce harsh or difficult phraseology, whereas the converse change is natural and common.
There are also some changes made for greater precision, especially in Lk.; thus in Mk. ( e.g . Mark 1:16 ) and Mt. we read of the ‘Sea’ of Galilee, but St. Luke with his superior nautical knowledge calls it a ‘lake’; Herod Antipas in Mark 6:14 is called ‘king,’ but in Mt. Lk. more commonly ‘tetrarch’ (but ‘king’ is retained in Matthew 14:9 ); in Mark 15:32 (so Mt.) we read that ‘they that were crucified with him reproached him,’ but St. Luke, who had independent knowledge of this incident (for only he relates the penitence of the robber), emphatically corrects this to ‘ one of the malefactors’ ( Luke 23:39 ). In two or three cases it is possible that the priority lies the other way. Thus in Mark 6:3 ‘the carpenter’ = Matthew 13:55 ‘the son of the carpenter’ = Luke 4:22 ‘the son of Joseph,’ the correction may be in Mt. Lk., the giving of the name ‘the carpenter’ to Jesus not being liked; or it may be in Mk., the phrase ‘son of Joseph’ being altered as capable of misconception by those who had not the Birth story before them. But as the phrases in Mt. and Lk. are not the same, the priority probably lies with Mk. Also the Second Evangelist alone relates the two cock-crowings ( Mark 14:30 ; Mark 14:68 ; Mark 14:72 ), though the state of the text suggests that perhaps originally only one was mentioned in Mk., but in a different place from that of Mt. Lk. It is hard to see why a later writer should have omitted one cock-crowing and it is suggested that therefore our Mk. is later than Mt. Lk. in this respect. It is, however, equally hard to see why St. Mark, if he wrote after the others, should have added a cock-crowing. If in two or three such cases the priority be decided to lie with Mt. and Lk., the meaning would be that our Mk. had received some editorial additions (see § 9). But this does not seem to be very likely.
The general conclusion is that Mk. as we have it now, or at least a Gospel which differs from our Mk. only in unessential particulars, lay before the First and Third Evangelists when they wrote.
The matter peculiar to Mk . is small: the parable of the seed growing silently ( Mark 4:26 ff.), the healing of the deaf stammerer ( Mark 7:31 ff.), of the blind man at Bethsaida ( Mark 8:22 f.), the questions about the dulness of the disciples when they forgot to take bread ( Mark 8:17 f.), about the dispute of the disciples ( Mark 9:33 ), the incidents of the young man with the linen cloth ( Mark 14:51 f.), of the smiting of Jesus by the servants of the high priest ( Mark 14:65 ), of Pilate’s wonder, and of his question put to the centurion ( Mark 15:44 ).
6. Authorship, purpose, date, and place of writing . There is no reason to dispute the Patristic statements (§ 1) that John Mark was the author of the Second Gospel. Clement of Alexandria states that he wrote in Rome; Chrysostom (two centuries later) that he wrote in Egypt. The former statement, both as being earlier and as agreeing with the negative testimony of the Alexandrian Fathers, is more probable, though some moderns have supposed a double publication, one in Rome and one in Alexandria. In either case it is probable that, as in the case of the Third Gospel, Gentiles are specially addressed, though St. Mark as a Jew writes (unlike St. Luke) from a Jewish point of view. There is a general absence of OT quotations except when our Lord’s words are cited ( Mark 1:2 f. is an exception; Mark 15:28 must almost certainly he expunged, with RV [1]6 , from the text). The Aramaic transliterations like Talilha cum ( i ) are interpreted, and Jewish customs and geography are explained [1]4. The absence of mention of the Jewish Law points in the same direction.
The date is probably before the Fall of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. (For the argument from the Discourse on the End, see art. Matthew [12], § 5, and note especially Mark 13:13 f., Mark 13:24 , Mark 13:30 , Mark 13:33 , which point to the fulfilment of the prophecy being, at the time of writing, only in prospect.) The reference to the shewbread ( Mark 2:26 , ‘it is not lawful’) suggests that the Temple still stood when Mark wrote. The characteristics already mentioned, the description of Jesus’ inner feelings, the style and details of the Gospel, give the same indications. If the early date of Acts be adopted (see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 9), Lk. and therefore Mk. must be earlier still. The external testimony, however, raises some difficulty when we consider the date of 1Peter . For Papias by implication and Irenæus explicitly say that Mark wrote after Peter’s death, while Clement of Alexandria and Origen say that he wrote in Peter’s lifetime (see § 1). If the former statement be correct, and if 1Peter be authentic, the Epistle must have preceded Mk.; but it is not easy to assign a very early date to it ( e.g . 1 Peter 4:18 ‘suffer as a Christian’; though Dr. Bigg disputes this inference and thinks that 1Peter was written before the Neronic persecution in a.d. 64). There is no need to dispute the authenticity of 1Peter because of supposed references to late persecutions, for there is no good reason for saying that St. Peter died in the same year as St. Paul, and it is quite possible that he survived him for some considerable time, during which Mark acted as his ‘interpreter.’ If, then, we are led by internal evidence so strongly to prefer an early date for Mk., we must either choose an early date for 1Peter , or else prefer the Alexandrian tradition that Mark wrote in Peter’s lifetime [Dr. Swete gives c [1] . 69 for Mk., Dean Robinson c [1] . 65].
7. Was Mk. written in Greek or Aramaic? The Second Gospel is more strongly tinged with Aramaisms than any other. It retains several Aramaic words transliterated into Greek: Boanerges Mark 3:17 , Talitha cum ( i ) Mark 5:41 , Corban Mark 7:11 , Ephphatha Mark 7:34 (these Mk. only), Abba Mark 14:36 (so Romans 8:15 , Galatians 4:6 ), Rabbi Mark 9:5 , Mark 11:21 , Mark 14:45 , Hosanna Mark 11:9 (these two also in Mt. and Jn.), Rabboni Mark 10:51 (Jn. also), Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani Mark 15:34 (or as || Mt. Eli ); and several Aramaic proper names are noticeable: Bartimæus Mark 10:48 (a patronymic), Cananæan Mark 3:18 , Iscariot Mark 3:19 , Beelzebub Mark 3:22 , Golgotha Mark 15:22 . Aramaisms are also found freely in the grammar of Mk. and in several phrases. From these facts it is argued (Blass, Allen) that Aramaic was the original language. Dr. Blass also suggests that St. Luke in 1618100417_26 ; Acts 2:1-47 ; Acts 3:1-26 ; Acts 4:1-37 ; 1618100417_42 ; Acts 6:1-15 ; Acts 7:1-60 ; Acts 8:1-40 ; Acts 9:1-43 ; Acts 10:1-48 ; Acts 11:1-30 ; Acts 12:1-25 used an Aramaic source, while the rest of that book was his own independent work. In these twelve chapters, unlike the rest, Aramaisms abound, and the style is rough. The argument is that Ma
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to
MATTHEW, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO.
1. The First Gospel in the Early Church . Papias ( c [1] . a.d. 140 or earlier), as quoted by Eusebius ( HE iii. 39), says: ‘Matthew, however, composed the logia in the Hebrew dialect, but each one interpreted them as he was able.’ This remark occurs in his work The Exposition of the Lord’s logia , and is practically all the external information that we have about the Matthæan Gospel, except that Irenæus says: ‘Matthew among the Hebrews published a Gospel in their own dialect, when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the Church’ ( Hær . iii. 1). Irenæus is probably quoting from Papias. In the 4th cent., Eusebius tells a story of Pantænus finding in the 2nd cent. the original Aramaic Mt. in India, but the story is very uncertain; Epiphanius says that the Aramaic Gospel of Matthew existed in his day, in the possession of an Ebionite sect (distinguished in modern times as Elkesaites), and describes it; and Jerome describes what he alleges to be the original of Mt. as in use among the Nazarenes, and says that he translated it into Greek. We have therefore first to interpret Papias, and then to deal with the later testimonies.
( a ) What does Papias mean by the ‘logia’? The word may be translated ‘oracles’ or ‘discourses,’ and it is much disputed which sense we should take here. The interpretation of many (Westcott, Lightfoot, etc., who choose the translation ‘oracles’) is that it is an early word for the Gospels. The ‘Lord’s logia’ which Papias expounded would be the story of our Lord’s life and teaching, and Papias would mean that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew (cf. Luke 11:2-471 where ‘oracles’ may mean only God’s sayings, but more naturally may be taken to mean the whole of the OT). Certainly the word in the 1st cent. was used of any sacred writing, whether discourse or narrative. Others deny that at so early a date a NT writing as such could be called ‘the Lord’s oracles,’ and take logia to mean ‘discourses.’ But from this point critics have diverged. Many understand Papias to mean that Matthew wrote our Lord’s sayings only ; but this does not appear from his words. The argument against the translation ‘oracles’ is deprived of force if we understand the reference to be, not necessarily to a written record, but to the Gospel story pure and simple, whether written or oral. Papias would then mean that Matthew wrote down the Gospel story in Hebrew. Even if we take the translation ‘discourses’ or ‘sayings,’ it is extremely unlikely that Papias meant that Matthew’s Gospel contained no narrative, though it is quite likely that discourse predominated in it. (For Renan’s theory, see art. Mark [2]).
( b ) What does Papias mean about the original language of Matthew? All the testimony as to its being Aramaic [3] probably reduces itself to this one sentence. One interpretation is that Matthew wrote down Jesus’ sayings in Aramaic, but did not expound them, and that Papias’ own book had this object. But most writers understand Papias to mean that individuals translated Matthew’s work into their own language for themselves. If so, this period must have been over in Papias’ time, for he uses the past tense ‘interpreted’; he must have had a Greek Matthew before him. And our Mt. is clearly an original composition, derived from Greek sources, such as Mk. and other documents, at any rate for the most part (see art. Gospels), and is not a translation from Aramaic. There is no reason for thinking that the Matthæan Gospel actually used by Papias was other than ours. We have then to ask, Did Papias make a mistake about the original language? We know that there was a ‘Gospel of the Hebrews’ current early in the 2nd cent., known to Hegesippus, probably to the writer of the Clementine Homilies , perhaps to Ignatius. Jerome knew of it and gives us extracts from it; and Epiphanius knew of a derived or kindred Gospel, used by the sect of the Nazarenes and containing several episodes different from our canonical narrative, e.g . in connexion with our Lord’s baptism, and His appearance to James after the Resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:7 ). In this Gospel the Holy Spirit is called the ‘Mother’ of Christ, the word ‘Spirit’ being feminine in Aramaic. Most critics (but Hilgenfeld and Harnack are exceptions) agree that this Gospel is later than our canonical four; Zahn gives good reasons for thinking that it is derived directly from our Mt.; and it is possible that Papias made the mistake fallen into later by Jerome, and, knowing that there was an Aramaic Gospel in existence purporting to be by Matthew (though he had apparently never seen it), thought that it was St. Matthew’s in reality. Eusebius says that he was a man of not much understanding. He may, then, have erroneously thought that St. Matthew, writing in Palestine for Jewish Christians, must have written in Aramaic (Salmon). Another solution, however, is more commonly received. Papias is our only authority before Irenæus for attributing a Gospel to St. Matthew. Possibly then the Apostle Matthew may have written in Aramaic a document incorporated in, or largely drawn upon by, our First Gospel e.g . the original of the Greek ‘non-Markan document’ (see art. Gospels); and this fact may account for his name being attached even early in the 2nd cent. to the First Gospel. Both these solutions seem to be quite possible; but it is not possible to suppose that our First Gospel was originally written in Aramaic.
Quotations from Mt. are found in the Epistle of ‘Barnabas’ ( c [1] . a.d. 100?), one with the formula ‘as it is written.’
2. Contents, sources, and characteristics of the Gospel. The Birth narrative (chs. 1, 2) rests on an unknown source (see Luke [2], § 3), and is independent of the other Synoptics. The Baptist’s preaching, Jesus’ baptism and temptation, the early ministry, and the calling of Simon, Andrew, James, and John (chs. 3, 4) follow the ‘Petrine tradition’ with additions from the non-Markan source (esp. in the Baptism and Temptation), from which also the Sermon on the Mount (chs. 5 7) comes. The narrative of the Galilæan ministry (which extends from Matthew 4:12 to Matthew 16:20 ) is taken mainly from these two sources, but the order of neither is strictly adhered to. It includes the Charge to the Twelve (ch. 10), a large number of parables (ch. 13), and many miracles, some peculiar to Mt. From Matthew 16:21 to the end of the book is the story of the Passion with the preparation for it, including the Transfiguration ( Matthew 17:1-8 ), the Discourse on the End (ch. 24), the parables which specially speak of the Passion and of the End of the World ( Matthew 20:1 ff., Matthew 21:33 ff., Matthew 22:1 ff., Matthew 25:1 ff., Matthew 25:14 ff.), and warnings against Pharisaism (esp. ch. 23). In the story of the Passion itself Mt. follows Mk. very closely, but has some additions.
We may now consider the manner in which the First Evangelist has treated his sources. We are at once struck with a great difference of order. Incidents are grouped together according to subject rather than to chronology. The Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings which were uttered at different times, as we see from Lk., where they occur in various contexts (Luke 6:20-34 ; 1618100417_4 ; Luke 12:22 ff., Luke 12:58 ff. etc.). It contains a passage ( Luke 5:20 ) which would suggest (if Mt. were a chronological work) that the breach with the Pharisees had already, at that early stage, taken place; whereas Mk. shows how gradual the breach was (see the various stages in Mark 2:18 ff., Mark 2:24 ; Mark 3:22 ; Mark 7:5 ). At first Jesus treats the Pharisees gently, and gives them explanations of difficulties; only when they are obstinate does He denounce them. This shows that Luke 5:20 is not in its chronological order. Then, again, many of the parables in Mt. are grouped together (see ch. 13), but they would not have been spokes all at one time. The Charge to the Twelve (ch. 10) includes much of the Charge to the Seventy and other sayings to the disciples in Luke 6:1-49 ; Luke 12:1-59 ; Luke 13:1-35 ; Luke 14:1-35 ; Luke 17:1-37 . The Discourse on the End in Mt. is grouped (see § 5). The groups in Mt. are often closed with a formula taken from Deuteronomy 31:1 [6] ]; thus Matthew 7:28 (Sermon on the Mount), Matthew 11:1 (Charge to the Twelve), Matthew 13:58 (group of parables), Matthew 19:1 , Matthew 26:1 (groups of warnings). In fact, the First Evangelist aims at a synoptic view of Christ’s teaching as a whole rather than at a chronological statement. In one or two particulars only, Mt. seems to borrow the grouping tendency from Mk., as in the case of the anointing at Bethany ( Matthew 26:6 ff., Mark 14:3 ff.), which is related in close connexion with Judas’ compact with the chief priests (the Evangelists seem to mean that the ‘waste’ of the ointment greatly influenced the traitor’s action), whereas Jn. ( Matthew 12:1 ) gives the more chronologically correct position of the incident, ‘six days before the passover.’
Another feature of Mt. is the frequency of quotations from the OT, and the mystical interpretations given. The interests of the First Evangelist lie largely in the fulfilment of prophecy (Matthew 5:17 ). The principles of interpretation common among the Jews are applied; a text, for example, which in its literal sense applies to the Exodus, is taken to refer to the departure of the Child Jesus from Egypt ( Matthew 2:15 , Hosea 11:1 ), and the Evangelist conceives of events as coming to pass that prophecy might be fulfilled ( Matthew 1:22 f.; cf. Matthew 2:15 ; Matthew 2:17 f., Matthew 2:23 , Matthew 4:14 ff., Matthew 8:17 , Matthew 12:17 ff., Matthew 13:35 , Matthew 21:4 f., Matthew 27:9 f.). It is thought that the second ass, which is found only in the Matthæan narrative of the Triumphal Entry ( Matthew 21:1 ff., the ass and ‘a colt the foal of an ass’), is due to the influence of the words of the prophecy, Zechariah 9:9 ; for the narrative is taken closely from the Petrine tradition, but the second ass of Mt. is an addition to it. So the ‘wine mingled with gall’ ( Matthew 27:34 ) for the ‘wine mingled with myrrh’ (lit. ‘myrrhed wine’) of the Petrine tradition ( Mark 15:23 ) seems to be due to Psalms 69:21 . The treatment of the non-Markan source is similar. In Luke 11:29 f. Jesus refers to the sign of Jonah and to the repentance of the Ninevites, to whom, by his preaching, Jonah was a sign; but the First Evangelist sees (with justice) a type of our Lord’s Resurrection in the story of Jonah in the belly of the whale ( Matthew 12:39 ff.; see, further, Robinson, Study of the Gospels , p. 96f.). The matter peculiar to Mt. is large in amount. Besides the Birth narratives we have the healing of the two blind men ( Matthew 9:27 ff.), and of the blind and dumb demoniacs ( Matthew 9:32 f., Matthew 12:22 f., thought by some to be one incident), the walking of St. Peter on the water ( Matthew 14:28 ff.), the coin in the fish’s mouth ( Matthew 17:24 ), Pilate’s wife’s dream and Pilate’s washing of his hands ( Matthew 27:19 ; Matthew 27:24 f.), and some other incidents, especially in the Passion; also many sayings, and part of the Sermon on the Mount.
3. Purpose of the Gospel . That it was written for Jewish Christians appears from the frequency of OT quotations, from the mystical interpretations, and from the absence of explanations of Jewish customs. Yet the author was no Judaizer. He alone tells us of the visit of the Gentile Magi; with Lk, he relates the healing of the Gentile centurion’s servant ( Matthew 8:5 f.); and the admission of the Gentiles to the Kingdom and the rejection of some of the Jews is announced in Matthew 8:11 f. (cf. Matthew 21:43 ). The Gospel is to be preached, and baptism and discipleship are to be given, to all nations ( Matthew 28:19 ).
4. Author . The question of authorship has partly been anticipated in § 1. The earliest MSS give the title simply as ‘According to Matthew,’ and similar titles to the other Gospels. The titles need not be, indeed almost certainly are not, those of the original authors, but they must have been applied at a very early date. What do they imply? It has been thought that they meant merely that the Gospels reflected the preaching of the persons named (so Bartlet in Hastings’ DB [7] iii. 297). But in that case the Second Gospel would be entitled ‘According to Peter,’ a title very close to Justin Martyr’s ‘Memoirs of Peter,’ which probably refers to Mk. (see art. Mark [2], § 1). There can be little doubt that those who used the title in the second half of the 2nd cent. meant it to imply authorship. It is a question, however, whether at the first the phrase actually meant that the Gospel in its latest form was the work of the author named. For lack of external information as to the First Gospel, we are driven to internal evidence. But this would not lead us to think of the author or (if the phrase be preferred) the editor who brought the Gospel into its present form as an Apostle and eye-witness. Unlike Jn., which claims to be written by an eye-witness ( John 1:14 ; John 19:35 ), a claim fully borne out by internal evidence, and unlike Mk., which abounds in autoptic characteristics, though in that case we have reason to think that they come not from the writer, but from the writer’s teacher, the First Gospel has none of the marks of an eye-witness. The autoptic characteristics of the Petrine tradition have in many cases been taken away by the alterations introduced by the First Evangelist (see art. Mark [2], § 4). The conclusion is that it was not the Apostle Matthew who gave us the Gospel in its present form. The name comes simply from ecclesiastical testimony of the 2nd cent., and not from the sacred writings themselves. Yet the Matthæan tradition is strong. Even Papias, apparently, thought that the Greek Matthæan Gospel which he used was a translation of the Apostle’s work. And there is no rival claimant to the authorship. On the other hand, Matthew, as an Apostle, was a sufficiently prominent person for an anonymous work to be assigned to him, especially if he had written a work which was one of its sources. These considerations may lead us to prefer the second solution mentioned above, in § 1 ( b ) that Matthew the Apostle composed the Aramaic original of the Greek ‘non-Markan document,’ the ‘Logia’ (not consisting of sayings only, but of sayings and narrative combined), and that in this way his name became attached to the First Gospel. The real author must remain unknown. That the work of an Apostle should have entirely disappeared is not a very serious difficulty when we reflect on the number of St. Paul’s Epistles that have perished.
5. Date . Irenæus ( Hær . iii. 1. 1) explicitly states that Matthew wrote first, ‘while Peter and Paul were preaching the gospel in Rome,’ but that Mark wrote ‘after their departure.’ In the Muratorian Fragment ( c [1] . 180 200?), a list of NT books, Mt. seems to have come before the rest, though, as it is incomplete at the beginning, this is not certain. This probably was also the general opinion of the succeeding ages, and finds an echo in Augustine’s dictum that Mk. is an abbreviation of Mt. But internal evidence strongly negatives the idea of the priority of Mt. (see Mark [2]). Though it is possible to make some reservations as to editorial touches, Mk. is seen to have been in the hands of the Matthæan writer; and whatever date we fix for it must be the earliest limit for Mt. We can get a further indication from the Discourse on the End ( Matthew 24:1 ff.). Both in Mt. and Mk. (whatever be thought of Lk.) the discourse is reported as if the fulfilment were only in prospect, and in a manner that would be unlikely if the siege of Titus had already taken place. This conclusion becomes still more likely when we compare the three Synoptics together. They all three begin with the destruction of the Temple ( Mark 13:1-2 and || Mt. Lk.). In Mk. and Lk. there follows a discourse which apparently speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem ( Mark 13:5-20 ), and then there comes in Mk. and partly in Lk. a passage which seems to refer to the end of the world ( Mark 13:21-37 ). But the First Evangelist, as so often, weaves together the sayings of Jesus which in Mk. are distinct, and makes the two events apparently one. (Cf. Matthew 24:3 with Mark 13:4 , Luke 21:7 ). Thus the writer must have thought that both events would be synchronous, and therefore must have written his account of the prophecy before the Fall of Jerusalem. That this is so we may see by a contrast. The Fourth Evangelist gives a prophecy of our Lord which had been fulfilled when he wrote; but he refers to the fulfilment ( John 21:18 f., the death of St. Peter). It is, of course, possible that the Discourse was written down as we have it in Mt. before a.d. 70, and that a later writer incorporated it unchanged. But would not the later writer have betrayed some consciousness of the fulfilment of the prophecy? For these reasons a date before a.d. 70 is probable. But this conclusion is much disputed, and in any case we must acknowledge that the authorship and date of the First Gospel are among the most perplexing of all NT problems.
A. J. Maclean.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Gospel of Thomas
See Apocrypha, New Testament ; Gnosticism .
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of Saint
The third book of the New Testament, whose author is Saint Luke, a disciple and companion of Saint Paul. The Gospel was written before the year 63, at which time Saint Luke wrote his second work, Acts of the Apostles. After making diligent inquiries of those who had seen and conversed with the Lord, he set down the life and teachings of Jesus as the sure foundation for the truth of Christianity (Luke 1:1-4). He narrates how Jesus, by His Life and teaching and by the ministry of the Apostles, brought salvation to the whole world. Among the characteristics of this Gospel are: the portrayal of Our Lord's mercy towards sinners; the prominence given the Mother of Jesus and other pious women; the clear and vivid delineations of characters; the frequent and beautiful parables of Jesus. The Gospel contains 24 chapters and maybe divided into:
the hidden life (1-2)
preaching of Saint John, baptism, and temptation (3:1 to 4:13)
teaching, miracles, and works of mercy in Galilee and the founding of the Church (4:14 to 9:50)
the "Perean Ministry," work of Jesus outside of Galilee (9:51 to 19:28)
ministry in Jerusalem (19:29 to 21:38)
Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension (22-24)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that the harmonious tradition from the earliest ages, the testimony of ancient writers, the use of the Gospel by the early Church, constitute certain proof that Saint Luke wrote the entire Gospel as contained in our Bibles before the year 70, and that it is a true historical document. Chapters specially commendable for reading are:
1-2, the five joyful mysteries
6, the sabbath day, choice of the Apostles
10, Good Samaritan
12,13, 14, instructions on following Christ
15, parables of mercy
22-24, Passion and Glory of Jesus
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Sermons: Must Have the Gospel in Them
A friend called on the Rev. T. Charles, of Bala, on Sunday afternoon, September II, 1814, after having been in church. 'Well,' said he, 'how did you like Mr. M ? Was there enough of gospel in the sermon to save a sinner? If not, it was of little consequence what was preached. I hope Bala people will never take up with anything short of that.'
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ordinances of the Gospel
Are institutions of divine authority relating to the worship of God; such as baptism, Matthew 28:19 .
2. The Lord's supper, 1 Corinthians 11:24 , &c.
3. Public ministry, or preaching and reading the word, Romans 10:15 , Ephesians 4:13 . Mark 16:15 .
4. Hearing the Gospel, Mark 4:24 . Romans 10:17 .
5. Public prayer, 1 Corinthians 16:15 ; 1 Corinthians 16:19 . Matthew 6:6 . Psalms 5:1 ; Psalms 5:7 .
6. Singing of psalms, Colossians 3:16 . Ephesians 5:19 .
7. Fasting, James 4:1-17 . Matthew 9:15 . Joel 2:12 .
8. Solemn thanksgiving, Psalms 50:14 . 1 Thessalonians 5:18 .
See these different articles; also MEANS OF GRACE.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Mark, Gospel of
John Mark, the writer of Mark’s Gospel, was the young man who set out with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 12:25; Acts 13:5). Later he worked closely with Peter, so closely in fact that Peter called Mark his son (1 Peter 5:13; see MARK). There is good evidence that Peter and Mark visited Rome about AD 60 (just before Paul arrived in Rome as a prisoner; Acts 28:16) and taught the church there for a time. Over the next few years Mark spent some time in Rome, while Peter revisited churches elsewhere. The Roman Christians asked Mark to preserve Peter’s teaching for them, and the result was Mark’s Gospel.
Mark, Peter and the Romans
Many features of Mark’s Gospel reflect the interests and character of Peter. Apart from the events in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, most of Jesus’ ministry recorded in Mark took place in Galilee in the north. Peter’s home town of Capernaum seems to have been Jesus’ base (Mark 1:21; Mark 1:29; Mark 2:1; Mark 9:33).
The account in Mark shows the characteristic haste of Peter in the way it rushes on from one story to the next. On the whole the language is more clearcut than in the parallels of the other Gospels, and reported statements are more direct. There is vivid detail, particularly in the record of Jesus’ actions and emotions (Mark 1:41; Mark 3:5; Mark 4:38; Mark 6:6; Mark 10:14; Mark 10:16; Mark 10:21; Mark 10:32). Peter’s genuineness is seen in that his mistakes are recorded (Mark 9:5-6; Mark 14:66-72), whereas incidents that might be to his credit are omitted (cf. Matthew 14:29; Matthew 16:17).
During the decade of the sixties, the Roman persecution of Christians increased, particularly after Nero blamed Christians for the great fire of Rome in AD 64. Just before this, Peter had written from Rome (code-named Babylon; 1 Peter 5:13) to encourage Christians who were being persecuted (1 Peter 1:6; 1 Peter 2:20-23; 1 Peter 3:14-17; 1 Peter 4:12-16). Not long after this he himself was executed (2 Peter 1:14; cf. John 21:18-19). Mark’s Gospel reminded the Roman Christians (by quoting from Peter’s experience of the life and teaching of Jesus) that they would need strength and patience to endure misunderstandings, persecution, false accusations and even betrayal (Mark 3:21; Mark 3:30; Mark 4:17; Mark 8:34-38; Mark 10:30; Mark 13:9; Mark 13:13; Mark 14:41; Mark 14:72; Mark 15:19; Mark 15:32).
Since the story of Jesus was set in Palestine, the Gentiles in Rome needed explanations of some matters. Mark therefore helped them by translating Hebrew or Aramaic expressions (Mark 3:17; Mark 5:41; Mark 7:11; Mark 7:34; Mark 15:22; Mark 15:34) and explaining Jewish beliefs and practices (Mark 7:3-4; Mark 12:18; Mark 12:42; Mark 14:12; Mark 15:42).
Mark’s view of Jesus
Mark’s Gospel records more action than the other Gospels, but less of Jesus’ teaching. Nevertheless, the book has a basic teaching purpose. Though Mark wrote in different circumstances from John and for different people, his basic purpose was the same, namely, to show that Jesus was the Son of God (cf. John 20:31). Mark makes this clear in his opening statement (Mark 1:1).
According to Mark, the ministry of Jesus from beginning to end showed that he was a divine person in human form, the God-sent Messiah. At Jesus’ baptism, the starting point for his public ministry, a statement from God showed what this unique ministry would involve. The statement, combining Old Testament quotations concerning the Davidic Messiah and the Servant of Yahweh, showed that Jesus’ way to kingly glory was to be that of the suffering servant (Mark 1:11; cf. Psalms 2:7; Isaiah 42:1; see MESSIAH). The heavenly Son of man, to whom God promised a worldwide and everlasting kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14), would receive that kingdom only by way of crucifixion (Mark 8:29-31; Mark 8:38; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:45; see SON OF MAN).
The death of Jesus is therefore the climax of Mark’s Gospel. That death came about through Jesus’ open confession to Caiaphas that he was both messianic Son of God and heavenly Son of man, and he was on the way to his kingly and heavenly glory (Mark 14:61-64). Demons knew Jesus to be the Son of God (Mark 3:11; Mark 5:7), his disciples recognized it (Mark 8:29), his Father confirmed it on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:7), Jesus declared it to disciples and enemies (Mark 13:32; Mark 14:61-62) and even a Roman centurion at the cross was forced to admit it (Mark 15:39).
Summary of contents
An introductory section deals with Jesus’ baptism and his subsequent temptation by Satan (1:1-13). The story then quickly moves on to deal with Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and other northern regions.
After gathering together his first few disciples (1:14-20), Jesus carried out a variety of healings (1:21-2:12) and added Matthew (Levi) to his group of disciples (2:13-17). Through several incidents he showed that the true religion he proclaimed was not concerned simply with the legal requirements of the Jewish law (2:18-3:6).
From Galilee Jesus appointed twelve apostles whom he could send out to spread the message of his kingdom (3:7-19). He illustrated the nature of that kingdom by dealing with critics (3:20-35), telling parables (4:1-34), overcoming storms, evil spirits, sickness, hunger and death (4:35-6:56), demanding moral rather than ceremonial cleanliness (7:1-23), and demonstrating by teachings and miracles the importance of faith (7:24-8:26).
The record of this part of Jesus’ ministry concludes with Peter’s acknowledgment of his messiahship (8:27-33), Jesus’ reminder of the cost of discipleship (8:34-9:1), the Father’s declaration at Jesus’ transfiguration (9:2-8), the disciples’ inability to heal a demon-possessed boy (9:9-29), and Jesus’ teaching on the necessity for humble submission in his kingdom (9:30-50).
Jesus’ ministry from his departure from Galilee to his arrival in Jerusalem dealt with such matters as divorce (10:1-12), children (10:13-16), wealth (10:17-31) and ambition (10:32-45). Near Jericho he healed a blind man (10:46-52).
On the Sunday before his crucifixion, Jesus entered Jerusalem as Israel’s God-sent Messiah (11:1-11). In the days that followed, he cleansed the temple and warned of the terrible judgment that was to fall on the Jewish nation because of its rejection of the Messiah (11:12-12:12). On many occasions the Jews disputed with him publicly (12:13-44), but privately he told his disciples of coming judgments and warned them to keep alert (13:1-37).
After his anointing at Bethany (14:1-11), Jesus prepared for the Passover, instituted the Lord’s Supper, then went and prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (14:12-42). He was arrested (14:43-52), taken to the high priest’s house (14:53-72), brought before Pilate (15:1-20), taken away and crucified (15:21-47). On the third day he rose from the dead (16:1-8), after which he appeared a number of times to his disciples and gave them final teaching (16:9-20). (These last twelve verses are not in the oldest and best manuscripts.)
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Matthew, Gospel of
Nowhere does this Gospel say who wrote it, though the title given to it in the second century reflects the traditional belief that Matthew was the author. Whether or not Matthew actually produced the finished product, it seems clear that his writings (referred to in second century documents) must have at least provided a major source of material for the book.
Origin of Matthew’s Gospel
It appears that Mark’s Gospel, written during the first half of the decade of the sixties, was the first of the Gospels. Its purpose was to preserve Peter’s account of Jesus’ ministry for the Christians in Rome. Other people had also prepared written accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus, and from these Luke began to write an account of Jesus’ life to present to a high ranking government official (Luke 1:1-4). A few years later, probably in the decade of the seventies, Matthew’s Gospel appeared. It was written mainly for Greek-speaking Jewish Christians, probably those of the churches of Syria and neighbouring regions to the north of Palestine (see GOSPELS).
Matthew had a clear purpose in writing. He therefore chose and arranged his material carefully, to fit in with his overall plan. He saved himself the work of writing fresh narratives of the ministry of Jesus by using most of the material from Mark’s Gospel, along with material from some of the same sources as Luke had used. But Matthew used this material differently from Mark and Luke, by making it serve his central purpose. He added a lot of material not contained in the other Gospels, and the characteristic flavour of his Gospel comes from this additional material.
A teaching purpose
Included in the material found solely in Matthew are many quotations from the Old Testament. He introduces most of these by a statement showing how the Old Testament was fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew 1:22; Matthew 26:63-6463; Matthew 2:17; Matthew 2:23; Matthew 4:14; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:17; Matthew 13:35; Matthew 21:4; Matthew 27:9).
Matthew was particularly concerned to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the son of David, the fulfilment of God’s purposes in choosing Israel (Matthew 1:1; Matthew 1:17; Matthew 2:6; Matthew 9:27; Matthew 11:2-6; Matthew 15:22; Matthew 11:21-24; Matthew 21:9; 1618100417_5). In Jesus the kingdom of God had come (Matthew 4:17; Matthew 4:23; Matthew 5:3; Matthew 12:28; Matthew 18:1-4; Matthew 24:14; see KINGDOM OF GOD), though Jesus the king was not the sort of king most people had expected (Matthew 2:6; Matthew 4:8-10; Matthew 21:5; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 25:34; Matthew 26:52-53; Matthew 27:11).
Unbelieving Jews often attacked those of their fellow Jews who were Christians. Matthew’s Gospel gave reassurance to these Christians that they were not people who had wandered away from the teaching of the Jewish religion, but people who had found the true fulfilment of it. Jesus did not contradict the Jewish law; rather he brought out its full meaning (Matthew 5:17).
The Gospel of Matthew therefore showed the Jewish Christians the nature of the kingdom into which they had come, and the requirements it laid upon them. They were to have high standards of behaviour (Matthew 5:3-12; Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:42; Matthew 5:44; Matthew 20:21-27) and were to be energetic in spreading the good news of the kingdom to others (Matthew 5:13-16; Matthew 10:5-8; Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19-20). The unbelieving Jewish traditionalists, on the other hand, were consistently condemned (Matthew 3:9; Matthew 23:1-36). They missed out on the kingdom, with the result that the gospel was sent to the Gentiles, and many believed (Matthew 8:11-12; Matthew 16:16; Matthew 12:21; Matthew 12:38-42; Matthew 21:43). Jesus had laid the foundation of his church, and no opposition could overpower it (Matthew 16:18).
Because of its basic purpose of instruction, Matthew’s account of the life of Jesus records more teaching and less action than the accounts of Mark and Luke. His material is not in chronological order. It is arranged according to subject matter around five main teaching sections, each of which concludes with a statement such as ‘When Jesus had finished these sayings . . .’ (Matthew 7:28; Matthew 11:1; Matthew 13:53; Matthew 19:1; Matthew 26:1). The first of these sections concerns behaviour (Chapters 5-7), the second deals with spreading the message of the kingdom (Chapter 10), the third consists of parables of the kingdom (Chapter 13), the fourth concerns attitudes to others (Chapter 18), and the fifth discusses the coming of the end (Chapters 24-25).
Summary of contents
The opening section of Matthew begins with a genealogy of Jesus (1:1-17), the story of his birth (1:18-25), the escape from Herod (2:1-18) and the subsequent move to Nazareth (2:19-23). Many years later, Jesus was baptized by John (3:1-17), after which he suffered temptations by Satan (4:1-11). He then returned to Galilee, where he began his public ministry and gathered together his first disciples (4:12-25). The section concludes with the Sermon on the Mount (5:1-7:29).
As Jesus continued to cast out demons, heal the sick, calm storms and welcome sinners, people saw that he was different from other Jewish teachers (8:1-9:17). Some saw that he was the Messiah (9:18-34). Jesus then appointed twelve apostles and sent them out as his assistants in spreading the news of his kingdom. First, however, he reminded them of the cost of being his disciples (9:35-10:42).
After commending John who had prepared the way for his kingdom (11:1-19), and urging others to enter the kingdom (11:20-30), Jesus showed that his kingdom was concerned with more than legal correctness (12:1-21). This stirred up the Jewish traditionalists against him, causing Jesus to warn them that they were only preparing a more severe judgment for themselves (12:22-50). A number of parables emphasized that Christ’s kingdom was the only way to life. To reject it meant eternal destruction (13:1-52).
Though rejected by some and feared by others (13:53-14:12), Jesus continued to bring help and healing to many (14:13-36). He emphasized the need for inner cleansing (15:1-20) and showed that faith is the way to blessing (15:21-16:12). The disciples knew that Jesus was the Messiah (16:13-20), but Jesus warned that death lay ahead for him and perhaps for them (16:21-28). After his transfiguration (17:1-8), he repeated that the Messiah would be cruelly treated and killed (17:9-27). Those in the Messiah’s kingdom therefore needed to be characterized by a humble and forgiving spirit (18:1-35).
After dealing with questions concerning family responsibilities (19:1-15), Jesus showed how wealth hindered entrance into God’s kingdom (19:16-30). The blessings of that kingdom came by God’s grace (20:1-16), and therefore there was no room for selfish ambition (20:17-34).
Jesus then entered Jerusalem as the messianic king (21:1-11), cleansed the temple (21:12-17), and in a series of disputes with the Jews showed how their rejection of the Messiah was leading them to national catastrophe (21:18-22:46). In particular he condemned the religious leaders (23:1-39), and privately he told his disciples to be prepared both for the coming destruction of Jerusalem and for the climax of history when he returns (24:1-51). Three stories illustrated the need for constant readiness (25:1-46).
While the Jews plotted to capture him, Jesus prepared for the crucifixion that he knew awaited him (26:1-19). After the Last Supper in Jerusalem and a time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (26:20-46), he was arrested, condemned by the Jewish Council, handed over to the Roman governor and crucified (26:47-27:66). But he rose from death (28:1-15) and, before finally leaving his disciples a few weeks later, entrusted to them the task of spreading his gospel worldwide (28:16-20).
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Gospel
GOSPEL . This word (lit. ‘God-story’) represents Greek euangelion , which reappears in one form or another in ecclesiastical Latin and in most modern languages. In classical Greek the word means the reward given to a bearer of good tidings (so 2 Samuel 4:10 LXX [1] in pl.), but afterwards it came to mean the message itself, and so in 2 Samuel 18:20 ; 2 Samuel 18:22 ; 2 Samuel 18:25 [LXX [1] ] a derived word is used in this sense. In NT the word means ‘good tidings’ about the salvation of the world by the coming of Jesus Christ. It is not there used of the written record. A genitive case or a possessive pronoun accompanying it denotes: ( a ) the person or the thing preached (the gospel of Christ, or of peace, or of salvation, or of the grace of God, or of God, or of the Kingdom, Matthew 4:23 ; Matthew 9:35 ; Matthew 24:14 , Mark 1:14 , Acts 20:24 , Romans 15:19 , Ephesians 1:13 ; Ephesians 6:15 etc.); or sometimes ( b ) the preacher ( Mark 1:1 (?), Romans 2:16 ; Romans 16:25 , 2 Corinthians 4:3 etc.); or rarely ( c ) the persons preached to ( Galatians 2:7 ). ‘The gospel’ is often used in NT absolutely, as in Mark 1:15 ; Mark 8:35 ; Mark 14:9 RV [3] , Mark 16:15 , Acts 15:7 , Romans 11:28 , 2 Corinthians 8:16 (where the idea must not be entertained that the reference is to Luke as an Evangelist ), and so ‘this gospel,’ Matthew 26:13 ; but English readers should bear in mind that usually (though not in Mark 16:15 ) the EV [4] phrase ‘to preach the gospel’ represents a simple verb of the Greek. The noun is not found in Lk., Heb., or the Catholic Epistles, and only once in the Johannine writings ( Revelation 14:6 , ‘an eternal gospel’ an angelic message). In Romans 10:16 ‘the gospel’ is used absolutely of the message of the OT prophets.
The written record was not called ‘the Gospel’ till a later age. By the earliest generation of Christians the oral teaching was the main thing regarded; men told what they had heard and seen, or what they had received from eye-witnesses. As these died out and the written record alone remained, the perspective altered. The earliest certain use of the word in this sense is in Justin Martyr ( c [5] . a.d. 150: ‘The Apostles in the Memoirs written by themselves, which are called Gospels,’ Apol . 1. 66; cf. ‘the Memoirs which were drawn up by His Apostles and those who followed them,’ Dial . 103), though some find it in Ignatius and the Didache . The earliest known titles of the Evangelic records (which, however, we cannot assert to be contemporary with the records themselves) are simply ‘According to Matthew,’ etc.
A. J. Maclean.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Matthew, the Gospel of
The opening book of the New Testament which appropriately begins with the declaration, “the book of Jesus Christ.” When we begin reading this book today, we should, however, have in mind its ending (Matthew 28:18-20 ). Matthew's purpose was to show that Jesus had the power to command His disciples to spread His gospel throughout all the world.
Matthew 28:16-20 is the scene of the resurrected Jesus meeting His disciples on a hill in Galilee. Jesus immediately declared his absolute authority: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (NIV). The disciples would be reminded of many experiences during Jesus' ministry that proved His authority. Now with this knowledge of the resurrection, it was evident to them that He had received His authority from God. Jesus then gave the disciples a Commission to “make disciples of all nations” (NIV). A disciple is (1) one who willingly becomes a learner of the Master's teaching and seeks to follow His example by implementing His teaching, and (2) who passes on to others what one has learned. Hearing Jesus' command, the disciples recalled His teaching and fellowship. Now they were called on to carry forward His mission. Jesus said they would make disciples as they went away from their meeting with Him. Their activities would include baptizing new disciples into the lordship of Jesus. This is the original commitment. The disciples would pass on to others all that Jesus taught them. In telling this story, Matthew emphasized that Jesus (1) has total authority, (2) His teachings must be transmitted, (3) and His message is for all people. If we, the modern readers, will keep these three themes in mind as we read the Gospel from the beginning, we will discover that the author shows us how Jesus demonstrated His authority, the teachings He employed, and His concern for all nations.
The Gospel is easily divided into seven sections: a beginning and an end with five teaching sections between. Because of this, Matthew has been recognized for its emphasis on the teachings of Jesus.
Matthew 1:1-4:25 opens the Gospel with the royal genealogy and builds to the proclamation of God in Matthew 3:17 : “This is my beloved Son.” The genealogies confirm Jesus' authoritative, kingly lineage and remind the reader of His relation to all nations by mentioning Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and the wife of a Hittite. The wise men (Gentiles) came seeking the King of the Jews (Matthew 8:1-1751 ). The angel affirmed Jesus' divine nature to Joseph. The child received a messianic name (Matthew 1:18-23 ). Joseph took the holy family to Gentile territory (Egypt) to escape the threats of Herod. When Jesus came to John for baptism, the voice from heaven proclaimed Him as God's Son. As God's Son, Jesus had the authority and power to confront Satan and overcome. Jesus then went to Galilee of the Gentiles (Matthew 4:15 ) to begin His public ministry. This opening section makes it obvious that Jesus is designated by God to be the Messiah with authority—for all nations.
Matthew 5:1-7:29 is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. It should be called the Teaching from the Mount since that is what the text calls it ( Matthew 5:2 ). While teaching and preaching overlap, teaching emphasizes the essential principles which must be passed on to maintain the discipline or movement at hand. Jesus gave His essential doctrine in this teaching. He stressed the importance of His commandments in Matthew 5:19 ; emphasized the authoritative nature of His teachings by declaring: “But I say unto you” (Matthew 5:22 ,Matthew 5:22,5:28 ,Matthew 5:28,5:32 ,Matthew 5:32,5:39 ,Matthew 5:39,5:44 ); and was recognized by the crowds as a Teacher with authority (Matthew 7:28-29 ). Matthew presented Jesus as an authoritative Teacher. When the disciples went out to teach, they knew what to teach. When a believer goes out to teach today, he can refer to Matthew's Gospel.
Matthew 8:1-10:42 opens with a series of ten miracles demonstrating Jesus' authority over disease, natural catastrophes, demons, and death. What He had demonstrated verbally in the teachings on the Mount, Jesus acted in displays of power. His disciples wondered “that even the winds and sea obey him!” ( Matthew 8:27 ), and the crowds stood amazed that He had the authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:8 ). Ministry to a Gentile centurion is in this section also. After demonstrating His power, Jesus gave authority to His disciples to go out and heal and teach as He had done (Matthew 10:1 ), thus preparing them for their final Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 . By continuing the emphasis on authority, teaching, and Gentiles, Jesus prepared His immediate disciples for their task after His death. Matthew continues to teach later generations of believers about Jesus' power and concern for all mankind.
Matthew 11:1-13:52 shows various people reacting to Jesus' authority. Various responses are noted in Matthew 11:1 , including Jesus' thanksgiving that the “babes” understand (Matthew 11:25-30 ). When the leaders rejected Jesus' authority in Matthew 10:21-254 , Matthew implied that Jesus would go to the Gentiles by quoting Isaiah the prophet (Matthew 12:18-21 ). Jesus continued His teaching in parables to those who were willing to listen (Matthew 13:10-13 ). So when Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into all the world and teach, they were aware that he had already begun the movement by His example in His earthly ministry.
Matthew 13:53-18:35 opens with the story of Jesus' teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth. The people had the same response to Jesus' teaching as the crowds did at the end of the Sermon on the mount. They were astonished (compare Matthew 13:54 ; Matthew 7:28 ). Although Jesus presented His authoritative teaching, His hometown people rejected it (Matthew 13:57 ). His disciples accepted Him (Matthew 14:33 ), and so did the Gentile woman (Matthew 15:22 ). Again, Jesus taught authoritatively and related to Gentiles.
Matthew 19:1-25:46 makes the transition from Galilee to Jerusalem. Jesus dramatically presented His kingly authority by His triumphal entry into Jerusalem ( Matthew 21:1-9 ) and by cleansing the Temple (Matthew 21:10-17 ). Then, while He was teaching, the chief priests and elders challenged Him saying, “By what authority doest thou these things?” (Matthew 21:23 ). Jesus answered with parables and other teachings (Matthew 21:28-22:46 ). Jesus warned the people about the examples of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 23:1-38 ). He then concentrated His teaching only on His disciples (Matthew 24:1-25:46 ). They could recall this when He commanded them to teach what He taught. The modern believer must also hear what Jesus taught and teach it to others.
Matthew 26:1-28:20 has no teaching situations, but it tells of the conspiracy ending in Jesus' execution. In the midst of the trial scene Jesus was asked if He was the Messiah. Jesus responded by affirming His authority: “Thou hast said” ( Matthew 26:64 ). by Pilate, a Gentile, recognized, Jesus' kingly authority, placarding over the cross: “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:37 ). The Gentile centurion proclaimed: “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54 ). As in the birth story, so in the end, the author stressed Jesus' divine, kingly authority and emphasized the inclusion of the Gentiles.
When the resurrected Lord declared His authority to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 , they understood because they had seen His authority displayed as they lived with Jesus. When modern readers come to Matthew 28:18 , they understand because Matthew has shown us Jesus' authority from the beginning. When Jesus commanded His disciples to make other disciples by teaching all that He taught them, they knew what to teach; and we modern believers know what Jesus intended because we know Matthew's record of His teaching. When Jesus included baptizing, they realized it was the sign of commitment to discipleship, and so do we. When Jesus assured His disciples that He would be with them even to the ends of the earth, the disciples understood because already Jesus had included all people in His ministry.
As we read through the seven sections summarized above, we should also note that Matthew presented Jesus as the “Son of God,” a term that appears twenty-three times in the Gospel of Matthew. While the virgin birth story affirms Jesus' sonship, the quotation from Hosea 11:1 ( Matthew 2:15 ) confirms it. Twice God proclaimed Jesus' sonship: at His baptism (Matthew 3:17 ) and at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:5 ). Peter confessed it (Matthew 16:16 ). Jesus attested to His sonship in the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9 ), His thanksgiving to God (Matthew 11:25-26 ), and the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39 ). The author wanted the reader to be aware that Jesus, the Son of God, is the One crucified on the cross; so Jesus called out to “my God” from the cross (Matthew 27:46 ), and a Gentile centurion confessed that the dying One is “truly the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54 ).
Matthew wanted the reader to be aware that forgiveness of sins comes through the death of the divine Son of God. The angel had told Joseph that Jesus would “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 ). Jesus Himself had assured His disciples that His destiny was “to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 11:7-156 ). Jesus left behind a continuing reminder of His role in the forgiveness of sins when He instituted the Lord's Supper. “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28 ).
It is impossible to know the exact date when the Gospel of Matthew was written. Some contemporary writers date it as early as A.D. 60; some, as late as A.D. 95. The place of writing was probably some place along the coast of Phoenicia or Syria such as Antioch. This is because of Matthew's several references to Gentiles, a reference to Phoenicia and Syria, and the terms (in the Greek text) used for coins (Matthew 17:24 ,Matthew 17:24,17:27 ). Although the Gospel nowhere identifies the author and many modern Bible students point to a complex history of editing and collecting sources, Matthew, the tax collector, the son of Alphaeus has been identified as the author since the second century. See Matthew .
Outline
I. Jesus' Birth Fulfilled Prophecy (Matthew 1:1-2:23 ).
A. Jesus was born of the line of David (Matthew 1:1-17 ).
B. God directed the circumstances of Jesus' birth (Matthew 1:18-25 ).
C. Even Gentile foreigners worshiped the newborn Jewish king (Matthew 2:1-12 ).
D. God provided for His Son's survival (Matthew 2:13-23 ).
II. The Obedient Jesus Invites People to Kingdom Service (Matthew 3:1-4:25 ).
A. Jesus carried out God's will by being baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-15 ).
B. God approved His Son (Matthew 3:16-17 ).
C. Jesus obeyed God's Word and defeated Satan (Matthew 4:1-11 ).
D. Jesus called people to God's kingdom through repentance (Matthew 4:12-22 ).
E. Jesus demonstrated the power of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23-25 ).
III. Jesus Taught God's Way to Live (Matthew 5:1-7:29 ).
A. Real happiness comes from a right relationship to God (Matthew 5:1-12 ).
B. Christians must be like salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16 ).
C. Love, not legalism, is the rule of the kingdom (Matthew 5:17-48 ).
D. The desire to be seen by others is the wrong motive for good works (Matthew 6:1-4 ).
E. Prayer is private seeking of forgiveness, not public search for praise (Matthew 6:5-15 ).
F. Fasting is of value only if the motive behind it is right (Matthew 6:16-18 ).
G. Only spiritual wealth really lasts (Matthew 6:19-21 ).
H. Each person must choose whether to give God first place (Matthew 6:22-34 ).
I. To judge others is wrong; to show discernment is necessary (Matthew 7:1-6 ).
J. The kingdom requires persistence in prayer and faith in God's goodness (Matthew 7:7-11 ).
K. The Golden Rule summarizes the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:12 ).
L. Only the narrow path of submission to God's will leads to life in His kingdom (Matthew 7:13-23 ).
M. Jesus and His teachings form the only lasting foundation for life (Matthew 7:24-29 ).
IV. Jesus' Power and Call Reveal His Authority (Matthew 8:1-10:42 )
A. Jesus' healing power is available to all persons of faith (1618100417_9 ).
B. Discipleship is first priority (Matthew 8:18-22 ).
C. Jesus has authority over nature, demons, and sin (Matthew 8:23-9:8 ).
D. Jesus calls sinners to share His authority (Matthew 9:9-13 ).
E. Jesus' gospel requires new forms of piety (Matthew 9:14-17 ).
F. Jesus' authority responds to faith, conquers demons, and does not come from Satan (Matthew 9:18-34 ).
G. The compassionate Lord prays for compassionate helpers (Matthew 9:35-38 ).
H. Jesus entrusts His disciples with His authority in word and deed (Matthew 10:1-20 ).
I. To exercise His authority, disciples must face the dangers Jesus faced (1618100417_18 ).
J. Jesus' authority removes cause for fear (Matthew 10:26-31 ).
K. Disciples confess Jesus in all situations (Matthew 10:32-39 ).
L. Those who welcome Christian messengers will receive rewards (Matthew 10:40-42 ).
V. Jesus' Work Led to Controversy (Matthew 11:1-12:50 ).
A. Jesus fulfilled messianic prophecy (Matthew 11:1-6 ).
B. John marked the end of the prophetic era (1618100417_85 ).
C. Blind religion seeks controversy rather than truth (Matthew 11:16-19 ).
D. Repentance is the proper response to Jesus (Matthew 11:20-24 ).
E. Discipleship requires faith in God's Son, not great human wisdom or works (Matthew 11:25-30 ).
F. Mercy, not legalism, is the key to interpreting God's Word (Matthew 12:1-14 ).
G. Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's servant prophecies (Matthew 12:15-21 ).
H. Faith sees Jesus as Messiah, but blindness calls Him satanic (Matthew 12:22-37 ).
I. Resurrection faith is the criterion for eternal judgment (Matthew 12:38-45 ).
J. Obedient believers form Cod's family (Matthew 12:46-50 ).
VI. Jesus Taught About the Kingdom (Matthew 13:1-52 ).
A. Response to the kingdom depends on the “soil” (Matthew 13:1-23 ).
B. God delays separating the true from the false (Matthew 13:24-30 ).
C. God's kingdom, small at first, will finally transform the world (Matthew 13:31-33 ).
D. Jesus' use of parables fulfills Scripture (Matthew 13:34-35 ).
E. The Son of Man controls final judgment and will send those who reject Him to eternal punishment (Matthew 13:36-43 ).
F. The kingdom is worth any sacrifice (Matthew 13:44-46 ).
G. The kingdom involves both traditional and new understandings of Scripture (Matthew 13:47-52 ).
VII. Jesus Confronts Conflict and Critical Events (Matthew 13:53-17:27 ).
A. Jesus faced rejection and sorrow (Matthew 13:53-14:12 ).
B. Jesus placed compassion for others over personal needs (Matthew 14:13-21 ).
C. Jesus' power over nature and disease shows He is God's Son (Matthew 14:22-36 ).
D. Thoughts and motives, not ritual acts, determine spiritual purity (Matthew 15:1-20 ).
E. Faith overcomes all obstacles that would separate us from Jesus (Matthew 15:21-28 ).

Gospel of

The second book of the New Testament and the shortest account of the ministry of Jesus.
Author The title “according to Mark” was added to this Gospel by scribes who produced the earliest copies of the Gospel. According to early church tradition, Mark recorded and arranged the “memories” of Peter, thereby producing a Gospel based on apostolic witness. Although Mark was a common Roman name, the gospel writer is probably John Mark. Mark became an important assistant for both Paul and Peter, preaching the good news to Gentiles and preserving the gospel message for later Christians. See Mark, John .
Readers Mark wrote his Gospel for Gentile Christians. He explains Jewish customs in detail for the benefit of readers unfamiliar with Judaism (Mark 7:3-4 ; Mark 12:18 ). Mark translated several Aramaic expressions for a Greek-speaking audience (Mark 5:41 ; Mark 7:11 ,Mark 7:11,7:34 ; Mark 15:22 ). Gentiles would have especially appreciated Mark's interpretation of the saying of Jesus which declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19 ; compare with Matthew 15:17-20 ). Mark's Gentile audience may explain his omission of the genealogy of Jesus. Perhaps these Gentile readers were Roman Christians. Mark's Gospel contains many terms borrowed from Latin and written in Greek, consider “taking counsel” (Mark 3:6 ), “Legion” (Mark 8:22-25 ), “tribute” (Mark 12:14 ), “scourged” (Mark 15:15 ).
Early Christian tradition placed Mark in Rome preserving the words of Peter for Roman Christians shortly before the apostle's death (see 1 Peter 5:13 ). According to tradition, Peter was martyred in Rome during the Neronian persecution, which would place the date of Mark's Gospel about A.D. 64 to 68. Such a hostile environment motivated Mark to couch his account of the life of Jesus in terms that would comfort Christians suffering for their faith. The theme of persecution dominates the Gospel of Mark (see Mark 10:30 ; compare Matthew 19:29 ; Luke 18:29 ). Jesus' messianic suffering is emphasized to inspire Christians to follow the same path of servanthood (Mark 10:42-45 ). Roman Christians would be encouraged knowing that Jesus anticipated that “everyone shall be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49 ; see Mark 13:9-13 ). Dying for the gospel would be equivalent to dying for Jesus (Mark 8:35 ; Matthew 16:25 ; Luke 9:24 ).
Style Mark has been called the “gospel of action.” One of his favorite words in telling the story of Jesus is “immediately.” Jesus is constantly on the move. In one day, according to Mark, Jesus instructed the multitudes by the sea, traveled across the sea of Galilee and calmed the storm, healed the Gerasene demoniac, crossed the sea again, healed the woman with a hemorrhage, and raised a little girl from the dead (Mark 4:1-6:1 ). Mark apparently had more interest in the work of Jesus than in the words of Jesus. Thus he omitted the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught as He moved from region to region, using the circumstances of His travel as valuable lessons for His disciples (Mark 8:14-21 ). Geographical references serve only to trace the expansive parameters of His ministry. According to Mark's “motion” picture, Jesus moved quickly—as if He were a man whose days were numbered.
Good storytellers captivate audiences by using everyday language which provokes strong imagery. Mark's language is simple, direct, and common. His sometimes rough and unrefined Greek grammar facilitates his ability to communicate the gospel message by using familiar patterns of speech. When Mark told a story, he possessed a flair for the dramatic and an eye for detail. His description of events was replete with vivid images which evoke a variety of emotions in just one story (see Mark 5:1-20 ; compare Matthew 8:28-34 ). In the graphic account of Jesus' encounter with the demoniac boy, only Mark recorded the child's convulsion which caused him to fall on the ground, and roll “around, foaming at the mouth” (Mark 9:20 , Mark 9:26 NIV). Furthermore, Mark preserved Jesus' interrogation of the father as to the severity of the boy's condition and the depth of his own faith ( Mark 9:21-24 ). Finally, only Mark recorded the actual words of Jesus' rebuke as well as the reaction of the crowd to the boy's lifeless body: “He's dead!” (Mark 9:25-26 , NIV).
Mark's concern for detail, sometimes to the point of redundancy (see Mark 6:49-50 NIV, “when they saw Him because they all saw Him “He spoke to them and said ”), demonstrates his reliance upon eyewitness testimony. Mark was careful to relate not only the words of Jesus, but also His gestures, attitudes, and emotions (Mark 3:5 ; Mark 6:34 ; Mark 7:34 ; Mark 8:12 ; Mark 11:16 ). In the same fashion, Mark recorded the reaction of the crowds, facial expressions of conversationalists, conclusions drawn by the disciples, and private remarks made by opponents (Mark 5:40 ; Mark 10:22 ,Mark 10:22,10:32 ,Mark 10:32,10:41 ; Mark 11:31 ; Mark 14:40 ). Only an observant insider would relate stories with such pertinent information. Furthermore, the prominent role of Peter in the narrative (Peter remembered, Mark 11:21 ; see also Mark 1:36 ; Mark 14:37 ; Mark 16:7 ) confirms early Christian tradition that Mark relied upon the recollections of the apostle when he produced “the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:29-34 ).
Form Upon first reading, the Gospel of Mark appears to be an arbitrary collection of stories about Jesus. After the Baptist fulfilled his role as the forerunner to the Messiah (in a very brief appearance), Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee by preaching the “gospel of God” and collecting a few disciples collecting a few disciples (Mark 1:14-20 ). With these necessary introductions completed, Mark presented the life of Jesus by following a simple geographical scheme: from Galilee to Judea. The popular Galilean ministry of Jesus is recorded in Mark 1-9 . The brief Judean ministry (Mark 10:1-31 ) serves primarily as a prelude to the approaching passion of Jesus. Over one-third of Mark's Gospel is devoted to describing the events of the last week in the life of Jesus (Mark 10:32-15:47 ). The story ends as abruptly as it began; Mark finished his Gospel account with the angelic announcement of the resurrection of Jesus the Nazarene (the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament end Mark's Gospel at Mark 16:8 ). Mark's chronology of Jesus leaves the reader with the impression that his only purpose in writing a Gospel was to preserve the oral tradition in written form. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes apparent to the observant reader that Mark arranged the material in a more sophisticated fashion to convey truth on a higher level.
The stories of the cleansing of the Temple and the cursing of the fig tree appear as isolated incidents in Matthew's Gospel, connected by chronological sequence (Matthew 21:12-22 ). In the Gospel of Mark, on the other hand, these two stories are interwoven to aid the reader in interpreting the parabolic activity of Jesus. Along the way to Jerusalem Jesus indicated to His disciples that He was hungry and approached a fig tree to harvest its fruit. The tree was full of leaves, giving every indication of life; but it possessed no fruit. Mark recorded that Jesus “answered” the tree and announced, May “no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever” (Mark 11:14 ). The disciples, who “heard him,” must have been puzzled by Jesus' actions, for Mark recorded that “it was not the season for figs” (Mark 11:13 , NIV). Without explanation, Jesus led His disciples into Jerusalem where he cleansed the Temple. From a distance the daily activity of the Temple gave every indication of spiritual life, but upon closer inspection Jesus found no spiritual fruit. Israel, the fig tree, was supposed to provide a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17 , NIV). Instead, the religious leaders turned the devotion of worshipers into financial profit (Mark 11:15 ,Mark 11:15,11:17 ). In essence, when Jesus “answered” the fig tree, he pronounced a curse on the Jewish religious leadership and demonstrated His divine displeasure by cleansing the Temple. In word and deed, Jesus prophesied that God would not longer use Israel as the vehicle of salvation for humanity. It should have come as no surprise, then, for Peter and the disciples, during their return trip, to find the cursed fig tree dead (Mark 11:21 ). By purifying the Temple, Jesus marked the death of Judaism, caused His own death (Mark 11:18 ), and gave birth to a religion for all people. The Gentile readers of Mark's Gospel would have especially appreciated the significant arrangement of these two stories.
Mark's Gospel is not just a collection of stories about Jesus; his book tells the story of Jesus as a whole. Mark developed the unifying “plot” of the gospel story by unveiling the hidden identity of Jesus. The messianic secret is part of the mystery of the kingdom of God, understood only by insiders—”to them that are without all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11 ,Mark 4:11,4:33-34 ). Throughout Mark's Gospel, Jesus made every attempt to conceal His true identity. Jesus silenced demonic profession because they knew Him (Mark 1:34 ). He ordered those who witnessed miracles not to tell anyone what they saw, although silence was only a remote possibility (Mark 7:36 ). Even after the climactic profession of faith, when the disciples revealed that they had learned the secret (“Thou art the Christ”!), Jesus swore His followers to secrecy (Mark 8:29-30 ). Mark used the messianic secret to organize his story around the progressive revelation of Christ and the faith pilgrimage of His disciples. Even Gentiles demonstrated that they belonged to the community of faith when they understood Jesus' parables and recognized Him as the Christ.
The literary form of Mark's Gospel is no accident. The arrangement of the gospel material gives every indication that a skilled literary craftsman has been at work. For example, Mark found irony in pairing the story of the disciples questioning the identity of Jesus after the stilling of the storm, “What manner of man is this?” (Mark 4:41 ) with the account of the demons who are quick to shout, “Jesus, thou son of the most high God” (Mark 5:7 ). When the disciples finally offered their superlative confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27-30 ), they failed to understand the full implications of Jesus' messiahship (Mark 8:31-38 ). Mark depicted their partial spiritual vision by recording the unique miracle of Jesus healing the blind man in two stages (Mark 5:9 ). Although the disciples saw the messianic secret, their vision was not be focused until the resurrection. Beyond doubt, Mark's portrait of Jesus is a “painting” which can be appreciated both up close (style) and from a distance (form).
Message Jesus' favorite self-designation, especially in Mark, was “Son of Man.” In Mark's Gospel, Jesus is identified with humanity in title and in kind. Mark portrayed Jesus as a Man possessing every human emotion. Moved by compassion, anger, frustration, mercy, and sorrow (Mark 1:41 ; Mark 3:5 ; Mark 8:17 ; Mark 14:6 ,Mark 14:6,14:33 ), Jesus ministered among His own kind. Mark offered the full humanity of Jesus without reservation (see Mark 3:21 ; Mark 4:38 ; Mark 6:3-6 ; Mark 13:32 ); from the beginning of His earthly ministry (Mark 2:20 ), Jesus lived in the ominous shadow of the cross until the agony of Gethsemane almost overwhelmed Him (Mark 14:34 ). However, Mark penned a Gospel which was also designed to evoke faith in the deity of Jesus: the divine voice announced it from heaven, demons screamed it in agony, Peter professed it boldly, even a Roman soldier acknowledged, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 ).
Outline
I. God Has Acted for His People by Sending His Son as His Agent (Mark 1:1-13 ).
A. God fulfilled the words of His prophets (Mark 1:1-3 ).
B. God announced His action through the herald in the wilderness (Mark 1:4-8 ).
C. God's endorsement of Jesus as His beloved Son showed He is the promised Lord (Mark 1:9-11 ).
D. God sustained His Son in the experience of testing in the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13 ).
II. The Appearance of God's Son as His Agent Signaled the Presence of the New Age (Mark 1:14-45 ).
A. God's Agent announced the presence of the new age (Mark 1:14-15 ).
B. The call to become fishers of men was a consequence of the presence of the new age (Mark 1:16-20 ).
C. The unique authority of God's Agent demonstrated the presence of the new age (Mark 1:21-28 ).
D. Healing through God's Agent revealed the saving character of the new age (Mark 1:1 ).
E. The urgency of preaching was consistent with the presence of the new age (Mark 1:35-39 ).
F. The healing of a leper was evidence of the powers of the new age (Mark 1:40-45 ).
III. The Old Order Failed to Recognize God's Agent or the Presence of the new age (Mark 2:1-3:6 ).
A. The old order failed to recognize that Jesus had authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:1-12 ).
B. The old order resented God's Agent for forgiving outcasts and sinners (Mark 2:13-17 ).
C. The old order failed to understand fasting was inappropriate when God's Agent was present (
Holman Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of
The third and longest book in the New Testament. Luke is the first of a two-part work dedicated to the “most excellent Theophilus” (Acts 21:1-2754 ; Acts 1:1 ). The Book of Acts forms the sequel to Luke, with the author explaining in Acts that Luke dealt with “all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up” (Acts 1:1-2 ; See Acts ).
Authorship Though the author of Luke-Acts never mentioned himself by name, he was obviously a close friend and traveling companion of Paul. In the “we-sections” of Acts (Acts 16:10-17 ; Acts 20:5-15 ; Acts 21:1-18 ; Acts 27:1-28:16 ) the author of the narrative apparently joined Paul on his journeys. Through a process of elimination, the most likely choice for this person is “Luke, the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14 ).
Tradition for Lukan authorship is very strong, dating back to the early church. Early lists and descriptions of New Testament books dating from between A.D. 160-190 agree that Luke, the physician and companion of Paul, wrote the Gospel of Luke. Many of the early Church Fathers from as early as A.D. 185 readily accepted Luke as the author of the Third Gospel.
With the early church tradition unanimously ascribing the Third Gospel to Luke, the burden of proof is on those who argue against Lukan authorship. See Luke .
Date and Place of Writing The Book of Acts ends abruptly with Paul in his second year of house imprisonment in Rome. Scholars generally agree that Paul reached Rome around A.D. 60. This makes the Book of Acts written at the earliest around A.D. 61 or 62, with the Gospel written shortly before. Luke 19:41-44 and Luke 21:20-24 records Jesus' prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. This cataclysmic event in ancient Judaism occurred in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Romans. It hardly seems likely that Luke would have failed to record this significant event. Assigning a date to the Gospel later than A.D. 70 would ignore this consideration. Many scholars, however, continue to favor a date about A.D. 80.
A second historical consideration pushes the dating even earlier. Many scholars feel Paul was released from the Roman imprisonment he was experiencing as Acts concludes. The apostle was later reimprisoned and martyred under the Neronian persecution which broke out in A. D. 64. Paul was enjoying considerable personal liberty and opportunities to preach the gospel (Acts 28:30-31 ) even though a prisoner. The optimism of the end of the Book of Acts suggests the Neronian persecution is a future event. One can hardly imagine that Paul's release would find no mention in the Acts narrative had it already occurred.
It seems best, then, to date the writing of Luke somewhere between A.D. 61,63. Those who argue that this does not allow Luke time to review Mark's Gospel (assuming it was written first) fail to take into account the tight web of association between those involved in Paul's ministry. See Mark.
As to where the Gospel was written, the most probable place is Rome. Luke reached Rome in Paul's company and was in Rome when Paul wrote Colossians (Colossians 4:14 ) and Philemon (24) during this first Roman imprisonment. The circumstance would have allowed time for the composition of Luke-Acts. One ancient source suggested Achaia, a Greek province, as the place of writing. It seems reasonable to conclude that the Gospel, written in Rome, perhaps made its first appearance in Achaia or was finished there.
Purpose and Readership Luke himself identified the purpose of his writing the Gospel (Luke 1:1-4 ). He wanted to confirm for Theophilus the certainty of the things Theophilus had been taught. Luke also wanted this information available for a wider readership. Most scholars conclude that Luke's target audience were Gentile inquirers and Christians who needed strengthening in the faith.
Luke's purpose was to present a historical work “in order” (Luke 9:57-62 ). Most of his stories fall in chronological sequence. He often gave time indications (Luke 1:5 ,Luke 5:1-7:26 ,Luke 1:26,1:36 ,Luke 1:36,1:56 ,Luke 1:56,1:59 ; Luke 2:42 ; Luke 3:23 ; Luke 9:28 ; Luke 12:1 ,Luke 1:39-56:7 ). More than any other Gospel writer, Luke connected his story with the larger Jewish and Roman world (see Luke 2:1 ; Luke 3:1-2 ).
A strong argument can be presented for a second, though clearly subordinate, purpose. Some see Luke-Acts as an apology for the Christian faith, a defense of it designed to show Roman authorities that Christianity posed no political threat. Pilate declared Jesus innocent three times (Luke 9:28-363 ,Luke 23:4,23:14 ,Luke 23:14,23:22 ). Acts does not present Roman officials as unfriendly (Acts 13:4-12 ; Acts 16:35-40 ; Acts 18:12-17 ; Acts 19:31 ). Agrippa remarked to Festus that Paul could have been freed if he had not appealed to Caesar (Luke 9:51-565 ). Paul is pictured as being proud of his Roman citizenship (Acts 22:28 ). The apostle is seen preaching and teaching in Rome openly without hindrance as Acts draws to a close. It is possible to see in all this an attempt by Luke to calm Roman authorities' fears about any supposed subversive character of Christianity.
Beyond the immediate purposes of the author, the Holy Spirit has chosen Luke's Gospel to reach all nations with the beautiful story of God's love in Christ. Many claim the Lukan birth narrative (Luke 2:1-20 ) as their favorite. The canticles or songs in Luke (Luke 1:46-55 ; Luke 1:67-79 ; Luke 2:13-14 ; Luke 2:29-32 ) have inspired countless melodies. Luke's Gospel has been a source for many artists, including Van Eyck, Van der Weyden, Rossetti, Plockhorst, Rubens, and Rembrandt.
Luke's sources Though Luke was not an eye-witness to the earthly life and ministry of Christ, he was in intimate contact with many who were. Luke was with Paul in Palestine in the late 50s, especially in Caesarea and Jerusalem (1618100417_6:2 ). Members of the Jerusalem church (including James, the brother of Jesus) would have provided much oral testimony to the physician intent on writing an account of Jesus' life. Luke's association with Paul brought him into contact with leading apostolic witnesses, including James and Peter.
Most scholars believe Luke (as well as Matthew) relied on Mark's written Gospel. Mark probably was an eyewitness to some events in Jesus' life. His Gospel is generally recognized to reflect Peter's preaching about Christ. Mark was in Rome with Luke and Paul during Paul's captivity (Colossians 4:10 ,Colossians 4:10,4:14 ; Philippians 1:24 ). It would be natural to assume Luke had access to Mark's writings. Scholars have identified a source “Q” (an abbreviation for the German word Quelle , meaning “source”), referring to passages and sections of written material apparently available to Matthew and Luke either unavailable or unused by Mark (for example, Matthew 3:7-10 /Luke 3:7-10/3:7-9 ; Matthew 24:45-51 /Luke 24:45-51/12:42-46 ). This source may have been a collection of Jesus' sayings written down by His followers. See Logia .
John's Gospel certainly was not available for Luke (most scholars date John late in the first century). Any similarities between Luke's Gospel and John's can probably be accounted for by recognizing that a rich tradition, especially oral, provided a common source for all the Gospel writers.
Some scholars have posited an “L” source (an abbreviation for Luke) identifying some 500 verses exclusive to Luke, including the 132 verses of Luke 1:1 and Luke 2:1 . The argument that a separate document existed that only Luke had access to is not convincing. The new material introduced by Luke should be seen as the result of his own research and literary genius. One obvious example is the birth narratives of John the Baptist and Christ. The material that Luke uniquely presents give the Third Gospel much of its character.
Special emphases and characteristics As already noted, Luke took great pains to relate his narrative to contemporaneous historical events . Beginning with the birth narratives of John the Baptist and Jesus, he wrote with the eye for detail of a historian (see Luke 1:5 ,Luke 1:5,1:36 ,Luke 1:36,1:56 ,Luke 2:1-2:59 ; Luke 1:56,1 ,Luke 2:1-2,2:7 ,Luke 2:7,2:42 ; Luke 3:23 ; Luke 9:20 ,Luke 9:20,9:37 ,Luke 9:37,9:57 ; Luke 7:1-10 ,Luke 22:1,22:7 ,Luke 22:7,22:66 ; Luke 23:44 ,Luke 23:44,23:54 ; Luke 24:1 ,Luke 8:1-3:13 ,Luke 24:13,24:29 ,Luke 24:29,24:33 ).
Luke stressed the universal redemption available to all through Christ. Samaritans enter the kingdom ( Luke 9:51-6 ; Luke 10:30-37 ; Luke 17:11-19 ) as well as pagan Gentiles (Luke 2:32 ; Luke 3:6 ,Luke 3:6,3:38 ; Luke 4:25-27 ; Luke 7:9 ; Luke 10:1 ,Luke 10:1,10:47 ). Publicans, sinners, and outcasts (Luke 3:12 ; Luke 5:27-32 ; Luke 7:37-50 ; Luke 19:2-10 ; Luke 23:43 ) are welcome along with Jews (Luke 1:33 ,Luke 1:33,2:10 ) and respectable people (Luke 7:36 ; Luke 11:37 ; Luke 14:1 ). Both the poor (Luke 7:36-50 ; Luke 2:7 ; Luke 6:20 ; Luke 7:22 ) and rich (Luke 19:2 ; Luke 23:50 ) can have redemption.
Luke especially notes Christ's high regard for women . Mary and Elizabeth are central figures in Luke 1:1 and Luke 2:1 . Anna the prophetess and Joanna the disciple are mentioned only in Luke (Luke 2:36-38 ; Luke 8:3 ; Luke 24:10 ). Luke included the story of Christ's kind dealings with the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-18 ) and the sinful woman who anointed Him (Luke 1:53 ). He also related Jesus' parable of the widow who persevered (Luke 18:1-8 ).
Outline
I. Luke's Purpose: Certainty in Christian Teaching (Luke 1:1-4 ).
II. Jesus Fulfilled Judaism's Expectations (Luke 1:5-2:52 ).
A. John the Baptist will point Israelites to God (Luke 1:5-25 ).
B. Jesus fulfilled promises to David (Luke 1:26-38 ).
C. Jesus' birth fulfilled promises to patriarchs (Luke 12:1,12 ).
D. John's birth a sign of God's faithfulness (Luke 1:57-80 ).
E. Jesus' birth fulfilled messianic expectations (Luke 2:1-7 ).
F. God verified Jesus' birth as messianic fulfillment (Luke 2:8-20 ).
G. Jesus fulfilled Jewish law (Luke 2:21-24 ).
H. Jesus' coming fulfilled God's promises to Israel and provided salvation for all (Luke 2:25-40 ).
I. Jesus revealed divine wisdom (Luke 2:41-52 ).
III. Jesus Accepted Messianic Mission and Faced Rejection (Luke 3:1-4:44 ).
A. John called for repentance and watchfulness (Luke 3:1-20 ).
B. Jesus was baptized and acknowledged as God's Son (Luke 3:21-22 ).
C. Jesus' lineage linked Him to the Davidic promise and the human race (Luke 3:23-38 ).
D. Satan tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13 ).
E. His own people rejected Jesus (Luke 4:14-30 ).
F. Jesus revealed messianic power in teaching and healing (Luke 4:31-37 ).
G. Jesus followed God's agenda to establish God's kingdom (Luke 4:38-44 ).
IV. Jesus Fulfilled His Mission in God's Way of Faith, Love, and Forgiveness (Luke 1:5,1:50 ).
A. Jesus shared His mission with those of faith (Luke 5:1-16 ).
B. Jesus proved power to forgive (Luke 5:17-26 ).
C. Jesus called sinners into the joy of the messianic age (Luke 5:27-39 ).
D. Jesus' mission emphasized meeting human need (Luke 6:1-11 ).
E. Jesus called disciples to a life of loving action (Luke 6:12-49 ).
F. Jesus' mission was to all people (Luke 22:1 ).
G. Jesus' message was accepted by needy multitudes (Luke 7:11-17 ).
H. Jesus fulfilled His Spirit-given mission (Luke 7:18-23 ).
I. Jesus' mission inaugurated God's kingdom (Luke 7:24-30 ).
J. Jesus' mission emphasized forgiveness (Luke 7:31-50 ).
V. God's Kingdom Involves Power but Demands Faithfulness to the Point of Death (Luke 8:1-9:50 ).
A. Socially deprived accepted God's kingdom (Luke 24:1,24 ).
B. Disciples are those who learn and follow Jesus' teachings (Luke 8:4-21 ).
C. Jesus is Lord over threatening forces (Luke 8:22-25 ).
D. Jesus is Lord over demonic forces (Luke 8:26-39 ).
E. Jesus is Lord over incurable diseases and death (Luke 8:40-56 ).
F. Jesus' disciples are empowered to carry out His mission (Luke 9:1-6 ).
G. Jesus' power was obvious to Herod (Luke 9:7-9 ).
H. Jesus' power satisfies human need (Luke 9:10-17 ).
I. God's kingdom is revealed in self-sacrificing suffering (Luke 9:18-27 ).
J. God, Moses, and Elijah affirmed Jesus' sonship (1618100417_88 ).
K. Sacrificial commitment to the kingdom's mission is the source of kingdom power (Luke 9:37-45 ).
L. Faith and commitment are the source of true greatness (Luke 9:46-50 ).
VI. The Kingdom Is Characterized by Faithful Ministry and Witness (Luke 9:51-13:21 ).
A. Unavoidable climax to Jesus' ministry awaited Him in Jerusalem (1618100417_65 ).
B. Kingdom service takes top priority (Luke 1:3 ).
C. Nearing judgment calls for courageous witness (Luke 10:1-16 ).
D. The kingdom's mission requires joyful participation (Luke 10:17-20 ).
E. Prophets looked for Jesus' revelation of God (Luke 10:21-24 ).
F. Kingdom leaders provide loving ministry to others (Luke 10:25-37 ).
G. A disciple's top priority is learning the Master's teaching (Luke 10:38-42 ).
H. The Model Prayer characterizes kingdom members (Luke 11:1-13 ).
I. The kingdom's nearness is demonstrated in Jesus' power over demons (Luke 11:14-28 ).
J. The Son of Man is the only sign of the kingdom (Luke 11:29-32 ).
K. The kingdom brings true light (Luke 11:33-36 ).
L. Kingdom members help the needy (Luke 11:37-54 ).
M. Kingdom members boldly witness to the Son of Man (Luke 12:1-12 ).
N. Kingdom members seek the kingdom of God first (Luke 12:13-34 ).

Gospel

"Glad tidings" or "good news, " from Anglo-Saxon godspell .
The Old Testament . Good news is proclaimed widely ( Matthew 13:44-464 ; Psalm 96:2-3 ; Isaiah 40:9 ; 52:7 ), spread rapidly ( 2 Samuel 18:19-31 ; 2 Kings 7:9 ; Psalm 68:11 ), and declared and received joyfully ( 2 Samuel 1:20 ; Psalm 96:11-12 ; Isaiah 52:7-9 ; Luke 15:11-32 ).
Where the message is gospel for Israelites and based on fact, the news is in every case but one (Jeremiah 20:15 ) related to God the Savior. Psalm 40:9-10 celebrates his saving help. Kings and armies are scattered by the Almighty ( Psalm 68:11,14 ). It is he who delivers David from his enemies (2 Samuel 18:19-31 ). A direct act of God puts the Syrians to flight (2 Kings 7:1-9 ); he breaks the Assyrian yoke (Nahum 1:13,15 ). Having conquered Babylon by the hand of Cyrus (Isaiah 41:25,27 ), the mighty God returns to Zion (40:9-10). The peace and salvation announced in Isaiah 52:7 are won by his sovereign power ("Your God reigns!"). "The year of the Lord's favor" brings glad tidings to the afflicted (61:1-2).
The explanation for God's saving action lies nowhere but in God himself. In whatever measure Israel has paid for her past sins (Isaiah 40:2 ), she remains a sinful people (42:25; 46:12-13). She is saved by divine grace alone (55:1-7). There being no righteousness to reward, Yahweh Acts to create righteousness in Israel (45:8; 61:3,10-11). The penalty for sin is exacted not from Israel but from the Servant appointed to stand in her place (53:4-12). Through the Servant's work, many will be justified (53:11); those who possess no righteousness (43:25-28) will be acquitted.
The joy that attends the gospel finds ultimate expression in the praise of God. "Praise be to the Lord your God!" exclaims Ahimaaz in reporting victory to David (2 Samuel 18:28 ). The glad tidings of Psalm 68:11-14 are recollected during a festal procession celebrating God's enthronement (cf. Psalm 40:9-10 ). The watchmen of Isaiah 52:7-8 shout for joy over Yahweh's return to Zion. Psalm 96:1-3 summons the whole earth to tell of Yahweh's salvation, to "bless his name" and "declare his glory."
With the return of the exiles from Babylon, the salvation announced in Isaiah is but partly realized. The foreign nations, far from becoming her fellow worshipers, remain Israel's oppressors. Israel's own unrighteousness was to persist; the Servant appointed to bear her iniquities has not yet appeared. As Isaiah makes clear, the full realization of salvation awaits the dawn of a new age—an age created by the saving God. At the close of the Old Testament, the inauguration of this new age is still awaited.
The New Testament: Stage One . Except for Galatians 3:8 and Hebrews 4:2,6 , the New Testament restricts gospel terminology to proclamations made during the time of fulfillment, when the salvation promised in the Old Testament is actually accomplished . According to Mark 1:1-4 the gospel "begins" not in the Old Testament but with John the Baptist, in whom Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled. The promised birth of John, Messiah's forerunner, is good news ( Luke 1:19 ). John's own preaching is gospel, too (Luke 3:18 ): it warns sinners of impending doom and urges them to repent before the axe falls (3:7-9); it assures the repentant of forgiveness (3:3) and membership in Messiah's community (3:17). Messiah's own birth is announced as "good news of great joy" (2:10-11). According to Romans 1:1-5 the gospel promised in the Old Testament is actually given when Jesus comes (see also Acts 13:32-33 ).
Jesus' gospel declares: "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near" (Mark 1:14-15 ). God reigns eternally over all that he has made. Yet his will is not done on earth as it is in heaven; wrong, not right, prevails. But these conditions are not final. With the coming of the kingdom, God's rule will be complete; wrong will be judged and right established. That kingdom is now being inaugurated: "The time has come" ( Mark 1:15 a) for Old Testament promises to be fulfilled. The consummation of the kingdom is no longer a distant prospect; the full realization of God's rule is "near" (Mark 1:15 b).
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61 : "the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19 ). the prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus' own ministry (4:21). He has come to free the physically infirm, such as the blind (4:18) and the leprous (4:27; cf. 7:21; 9:6). He helps the materially poor, like the widow in Elijah's day (4:25-26; cf. 6:20-25,30-38). Yet the spiritually poor are primarily in viewpeople broken and grieved by misery and poverty, oppression and injustice, suffering and death, national apostasy and personal sin, who in their extremity cry out to God to bring forth justice, bestow his mercy, and establish his kingdom (Matthew 5:3-10 ). Jesus has come to usher in the kingdom, to rescue the lost, to liberate the enslaved, to cure the afflicted, and to forgive the guilty (Mark 2:5,10 , 17 ; 10:45 ; Luke 7:48-49 ; 19:10 ).
The coming of the kingdom is not the effect or the reward of human effort, but God's answer to the human predicamentthe gift of his favor (Luke 12:32 ). The explanation for the salvation of the poor lies nowhere but in the gracious God. As the prodigal son recognizes, he is not worthy to be called his father's son; nothing he has done, not even his repentance, accounts for the father's love (Jeremiah 20:15 ). In the parable of Matthew 20:1-16 , it is owing to the goodness of the employer that the last workers hired receive a full day's wages. The first debtor in Matthew 18:23-35 has earned nothing but the right to be sold into slavery; instead the king cancels his enormous debt. The publican with nothing to offer God but a confession of sin and a plea for mercy is justified ( Luke 18:13-14 ). The same holds true for the more virtuous among the poor, such as those described in Matthew 5:7-10 . Their virtue is real, not imagined. Yet in keeping God's commands, they do not put him in their debt; they are simply doing their duty (Luke 17:7-10 ). Even the most merciful need divine mercy (Matthew 5:7 ); for even those most zealous to obey God's law are unable to fulfill all its requirements (Matthew 11:28-30 ). Grace depends for its exercise upon the inability of its objects (Luke 14:12-14 ).
As the Israelites are a sinful people (Matthew 1:21 ; Luke 1:77 ), Jesus proclaims his gospel to the whole nation (Matthew 4:23 ; 9:35 ; 15:24 ). From the most respectable to the least, all are summoned to submit to God's rule, to come to the banquet he has spread (Luke 14:16-24 ). Salvation must be received to be experienced (Mark 10:15 ). While it is a gift that costs nothing, it is also a priceless treasure for which a wise person will sacrifice all else (1618100417_84 ). "Repent and believe the good news!" commands Jesus (Mark 1:15 ). The self-righteous and the self-sufficient must be jolted out of their false security and recognize their need of God (Luke 6:24-26 ). An announcement of liberation (Luke 4:18-19 ) is good news only to people who are enslaved and know they are. Even the destitute and the afflicted must learn that it is being personally related to God as subject to sovereign and as child to father, which makes one "blessed" (Matthew 5:3-10 ). Even those who are already "poor in spirit" in the sense defined above, are not really "blessed" until they acknowledge the truth of Jesus' claims (Matthew 11:6 ) and commit themselves to a life of obedience on his terms (Matthew 7:21-27 ).
Throughout Jesus' ministry, the theme of his gospel remains the dawning kingdom of God (1 Thessalonians 2:2-97 ; 24:14 ; Luke 4:43 ; 16:16 ), a message preached almost exclusively to Jews (Matthew 10:5-6 ; 15:24 ). Yet Jesus provides glimpses into what the gospel is to become. He speaks of persons who make sacrifices "for me and for the gospel" (Mark 8:35 ; 10:29 ). Jesus and the gospel are here associated in the closest way. We are moving toward the time when the Proclaimer of the gospel will become the Proclaimed. Mark 13:10 and Matthew 24:14 foretell the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles. Mark 14:8-9 indicates that Jesus and his death will be prominent themes in the worldwide gospel. Here we have an indication of the cruciality of Jesus' death both for the provision of salvation announced in his gospel and for the launching of the mission to the Gentiles.
The New Testament: Stage Two: For the gospel declared after Jesus' resurrection, our main sources are Acts and the letters of Paul.
God authors the gospel and authorizes its proclamation (Acts 15:7 ; 16:10 ; Romans 1:1-5 ; Galatians 1:11-16 ; 2:7-9 ; 1618100417_14 ). God himself is an Evangelist, personally calling persons to salvation through his human agents (Acts 10:36 ; 2Col 4:4-6; Galatians 1:6 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 ; Revelation 10:7 ). Paul's gospel is both a witness to an expression of God's grace (Acts 20:24 ; Colossians 1:5-6 ), power (Romans 1:16 ; 1Col 1:17-25), and glory (2Col 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:11 ). To accept the gospel is to turn to God (Acts 14:15 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9 ). To disobey the gospel is to be deprived of the knowledge of God (2 Thessalonians 1:8 ). To trade the true gospel for a false one is to turn away from God (Galatians 1:6 ).
Risen from the dead, Christ again evangelizes (Ephesians 2:16-17 ) through his representatives (Romans 15:16-18 ; 1Col 1:17; 9:12-18; 2 Timothy 1:9-11 ). Moreover, Christ has become the gospel's major theme. This is repeatedly affirmed in Acts and in Paul's writings. Mark describes his whole book as "the gospel about Jesus Christ" (1:1). Galatians 2:7-9 speaks not of two gospels but of two mission fields; Paul (apostle to the uncircumcised) and Peter (apostle to the circumcised) are both entrusted with the "gospel of Christ" ( Galatians 1:7 ), the message ordained for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 1:16 ). The "different gospel" of Galatians 1:6-9,2 Corinthians 11:4 is not another gospel about Jesus, but a message about "another Jesus"not the real Jesus, but one who exists only in the minds and the message of its advocates. On the other hand, to preach the true Christ is to preach the true gospel, however questionable one's motives ( Philippians 1:15-18 ); to respond rightly to the gospel is to turn to Christ (Acts 11:20-21 ; Romans 10:8-17 ; Galatians 2:14-16 ).
The gospel bears witness to every aspect of Christ's saving work, from his birth and public ministry to his second coming and the last judgment. But Christ's death and resurrection, the crucial saving events, are the gospel's most prominent themes. Mark's whole Gospel prepares for Passion Week. In Paul's gospel Jesus' death and resurrection are central (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ), with the cross at the very center (1Col 1:17-2:5; Romans 3:21-26 ; 2Col 5:14-21). Acts proclaims Jesus' death (8:35; 20:24,28) and preeminently his resurrection, the event by which he conquered death and was exalted as Lord and coming Judge (10:36-43; 13:32-33; 17:31). According to 1Peter the bearers of the gospel focused, as had the Old Testament prophets, upon "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" (1:11-12).
Paul declares (Romans 1:16 ; 1Col 1:17-18) the gospel to be "the power of God"not merely a witness to, but an expression of his power. The gospel is no bare word but is laden with the power of the Holy Spirit (1Col 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 ). Thus it cannot be fettered (2 Timothy 2:8-9 ). The gospel effects the salvation it announces and imparts the life it promises.
The gospel offers salvation "through the grace of our Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:11 ). Paul testifies "to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24 ). The gospel is a witness to God's grace. In offering his Son as a sacrifice for sins ( Romans 3:25 a), God demonstrates his righteousness (3:25b, 26). In Jesus' death sins formerly "passed over" (3:25c) become the object of divine wrath (1:18). Yet in the place where God deals justly with sins, he shows grace to sinners. For the judgment is focused not upon the sinners themselves but upon the One who stands in their place (4:25; 5:6-11; 2 Corinthians 5:21 ; Galatians 3:13 ). Sinners are therefore freely pardoned (Romans 3:24 ). The gospel is a channel of God's grace. "A righteousness from God is revealed" in the gospel ( <
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - John, Gospel of (Critical)
JOHN, GOSPEL OF (I. Critical article)
Introduction.
i.External evidence for the authorship of the Fourth Gospel.
1.Writers of the last quarter of the 2nd century.
2.Justin Martyr.
3.Tatian.
4.The Apostolic Fathers.
5.Evidence derived from Opponents of the Church doctrine.
6.Evidence afforded by the Quartodeciman controversy.
7.The Alogi.
ii.Internal evidence of authorship.
1.The author is a Jew.
2.The author is a Jew of Palestine.
3.A contemporary of the events and persons.
4.Relationship to Jesus and the Apostolic circle.
5.Is John the Apostle the author?
iii.The divergences from the Synoptic narrative.
iv.The problem of the historicity of the Gospel.
Literature.
Introduction.—It is important to remember that the Kingdom of Christ was in being before the Gospel records were written. They did not originate the institution, but are themselves the expression of it. Previous to the publication of the Johannine Gospel, which is the latest of the four, St. Paul had completed his mission to the Gentiles; and in Ephesus, where the Gospel was written, his doctrine had already an assured place in the Christian Church. It is therefore historically untrue to say that faith in the Divine Person and work of Jesus is destroyed if the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel cannot he proved. For the basis of our faith we must dig deeper than the results of critical investigation.
The question, however, of the authorship of this Gospel is more than a merely academic one. It occupies a unique position. None of the other three claims to be written by the man whose name it bears, but the Fourth Gospel is issued with an explicit statement to that effect (John 21:24). Moreover, its contents are vitally connected with the individuality of the author. The very way in which his identity is studiously concealed shows that the writer is himself conscious that the Gospel contains a personal testimony, which he does not hesitate to present as objective and impersonal. We desire to know who it is that claims to be an eye-witness; who it is that narrates events and discourses of Jesus so distinct in character from the Synoptics, and yet meant to occupy a place alongside these without contradiction; who it is that has so boldly mingled historic fact and ideal conceptions, that has given to the Person of Christ a timeless cosmic significance, and has represented our Lord in His acts and in His words as Himself justifying that impression and those claims. If, as is certain, the work is influenced by developed theological conceptions, and reflects the contemporary historical situation of the Christian Church, we desire to be certain that the writer was in a position not seriously to misrepresent the actual facts. This is no merely antiquarian question. There can be no doubt that the Gospel is intended to be read as the work of the Apostle, and it would seriously detract from its value, if, as extreme critics are more and more inclined to allow, that claim means only that it contains a nucleus of Johannine tradition. The same objection applies to all partition theories of the Gospel (e.g. Wendt’s), and it is assumed in this article that their authors have failed to prove their case. If, on the other hand, the writer was the beloved disciple, an eye-witness possessing a specially intimate knowledge of the mind and character of Jesus, we have an assurance that when, for example, he wrote the opening sentences of the Gospel, he felt himself in touch not merely with current theological. thought, but with the historic fact of the consciousness of Jesus of Nazareth. So far from being a stumbling-block to the Johannine authorship, the Prologue even gains in value and significance with the acceptance of the traditional view. The striking juxtaposition in the Prologue of the timeless Logos idea and the historical witness of the Baptist, to whom the conception was unfamiliar, and the frequent mention of the Baptist throughout the Gospel, I even at times when the situation scarcely demands it (e.g. John 10:40-42) are saved from abruptness only if the writer is developing an impression made on him by his earliest teacher, who led him to Christ. His experience stretches in one continuous whole from that time to this when he begins to write.
I. External Evidence for the authorship of the Fourth Gospel.—The face of the Johannine problem has greatly changed since the days of Baur and his school. The prophecy of Lightfoot, that ‘we may look forward to the time when it will be held discreditable to the reputation of any critic for sobriety and judgment to assign to, this Gospel any later date than the end of the first century or the very beginning of the second,’ has been amply fulfilled. 80–110 a.d. may be regarded as the termini a quo and ad quem for the date of the writing, and the trend of modern opinion is towards the end of the 1st century. This result makes it desirable to throw the emphasis in a less degree on the external evidence for an early date, and in a, greater degree on the evidence for the Apostolic authorship. If, however, the problem of external evidence be presented in this form, we must guard ourselves against a certain feeling of disappointment at the meagre results. In the first place, there is no evidence that the Apostolic authorship was contested in the 2nd cent. except by the Alogi; and none that it was ever debated. The questions that agitated the mind of the Church in this period seem to have been entirely doctrinal (Gnosticism and Montanism). Again, it is not until the latter part of the century that there are indications of a distinct value attached to each separate Gospel. Εὐαγγέλιον was the term employed to denote the general contents of those books that embodied the facts concerning the life and teaching of our Lord, and we first find the term εὐαγγέλια in Justin (Apol. i. lxvi.). The contrast between the Synoptics and John in this period arose entirely from the differences in subject-matter, and there is no indication that the Fourth Gospel was set on a lower plane of authority.
One remarkable fact in connexion with the external evidence is that none of the writers in question ever actually calls St. John an Apostle. This fact is never lost sight of by opponents of the Apostolic authorship, it is true that Irenaeus speaks of ‘John and the other Apostles’; but in referring to St. John alone he always calls him ‘the disciple.’ This is in accordance with the usage of the Fourth Gospel itself, where the title ἀτόστολος is only once used (John 13:16), and there in a sense that seems to deprecate any presumptuous or mercenary claim to official position. If such claims were rife in Ephesus, perhaps St. John himself preferred to be known as ‘disciple.’ (Cf. H. T. Purchas, Johann. Problems and Modern Needs, ch. 3.).
We shall now proceed to examine in detail, working backwards from the end of the 2nd cent., the evidence of those Ecclesiastical writers who have made direct or indirect reference to the Fourth Gospel.
1. A group of writers in the last quarter of the 2nd cent. whose geographical distribution over the Christian Church gives evidence of a widespread tradition.
(1) Irenaeus was bishop of Lyons in Gaul. His work entitled Against Heresies has come down to us, and in the writings of Eusebius we possess other fragments. An important letter to Florinus has also been preserved. The date of his literary activity may be put within the limits 173–190. He explicitly attributes the Fourth Gospel to the Apostle, and gives it a place alongside Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He says that ‘John, the disciple of the Lord, who leaned upon His breast,’ wrote it ‘while dwelling in Ephesus, the city of Asia’ (adv. Haer. in. i. 1). Stress is also to be laid on the fact that Irenaeus speaks of the Gospels not merely as Apostolic, but also as inspired by the Holy Spirit. For him the tradition of the fourfold Gospel, which he supports strongly, has passed into a deep spiritual fact, which he seeks to establish, not by bringing forward proofs of authorship, but in his well-known mystic fashion. ‘The gospel is the Divine breath or word of life for men; there are four chief winds therefore four Gospels.’ He brings forward other analogies, all of which are equally fanciful, but serve to show that this firm belief in the fourfold Gospel as a Divine arrangement could not have been a creation of his own mind, but represents a tradition of considerable antiquity. The opinion of Irenaeus is corroborated by a contemporary letter written by the members of the Churches at Vienne and Lyons to the brethren in Asia Minor during the time of persecution in 177. Thus Irenaeus is in touch with the living Church around him.
(2) Clement of Alexandria is the author of a statement preserved by Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 14), which professes to represent ‘the tradition of the Presbyters from the first (παράδοσιν τῶν ἀνέκαθεν πρεσβυτέρων) that John, last, having observed that the bodily things [1] had been set forth in the Gospels, on the exhortation of his friends (γνώριμοι), inspired by the Spirit, produced a spiritual Gospel.’ From about 189, Clement was head of the celebrated catechetical school at Alexandria. His great reverence for his teacher Pantaenus, who also preceded him in office, may fairly be regarded as indicating that he represents the ecclesiastical tradition at Alexandria. He was also in living touch with opinion at other centres. He travelled in Greece, Magna Graecia, Syria, and the East, expressly for the purpose of collecting information about the Apostolic tradition. In his extant writings he quotes words from all the four Gospels, regards them as possessing Divine authority, and lays great emphasis on the differences between them and other writings professing to be Gospels.
(3) Tertullian was a famous theologian of the Western Church, and was born at Carthage about 160. The style of his writing suggests that he was trained as an advocate. He was reputed a man of great learning. Jerome speaks of his ‘eager and vehement disposition,’ and his habit of mind is in striking contrast to the philosophic temper of Clement. It is needless to quote passages from his writings, as he undoubtedly assumes without question the genuineness of the Gospel, and lays under contribution every chapter. Little is known of his personal life, but he was certainly in touch with theological opinion, not only at Carthage, but also at Rome. In the line of argument that he adopts in his reply to Marcion he is concerned above all else to show that the doctrine of the Church is in line with Apostolic tradition. He makes appeal in another writing, de Praescriptione Haereticorum, to the testimony of those Churches that were founded by Apostles, or to whom Apostles declared their mind in letters. Among these he mentions Ephesus, evidently in connexion with the name of St. John. His term for the fourfold Gospel is a legal term, Evangelieum Instrumentum, i.e. a valid document finally declaring the mind of the Church with regard to spiritual truth. He became a distinguished leader of the Montanists, and would on that account be predisposed to combat any objection, if it had been urged, against the authenticity of the Gospel. At the same time, he is not indifferent to questions of literary criticism, applied to the Gospels. In his reply to Marcion he makes careful and scholarly investigation into the text of St. Luke, and is able to prove that Marcion’s Gospel is a mutilated copy.
(4) The Muratorian Fragment on the Canon.—This fragment contains the earliest known list of the books that were regarded at the date at which it was written as canonical. It was published in the year 1740 by an Italian scholar, Muratori.
Lightfoot, Westcott, and others argue for a date 150–175; but Salmon, Zahn, and Harnack agree in placing its date, from internal evidence, not earlier than a.d. 200. Sanday, in his Gospels in the Second Century (pp. 264–266), suggests 170–180, and perhaps within ten years later. Stanton, in The Gospels as Historical Documents (p. 247, n. [2] 1), inclines to the later date.
The writer gives an account of the origin of the Fourth Gospel which is plainly legendary. The important statement in it is that the Gospel is the work of St. John (Johannes ex discipulis), who is also the author of at least two of the Epistles (in suis epistolis). The further statement is made that he resolved to write it after a fast had been held, and at the request of contemporary Christians (cohortantibus condiscipulis et episcopis suis), and the concurrence is also claimed of the rest of the Apostles (recognoscentibus cunctis). The second statement seems, like the γνώριμοι of Clement, to be founded on John 1:14; John 21:24, and possesses no independent value, except as an interpretation of internal evidence.
The object of the author was clearly controversial, ‘to draw a broad line of separation between the inspired writings of the Apostolic age and modern additions’ (Salmon, Introduction, p. 46). He strongly protests, for example, against the inclusion of Hermas in the Canon, though he has no objection to its being ‘read.’ Bacon (Hibbert Journal, April 1903) has interpreted the Muratorian Fragment as indicating the existence of controversy in the Church at that date as to the Apostolic authorship; but the emphasis on that question might easily be explained by the fact that the historicity—the varia principia of the Gospels—was alone in question. There is no attempt to harmonize the statements in the various Gospels; but it is sought to secure for the contents of the Fourth Gospel a place of equal authority with the other three. Throughout the whole history of the NT Canon the admission of a book was not decided solely on the question of authorship, but far more on the general consideration whether its teaching was congruent with the received doctrine of the Church. Salmon thinks that the writer of the Muratorian Fragment is arguing against the Montanists, and Zahn and Drummond that he is opposing the Alogi (see below). The legendary account of the origin of the Gospel would seem to indicate that the fact of the Apostolic authorship was already well established and well known. An additional confirmation of the view that the historicity alone is within the purview of the writer is that the words of the First Epistle (it is true in a somewhat inaccurate rendering), ‘What we have seen with our eyes, and heard with our ears, and our hands have handled, these things we have written’ (haec scripsimus), are quoted as a reference by the author to his Gospel.
(5) Theophilus, bishop of Antioch (e. a.d. 180), wrote, among other works, a defence of Christianity, addressed to Autolycus, ‘a real or imaginary heathen friend of wide learning and high culture’ (Watkins). He is the earliest writer of the 2nd cent., who, while quoting a passage from the Gospel (1:13), also refers to St. John by name. His words are, ‘We are taught by the Holy Scriptures and all Spirit-bearing men, among whom John says’; and then follow verbatim quotations from the Prologue to the Gospel. There are also other sentences in his work that recall the Fourth Gospel. It is significant also, as belying any appearance of controversy as to the authorship of the Gospel, that he introduces the name of St. John in this quite incidental fashion. Commentaries on the Gospels are also attributed to him, but their genuineness, upheld by Zahn, is assailed by Harnack. This part of his evidence must at present be set aside.
2. Justin Martyr.—The works of Justin that are relevant in this connexion are the two Apologies and the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew. They may be set within the limits a.d. 140–161. Palestine was his birthplace, and he was brought up in the religion of his father, who was a heathen. He was an ardent student of philosophy, and after an unsatisfying experience of various teachers he ultimately became a Platonist. After his conversion to Christianity, of which he gives a full account in Trypho, ii–viii., he was ‘kindled with love to Christ,’ and consecrated his philosophic attainments to the defence of the Christian religion.
Among the authorities to which Justin refers in the course of his writings, he gives an important place to ‘The Memoirs of Christ, composed by the Apostles and those who followed them.’ The battle of criticism still rages around the question whether Justin includes in these Memoirs only the four Gospels. It may now, at least, be regarded as settled amongst all classes of critics that Justin makes use of the Gospel (cf. Schmiedel, Encyc. Bibl., art. ‘John, Son of Zebedee,’ ii. 2546). It is not so generally admitted that he includes it among his Memoirs of the Apostles. Those, however, who deny that Justin regarded the Gospel as the work of the Apostle are laid under the necessity of explaining how his contemporary Irenaeus could be so assured that the Gospel is a genuine Apostolic work.
(1) Quotations.—The locus classicus in Justin is the passage on Baptism (Apol. I. lxi.). He describes how those who are about to make a Christian profession—
‘are brought by us where there is water, and are born again in the same manner in which we ourselves are born again. For in the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water. For Christ also said, “Except ye be born again, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (ἄν μή ἀναγεννηθῆτε, οὐ μη ἐσιλθητε εἰς τήν βασιλειαν τῶν οὐρανῶν). Now that it is impossible for those who have once been born to enter into their mother’s wombs, is manifest to all.’
This passage immediately recalls John 3:3-5. The language, however, reveals some striking variations from the text of the Gospel. No one would now endorse the verdict of the author of Supernatural Religion, that ‘there does not exist a single linguistic trace by which the passage in Justin can be connected with the Fourth Gospel.’ It may be conceded that some of his expressions have more than an accidental relationship with Matthew 18:3. Justin certainly uses ἀναγεννηθῆτε (‘born again’) instead of γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν (‘born from above’) of the Fourth Gospel, but this variation is at least a possible rendering of the Johannine expression. There are, however, other linguistic differences. The difficulty is increased by the discovery that in the Clementine Homilies (xi. 26) there is a passage containing similar linguistic deviations from the Gospel. Has their author copied Justin, or does the similarity point to the use by both of a common source other than the Gospel? The fact that the context in each is quite different excludes the first hypothesis, and the second may well be viewed as improbable, until the alleged common source—that ‘ghost-like’ Gospel of which Volkmar speaks—has emerged from the place of shades, and embodied itself in a MS (cf. Drummond, Character and Authorship, pp. 88–96).
It ought to be sufficient to establish the high probability, amounting to certainty, that Justin quotes John 3:3-5, that, giving due weight to linguistic differences, the Fourth Gospel is the only source known to us from which he could have derived such ideas. The idea of birth as applied to spiritual change is found in none of the Gospels but St. John; and it is significant that both Justin and St. John expressly connected this thought with the rite of Baptism. As regards the impossibility of a second physical birth, it is to be noted that this somewhat wistful, and, at the same time, wilfully absurd, objection of Nicodemus—which in the Gospel is the symptom of a heart profoundly moved, and has a living place in the context—is prosaically reproduced by Justin. This is evidently the result of a familiar association of ideas derived from the passage in John 3. The words, ‘for Christ also said,’ introduce the quotation, and the document from which it is taken is clearly looked upon as an authoritative source for the words of Christ.
Justin has other correspondences with the peculiar thought of the Fourth Gospel. He uses the title μονογενής of Christ, and in the next sentence speaks of the Virgin-Birth (Dialogue 105), adding the words, ‘as we have learned from the Memoirs.’ This seems to point to a combination of St. John and the Synoptics. Justin has also made much use of the thought of the Logos Gospel in his doctrine of the Logos, and his teaching on that subject is influenced by the theology of the Gospel. It is sometimes urged as an objection that Justin does not make more use of the authority of the Gospel in his teaching about the Logos, but this is to presuppose that the thought was first suggested to him by that source. Justin’s philosophy is filled with Alexandrine ideas, but the thought of the Incarnation of the Logos of which Justin makes use is found only in St. John (Apol. i. 32). The Johannine expressions φῶς, σάρξ are also found in Justin.
On the question of the relationship between Justin and the fragment of the Gospel of Peter, discovered in 1892, see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iii. 535b; Drummond, Character and Authorship, pp. 151–155. The evidence is insufficient to prove that this Gospel is one of Justin’s Memoirs. Loisy and Harnack hold that the Gospel of Peter is dependent on the Fourth Gospel, to whose existence it would therefore he the most ancient witness. The date of the Gospel of Peter is put circa (about) 110–130 by Loisy (Le Quatrième Évangile, p. 16) and Harnack (Chron. i. 623).
(2) His use of the Gospel.—Another consideration is adduced to prove that Justin did not regard the Gospel as an authority on the same level as the Synoptics, and therefore viewed it as non-Apostolic. Schmiedel (Encyc. Bibl., art. ‘John, Son of Zebedee,’ ii. 2546) states that ‘his employment of it is not only more sparing but also more circumspect’ than his use of the Synoptics. There are occasions on which it would he open to him to use it in proof of his doctrine of the Logos and of the pre-existence of Christ. Why has Justin not used the Fourth Gospel more? It is perfectly relevant to reply that we do not know, and perhaps never shall know, with complete certainty. At the same time, there are certain considerations that ought to be borne in mind. Justin is certainly the first writer who displays the tendency to attach a separate value to the four Gospels; he is the first to speak of εὐαγγέλια instead of εὐαγγέλιον; but he can scarcely be expected to have completely emancipated himself, at this transition stage, from the older conception of the gospel as embracing equally the contents of the four. Justin’s purpose and his audience must be borne in mind, and these would insensibly lead him to rely mostly on the Synoptic Gospels. It is specially noticeable that the witness of Christ to Himself, so prominent in the Fourth Gospel, is nowhere used by Justin as an argument, and in one place in the Dialogue with Trypho (ch. 18) he even apologizes for citing the words of Christ alongside the words of the prophets. His Apologies are addressed to the Emperor, Senate, and People of Rome, and to quote to them the Christian writings in proof of Christian doctrine would have been to reason in a circle. Moreover, it may be suggested that not even at that date was the Gospel regarded as, strictly speaking, historical, and its spiritual or reflective character rendered it hardly so suitable for Justin’s purpose as the Synoptics.
(3) Evidence as to Apostolic authorship.—Is there any evidence in Justin that he attributed the authorship to St. John the Apostle? In the first place, if the Memoirs are composed of our four Gospels, we may answer the question with certainty in the affirmative. Justin describes them as composed by ‘the Apostles and those that followed them,’ a description which tallies completely with the four Evangelists. The plural ‘Apostles’ could be used only if he believed in the Apostolic authorship of the Fourth Gospel. Again, the strongest argument adduced against Justin’s evidence is still the argument from his silence as to the name of the author. It seems, however, to have been the custom among apologists not to mention the Evangelists by their names, which would carry no weight with unbelievers. Moreover, it has been pointed out that Justin never mentions the name of St. Paul, although it is certain that at least four of his Epistles from which he quotes are of undoubted authenticity. Justin once names St. John as the author of Revelation (Dialogue 81), but ‘he nowhere quotes this work, which he regarded as inspired, apostolic, prophetic, though it contains so much which might seem to favour his view of the person of Christ’ (Ezra Abbot, p. 61). In the passage he speaks of the author as one whose name is not likely to carry weight (‘a certain man with us, whose name was John’), but it is essential to his argument, in thus making use of a Revelation or Vision, that he should mention the recipient. (Cf. Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documents, i. p. 89).
3. Tatian was a native of Syria, and, like Justin, travelled as a wandering philosopher. His conversion to Christianity took place at Rome about a.d. 150. He became a disciple of Justin, during whose lifetime he wrote the Oratio ad Graecos. After Justin’s death in 166, Tatian taught in Rome, and ultimately adopted a heretical position. He died about a.d. 180.
Tatian clearly quotes the Gospel in his Oratio, which was written perhaps as early as 153 (so Zahn and Harnack), although he does not refer to the author by name. The important work, however, for our purpose is the Diatessaron. It is a compendium of the Life and Teaching of our Lord, founded on our four Gospels, and containing also some material taken from the Apocryphal Gospels. The book had apparently an ancient place in the worship of the Syrian Churches. Theodoret, bishop of Cyrrhus, near the Euphrates, in 453, tells how he found more than 200 copies of the work in the churches of his district. These lie collected and, with considerable difficulty, put away, substituting for them the four Gospels.
The Diatessaron includes the whole of the Fourth Gospel, except 1:6, the first half of 2:23, the Pericope Adulterae, and some other passages that are common to the Synoptics.
The significance of Tatian’s work lies in the fact that an authoritative value is attached to the contents of our four Gospels, and that the Fourth Gospel is placed on a level with the Synoptics. Moreover, Tatian’s use of the Fourth Gospel renders it very difficult to doubt that it was also one of the Memoirs of his contemporary, Justin.
4. The Apostolic Fathers
(1) Papias was bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia. Unfortunately his testimony has given rise to more questions about the Gospel than it solves. Only one or two fragments of his work preserved by Eusebius have come down to us. We know that in the time of Eusebius the only writing of Papias to which he had access was a work in five books, entitled ‘Exposition(s) of the Oracles of the Lord’ (Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξήγησις [3]). Cf. Drummond, op. cit. note 4, p. 195.
The ‘Oracles’ were probably a collection of sayings of our Lord, together with some kind of historical setting.
There is a tendency among modern critics to fix a later date than formerly for the writings of Papias. His written work seems not to have been produced till about the age of sixty. The change in the date is owing to the discovery of a fragment, purporting to contain statements by Papias, that was published by De Boor in 1888. It dates from the 7th or 8th cent., and is in turn probably based on the Chronicle of Philip of Sidé (circa (about) a.d. 430). Among other matters it relates that those individuals who had been raised from the dead by Christ survived ‘till the time of Hadrian.’ Hadrian reigned 117–138, which compels us to fix a date for Papias’ work not earlier than 140–160 (so Harnack, Drummond, and Schmiedel. Sanday in his most recent work, The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel, includes, the date of Papias among the ‘unsolved problems’). The date of his martyrdom is also very uncertain.
Eusebius says that Papias ‘evidently was a man of very mean capacity, as one may say, judging from his statements’ (Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 39). This judgment must be considered strictly in connexion with the context. Eusebius is speaking of his millenarian notions, and of the unimaginative way in which he interpreted the figurative language of the Apostolic writings. These defects do not reflect on his accuracy in matters of fact, but rather indicate a literalness and exactness which may at times be painful, but are yet a source of strength in the present discussion.
(i.) Papias is best known by the famous extract from the Preface to his work which is preserved by Eusebius:
‘I will not hesitate to place before you, along with my interpretations (of the Oracles of the Lord), everything that carefully learned, and carefully remembered in time past from the elders, and I can guarantee its truth. For I take no pleasure, as do the many, in those who have so very much to say, but in those who teach the truth: nor in those who relate commandments foreign (to the mind of the Lord), but in those (who record) such as were given to the faith by the Lord, and found on the truth itself. Moreover, if met with anyone on any occasion who had attended the elders, I used to inquire about the words of the elders; what Andrew or what Peter said, or what Philip, or what Thomas, or James or John or Matthew, or any other of the disciples of the Lord said, and what Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, say. For I was not inclined to suppose that statements made by the books would help me, so much as the utterances of a living and abiding voice’ (Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 39).
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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - John, Gospel of (ii. Contents)
JOHN, GOSPEL OF (II.: Contents).—
1. Character of the Gospel.—The interesting fragment of Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 14), quoted from the lost ‘Outlines’ of Clement of Alexandria, gives us the earliest view which was taken of the Fourth Gospel. ‘John, last, having observed that the bodily things had been set forth in the [1] Gospels, and exhorted thereto by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, produced a spiritual Gospel.’ The word ‘spiritual,’ or ‘pneumatic,’ is here, as usually with the Alexandrians, opposed to ‘bodily,’ or ‘somatic.’ And what the difference was, as regards the records of the past, is shown admirably by Origen’s comment on John 2:12. He says that if all the four Gospels are to be believed, the truth of them cannot be in their ‘bodily characters,’ but in their spiritual meaning. The Gospels, he says elsewhere (de Prine. 4), contain many things which are said to have happened, but which did not happen literally; and in one place of his Commentary on St. John he says that when the writers of Holy Scripture were unable to speak the truth ‘at once spiritually and bodily’ (i.e. at once literally and with a deeper symbolical or allegorical meaning), it was their practice to prefer the spiritual to the corporeal, ‘the true spiritual meaning being often preserved in the corporeal falsehood’ (σωζομένου πολλάκις τοῦ ἀληθοῦς πνευματικοῦ ἐν τῷ σωματικῷ ψευδεῖ). So Epiphanius says of St. John’s Gospel: ‘most of the things spoken by him were spiritual, the fleshly things having been already attested’ (Haer. li. 19).
These passages are very important for the study of the Fourth Gospel. They are evidence, not, of course, for the author’s method of composition, but for what was thought of the Gospel in the latter part of the 2nd cent. and the first half of the 3rd, that is to say, as soon as it was widely known. It was accepted as ‘a spiritual Gospel,’ and by spiritual was meant, not devotional, ethical, and philosophical, but allegorical as opposed to barely historical.
The distinction between the two modes of treatment was familiar at Alexandria, and had been familiar long before the Fourth Gospel was written. Philo compares the literal meaning to the body, and the spiritual to the soul. He applies this exegetical principle to the OT narratives with great thoroughness. To the literal truth of ancient sacred history he is very indifferent. Particular events are important only in proportion to their universal significance. To grasp the truth of a narrative is to see its relation to universal spiritual law or fact. He would have considered the laborious investigation of historical detail to be merely learned trifling, worthy only of a grammarian or a pedant. Moral edification and gnosis were the only objects for which it was at all worth while to trouble about the records of the past.
We have, of course, no right to assume that the 2nd cent. was right in classing the Fourth Gospel as a ‘spiritual’ work. We shall have to consider its allegorism in detail before we can pronounce on its relation to history. But it should be perfectly obvious that its author did not mean it to be studied as a plain historical narrative. He would probably have said that he had a higher aim than to record trivial details, some of which had no spiritual meaning. The Gospel is, and claims to be, an interpretation of our Lord’s Person and ministry, an ideal construction which aims at producing a certain impression about the Person of Christ. This impression is to be the true interpretation of the historical Jesus—the author is infinitely anxious about this. He is writing no mere historical romance, like the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which was afterwards concocted as a rival to the Gospels. He is no Docetist, as is shown by several passages in the Gospel, and more categorically in 1 John, which, if not by the same author, is in closest connexion with the Gospel. But a very slight critical investigation is enough to show that he allows himself a free hand in manipulating the facts on which he is working. It is perfectly honest history, as history was understood by the ancients. But even the most scientific of ancient historians did not scruple to put his own views of the political situation into the mouths of the chief characters in his period; and among the Jews the composer of a haggâdah had no fear of being branded as a romancer or a forger.
The plan of the Gospel is clearly stated in John 20:30-31, an impressive passage which was intended to be the conclusion of the book, and was so until the appendix was added. The object here avowed is strictly adhered to throughout. No other book of the NT is so entirely dominated by one conception. The theology of the Incarnation, taught in the form of a historical narrative, with an underlying framework of symbolism and allegory, which, though never obtruded, determines the whole arrangement and selection of incidents—this is the topic of the Fourth Gospel. And unless it is read in the light of this purpose, and with a due recognition of the peculiar method, the seven seals of the Apocalypse will remain set upon the ‘spiritual Gospel.’
Different opinions have been held as to the readers whom the writer has mainly in view. Réville thinks that ‘the author has wished to prove to his contemporaries who had remained in the liberal and philosophical Judaism of the Diaspora, that, in Jesus Christ, the revelation of the Logos, admitted by them in the OT, has its full and definitive fulfilment.’ But the Gospel is not an apologia written for the Jews. The extremely unconciliatory tone, used throughout in speaking of them, is enough to disprove this hypothesis. There is a subordinate element of apologetic, but the main object is clearly to edify and teach the faithful, not to convert the unbeliever. The author never descends to his opponents’ ground, but remains throughout on his own. His aim is didactic, but not exactly dogmatic. He wishes, not to prove a theological thesis, but to confirm and perfect the believer in his adhesion to Christ as the Incarnate Word, the principle of spiritual regeneration, and the nourishment of ‘eternal’ life. This is the foundation of his own faith, and the characteristic Johannine ideas are the intellectual form of this faith, which is centred in the unio mystica. There is no sign of a polemic against Docetism, Ebionism, or against Cerinthus. Still less is he writing against liberalized Judaism, as Réville seems to suggest. Whatever was his attitude towards Philo (and the question is not an easy one to answer), it was not one of conscious antagonism.
The author, then, is writing for Christians. But for what Christians? It has often been maintained or assumed that his object is to teach a philosophy of religion—that he is, in fact, the author of the formula ‘Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of the Jews, is the Incarnate Logos of God.’ But this view is untenable. There is no systematic philosophy in the Gospel—not even in the Prologue. And besides, the Logos theology was not new. It is not propounded as new in the Gospel; and it exists in substance in St. Paul’s Epistles, as well as in the Hebrews. There can be little doubt that Apollos, the learned Jew of Alexandria, made this identification in his preaching, which was so mightily convincing. For at this time ‘Logos’ was as familiar a term to all educated persons as ‘Evolution’ is to our own generation.
The Gospel is not a philosophical treatise. Is it, then, an attempt to mediate between two parties in the Church, between the advocates of ‘Faith’ and ‘Knowledge,’ of Gnosis and Pistis? The conflict between these two parties was acute at the end of the 2nd cent., as we see from the caution imposed upon Clement of Alexandria by conservative prejudice, and on the other side by the diatribes of the obscurantist Tertullian against philosophy? At that period Gnosticism had gained a footing within the Church, and orthodoxy had become alive to the dangers which threatened the Christian religion from this side. The intellectualists were even strong enough to drive Montanism out of the Church. During the first quarter of the 2nd cent. the great Gnostics were outside the Church, and the chief danger was that the party of ψιλὴ πίστις, ignorant and superstitious, with materialistic notions of religion and hopes of a coming reign of the saints, might make the position of the Christian philosopher impossible, and drive him into the arms of the Gnostics. Moreover, at the time when the Gospel was written, the inadequacy of both presentations of Christianity was becoming apparent. The primitive revivalism was decaying; the hopes of a Parousia were growing faint; while, on the other hand, Docetism and the fantastic schemes of the Gnostic party were visibly tending to discard the Gospel in favour of a barbarized Platonism. The author of this Gospel interposed his powerful influence to save Christianity from being either swamped in a mythology or sublimated into a theosophy. ‘The Jews’ demanded miracles, ‘the Greeks’ a philosophy; this Gospel, like St. Paul, presents both with ‘Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). The author addresses himself chiefly to the Faith-party, who most needed teaching. He tries to recall them to real history, by subtly spiritualizing the miraculous narratives, to which they attributed too much importance, and bringing out their ethical and spiritual significance. He never makes the slightest attempt to rationalize a miracle.—on the contrary, the miracles which he records are more startling than anything in the Synoptics,—but no stress is laid on any physical portent as momentous in and for itself, or as evidence, apart from its symbolical value as a type of the Person, work, and office of Christ. This design of spiritualizing the tradition is kept in view throughout; but it is carried out so subtly and quietly that it has often been overlooked.
A glance at one of the old-fashioned ‘Harmonies’ of the four Evangelists makes us realize how few of the events of our Lord’s life, before the last few days, are recorded by the Synoptists and also by St. John. And even the few common elements are employed differently, and in different settings. There are notable and irreconcilable differences in the chronology, including, as is well known, a discrepancy as to the date of the Crucifixion. The development of Christ’s mission is differently conceived, the Johannine Christ making the most exalted claims to equality with the Father near the beginning of His career, and in the presence of His enemies ( 2:19, 6:40, 8:58 etc.), whereas in the Synoptics the question and answer at Caesarea Philippi are clearly intended to be of crucial importance (Matthew 16:13 ff. ||). The form and substance of the discourses are also very different, the Christ of the Synoptics speaking as a man to men, as a Jew to Jews; conveying His message in pithy aphorisms, easily understood and remembered, and in homely parables, adapted to the comprehension of country folk. These discourses are directed rather to bringing men to the Father, and to righteousness and consistency of life, than to inculcating any doctrines about His own Person; sometimes He expresses His attachment to the Law, and repudiates any intention of abrogating it. Our Evangelist, on the other hand, represents Jesus as taking part in long polemical disputations with ‘the Jews,’ who are as much His enemies as they were the enemies of the Christian Church 80 years later; the parables have disappeared, and their place is taken by ‘proverbs’ or symbolic language; and, above all, His whole teaching is centred upon faith in and devotion to Himself. The emphatic ἐγώ occurs 15 times in St. Matthew, 117 times in St. John. Many facts to which our Evangelist attaches great importance are completely strange to the Synoptic tradition. Such are: the marriage in Cana of Galilee, with which the public ministry opens; the conversation with the Samaritan woman; the healing of the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda; the incident of the man born blind; the raising of Lazarus, which in St. John’s Gospel appears to have been the immediate cause of the plot against the life of Jesus; the washing of the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper; the conversation with Pilate at the trial; the presence of the beloved disciple and Mary at the Cross; the appearance to Thomas after the Resurrection. On the other hand, the writer of the Fourth Gospel omits the genealogy and the birth from a virgin, because it could be of no interest to him to prove that Jesus (or rather Joseph) was descended from king David, and the Incarnation of the Logos is a far grander conception than a miraculous birth by the operation of the Holy Ghost; he omits the Baptism of Jesus, of which notwithstanding he shows knowledge, because, again, the true Baptism is the Incarnation of the Logos in Jesus, and also partly, perhaps, because he is anxious to discountenance the Adoptionist views of the Person of Christ which were prevalent at the time when he wrote; he omits the Temptation, because it is no part of his plan to exhibit Jesus as experiencing any temptation or weakness; he omits the Transfiguration, because in his view the whole life of Christ on earth is a manifestation of His glory, not by visible light but to the spiritual eye; he omits the institution of the Eucharist, because he has already given his sacramental doctrine in his discourse about the Bread of Life (John 6:26 ff.), following the miracle of the 5000, and does not wish the truth of the mystical union to be bound up too closely with the participation in an ecclesiastical rite; he omits the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the cry, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,’ because the impression which he wishes to convey of the complete voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings and death, and of the ‘glory’ which was manifested by His humiliation as well as by His triumph over death, might be impaired by incidents which seem to indicate human weakness and hesitation; and, lastly, he omits the Ascension and the descent of the Paraclete, because he does not wish the withdrawal of Christ’s bodily presence, and the continuation of the Incarnation in another more spiritual form, to be associated with physical portents, or to be assigned to particular days.
There can be no question that these omissions are deliberate, and not the result of ignorance. Those who wish to discredit any of the narratives which appear in the Synoptics, cannot rightly draw any inferences from St. John’s silence. Such features of the Christian tradition as the Birth at Bethlehem and the Ascension must have been well known by any well-instructed Christian at the beginning of the 2nd cent., and there are no signs that our Evangelist wishes to correct his predecessors from the standpoint of one who has had access to better information. Not only are incidents like the Baptism referred to incidentally (John 1:32), but an attempt is made to provide substitutes for several of the omitted narratives. Instead of the Davidic ancestry of Joseph, we have the eternal generation of the μονογενής; instead of the Lord’s Prayer, taught to the disciples, we have the High-Priestly prayer of ch. 17, in which almost every clause of the Lord’s Prayer is represented, though in each case, except the last (‘Deliver us from the evil one’), the petition is changed into a statement that the work has been done, the boon conferred. The institution of Baptism is represented by the discourses with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman; that of the Eucharist by the miracle in ch. 6 and the discourse on the Bread of Life which follows it. The Transfiguration is represented by the voice from heaven in John 12:7; John 12:28; while the preceding verse (which should be printed as a question, ‘Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour?’) is intended to compensate us for the loss of the Agony in the Garden. Lastly, the words to Thomas in John 20:29—the last beatitude—more than reconcile us to the loss of any description of the Ascension.
The number of miracles is much reduced; but those which are given are representative, and in some cases are more tremendous than those of the Synoptics. The healing of the son of Herod’s official (John 4:46 ff.) is the only miracle which has the true Synoptic ring; in the others no ‘faith’ is required in those who are to benefit by the sign, and the object seems to be to manifest some aspect of Christ’s Person and work. In the marriage at Cana, the feeding of the multitude, the healing of the blind man, and the raising of Lazarus, the Evangelist himself tells us the spiritual meaning of the miracle, in words spoken either by the Lord Himself or by some one else.
There is, however, a great deal of symbolism in the Gospel which is unexplained by the author, and unnoticed by the large majority of his readers. The method is strange to us, and we do not look out for allegories which would be at once understood by Alexandrians in the 2nd century. A few examples are necessary, to justify the view here taken that symbolism or allegorism pervades the whole Gospel. In John 1:29 John the Baptist designates Christ ‘the Lamb of God,’ with clear reference to the Paschal sacrifice. The prophetic type of the Paschal lamb dominates the whole of the Passion narrative in St. John. Even the date, it would appear, is altered, in order that Christ may die on the day when the Paschal lambs were killed. The change of the ‘reed’ of the Synoptics to ‘hyssop’ seems to have been made with the same object, when we remember the ritual use of hyssop at the Passover. The Gospel abounds in enigmatic utterances, such as ‘Thou hast kept the good wine until now’ (John 2:10); ‘It is expedient that one man should die for the people’ (John 11:50); ‘Judas went immediately out, and it was night’ (John 13:30); in which the reader is plainly meant to see a double meaning. The symbolism is often in three stages. The text presents an apparent sense, which is in figure a second, which in turn points to a third and still deeper signification. Especially in the narrative, a prophetic utterance quoted from the OT is sometimes the intermediate stage in this allegorical construction. The type of the Paschal lamb comes as it were between the literal feeding of the 5000 and the idea that Christ gives His life to take away the sin of the world, and that He may be our spiritual food and sustenance. The words quoted from the Psalms, ‘the zeal of thy house shall eat me up,’ come in like manner between the cleansing of the Temple at Jerusalem and the idea of the glorification of Jesus as the building of the true Temple, the body of Christ, the Church. There are, we might venture to say, three temples in the mind of the Evangelist—the material temple built by Herod, the temple of Christ’s natural body, which was to be destroyed and raised up ‘in three days,’ and the temple which is the spiritual body of Christ—namely, the Church. Similarly, in John 7:38, the quotation, ‘out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,’ comes, as it were, between the thrust of the lance and the effusion of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the Church.
But the most remarkable part of the allegoric method is that connected with numbers. There can be no doubt, in the opinion of the present writer, that the Philonic method of playing with numbers had a strong fascination for our Evangelist. The examples are far too numerous to be accidental. The number 7 recurs in the number of the miracles (omitting ch. 21 from our calculations), in the number of solemn declarations beginning ‘I am’; in the number of ‘witnesses’ borne to Christ, and perhaps in other places. The officer’s son is healed at the seventh hour; the paralytic on the seventh day. It is thoroughly in accordance with the method of the Evangelist, that he avoids the word ἑπτά, just as he avoids the two crucial words γνῶσις and πίστις, which had become watchwords of parties. As for the number 3, perhaps too much ingenuity has been shown in cutting up the whole Gospel into arrangements of 3; but unquestionably the book does lend itself very readily to such classification, and the fact that it is concealed rather than obtruded is in accordance with what seems to have been the method and design of the writer. With regard to higher numbers, the extreme precision of the Evangelist must excite suspicion of an allegorical motive; and when we find that 38, 46, and 153 can be plausibly explained on Philonic principles, the suspicion becomes almost a certainty. For example, the 153 fish may be the ‘fulfilment’ of 10+7; 1 + 2 + 3 + … + 17 = 153; or, as Bishop Wordsworth suggests, it may be the square of 12 + the square of 3. It is said that 200 (Peter is 200 cubits from the land) signifies, in the Philonian lore, repentance. The ‘forty-six years’ since the beginning of the building of the Temple may possibly be connected with the age assigned to Jesus (‘not yet fifty years old’); it has been suggested that the Evangelist wishes to make Him seven times seven years old at the Crucifixion; but this is very doubtful. The frequent use of number-symbolism in the Gospel is more certain than the correctness of particular interpretations. These interpretations would occur readily to the ‘Gnostic’ of the 2nd cent.; to us they must be guesswork.
Some critics, such as Renan, have objected to this discovery of allegorism in the Fourth Gospel, that the allegorist always tries to attract attention to his symbols, whereas St. John clearly does not, but conceals them so carefully that the large majority of his readers do not even suspect their existence. This sounds plausible. But the question really is whether the Evangelist has not done all that he need have done in order to be understood by those among his first readers who knew his method. It is not suggested that the Johannine symbolism was meant for all to understand. There is abundant evidence that those who valued the ‘Gnosis’ were agreed that it must not be profaned by being explained to all. We find this conviction in Philo, and very strongly in Clement of Alexandria, who, as a Christian, is important evidence. He says that to put the spiritual exegesis before the common people is like giving a sword to a child to play with. He will not write all that he knows, because of the danger that it may get into wrong hands. There are some religious truths which can only be safely imparted orally. There is reason to think that he abandoned his project of putting the coping-stone on his theological works by a book of an esoteric character, because a published treatise cannot be confined to those who ought to read it. Since, then, the existence of the symbolic method, and the obligation of concealing it from the ordinary reader, are both proved, there is nothing strange in the veiled symbolism which we have found to characterize this Gospel.
The Evangelist writes throughout for two classes of readers—for the simpliciores, who would be satisfied by the narrative in its plain sense, and for the ‘Gnostic,’ who could read between the lines without difficulty. And yet he wishes all his readers to rise towards a spiritual understanding. Again and again he puts the key in the lock—in such solemn utterances as ‘I am the Bread of Life—the Light of the World—the Resurrection and the Life.’ His own word for the allegoric method is ‘proverb’ (παροιμία). Up to the end of the last discourse, Jesus has spoken to His disciples in proverbs; but the time was coming (after the withdrawal of His bodily presence) in which, through the medium of the Paraclete, He should no more speak to them in proverbs, but should show them plainly of the Father. The proverb is different from the Synoptic παραβολή, which is a story with a religious and moral application—a story which has a complete sense in itself, apart from the lesson, which is generally conveyed by the story as a whole, and not by the details. St. John, however, tries to keep the historical parabolic form in which Jesus actually taught. Yet, in spite of himself, he half substitutes the Alexandrian and Philonic allegory for the Synoptic parable. The double sense runs all through the narrative. Whenever the Johannine Christ begins to teach—whether His words are addressed to Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, ‘the Jews,’ or His own disciples—He nearly always begins by enunciating a proposition which contains, under a sensible and symbolic image, a religious truth. The auditor regularly misunderstands Him, interpreting literally what should have been easily perceived to be a metaphor. This gives Jesus an opportunity to develop His allegory, and, in so doing, to instruct the reader, if not the original hearer of the discourse, whom once or twice (as in ch. 3) the Evangelist seems to have quite forgotten. The Johannine Christ loves words which, at any rate in Greek, have a double sense, such as ἄνωθεν, πνεῦμα, λόγος (cf. esp. John 10:31-38). Whether the very numerous cases where a verb may be indicative or imperative are intentionally ambiguous, it is not easy to say. The symbolism reaches its height in some of the discourses to the Jews; the last discourses to the disciples are more plain, and in ch. 17, which is the climax of the teaching of the Gospel, the mystical union is expounded with much directness.
One of the most difficult problems in connexion with the classes of readers for whom the Gospel was intended is presented by certain explanations introduced by the Evangelist. The chief of these are John 2:21, John 6:64-65, John 7:38, John 8:27, John 12:33, John 18:9. These explanations seem to us at times superficial and unworthy of their context. We cannot be surprised that they have given force to partition-theories like that of Wendt, who maintains that the discourses are on a higher intellectual and spiritual level than could he within the compass of the author of parts of the narrative. The difficulties in the way of partition-theories seem to be insuperable. A more plausible hypothesis is that the Evangelist deliberately introduced these childlike observations for the benefit of the simpliciores, trusting to the educated reader being able to divine his purpose. But this theory is not very satisfactory. We have seen that St. John is able to see as many as three meanings in a simple occurrence. And so he may have felt that ‘the Temple’ might mean Christ’s natural body as well as the stone building and the Church of Christ, which last must have been mainly in his mind when he foresaw the downfall of the Jewish sanctuary and all which it represented.
The style of the Fourth Gospel is as different from that of the Synoptics as the matter. Instead of the variety which we find in them, we have a small number of essential thoughts repeated again and again under a small number of images. From this results a strange impressiveness, common in mystical writings, which often share this peculiarity, though to some readers the monotony appears tedious and inartistic. The discourses of Christ have a sweet and melancholy charm, with an indescribable dignity and grandeur; over them all hangs the luminous haze of mysticism, in which mystery seems clear, and clearness itself is mysterious. The phraseology is Hebraic, not Greek; in the Prologue we have a species of rhythm which recalls the old prophets, and in many places we find the parallelism of Hebrew poetry. The arrangement is that of the writer’s own thought, not chronological. The appearance of detailed accuracy is not, as has often been seriously argued, a proof of first-hand knowledge, but is due to the vividness of the Evangelist’s mental images. The numbers, as has been said, seem often to have a symbolic meaning; the figures, such as Nicodemus and the Greeks who asked for an introduction to Jesus, disappear from the writer’s mind as soon as the point is made. No difference can he detected between the style of the various speakers, or between the discourses of Christ and the Evangelist’s own comments.
2. Theology of the Gospel.—The first question which meets us is the relation of the Prologue to the rest of the Gospel. Harnack, whose antipathy to the Logos theology apparently influences his judgment, suggests that the Prologue was merely prefixed to the narrative in order to predispose the Greeks in favour of the views which the author was about to propound, views which do not really at all correspond with the Logos philosophy as they understood it.
‘The Prologue brings in conceptions which were familiar to the Greeks, and enters into these more deeply than is justified by the presentation which follows; for the notion of the incarnate Logos is by no means the dominant one in the Gospel. Though faint echoes of this idea may possibly be met with here and there in the Gospel,—I confess I do not notice them,—the predominating thought is essentially that of Christ as the Son of God, who obediently executes what the Father has shown and appointed Him’ (ZThK [2] ii. 189 ff.).
This strangely perverse judgment has evoked protests from several critics who understand the Gospel better than Harnack, among others from Réville, who has certainly no bias in favour of traditional views. It would be easy to show that every one of the dogmatic statements in the Prologue is reasserted in the body of the Gospel. For the pre-existence of the Logos, beyond time, in personal relation to, and in essential union with, God, cf. John 6:62, John 8:58, John 14:10, John 17:5; John 17:24. For the Logos as the Agent in creation, and its life-giving and sustaining principle, cf. John 5:26,
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gospel
1. The meaning of the term.-‘Gospel,’ a compound of the O.E. gód, ‘good,’ and spel, ‘tidings,’ has been employed from the beginnings of English translation of the NT to render the Greek εὐαγγέλιον. In the classics this term denotes (a) the reward for good tidings, and is so used in the Septuagint (2 Samuel 4:10), ᾧ ἔδει με δοῦναι εὐαγγέλια (pl. [1] ), ‘the reward I had to give him for his tidings’; but (b) in later Greek the word stands for the glad message itself. In the NT, however, εὐαγγέλιον refers not to the written record, as in the modern usage of ‘gospel’ = ‘book,’ but to the message as delivered and proclaimed. The gospel of N., e.g. is the good news as N. announced it, and St. Paul’s gospel is the message brought by the Apostle in his preaching. As long as oral teaching and exhortation could be had from eye-witnesses and intimates of our Lord’s ministry, ‘gospel’ was reserved for this testimony; accordingly, the Apostle John (1 John 1:1) writes, ὁ ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν, ὃ ἑωπάκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χαῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν, περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς, ‘that which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with out eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.’ These are the credentials of his message, and the persuasion of it to the hearts of his hearers. Among the early Christians these memories-ἀπομνημονεύματα-were most prized, and that word rather than εὐαγγέλιον was the primitive term for the gospel (cf. Moffatt, Introd. to Literature of the New Testament (Moffatt)., 1911, p. 44, with foot-note).
But as the eye-witnesses and their immediate successors passed away, believers had to fall back, perforce, upon a written record. The earliest certain use of the word in the modern sense is found in Justin Martyr (circa, about 150 a.d.)-‘The apostles in the memoirs written by themselves, which are called “Gospels” ’ (Apol. i. 66; cf. Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , and Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , s.v.).
The passage which rules the use of εὐαγγέλιον in the NT is Mark 1:14, ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν κηρύσσων τὸ εὐγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ (the gen. is both subj. and obj.; all aspects are included), ‘Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God.’
The word, probably, came into favour through the use by the Septuagint of the cognate εὐαγγελίζειν and εὐαγγελίζεσθαι in 2 Is. and in the Restoration-Psalms (cf. our Lord’s discourse [2] in the synagogue of Nazareth concerning the glad tidings of His Mission, based on Isaiah 61:1). But, while the term (noun and verb) is of fairly frequent occurrence in the Synoptics, it owes its predominance in apostolic Christianity to the Apostle of the Gentiles. ‘It evidently took a strong hold on the imagination of St. Paul in connexion with his own call to missionary labours (εὐαγγέλιον sixty times in Epp. Paul, besides in Epp. and Apoc. only twice; εὐαγγελίζεσθαι twenty tunes in Epp. Paul, besides once mid seven times pass.)’ (Sanday-Headlam, Romans 5, p. 5f.).
In Mark 1:1, ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χπιστοῦ, and Revelation 14:6, καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον … ἔχοντα εὐαγγέλιον αἰώνιον εὐαγγελίσαι, we see the word in almost the transition stage between a spoken message and a book. Before the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, ‘gospel’ was the glad message of the Kingdom, brought and proclaimed by Himself and those whom He sent out to prepare the way before Him. But in Acts 20:24 ‘the gospel of the grace of God,’ Romans 1:1-3 ‘the gospel of God regarding His Son,’ and 2 Corinthians 4:4 ‘the gospel of the glory (manifested perfection) of Christ, the second stage is approached.
2. The content of the gospel.-As to the subject-matter of the apostolic gospel, one can scarcely say that the content varied; it was rather that the emphasis was changed. In his synagogue ministry to the Dispersion, St. Paul found the soil in some measure prepared. The παιδαγωγός had brought men so far that certain beliefs might be taken for granted as a foundation laid by the Spirit of Revelation in the OT Scriptures both legal and prophetic. This would rule the content of his gospel message to them. The case was different, however, in purely missionary and pioneer work, not only in rude places such as Lystra, but also among the more cultured, though equally pagan, populations in the great cities of the Empire, both in Asia and in Europe. The pioneer gospel, therefore, would have notes of its own. Then, again, after a district had been evangelized and churches planted, we can see how the emphasis of the message would change, us apostolic men, prophets and teachers, sought to lead the primitive Christian communities up to ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ (Ephesians 4:13; cf. Hebrews 6:1).
From 1 and 2 Thess. we may gather the content of St. Paul’s evangelistic gospel in his heathen mission. ‘Those simple, childlike Epistles to the Thessalonian Church are a kind of Christian primer’ (A. B. Bruce, St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity, p. 15ff.). From the address on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17:30-31) we have further indications of the staple of his message to those outside. But, perhaps more succinctly and perfectly than anywhere else, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 we have the evangelistic Pauline gospel-‘for I delivered to you, among the most important things (ἐν πρώτοις), that which also I received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he has been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared unto Cephas; then to the twelve: then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the majority survive to this day, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles. And Inst of all, as to the one untimely born, he appeared to me also.’ This summary of the Christian Creed reveals what, to St. Paul, constituted the essential content of the gospel (cf. J. E. McFadyen, The Epistles to the Corinthians [3], p. 205ff.).
To this synopsis of his gospel St. Paul adds (1 Corinthians 15:11), ‘Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.’ In all essentials St. Paul stood on the same ground as the Twelve-St. Peter, St. James, and St. Paul were absolutely unanimous. Had it been otherwise, tine can hardly see how he could have won recognition among ‘the pillars’ or been accepted by the Church. His gospel was not a different (ἕτερος) gospel, though his rapidly changing spheres, and the pressing need of the occasion, may have shifted the accent. This he acknowledges when, speaking of the evangelical mission of the Church, he says (Galatians 2:7), ‘I had been entrusted with the gospel of (for) the uncircumcision, even as Peter with the gospel of (for) the circumcision.’ But it was the same gospel in alt its manifold adaptability. Therein no schism is the NT as to the content of the gospel message. The opinion that there is has been well called a ‘perversity of criticism.’ Thus (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , s.v.) the apostolic gospel may be defined as ‘the good tidings, coming from God, of salvation by His free favour through Christ.’ But as the ‘gospel’ of a church is to be sought not only in the message of its preachers, but also in its condensed creeds and in its hymns, there ought to be added to the above summary at least two splendid fragments that have the true liturgical ring about them:
(1) Christ exalted: 1 Timothy 3:16 (ὅς, not θεός, is the subject, Revised Version )-
ὅς ἐφανερώθη ἐν σαρκί,
ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι,
ὤφθη ἀγγέλοις,
ἐκηρύχθη ἐν ἔθνεσιν,
ἐπιστεύθη ἐη κόσμῳ,
ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ.
‘This fragment, in its grand lapidary style, is worthy to be placed by the side of the Apostles ‘Creed’ (Köhler, quoted by J. Strachan, Captivity and Pastoral Epistles [4], p. 218f.).
(2) God glorified: 1 Timothy 6:15-16 -
ὁ μακἀριος καὶ μόνος δυνάστης,
ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν βασιλευόντων
καὶ κύριος τῶν κυριευόντων,
ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν,
φῶς οἰκῶν ἀπρόσιτον,
ὅν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων
οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται.
ᾦ τιμὴ καὶ κρἀτος αἰώνιον.
3. The relation of the gospel to the Law.-Acts 13 records the opening of St. Paul’s official missionary Labours, and there (Acts 13:38-39) we have the first indication of the Pauline attitude to the Law. In his address in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch, he generalizes the incident of Cornelius; ‘Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man (Jesus) is proclaimed unto yon remission of sins; and by him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.’
But Romans 7, with its logical conclusion in ch. 8, is the crucial passage for the understanding of the relations of Law and gospel in the life of St. Paul, and in that of the NT Church generally. It is the Apostle’s account of the struggle, ‘often baffled, sore battled,’ that filled the years before his conversion. He also was a rich young ruler troubled with the haunting question, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ For years he had struggled to put down sin in his own heart, to be righteous in the sight of God, passionately longing to have the assurance of the forgiveness of sins, that in peace he might will his will and work his work. In this respect he is like his spiritual kinsmen, Luther and Bunyan. In some respects, St. Paul sharpened the antithesis between Law and grace to a point that was extreme, in that it did not take account of the prophetic element in the Old Testament which was not legal. Jeremiah , 2 Isaiah, and Hosea may be instanced.
But in his day, as a general rule, it was the legal aspect of the OT that held the thought of the Jewish people. Judaism knew but one answer to such questionings as St. Paul’s-‘Keep the law’; and if a man replied, ‘I cannot,’ the answer came back remorselessly: ‘Nevertheless, keep it.’ ‘Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all’ (James 2:10, Galatians 3:10).
As the Apostle looked back on the long, weary way ever which he had come, he found that he had travelled into ‘a dark and dreadful consciousness of sin and disaster’ (Rainy in The Evangelical Succession, p. 20). And this refers to the observance not of one part of the Law but of the whole; what appealed to the conscience of men everywhere, ceremonial Judaism, and the tradition of the elders-all that νόμος means is included.
‘All his experience, at whatever date, of the struggle of the natural man with temptation is here [5] gathered together and concentrated in a single portraiture. [6] we shall probably not be wrong in referring the main features of it especially to the period before his Conversion’ (Sanday-Headlam, op. cit. p. 186). But of course, as St. Paul presents it to the churches, it is his own experience universalized. There is no possibility of winning a standing before God by the Law-
‘For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to Thee.’
He had discovered also that there was no life to be hoped for from the Law. Such had never been its intention. The ‘parenthesis’ of the Law had for its purpose to create the full knowledge of sin (διὰ νόμον ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας), to produce in the conscience the conviction of it.
Moreover-such is the weakness of human nature-the Law tended to stir sin into dreadful activity, for every commandment seemed tit bring up a new crop of sins into his life.
But to the Law St. Paul held on as long as possible; his sudden conversion means as much. The Law was the one outlet to the hopes of Judaism; while to the patriotism of St. Paul Christianity seemed anti-national. Therefore he hung on till he could hold no longer-‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me out of the body of this death?’ (Romans 7:24). ‘Any true happiness, therefore, any true relief, must be sought elsewhere. And it was this happiness and relief which St. Paul sought and found in Christ. The last verse of Romans 7 marks the point at which the great harden which lay upon the conscience rolls away; and the next chapter begins with an uplifting of the heart in recovered peace and serenity; “There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” ’ (Sanday-Headlam, op. cit. p. 189). He had found salvation by grace, redemption in Christ, and righteousness by faith and union with Him; ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from ‘the law of sin and of death’ (Romans 8:2). The very essence of St. Paul’s gospel is to be found in his conception of Christ’s relation to the condemning Law. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, because He stood condemned in their place, and took their condemnation upon Himself; therefore St. Paul is bold to say, ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us’ (Galatians 3:13).
It is characteristic of his rebound and gladness of spirit that he, by pre-eminence in the NT, called his message the good news (εὐαγγέλλιον, and the discovery sent him out everywhere (‘Woe is me if I preach not the gospel’) to the multitudes of burdened souls, who wore held, as he had once been held, in this strange captivity. Through all his letters, the contrast between Law and gospel as mutually exclusive is developed in the antitheses, law and faith, works and grace, wages and free gift-‘Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace’ (Galatians 5:4). In the Third, the Pauline, Gospel, we have our Lord’s story of the two debtors, both of whom, when they had nothing to pay, were frankly forgiven. In the days before his conversion, St. Paul had been painfully trying to pay that debt. Brought to the knowledge that he had nothing wherewith to pay, he made the great discovery that Christ had paid the debt and set him free. And, as he who has been forgiven much will love much, therefore evangelical love burned in St. Paul’s heart, as perhaps never in the heart of man besides, to the ‘Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.’
Though the idea of the Law in the Epistle to the Hebrews is so different that it is impossible for Gal. and Heb to have come from the same pen, yet the contrast between the Law and the gospel is ‘without doubt identical with that of St. Paul, although the writer of Hebrews possibly reached that position by a different road’ (A. B. Davidson, Hebrews [7], p. 19). Both writers hold that Christ is the end of the Law to every one that believeth, and through Him is the Atonement made once for all. but inasmuch as the question between Jews and Gentiles had in the days of Hebrews passed beyond the stage of keen controversy, and a free gospel was preached everywhere, the writer did not feel it needful to develop the contrasts between Law and gospel in the Pauline manner. Yet ‘the ceremonial observances are in themselves worthless (Hebrews 7:18; Hebrews 10:1-4); they were meant to be nothing more than temporary (Hebrews 9:8-10; Hebrews 8:13); for God Himself in OT Scripture has abrogated them (Hebrews 7:18; Hebrews 10:9); and the believing Hebrews are exhorted to sever all connection with their countrymen still practising them (Hebrews 13:13)’ (A. B. Davidson, op. cit. p. 19). When the Sun has risen, all other lights pale and fade. The substance has come, the shadow disappears.
It has already been pointed out that there is no sufficient reason for assuming a schism re Law and Faith in the apostolic writings. St. Paul stood on substantially the same ground as the Twelve; his recognition by them (Galatians 2:2-10), and much more his acceptance by the Church, imply as much. Nor is there on a fair and careful interpretation any antagonism between the Epistle to the Romans and the Epistle of James. The question turns on the meaning of πίστις. St. James is not denouncing the Pauline πίστις, but the caricature of it in a narrow Judaism, which has reduced this noble faculty of the soul to the mere intellectual acceptance of a dogma-a fides informis, ethically fruitless-a faith without works (James 2:26). St. Paul, on the other hand, thinks of a fides formata, ‘faith which worketh by love’ (Galatians 5:6). Words mean different things to different men. To St. Paul ‘works’ moan ἔργα νόμου, while to St. James they correspond to what St. Paul calls ‘the fruits of the Spirit. Thus, ‘so far as the Christian praxis of religion is concerned, James and Paul are a tone, but each lays the emphasis on different syllables ‘(Moffatt, Introd. to Literature of the New Testament (Moffatt)., p. 465). It is nothing strange that both go to the story of Abraham (Genesis 15:6) for an apposite example, for it has been pointed out (Lightfoot, Gal.5, 1876, p. 157) that this passage was a stock subject of discussion in the Jewish schools and in Philo. St. Paul, quoting Genesis, affirms that the initial act for which Abraham was accepted in the sight of God was his faith; and St. James, thinking more of Genesis 22:12 than of Genesis 15:6, says that his faith was made clear, ‘seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.’ ‘Faith alone justifies, though the faith which justifies does not remain alone.’ Thus we read (Titus 3:8), ‘I will that thou affirm confidently to the end that they which have believed God may be careful to maintain good works’ (cf. the Scots Paraphrase [8], ‘Thus faith approves itself sincere, by active virtue crowned’). But white all real opposition between the apostles (whatever may be the temporal relation between Romans and James) may be disallowed, it need not be denied that the formal differences which appear in the Epistles may well have risen from the extremities to which the controversy was pushed in the different schools of thought in the Church (paulinior ipso Paulo). The Apostle was not oblivious of misinterpretation (Romans 6:1; Romans 6:15), and the school of St. James doubtless had those who carried their master’s doctrine to extreme lengths. But in the balance of Holy Scripture, the truths of which St. James and St. Paul are protagonists are not contradictories, but safe and necessary supplementaries in the body of Christian doctrine. (For the relation between the doctrines of St. Paul and St. James re the Law and Faith, reference may be made to Romans 5 [9], p. 102ff.; James [10], p. 76ff.; The General Epistles [11], p. 163ff.; Moffatt, Introd. to Literature of the New Testament (Moffatt)., p. 465.)
Literature.-Sanday-Headlam, Roman5 (International Critical Commentary , 1902), pp. 184-189); J. Denney, Studies in Theology, 1894, p. 100ff., ‘Romans’ in Expositor’s Greek Testament , 1900, p. 632ff., also art [12] ‘Law’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ; R. Rainy in The Evangelical Succession (Lects. in St. George’s Free Church, Edinburgh), 1882, p. 20ff.; A. B. Bruce, The Kingdom of God4, 1891, pp. 63-84, St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity, 1894, p. 293ff.; Expository Times vii. [13] 297f., xii. [14] 482b, xxi. [15] 497f. For the Law in Hebrews, see A. S. Peake, Hebrews (Century Bible, 1902). p. 30ff.
W. M. Grant.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Gospel (2)
GOSPEL.—‘Gospel’ is the modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word ‘godspell,’ representing the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον. Formerly it was thought to be the literal translation, meaning ‘good-story.’ But now it is generally accepted as meaning ‘God-story.’ εὐαγγέλιον was originally used for ‘the reward of good tidings,’ and traces of this usage are found in LXX Septuagint; cf. 2 Samuel 4:10. But the word came to denote the ‘good tidings’ themselves; and this is the Christian usage. It may be noted here that Dalman (The Words of Jesus, p. 103) says: ‘In the verb בִּשַׂר, which must be assumed to be the original Aramaic expression, the idea of glad tidings is not so inherent as in the Greek εὐαγγελίζεσθαι. Even in the OT (1 Samuel 4:17) בִּשַׂר is used of mournful tidings.… It thus appears that the sovereignty of God is the content of a “message” or “tidings,” and not without further qualification of “a message of glad tidings.” ’ It would seem, however, that the choice of the Greek verb εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, as well as the contexts of the word in the Gospels, provide that ‘further qualification.’
1. The source for the Christian usage is found in Isaiah. In Isaiah 61:1 the prophet describes the function of the Servant of Jahweh (or perhaps his own function) in these words: ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.…’ The word is εὐαγγελίσασθαι. The meek are the exiles in Babylon. Good tidings are announced to them. God is coming to save them, and He is near. It is the acceptable year of the Lord, when He shall deliver His people from their enemies and restore them to their native land. A similar reference occurs in Isaiah 52:7. A messenger hastens to Jerusalem, as she sits in the dust of her ruins, bringing ‘good tidings.’ The exiles are to return to her, and she shall be inhabited again by her long-lost children. These instances exhibit clearly the meaning ‘good tidings’; and both are claimed in NT to describe the Christian message. St. Paul quotes Isaiah 52:7 in Romans 10:15; and Jesus makes Luke 15:11-32 the text for His sermon at Nazareth (Matthew 6:25-3496).
This use of the word by Jesus stamps it at once with its Christian significance. ‘He began to say, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.’ He claimed to be a preacher of good tidings to the poor. The poor, the captives, the blind, the bruised, are no longer political exiles. They are the bond-servants of sin, those who waited for the consolation of Israel, the poor and outcast to whom Judaism had no message of hope. He is Jahweh’s Anointed sent to bring good tidings of great joy to all the people (Luke 2:10). This description of His mission seems to have endeared itself to the heart of Jesus. He made frequent use of the word, and soon after the rejection in Nazareth He described His Messianic function by it: ‘I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for therefore was I sent’ (Luke 4:43). In particular, Jesus appropriated the name ‘gospel’ for the contents of His message. This was His description of it from the beginning of His ministry. St. Mark sums up that beginning thus: ‘Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe in the gospel.’ There are many proofs that Jesus used this word ‘gospel’ to describe His message; cf. Matthew 24:14; Matthew 26:13, Mark 1:15; Mark 8:35; Mark 10:29; Mark 13:10, Luke 7:22 ||. It is not surprising, therefore, that the word came into general Christian use to describe the contents of the preaching of Jesus. All the Synoptics reflect this usage. In Acts and the Epistles it is an established custom. ‘The gospel’ became the normal Christian title for the message which Jesus came to proclaim, and which He sent forth the Apostles to preach to every creature.
2. But closer examination shows that the term was not used by the Evangelists to describe all that Jesus said; nor was the verb ‘preach good tidings’ descriptive of all His work. In Mt. this sentence occurs twice: ‘Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people’ (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35). It seems to be an accepted formula summarizing the work of Jesus. It contains three main words—‘teaching,’ ‘preaching,’ ‘healing.’ The same distinctions are noticed elsewhere. St. Luke distinguishes ‘teaching’ and ‘preaching the gospel’ (Luke 20:1); and in Luke 9:2 he tells that the Twelve were sent forth ‘to preach the kingdom and to heal the sick.’ St. Mark does not contrast the two words ‘teach’ and ‘preach the gospel’ in the same verse; but in Mark 1:14; Mark 1:21, he ascribes to Jesus ‘preaching the gospel’ and ‘teaching.’ In the latter case the effect produced by His ‘teaching’ is different from that due to His ‘preaching.’
It would seem, therefore, that the work of Jesus was threefold: He preached the gospel, He taught, and He healed. If this distinction is valid, the term ‘gospel’ did not apply to all that Jesus said and did. It was reserved for the ‘good tidings’ that He preached. In addition to these ‘good tidings,’ there was ‘teaching’ that belonged to another category. Listeners would hardly describe such teaching as Matthew 5:19-48 by the title ‘good tidings,’ nor could the word apply naturally to Matthew 10:34-39; Matthew 12:31-37; Matthew 19:9-12; Matthew 21:33-44; Matthew 21:23-24. It seems clear that Jesus distinguished the gospel that He preached from the teaching that accompanied it.
3. What then was implied by the term ‘gospel’? It was essentially ‘news’ or ‘tidings.’ It was the proclamation of a fact rather than instruction in the art of living well. It was offered to belief, and its acceptance must be preceded by repentance (Matthew 22:37-390). It is called ‘the gospel of God’ (in Mark 1:14 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885); the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ (in Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 24:14). St. Luke uses the compound phrase, ‘the gospel of the kingdom of God’ (Mark 14:32-390; Luke 16:16). These phrases must be studied, and in addition it must be noted that Jesus connected the gospel with His own person.
(a) The phrase ‘the gospel of God’ indicates a message from God and about God that is good news to men. It is certain that Jesus gave the world a new idea of God; and this gospel of Jesus was the revelation of God as ‘our Father in heaven.’ He did not discover the category of Fatherhood in its relation to God. This had been done under the Old Covenant. But He invested the idea with such radiance as to make it a new revelation. More specifically, He illumined the Fatherhood of God by teaching ‘the infinite value of the human soul.’ God is not merely the Father of a people. He is the Father of each individual soul (cf. ‘thy Father,’ Matthew 6:4-18). His Fatherhood extends to all sorts and conditions of men (Matthew 12:50). In particular, the Father seeks each sinner (Luke 15:1-10), and welcomes even the prodigal to His home (Isaiah 61:1). This ‘gospel of God’ includes, further, the good news to the heavily laden Jew that ‘the Father seeketh true worshippers to worship in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23; cf. Matthew 11:28), and that the Father is willing to forgive sins without sacrificial offerings (Matthew 9:2 ||). And when the child of God has entered into this blessed relationship with his Father in heaven, that Father may be trusted implicitly (1618100417_5). Prayer must be offered to this Father continually (Luke 18:1). The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9) ‘shows the gospel to be the Fatherhood of God applied to the whole of life; to be an inner union with God’s will and God’s kingdom, and a joyous certainty of eternal blessings and protection from evil’ (Harnack).
The Johannine tradition lays special emphasis upon this Divine Fatherhood in its relation to Jesus; the relation between the Father and His children is referred to in terms of love. Indeed, St. John sums up this aspect of the gospel in the immortal words, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). Jesus Himself spoke chiefly of love as the duty of man. To love God and to love one’s neighbour are the supreme laws for human conduct (1618100417_66 ||). But by His constant speech about the Father, Jesus taught also God’s love to men. This relation of love between God and man has been pointed to as the distinguishing feature of the gospel. Thus Réville writes:
‘The Christian gospel is essentially characterized by its declaration that the bond between God and man is one of love. God is the Heavenly Father; man is the son of God; God loves man; man ought to love God; the relation between the principle of the universe and the individual is one of love, in which the two terms subsist. God and man—man not losing himself in God, God not remaining aloof from man—meet in a living communion, so that man’s dependence on God should no longer be one of compulsion, but of free and joyful self-consecration, and that the sovereignty of God over man should no more appear a tyranny, but a rule which we love and bless. Such is the distinctive mark of the Christianity of Jesus, differentiating it from the other great religions.’* [1]
(b) The phrase ‘the gospel of the kingdom’ describes the good news brought by Jesus in its relation to that Kingdom of God or of heaven which He proclaimed. It implies that the Kingdom has ‘a gospel.’ The gospel and the Kingdom are not co-extensive any more than the gospel and God are. But there is good news concerning the Kingdom, and this good news is an essential part of the message of the Kingdom. In brief, this gospel was that the Kingdom of heaven is opened to all believers. The message of Jesus was that the Kingdom was not for select classes or nations, but for all. All Jews were summoned to share it; even the publicans and sinners may come (Matthew 21:31, Mark 2:15 ||). Nor are Jews alone to walk in its light. All nations must be invited to sit at its hospitable table (Matthew 8:11; Matthew 26:13, Mark 13:10). The conditions of entrance make it accessible to all. It is offered not to the rich or to the wise, but to all who will become as little children (Matthew 11:25; Matthew 18:3, John 3:3). Moreover, this Kingdom, which is offered to all, is a far higher good than men dreamed (cf. Matthew 13:31; Matthew 13:44-46). It is a spiritual blessedness, infinitely transcending the ceremonial righteousness secured by legalism, and the political supremacy envied by the patriots. The Kingdom, as Jesus preached it, offered the highest conceivable good to all men. It satisfied the religious instincts of the race; and because these are the deepest and most universal instincts, the message that they can be satisfied is indeed ‘good news’ (cf. Matthew 13 ||). Men had never found true satisfaction in the material forms of a ritualistic religion. These were the husks that contained no nourishment for the soul. Jesus preached ‘the gospel of the kingdom’ when He offered the highest spiritual good to all penitent and humble souls.
(c) But these two forms of the gospel do not exhaust its fulness. The presence of Jesus in the world was itself a gospel. He connected the good tidings with His own person. As the good news Rhoda brought to the praying Church was that Peter himself was at the door (Acts 12:14), so the presence of Jesus in the world was ‘glad tidings of great joy to all people’ (Luke 2:10). This was due to the significance attached by Jesus to Himself. He was the Messiah (Matthew 16:16). His use of the title ‘Son of man’ implies His special significance for the race. In several of His parables He referred to Himself as the Son of God (Luke 20:13), as the Judge and King of men (Matthew 25:31), as the bridegroom (Matthew 9:15; Matthew 25:6); these and other titles indicate the peculiar value of His person. The interest was not metaphysical but religious. His presence in the world manifested the love of God (John 3:16). It proved that God had not forgotten men, but had come to their help.
In this connexion the significance of Jesus’ offer of pardon must be noted. He raised much opposition by claiming ‘power on earth to forgive sins’ (Mark 2:10 ||). Nevertheless He exercised the power (Luke 7:47, John 5:14; John 5:22). There is a close connexion between this ‘good news’ and the good news about God and about the Kingdom. The barrier between God and the soul is sin. It is sin that hinders enjoyment of the Kingdom. Therefore the best news that men can have is a message of full and free forgiveness for all repentant, trustful souls. And this was the message preached by Jesus. He removed pardon out of the sphere of material sacrifices in the temple, which limited the scope of forgiveness to a few, and He made forgiveness a possible boon for everybody. Thus He opened the way into the Kingdom even to the publicans and sinners.
(d) But the core of this aspect of the gospel is reached only when it is connected definitely with the redeeming work of Jesus. He was conscious of a profounder mission than preaching the gospel. More than once He gave utterance to words that touch the deepest mysteries of redemption. He came to give His life a ransom (Matthew 20:28). He was the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep (John 10:11). He foretold His death and resurrection, directly He had brought His disciples to confess His Messiahship (Matthew 16:21). On the betrayal night in the upper room, He gave the cup, saying, ‘This is my blood of the covenant which is shed for many’ (Mark 14:24). It was impossible for Jesus to connect the gospel chiefly with His death, before He was crucified. But it seems unquestionable that He referred to His death as achieving a wonderful deliverance for men in respect of sin. The sacrificial element was not introduced into His life for the first time when He offered Himself to die. ‘The Son of man came to minister’; and all through His ministry He was giving Himself up for others. Nevertheless, He looked upon His own death as having a peculiar significance, awful for Himself (cf. John 1:412 ||), but blessed for men (John 14:3). It is certain that His followers accepted this interpretation of the cross. At once the death of Jesus, followed as it was by His resurrection, was made the main theme of Apostolic preaching (Acts 2:23; Acts 3:14; Acts 4:10 etc.). So central was this preaching about the death of Christ, that St. Paul identifies ‘the gospel’ with the message about ‘Christ crucified’ (1 Corinthians 1:17).
The meaning of the term ‘gospel’ as used by Jesus may now be summed up. It seems to describe the message He taught concerning—(a) the fatherly nature of God; (b) the inclusiveness and spirituality of the Kingdom; and (c) God’s provision for men’s deliverance from sin through His own mediation. This gospel was not only the theme of His preaching, but was exemplified continually in His manner of life. He revealed the Father by His own attitude to men. He illustrated the spirit of the Kingdom by seeking the lost. He mediated the grace of God by His unsparing self-surrender. In particular, He accepted death upon the cross in obedience to the Father’s will, in order that thereby the scattered sons of God might be gathered again to their Father (John 11:52).
4. We must return now to the distinction between ‘preaching the gospel’ and ‘teaching.’ Much of the teaching of Jesus could not be directly classed under the ‘gospel’ as sketched above. It was ethical teaching. It rested upon the gospel as its foundation. It appealed ultimately to the nature of God for its sanctions. It was connected with the Kingdom, being the legislation that befitted such a Kingdom of grace. Nevertheless it was an ethical code, intended to guide those who have previously accepted the gospel. The teaching of Jesus is the law-book of the Kingdom. The gospel of Jesus is the manifesto of the Kingdom, explaining its nature and inviting all to become its citizens.
This probably explains the subsequent use of the term ‘gospel.’ Wonderful as the teaching of Jesus was, the gospel seemed still more marvellous. At any rate, that gospel seemed of first importance. It had to be preached before the teaching of Jesus could follow; and whilst points of contact could be found between the teaching of Jesus and other ethical systems, there was nothing in the world like the gospel of Jesus. And thus the term ‘gospel’ was most frequently on the lips of the Apostles; and by a natural process it was extended to cover the entire contents of their report of Jesus, including His teaching. All that the Apostles had to tell about Jesus was called ‘the gospel.’ This usage is reflected in Mark 1:1, where the word refers to the whole story of Jesus Christ.
5. Two points need a further reference. The gospel brought by Jesus was not entirely new. It had its roots in the past. The preaching of Jesus was in historic continuity with the preaching of the prophets and of the Mosaic law (Matthew 5:17). But that earlier preaching was the faint light of dawn: His words are the strong light of noonday (John 8:12). Hitherto men had only heard rumours of varying trustworthiness; He brought official news that was full and final. Some keen-eyed spirits had caught sight of the Fatherhood of God, as the Alps may be seen from the terrace at Berne on a fine evening. But Jesus led men into the heart of the mountains. The hopes of the nation had hovered for centuries round a kingdom. But only Jesus disclosed the true nature of the shining city of God. Prophets had encouraged lonely exiles with the cry, ‘Behold your God cometh!’ But it was not until Jesus appeared that one who waited for the consolation of Israel could say, ‘Mine eyes have seen thy salvation’ (Luke 2:30). The gospel preached by Jesus gave full substance and final form to the faint and tremulous hopes of centuries. For this reason the gospel must be the unchanging element in the Church’s message. Being ‘news’ about God and the Kingdom, it cannot change until they change.
A distinction has been drawn between the gospel which Jesus preached and His ethical teaching. The Church’s teaching of the Christian ethics must be a changing message. It is the application of the principles of Christ’s teaching to present circumstances. The Christian ethic of the last generation is out of date in presence of to-day’s problems. The Church must study the ethical principles enunciated by Jesus, in order to apply them to modern needs. But whilst the Christian ethic develops and is modified by circumstances, the Christian gospel cannot change. It is good news about facts. It must be stated in modern phraseology, that men may hear it in their own tongue and understand it. But it remains an ‘Old, old Story’ through all time. If this distinction is remembered, it will explain the confusion that is felt in modern times as to the Church’s true function. All are agreed that this is to preach the gospel. But very different views are held as to what is included under the term. In particular, there is an increasing demand for a social gospel, whilst some maintain that the gospel cannot be concerned with social conditions. Probably the term ‘gospel’ is being used in two senses. As Jesus used it, ‘the gospel’ is a definite message, distinct from the Christian ethic, and also distinct from the work of healing practised by the Lord. But from Apostolic days onward the term ‘gospel’ has been used to cover the threefold function—preaching the gospel, teaching the ethic, and healing the sick. In its original and more limited sense, ‘gospel’ is simply the ‘news’ brought by Jesus. In its historical and broader sense, ‘gospel’ is the whole ‘God-story’: it includes the entire record of Jesus Christ’s life and work. Thus used, the term covers the ethic that Jesus Christ taught, and the social service that He practised. In this sense ‘gospel’ includes all ethical teaching and social service that are in accordance with the mind of the Master. It is open to question, however, whether the Church has not suffered loss by broadening the reference of this word. Jesus used it to describe the ‘good news’ He brought to the poor and the meek of the earth; and this ‘gospel’ must ever be the foundation upon which the Church builds, though the foundation is not to be confused with the fabric erected upon it.
6. A brief space must be given to the consideration of the gospel in the rest of NT in so far as it is connected with Christ. In one sense this would involve an exposition of many chapters of Acts and of all the Epistles, for He is ‘the head-stone of the corner,’ and the gospel is only ‘complete in Him.’ But all that can he attempted is an indication of the place occupied by Christ in the gospel as preached by the Apostolic, Church.
When we pass from the Gospels to the Acts and the Epistles, we are conscious at once of a change of standpoint. In the Gospels, Christ’s disciples are a group of learners. They stand beside their Master at the very centre of truth, and they try to follow His gaze as it sweeps the horizon of the love and the kingdom of God. In the Epistles the relative positions are altered. The disciples have become teachers; but they do not stand by their Master’s side at the centre. Christ alone is at the centre; the disciples are on the circumference of the circle and are gazing at Him. Their efforts are directed towards the Lord, whom they would persuade everybody to know (Acts 2:38, 1 Corinthians 2:2). The Lamb is in the midst of the throne, and those who have been gathered into the Kingdom of God worship Him (Revelation 5:6). The Apostles are seeking to obey their Lord’s injunction to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). But their interpretation of this command was to urge their hearers to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).
This identification of ‘the gospel’ with Christ Himself may be accounted for partly by the experience of the Apostles. They went forth as witnesses (Luke 24:48), not as philosophers. They had to tell what great things God had done for their souls. They could do this only by talking of Jesus. For He had become to them the mediator of God’s redeeming love (Mark 8:29, 1618100417_4). They could not be witnesses concerning repentance and remission of sins without filling their lips with the one ‘name given among men wherein we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12).
But another point must be considered. The Apostles were commanded to ‘preach the gospel.’ The instruction had a definite meaning because of their Master’s use of the words. Jesus Christ preached the gospel of the fatherly love of God, establishing a Kingdom into which all men might be admitted, and He offered Himself as the authoritative proof of that love (cf. Mark 12:6 || John 8:42). The presence in the world of the Son of man, the Messiah of prophecy, demonstrated God’s love in providing for men’s deepest needs. Now it is evident that the crucifixion of Jesus shook such a gospel to its foundations. If the life of the Messianic Son of man ended with the cross, His speech about God’s fatherly love and a heavenly Kingdom seemed worse than idle talk. How could the gospel preached by Jesus survive His death? Only if He Himself survived His death. To rehabilitate His gospel, His authority must be rehabilitated. This result was secured by the resurrection of Jesus and by His ascension. When they had seen Him ‘alive after his passion,’ His disciples were prepared to go and ‘preach the gospel to every creature’ (Acts 1:3).
But it is evident also that these events themselves had profound importance. They did more than rehabilitate the authority of Jesus: they brought His own significance for the gospel into clear relief. Such unique events set the personality of Jesus in the heart of the gospel, investing Him with peculiar importance (Acts 2:22-36; Acts 3:13-26; Acts 5:31, 1 John 1:1-3, Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 1:3-8). Although they could not realize at once all that was involved in such events, the Apostles were compelled to take a new attitude to Jesus, and to adopt a fresh theory of His person. He had been their Master: now He becomes ‘the Lord.’ The primitive Christian community used the term before it was able to construct an adequate Christology. But it ‘called Jesus “the Lord” because He had sacrificed His life for it, and because its members were convinced that He had been raised from the dead and was then sitting on the right hand of God’ (Harnack). The significance of Jesus was decided religiously, though not metaphysically, at once. From the first, Jesus Christ had the religious value of God. Men were exhorted to believe in Him (Acts 2:38). The final expression of the Apostolic meditation upon the person of the Lord was given by John (John 1:1-18). But in Apostolic thought the gospel could never be preached apart from Jesus Christ, nor could the significance of Jesus Christ be understood apart from the gospel. In Him God’s redemptive purposes and the sinner’s acceptance of them may meet. Thus He is the central figure in history (Colossians 1:15-19). He is at once the Saviour appointed by the Father (Luke 4:18 ff., Romans 1:3;
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Luke, Gospel According to
LUKE, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
i.The Synoptic Problem.
1.Solutions offered in the past.
2.Priority of St. Mark.
3.The doctrine of a proto-Mark, of a deutero-Mark, and of a trito-Mark.
ii.Analysis of St. Luke’s Gospel according to the sources used.
1.First Source—St. Mark.
2.Second Source—St. Matthew’s Logia.
3.Third Source—a Pauline Collection.
4.Fourth Source—Anonymous Fragments.
5.Fifth Source—a Private Collection (from the Holy Family?).
6.Editorial Notes.
iii.Points of contact with St. John.
iv.St. Luke’s characteristics.
v.Date of writing.
Literature.
i. The Synoptic Problem.—To a student of the Synoptic Problem St. Luke’s Gospel is the most interesting of the three. Indeed, we may confidently affirm that, but for St. Luke, the Synoptic Problem would never have existed. For the connexions between St. Matthew and St. Mark are comparatively simple and are easily explained. It is only when we read St. Luke that the perplexing questions which constitute the Problem arise. We have first to explain the fact of his omissions (a) of Markan matter, (b) of Matthaean; next, his additions (a) of narrative, (b) of discourse; thirdly, his variations from the other Gospels in arrangement (a) of Markan matter, (b) of Matthaean; then we must examine his editorial work, which consists (a) of prefaces to introduce a section, (b) of conclusions to wind it up, (c) of explanatory notes, (d) of corrections, alike in fact, in style, and in grammar; lastly, we must consider cases where he agrees with St. Matthew against St. Mark, and cases where he alone of the Synoptists has some contact with St. John. Anyone who attempts to solve the Problem by neglecting one or more of these factors, may fascinate the reader by the simplicity of his proposals, but he does so at the expense of success. He has not really grappled with the Problem, and therefore has not solved it. If, on the other hand, the reader thinks the proposals which are here offered too intricate; if he accuses the writer of vacillation, because two or more solutions are frequently offered of the same difficulty, let him rellect that in mathematics—the most exact of sciences—a similar fact may be observed. For every quadratic equation has two solutions, and when the Radeliffe Observer published his calculation of the distance of the sun from the earth, the answer came out as a double quadratic with four variations. Similar complications should be expected in an intricate literary problem like this. Let the beginner cultivate patience and suspense of judgment. He will have made good progress, if he learns to suspect the man who is too simple or too confident.
1. Solutions offered in the past.—Augustine, bishop of Hippo, at the close of the 4th cent., was the first writer who made a serious attempt to solve the Synoptic Problem. He was guided partly by tradition, but chiefly by a careful examination of the internal evidence which the Gospels offer. In that age it was perhaps inevitable that he should assume, what modern critics are almost united in denying, that the Apostle Matthew was the author of the First Gospel in its present form. From this fundamental error it inevitably followed that he assumed the priority of St. Matthew, and spoke of St. Mark as the ‘abbreviator and humble follower of St. Matthew.’ St. Luke he held to have copied from the other two. Augustine’s influence in the Western Church was so transcendent, that his opinion on these intricate questions was accepted without examination until quite modern times. Strange to say, the founders of the famous Tübingen school in theology, though they reversed most of the traditional beliefs, adhered to this. They upheld the priority of St. Matthew, not for any literary reason, but for a dogmatic one. The miraeulous element is somewhat less prominent in St. Matthew than it is in St. Mark; therefore, they argued, he must be the earlier writer.
2. Priority of St. Mark.—The notion of the priority of St. Matthew has, however, been so completely beaten off the field, that we need not spend time in refuting it. Suffice it to say that even so conservative a writer as Dr. Salmon, the late Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, admitted that St. Mark’s is the arehaic Gospel. And no wonder, for it is simple where the others are complex; it is meagre where they are rich; it is a chronicle while they are histories; it contains Latin and Aramaic words which they have translated or removed. For example, in Mark 15:39 we find the Latin word κεντυρίων, but in the parallel passages St. Matthew writes ἑκατόνταρχος and St. Luke ἑκατοντάρχης. Both Evangelists felt that they must not disfigure their pages with St. Mark’s ‘barbarism,’ and the different forms which they used indicate independent action. Who, on the other hand, could suppose that St. Mark found ἑκατόνταρχος in St. Matthew, and deliberately altered it into κεντυρίων, or that St. Luke found ἑκατόνταρχος, and deliberately altered it into ἑκατοντάρχης? For these and other reasons it is maintained in all orthodox schools of criticism that St. Matthew and St. Luke made use of St. Mark. Indeed, St. Mark’s Gospel furnishes the historical framework for the others. Equally certain is it that St. Matthew and St. Luke were unacquainted with each other’s writings. Whatever agreement exists between them in non-Markan sections comes from their use of a common source. Augustine therefore is wrong in every particular.
3. The doctrine of a proto-Mark, of a deutero-Mark, and of a trito-Mark.—It has, however, long been debated whether St. Mark’s Gospel in its complete form lay before St. Matthew and St. Luke. Many critics have held that St. Luke, at any rate, had only an Urmarkus—a term which has been used in Germany to signify a document shorter than our St. Mark, earlier in date, and free from those ‘picturesque’ additions which strike the reader of St. Mark’s Gospel. Of late years there has been a growing tendency, both in Germany and in England, to repudiate the doctrine of an Urmarkus. Dr. Swete, without arguing the question at length, expresses the opinion that we can dispense with it. The Dean of Westminster is more positive in setting it aside. Nor is this surprising. Those who reject the oral hypothesis are beginning to feel that they cannot multiply documents at pleasure. Litera scripta manet. If St. Mark’s Gospel circulated in the Apostolic age in three widely different editions, it is impossible to believe that the first and second editions perished without being noticed by such scholars as Origen and Jerome. Nor is it conceivable, as some maintain, that St. Mark entrusted his first edition to St. Luke, who incorporated it into his Gospel, but allowed no one else to make use of it. No wonder that with men who have an historical sense such hypotheses are unpalatable. But the oral hypothesis readily admits of, nay requires, these gradual growths in St. Mark. Under it there is no difficulty whatever in believing that St. Luke’s (oral) St. Mark was much shorter than St. Matthew’s, and that St. Matthew’s had not received the final touches. In fact, the oral hypothesis solves the Synoptic Problem. The documentary hypothesis fails to do so. Both are equally hypothetical. And those who declare the oral hypothesis to be incredible have never, as yet, fairly tackled the arguments on which it rests, or sufficiently taken into account the habits of the East and of that age. This, however, is not the place to plead for the oral hypothesis, nor has the present writer any wish to do more than demand for it a dispassionate consideration. In the examination which follows he will not assume its truth.
ii. Analysis of St. Luke’s Gospel according to the sources used
1. First Source—St. Mark.—St. Mark’s Gospel (oral or written) was not merely used by St. Luke, it forms the backbone of his Gospel. It is hardly too much to say that without St. Mark there would have been neither a St. Luke nor a St. Matthew. But, as we have already intimated, there is strong reason for concluding that St. Luke used a much shorter work, not merely than our St. Mark, but than the St. Mark which lay before the redactor of St. Matthew. In short, he used an Urmarkus or an (oral) proto-Mark. By adopting this view we account at once (a) for his omissions, (b) for his variations from St. Mark’s order. He omitted nothing which his St. Mark contained: he adhered to St. Mark’s order in every section which he took directly from St. Mark. The marvellous simplification of the Synoptic Problem which this view offers can be appreciated only by those who have seriously endeavoured to explain to themselves and justify to others St. Luke’s omissions and his order.
But St. Luke’s omissions are so important that we must consider them at some length. In the Synopsis St. Mark’s Gospel is divided into 223 sections, of which St. Luke omits 54. A group of sections is omitted between Luke 21:5-3819; Mark 4:1. A much larger group—amounting to more than two out of St. Mark’s 16 chapters—is omitted between Mark 6:17; Mark 8:26. The remaining omissions consist of single sections scattered over the rest of St. Mark’s Gospel. Only from Mark 2, 5 are no sections omitted. It is manifestly the duty of the critic to account for these omissions, and attempts have been made by harmonists to do so. Thus they have suggested (1) that St. Luke omitted what his readers would not value: being a Gentile himself, and writing for Gentiles, he naturally omitted sections which dealt with questions of Jewish interest; (2) that he objected to repetition, and left out what he regarded as dittographies; e.g. having given the feeding of 5000, he thought it unnecessary to narrate the feeding of 4000; having described the anointing of our Lord’s feet, he deemed it superfluous to record the anointing of His head. These reasons, however, are quite inadequate. St. Luke is particularly fond of alluding to Jewish customs, and Gentile Christians have always taken a deep interest in them. Furthermore, the great majority of his omissions cannot be accounted for under either of the above heads. Thus he omits 25 out of St. Mark’s 86 proper names. He does so in defiance of his instincts as an historian (Wright, NT Problems, 56–90). Again, he omits the healing of the Syrophœnician’s daughter (Mark 7:24-30)—the only case in which our Lord is recorded to have healed a Gentile. He omits the only journey which our Lord is said to have taken through Gentile lands (Mark 7:31 to Mark 8:10). He omits our Lord’s teaching about the inferiority of the moral precepts of the Old Testament to those of the New (Matthew 5:27; Matthew 5:31; Matthew 5:33; Matthew 5:38; Matthew 5:43). All these topics were of overwhelming interest to Gentile readers, and we find it impossible to believe that St. Luke deliberately rejected them. The only satisfactory hypothesis is that he was not acquainted with them, as be would not he if he used a shorter recension of St. Mark and of the Login.
(a) Now, if St. Luke used an earlier recension of St. Mark, whether oral or written, it is reasonable to suspect that in several places he has preserved for us the primitive Petrine wording. He will occasionally be nearer to St. Peter’s teaching than is either St. Matthew or St. Mark. For, if the trito-Mark has made many additions to the primitive records, so also has he sometimes altered the tradition. In the index to the Synopsis nine passages are pointed out in which St. Luke’s account is held to be the oldest, but there are probably many more. At any rate it is of the greatest advantage to the critic to feel that he is not always bound to vindicate the priority of St. Mark in details, however highly he may value it on the whole. And although subjective reasoning must always be received with caution, it ought not to be altogether discarded.
(b) Although St. Luke omits, as we have seen, 54 out of St. Mark’s 223 sections, he does not always omit them entirely, but has preserved short fragments or ‘scraps’ of 24 out of the 54. These ‘scraps’ are always misplaced in his Gospel. In fact, the departure from St. Mark’s order is our chief means of detecting them. (They may be seen in the Synopsis, Table I. a). No one is likely now to maintain that these ‘scraps’ were copied directly from a written St. Mark. It is surely incredible that they should have been torn from their context and misplaced. But if these ‘scraps’ came to St. Luke orally, is it conceivable that he was so careless as never to have discovered that he had a full account of them in writing before him? To the present writer’s mind the very existence in St. Luke’s Gospel of these ‘scraps’ is conclusive proof that he used an abbreviated St. Mark. When, therefore, these ‘scraps’ reached him, he was not aware that they were Markan. For, if we mistake not, there were in the Apostolic age two kinds of oral tradition, both of which contributed much to the composition of St. Luke’s Gospel. First there was a vast body of uncodified fact, rudis indigestaque moles. Striking sayings were remembered apart from their surroundings, striking deeds were recorded without mention of place or person. These passed from mouth to mouth informally. Secondly, there was the regular course of catechetical teaching preserved by those catechists to whose ill-requited toil St. Paul bears testimony in Galatians 6:6. From these men St. Luke derived the sections of the proto-Mark in their invariable order: from the former source he derived the ‘scraps’ of the deutero-Mark together with much other matter.
(c) St. Matthew’s redactor frequently introduces non-Markan material into a Markan section, mixing the two together to the reader’s confusion. St. Luke avoids doing this, as a rule, rightly feeling that his sources ought to be treated with respect. But, of course, all the ‘scraps’ are amalgamated with and lost in other matter.
(d) There are cases in which St. Luke corrects the proto-Mark or forsakes it in favour of other sources. Not only does he polish St. Mark’s style in a multitude of instances, but in his third chapter he gives (with some additions) the account of the Baptist which he found in the second Source, preferring it to the much shorter account which is found in St. Mark. The same thing is done in Mark 3:22-26. He differs from the proto-Mark in holding that only one of the malefactors who were hanged reviled our Lord, the other turned to Him for help (Luke 23:39). In the account of the Eucharist (according to the true text) he puts the administration of the Cup before that of the Bread (Luke 22:17-19), following in all probability a local liturgical usage of which several traces remain. These changes must have been made deliberately. And in all cases in which St. Luke or St. John corrects St. Mark, it is reasonable to believe that they had good warrant for doing so.
(e) It used to be argued that the testimony of four men is true, and those passages which are found in more than one Gospel were held to be doubly or trebly attested. Criticism has considerably altered our view of this matter. No doubt the ‘Triple tradition’ deserves special respect. When three Gospels agree verbatim (as they seldom do for more than a few words at a time), they are reproducing a source which must be as old as, and may be considerably older than, any of them. Tradition assigns St. Mark’s Gospel to St. Peter’s teaching, and we are entitled to claim that at least the proto-Mark may in large measure be regarded as his work. In this there is scope for apologetics. But it is evident that, if three Evangelists are reproducing the same Source, they may be reproducing its defects as well as its excellences. Their agreement proves the antiquity, but not the infallibility, of the original. Now Papias expressly asserts that St. Mark’s Gospel is defective in order. And when we examine it critically we find that it is arranged topographically. It takes us first to the Jordan valley for our Lord’s Baptism, then to Galilee for His ministry; after that comes a journey to Jerusalem, followed by the Passion. Finally, the lost verses must have contained a journey into Galilee, for such a journey is expressly enjoined on the disciples. All three Synopties adopt this arrangement, except that the final journey into Galilee is omitted by St. Luke, belonging, as it does, to the deutero-Mark. Can we accept St. Mark’s arrangement, supported, as it is, by St. Matthew and St. Luke? Is the testimony of three men true? No one until quite modern times has ever thought so. The traditional account is that it is partly true. The Galilaean ministry was broken by visits to Jerusalem, which St. John alone records. In ignoring them the Synoptists were wrong. But the ministry in Jerusalem which the Synoptists give is assumed to have been unbroken by visits to Galilee, and must therefore merely be adjusted with John 12-20. This is improbable. St. Mark assigns 360 verses to the ministry in Galilee, which is commonly supposed to have lasted three years, 251 to the ministry in Jerusalem, which lasted about a week. Events in real history seldom move so rapidly. Our contention is that St. Mark is, as Papias says, and as his contemporaries probably well knew, defective in arrangement. Not only ought the ministry in the North to be broken by several visits to Jerusalem, but St. Mark’s account of the ministry in Jerusalem ought to be broken by several visits to Galilee. Both ministries must be split up and dovetailed together, if we would attain to the true sequence of events. St. John corrects St. Mark by putting the Cleansing of the Temple into the first year’s ministry (John 2:13-22) instead of the last. The traditional view that there were two cleansings is discredited in every other case, and is particularly incredible here. But if St. Mark has misplaced it, he has misplaced also some other sections which adhere to it. And although we cannot with any confidence decide at which particular visit to Jerusalem each of the recorded events happened, it is an enormous gain to the historian to be at liberty to distribute them.
2. Second Source—St. Matthew’s Logia.—When Papias wrote that ‘St. Matthew compiled the Logia (or Utterances of our Lord) in the Hebrew dialect, and each man interpreted them as he was able,’ he cannot, as the traditionalists suppose, be alluding to our First Gospel, which was written (at Alexandria?) in Greek. Critical opinion is fast coming round to the view that St. Matthew compiled, not a formal Gospel, but a collection of our Lord’s Utterances, which was incorporated into our First Gospel, and formed so distinctive a feature of it, that the whole book was with some justice called ‘the Gospel according to St. Matthew.’ And if this collection was originally oral, as many who deny an oral Mark are ready to admit, there is nothing strange in our contention that St. Luke used it, when it was much shorter: in fact, he used a proto-Matthew. In that way we explain his omissions, which are more glaring even than his omissions from St. Mark.
The question of order, which was complex in the case of the first Source, is simple here. For St. Luke’s order is entirely different from St. Matthew’s. Except on the rare occasions when St. Mark furnishes a clue, as he does in the account of the Baptist and of the Temptation, St. Luke arranges the Logia in one way, St. Matthew in another. Which, then, of these arrangements is to be preferred? Which Evangelist reproduced St. Matthew’s order? Not the redactor of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, for he has massed most of the Logia into five huge Discourses, which are impressive for Church reading, but can hardly correspond to any actual Sermons. Many critics, however, incline to believe that St. Luke has preserved the original order, because he has so scrupulously followed the order of the proto-Mark. Even if he has done so, we must not assume that he is any nearer the truth, for we have no right to suppose that St. Matthew, any more than St. Mark, had regard to anything else in arrangement than convenience in Church teaching. It seems to us, however, that there is considerable evidence to show that originally the Logia were piled one upon another in confused disorder, as they are in the Oxyrhynchus fragment, with no other prefaces than ‘Jesus said’ or ‘John said.’ Their arrangement into speeches was the work of later hands (Synopsis, xxv). If so, this was done by the art of conflation, which consists in picking out all the Utterances which dealt with one subject and arranging them into an artificial speech on that subject. Such speeches, of which the Sermon on the Mount is a typical example, do not correspond to any Sermon that was ever preached, but are compiled for the simplification of teaching, and for the preservation of important Utterances which were in danger of being lost. St. Matthew prefers long conflations. One of these covers three chapters (Matthew 5-7), another two (24, 25), and three more one each (10, 13, 23). St. Luke’s conflations are shorter, never filling one chapter. They are therefore more numerous (we reckon nineteen of them) and more compact; for, whereas it is difficult to say what is the subject of the Sermon on the Mount or of the Charge to the Twelve, there is no such difficulty with St. Luke. In St. Matthew’s Eschatological Discourses (24, 25) the prophecies respecting the destruction of Jerusalem and those respecting the Second Coming of the Son of Man are inextricably blended together, as though the redactor regarded the two events as synchronous, whereas St. Luke separates them (Luke 17:20-37; 1618100417_1), and it may well be that our Lord habitually did so.
The hypothesis of conflations may come as a shock to those who have been brought up in the belief that the Sermon on the Mount is a single discourse. We credit the Evangelists with some audacity. Their literary morality must not be judged by the standard of this century. They were composing Gospels and not formal histories. They were providing for the need of an age which lived in daily expectation of the return of their Lord. The work was done wisely and well, for it has stood the test of time; but we must understand its limitations if we really care to attain to the truth.
That the art of conflation was a real thing, actually practised by the Evangelists, can be fully proved only by a detailed examination into all the conflations; and for that we have no space now; but it may help to remove prejudice if we compare St. Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) with St. Luke’s Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49). Both begin with Beatitudes, and both end with the same Warning. We conclude, therefore, that the source contained the nucleus of a sermon. But the proto-Matthaeus had only three short and one long Beatitude, for St. Luke gives no more. In St. Matthew five others have been added by the deutero-Matthaeus. St. Luke’s Beatitudes, short and long, are all expressed in the second person, owing to an editorial change made by him for the purpose of securing literary uniformity. In St. Luke, Woes follow the Blessings. St. Matthew contains Woes, but not here. Either, therefore, St. Luke borrowed these Woes from another source unknown to us, or they are mere editorial work to enhance the Blessings. Their close uniformity to the Blessings favours the latter view. The wording of the Warning, with which the Sermons end, has been slightly altered in St. Luke to suit the comprehension of readers who did not live in Palestine, and would not know the action of winter torrents on a wady. Between the Beatitudes and the Warning the Source must have contained some Utterances setting forth the Law of Love. Besides these, St. Matthew has collected much material, St. Luke comparatively little; for St. Matthew’s Sermon contains 107 verses, St. Luke’s only 30. Yet we cannot regard St. Luke’s Sermon as an abbreviation of St. Matthew’s. True, he reproduces 26 out of St. Matthew’s 107 verses; but he reproduces 32 more of them in other parts of his Gospel, spreading them over no fewer than seven chapters. Again, he gives in his Sermon four passages (Luke 6:24-27; Luke 6:34-35; Luke 6:37-38) which are not found in St. Matthew at all, and therefore do not come from the Logia. He adds two (Luke 6:39-40) which are given by St. Matthew in a different context. We are justified, therefore, in regarding the Sermons as in large part independent conflations. St. Luke’s subject, as usual, is precise, being simply the statement of the Law of Love; but the most that we can say for St. Matthew is that he seems here to be setting forth the duty of Christian laymen, while in the charge to the Twelve he gives our Lord’s teaching about the duty of the clergy.
It is a further proof of the fact of conflation that in some cases, where the subject-matter is so clearly marked that two Evangelists have collected the utterances respecting it, which may have been widely separated in the Source, into one conflation, they have nevertheless arranged the sections in different order. Thus in the Temptation, St. Matthew gives the second and third Temptations in one order, St. Luke in another. In the passage about the Ninevites, and Solomon and the Queen of the South (Matthew 12:38-45, Luke 11:24-32), two such differences of arrangement occur. In the Woes on the Pharisees, St. Luke’s order (Luke 11:37-54) differs repeatedly from St. Matthew’s (Gospel According to
MARK, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
i.The problems to be discussed.
ii.The Second Gospel in the Early Church.
1.Statements as to its composition.
2.Early quotations, references, and use.
iii.Character of the Gospel as shown by internal evidence, and by comparison with the other Synoptics:
1.The presentation of Christ’s Person and work.
2.Autoptic characteristics.
3.Description of the inner feelings of our Lord and the Apostles.
4.Comparison with the other Synoptics:
(a)As to Scope.
(b)Diffuseness and redundancies of Mark.
(c)Correction of Mark’s matter by Matthew and Luke.
(d)Correction of Mark’s phraseology—Diminutives.
(e)Colloquialisms.
(f)Latinisms.
(g)Aramaisms.
(h)Grammar and awkward or difficult phrases.
(i)Corrections for precision.
(j)Doubtful cases.
(k)Conclusion from the evidence on this head.
5.Mark’s other characteristics of diction.
6.Matter peculiar to Mark.
iv.Authorship, Date, and Place of Writing.
v.Aramaic or Greek original.
vi.The last twelve verses.
vii.Is our Second Gospel the original Mark?
Literature.
i. The problems to be discussed.—No book of the NT has experienced such a change in public estimation as the Second Gospel. Formerly regarded as comparatively unimportant and receiving little attention from commentators, who in effect re-echoed Augustine’s opinion that it was but an abbreviation of the First Gospel, it has of late years been more carefully studied, and has received a juster appreciation. It has now been recognized as a book of supreme importance, as giving us the narrative of the life of Christ in a most primitive form, and as being not improbably the foundation, if not directly at least indirectly, of all the Gospels. It will be necessary, then, in this article first to investigate the statements about its composition in the earlier Fathers and their use of it, and then to examine the Gospel itself, to see what picture it gives of our Lord’s Person and work, and what relation it bears to the other Synoptic Gospels. We shall then be able to come to a conclusion about questions of date, authorship, and place of writing, of the original language, and of the integrity of the Gospel. Finally, we will consider the question of an ‘Ur-Marcus,’ that is, if the Gospel in our hands is the original work of St. Mark.
It will be convenient here to state the results arrived at in this article with regard to some points. The present writer thinks it most probable that the Second Gospel as we have it, or at any rate with the very slightest differences, was in the hands of all the other Evangelists when they wrote; and that the latter freely used the material before them, altering it, or adding to it, or omitting parts of it, as they thought right when following other guides. The theory put forward by Alford (Prolegomena to his Greek Testament, i. 2) and other holders of the ‘oral hypothesis,’ that the later writers would not have so treated a book which they regarded as inspired or even as authoritative, does not greatly commend itself, as it appears to interpret the feeling of the Christians of the 1st cent. by those of a later age.—The very style of Mk., with its roughness and inelegances, is of great value, and still more is its description of the Saviour in words which were often in after times misunderstood, of the utmost importance as showing a very early record. For these and other reasons a date at least before the Fall of Jerusalem seems to be probable. Further, it is considered likely that the Gospel was written in Greek, and primarily for Roman readers, the last twelve verses being an appendix, not composed as an ending to the Gospel, but having once had an independent existence, and being added later to the Gospel to supply a lost leaf.
ii. The Second Gospel in the Early Church
1. Statements as to its composition.—We will first consider those passages of early writers which may be thought to throw light on the composition of Mk., before discussing those which only quote or refer to it; later (§ vii.) we will consider whether the Gospel known to these writers is the same as our Mark.
The first passage which may refer to Mk. is St. Luke’s prologue. This shows that some who were not from the beginning eye-witnesses and ministers of the word had already written narratives of the Gospel history, and by implication avers (
Luke 1:3) that these narratives were incomplete in not beginning ‘from the first’ (ἅνωθεν); also we perhaps gather that they were not in St. Luke’s judgment in good chronological order (καθεξῆς, cf. ἀκριβῶς just before). Internal evidence leads us to think that not improbably St. Luke knew Mk. (see below, § iii.), and, if so, we may have here the first criticism on the Second Gospel; it has some striking resemblances to Papias’ account, for which we are indebted to Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica iii. 39). Eusebius says:
Ἀναγχαίως νῦν τροσθήσομιν ταῖς προεκτεθείσαις αὐτοῦ [1] φωναίς ταράδεσιν, ἤ τιρὶ Μάρχου τοῦ ιὐαγγίλιον γιγραφότος ἰχτεθίεται διὰ τούτων. ̔Καὶ τοῦτα ὁ τρισβύτιρος ἴλεγε μάρχας μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενὀμενος, ὃσα ἐμνημονευσιν, ἀχριβῶς ἴγραΨεν, οὐ μέντοι τάξει, τὰ ὑτὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἤ λεχθέντα ἤ τραχθεντα, εὔτε γὰρ ἤχουσι τοῦ κυρίου, οὔτς ταρηχολούθνσεν αὑτῶ̣ ἴστιραν δε, ὠς ἴφην, Πέτρω, ὄς τορὸς τὰς χρείας ἰσοιετε τὰς διδασχααλίας, ἀλλʼ οὐχ ὥσσερ σύνταξιν τῶν χυριαχῶν ταιούμενος λογίων [2], ὥστε οὐδὲς ἥμαρτε Μάρχος, οὕτως ἴνια γράψας ὡς ἀπεμνημονιυσιν. ἱνὸς γὰρ ἐτοιήσατο πρόνοιας, τοῦ μηδὶν ὦν ἥχουσε ταραλετεῖν ἤ ψεύσασθαί τε ἐν αὐτοϊς.ʼ Ταῦτα μεν οὖν ἰστόρηται τῶ̣ Πατία τερἱτοῦ Μάρχευ. Lightfoot’s translation (Apost. Fathers, compend. ed. p. 529) is here appended, and some points where Schmiedel (Encyc. Bibl. s.v. ‘Gospels’) differs from him are noted: ‘For our present purpose we will merely add to his [3] words which have been quoted above, a tradition which has been set forth through these sources concerning Mark who wrote the Gospel: “And the Elder said this also: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he remembered [4], without, however, recording in order what was either said or done by Christ. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, (attended) Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs (of his hearers), but had no design of giving a connected account of the Lord’s oracles [5]. So then Mark made no mistake [1]7, while he thus wrote down some things as he remembered them [7], for he made it his one care not to omit anything that he heard, or to set down any false statement therein.” Such, then, is the account given by Papias concerning Mark.’
Here Papias vindicates Mark from inaccuracy, and from errors of omission, as far as his knowledge went, but finds fault with his chronological order, which was due to his being dependent only on Peter’s oral teaching. If this is a correct interpretation of Papias, which account of the Gospel story did he prefer? Lightfoot (Essays on Supernatural Religion, pp. 165, 205 f.) thinks John, Salmon (Introd. Lect. vii.) thinks Luke; while Schmiedel, in a not very convincing argument, thinks that Papias did not recognize Jn. and Lk. as being of equal authority with Mt. and Mk. (Encyc. Bibl. ii. 1813; see, further, § vii. below). Schmiedel takes no account of Lightfoot’s essay ‘On the Silence of Eusebius’ (Sup. Rel. ii.). However this may be, Papias describes the Second Gospel as being limited to Peter’s reminiscences, the writer being the ‘interpreter’ of that Apostle. This phrase may mean (Zahn, Einleit. ii. 209, 218) that Mark, being Peter’s scholar, made Peter’s teaching widely known through his written Gospel, or (Swete, St. Mark, p. xxiv) that he was the secretary or dragoman who translated Peter’s words into a foreign tongue during the Apostle’s lifetime. Papias does not call the work of Mark a ‘gospel,’ and the word εὐαγγέλιον is not undoubtedly found in the sense of the record of good tidings before Justin (Apol. i. 66, see below), though some find this sense in Ignatius, Philad. 5, 8, and in the Didache 8, 11, 15. In these places, however, it is probably not the written word that is referred to. [1]0.
Justin Martyr (Dial. 106) says that Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter, and that this is written ‘in his memoirs’ (ἐν τοῖς ἀπομνημονεύμασιν αὐτοῦ), and also that He changed the name of the sons of Zebedee to ‘Boanerges, which is Sons of Thunder.’ But these last words actually occur only in Mark 3:17, where we read of both names, Peter and Boanerges, together, and in no other Gospel. We may probably dismiss the idea that αὐτοῦ refers to Christ, as if Justin meant ‘Christ’s memoirs,’ and conclude that Justin is speaking of a Petrine Gospel. Harnack (Bruchstücke d. Ev.… d. Petrus, p. 37) proposes to find this in the apocryphal Akhmîm Fragment which goes by St. Peter’s name, and Sanday (Inspiration2 [9] [10], p. 310) agrees that Justin used pseudo-Peter. But as there is no other reason to suppose that this apocryphal Gospel ever contained the passage in question,—the fragment lately discovered beginning in the middle of the story of the Passion,—and as Justin elsewhere probably refers to our Second Gospel (see below), it is more reasonable to suppose with Swete (Gospel of St. Peter, p. xxxiii), Salmond (Hastings, DB [11] iii. 256), and Stanton (JThSt [10]9 ii. 6, and Gospels as Hist. Doc. p. 93 ff.) that he refers to it here. If so, we have another authority for regarding St. Peter as a chief source of Mark. In considering the question whether Justin refers to Mk. or to the apocryphal Gospel, we must note that while some points of contact are found between pseudo-Peter and Justin, there are also some considerable differences (see esp. Stanton, loc. cit.), and that if one borrowed from the other, it is as likely that pseudo-Peter is the borrower as Justin.—The Evangelic narratives are in Justin commonly called ‘memoirs’—e.g. Apol. i. 66, ‘the memoirs composed by them [13] which are called Gospels.’ From Dial. 103 it appears that he included in the term some not composed by the Apostles themselves but by their followers. He speaks of ‘the memoirs drawn up by the Apostles and by those who followed them,’ and in this context recalls the (Lukan?) account of the Agony and the drops of blood.
Tatian, Justin’s pupil, affords evidence that Mk. was received in his time (c. [14] 170 a.d.) as one of the four Gospel narratives pre-eminently above, and on a different platform from, all others. His Diatessaron is now known to be a harmony of our four Gospels, and probably it was not the first of its kind.
Irenaeus is the first explicitly to expound the doctrine of the necessity of a fourfold Gospel (ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τετράμορφον τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, iii. 11. 8). As the world has four quarters, and as the Church is spread over the whole world, and as the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the Spirit of life, so it is right that there should be four Gospels. Irenaeus finds other equally fanciful reasons for a fourfold Gospel, and identifies our Evangelists with the fourfold appearance of the cherubim, St. Mark being the eagle (see § iii. 1 below). This reasoning, however erroneous, shows that our four Gospels had a position entirely by themselves in Irenaeus’ estimation; and Dr. Taylor conjectures that he borrowed the idea from Hermas (Witness of Hermas, § 1). In an earlier passage (iii. 1. 1) Irenaeus says that Mark was Peter’s disciple and interpreter (ἑρμηνευτής, as Papias), and that he handed on to us in writing the things preached by Peter, after the departure of Peter and Paul. In iii. 10. 6 (where the Greek is wanting), Irenaeus calls Mark ‘interpres et sectator Petri.’
Tertullian (adv. Mare. iv. 5, Migne, P. L. ii. 396) gives similar witness (‘… licet et Marcus quod edidit, Petri affirmetur, cujus interpres Marcus’).
The Muratorian fragment (c. [14] a.d. 170? or perhaps a little later) begins in the middle of a sentence thus: ‘… quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit. Tertium Evangelii librum secundum Lucan.… Quarti evangeliorum Johannes ex discipulis.…’ Thus the writer had been speaking of two Gospels, which were neither Luke nor John. It is generally recognized that the opening words of the fragment refer to Mk. rather than to Mt., and that the latter had come first, as in Irenaeus; but there is some difference of opinion as to their meaning. Swete, Lightfoot, and Chase interpret them to mean that Mark was present at some discourses of Peter; he reported Peter’s teaching as far as he had the opportunity. The first word ‘quibus’ may be the second half of ‘aliquibus’ some; Chase (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iii. 24) takes ‘quibus tamen’ as the equivalent of an original οἶς δέ—for the fragment is a Latin translation from Greek. Zahn (Einleit. ii. 200 f.) thinks that the author of the fragment had quoted Papias as saying that Mark was not a hearer of our Lord, and then qualified Papias’ assertion by saying that Mark had been present at some of our Lord’s discourses. Compare this with the idea of some later writers (e.g. Epiphanius, Hœr. xx. 4, li. 6) that Mark was one of the Seventy (Seventy-two) Disciples; and with the modern opinion that the young man of Mark 14:51 was the Evangelist. But, as Swete shows (St. Mark, p. xxxiii), this is against the words that follow about Luke: ‘Neither did he [16] himself see the Lord in the flesh.’
Clement of Alexandria (Hypotyp., ap. Euseb. Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 14) says that while Peter was preaching the gospel at Rome, many of those present begged Mark to write down what was said. Peter neither forbade nor urged it. There is a story similar to this told in the Muratorian fragment about John. In Historia Ecclesiastica ii. 15, Eusebius says, on the authority of Clement and Papias, that Peter confirmed the writing; but the passage afterwards quoted by Eusebius from Papias does not bear out this detail. Origen (quoted by Euseb. Historia Ecclesiastica vi. 25) says that Mark composed the Gospel at Peter’s instruction (ὡς Πέτρος ὑφηγήσατο), being acknowledged as his son (1 Peter 5:13).
It is unnecessary to quote later writers, who could scarcely have other means of information than we have; but we may notice that Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica ii. 16) makes Mark go to Egypt and found the Church at Alexandria after he had written his Gospel, and says (ib. 24) that Annianus succeeded him as bishop there in the eighth year of Nero, a statement which Jerome improves upon by saying that St. Mark died then (de Vir. Illustr. § 8). It is also desirable to quote Augustine, as his opinion has had such weight in the Church. He says (de Consensu Evangelistarum, i. 3, aliter i. 6) that of the four Evangelists, Matthew wrote first, then Mark, and that Mark was, as it were, Matthew’s follower and abbreviator (‘Marcus eum subsecutus tanquam pedissequus et breviator ejus videtur’). Seldom has one short sentence had such an unfortunate effect in distorting a judgment on a literary work; and largely in consequence of it Mk. has been generally neglected. The Second Gospel seems hardly to have engaged the attention of commentators; and the writer known as Victor of Antioch (quoted by Swete, St. Mark, p. xxxiv) in the 5th cent. (or later), says that he had not been able to find a single author who had expounded it.
2. Early quotations, references, and use.—The use of Mk. by the Apostolic Fathers is not certain, though in some cases quite probable. The quotation in Clement of Rome (Cor. 23) and pseudo-Clement (Ancient Homily, 11), which in the latter is introduced by λέγει γὰρ καὶ ὁ προφητικὸς λόγος, is more likely to be from some lost Christian writing than to be a fusion of Mark 4:26 ff. and other NT passages; but Polycarp, Phil. [17] 5, διάκονος πάντων, seems to come from Mark 9:35. In other cases it is probable that one of our Gospels is referred to, but we cannot be sure that it is Mk. in particular that is before the writer. As an example we may take Polycarp, Phil. [17] 7, which quotes Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38 exactly, and both in Polycarp and in the Gospels the context is about not going into temptation. Pseudo-Clement (§ 2), after quoting Is 54:1 LXX Septuagint , continues: ‘Another Scripture saith, I came not to call the righteous, but sinners,’ exactly as Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17, where ‘to repentance’ is not in the best manuscripts, but comes from || Luke 5:32. But Mt. and not Mk. might have been before Polycarp and pseudo-Clement, though in the latter case the omission of the γάρ of Mt. makes Mk. more likely. And so with Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and others. The Didache apparently refers to Mt. and Lk., and the name itself seems to be derived from Acts 2:42; but though a probable reference (x. 5) to 1 John 4:18 makes the writer’s knowledge of Jn. likely, there is no trace of his knowing Mark. For the possible references to the last twelve verses in Barnabas, etc., see below, § vi. The use of Mk. by Hermas is very probable. He apparently refers to Mark 3:29; Mark 10:24 where they differ from Mt. and Lk., in Mand. ii. 2 (οὕτως οὖν ἔνοχος ἔσῃ ἁμαρτίας τοῦ καταλαλοῦντος), and Sim. ix. 20. 3 (τοῖς τοιούτοις δύσκολόν ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν). Indirectly the Shepherd of Hermas supplies a great argument for the antiquity of the Gospels, because it shows the uniqueness of our Lord’s parables as there narrated. Hermas essays the same method of teaching, but his attempt is utterly feeble. If the Gospels were 2nd cent. productions, and the words of our Lord had been handed on only by oral tradition, the parables could never have been kept so pure. They would in the course of time, before the narratives reached us in their present form, have assimilated features such as we find in Hermas. [14]2.
To Justin’s probable reference to the Boanerges passage (see above) must be added Dial. 88, where he speaks of Jesus as ‘supposed to be the carpenter’ (τέκτονος νομιζομένου; but Otto’s text has νομ. Ἰωσὴφ τοῦ τέκτ. υἱοῦ ὑπάρχειν). Only Mark (Mark 6:3) calls Jesus a carpenter (see § iii. 4 (j) below). Justin also probably quotes from the last twelve verses (below, § vi.).
The use of Mk. by heretics is presumed from references to it in Heracleon, the Valentinians, pseudo-Peter, and the Clementine Homilies (the first two as reported by Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus), for which reference may be made to Swete’s St. Mark, p. xxxi; and Sanday’s Gospels in the Second Century, ch. vi. p. 177 ff.
The Gospel is found in all the old Versions—Curetonian and Sinaitic Syriac (of the former only 16:17–20 is extant), Old Latin, Bohairic, Sahidic; and in all catalogues and Greek manuscripts of the Gospels.
Putting together the statements, references, and quotations, and deferring the question of an editor later than the original writer of the Gospel (see § vii.), we may conclude, (a) that there is valid evidence that Mk. was in circulation before the middle of the 2nd cent.; (b) that ecclesiastical tradition almost uniformly connects the Second Evangelist with St. Peter—the Apostolic Constitutions (ii. 57, Lagarde, p. 85, c. [14] a.d. 375) being the only writing which undoubtedly connects him with St. Paul (οἱ συνεργοὶ Παύλου … Λουκᾶς καὶ Μάρκος, cf. Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:11); (c) that there was a difference of tradition as to whether he wrote while St. Peter was alive or after his death (see § iv. below). Further, (d) the Alexandrian Fathers Clement and Origen do not mention Mark’s preaching at Alexandria—a strange silence; and (e) there is no hint till Hippolytus that there was more than one Mark; apparently the other writers identified the cousin of Barnabas and the disciple of Peter.
iii. The Character of the Gospel as shown by itself and by comparison with the other Gospels.—If we had no information from ecclesiastical writers, we could have made no conjecture as to the authorship of the Second Gospel, as we can in the case of Lk. (by comparing it with Acts) and Jn. (by comparing it with the Synoptics). But from internal evidence we should gather that the author was either an eye-witness of the events described or at least that he had first-hand information. Further, a close examination of the Gospel makes it exceedingly probable that the writer’s informant was St. Peter. So that, while we should never from the NT itself have arrived at the name Mark, yet the internal evidence fully corroborates the external, that the author was the ‘interpreter of Peter.’ The impression left from a study of Mk. is that we have here in effect, though not in form, and not without some additions due to the Evangelist himself, that Apostle’s Gospel. It begins the narrative at the point when Peter could give his own recollections—at the preaching of the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus. This, not the Birth-narratives, as in the case of Mt. and Lk., nor yet the account of our Lord’s pre-existence, as in the case of Jn., was to Mark ‘the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God’ (1:1), whether these words are part of the record or are the title prefixed by an early scribe.
1. Presentation of Christ’s Person and work.—Beginning with the preaching of John and our Lord’s entering on His ministry, St. Mark describes at length the Galilaean ministry and the slow unfolding of Jesus’ claims. Our Lord, for example, does not at once proclaim His Messiahship, nor does He allow evil spirits to proclaim it in-opportunely (Mark 1:25; Mark 3:12; cf. Mark 1:44 etc.). Even after Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi, when the Galilaean ministry was nearly ended, the disciples were charged to tell no man (Mark 8:30). At first Jesus begins by calling Himself the Son of Man (Mark 2:10). Then the crowds begin to see in Him a prophet; His own people and the learned scribes from Jerusalem think Him mad. We might even think, at first sight, especially if we have the Matthaean account (Mark 16:16) of Peter’s confession chiefly in mind and not the Markan, that the disciples then and then only found out that Jesus was Messiah. But this deduction would be precarious. The account in Jn., which makes the Baptist begin by calling Jesus the Lamb of God and the Son of God, and makes Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael at once recognize Him as Messiah (John 1:29; John 1:34; John 1:41; John 1:45; John 1:49), bears all the marks of probability. A Judae
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Matthew, Gospel According to
MATTHEW, GOSPEL ACCORDING TO.—‘The power of God unto salvation—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’—The Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke may be characterized respectively as the Gospel of the Jew and the Gospel of the Greek. St. Luke gives us the conception of the Christ as His Person presented itself to the Greek Churches of the West. To them Christ was the Saviour of the world, the Divine Redeemer, whose Good News was equally available for all the children of men, regardless of distinctions of race, or class, or sex. St. Matthew, on the other hand, presents to us the Christ as He was conceived by the Jewish Christians of Palestine. To them Christ was the King of Israel; and the glad tidings of His coming Kingdom were intended first for the Chosen People. It was true that He had foretold the coming of many from the east and the west to sit down in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 8:11), and had bidden His Apostles baptize all nations (Matthew 28:19); but then it had always been a part of the Divine plan to suffer aliens to enter as proselytes into the fold of Israel, and to partake of the blessings promised to the Chosen People. So it was to be with the new Israel. In the period of preparation for the Kingdom, the gospel was to be preached to all nations for a testimony (Matthew 14:13-21,7), and those who entered by baptism into the Christian Church would become members of that new Israel, which in the days of the Kingdom should be judged and governed by the twelve Apostles as viceroys of the King Messiah (Matthew 19:28).
Of course the distinction here drawn makes itself felt in two respects. First, in the selection of material by the two writers. Each Evangelist has a certain amount of matter peculiar to himself; and it will be found that whilst in the First Gospel this is very largely matter which lends itself to the Christianity of one who was glad to emphasize the prior claim of the Jew to the blessings of the Kingdom, that in St. Luke is predominantly material capable of a more universalistic interpretation. Secondly, in the treatment of the large amount of material which is common to the two Gospels. A good example is to be found in the discourse on the Last Things. Whilst St. Matthew emphasizes the close connexion between the fall of Jerusalem and the Coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 25:14-3049), thus limiting the period during which the gospel could be preached to the Gentiles, St. Luke expands this period to an indefinite length, during which Jerusalem was to be trodden under foot (Luke 21:24), thus making space for a long and protracted preaching to the Gentiles.
In the present article we propose to discuss the chief features in the picture of the Person of Christ drawn for us by the First Evangelist, and to consider the bearing of this upon the questions of the author, the sources, the date, and the historical value of the Gospel.
1. Theology of the Gospel.
(1) The Messiah.—Jesus the Messiah was legally descended from David, and through him from Abraham, the father of the Israelite people (Matthew 1:1). He was the culminating point in the history of His family. In David it had risen to monarchical power (Matthew 1:6), but at the period of the Captivity it had lost this dignity. But now again in Jesus the anointed King it had regained it (Matthew 1:16). He was therefore born ‘king of the Jews’ (Matthew 2:2). As King He entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:5). As King He suffered the death of crucifixion (Matthew 27:38; Matthew 27:42), and as King He would sit to judge all nations at the Last Day (Matthew 25:31 ff.). But He was no mere scion of the Davidic stock. Though legally descended from David through Joseph ben-Jacob, He was also in a unique sense Son of God. As such He was born of the Holy Spirit from a virgin (Matthew 1:18-25). Hence He was ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23), and this Divine Sonship placed Him in a unique relationship to God. He could speak of God and of Himself as ‘the Father’ and ‘the Son,’ as though these terms could only be applied to this relationship (Matthew 11:27); and David himself had recognized by the Divine inspiration this Divine Sonship of his promised descendant, when he applied to Him the Divine name ‘Lord’ (Matthew 22:44). The history of the supernatural birth was, of course, an easy mark for Jewish calumny, but nevertheless it was a fact which had been Divinely foreordained (Matthew 1:22); and in the history of the Davidic family there had been women of old time (Rahab, Bathsheba, Tamar, Ruth) whose lives should have taught the calumniators of the Virgin that God overrules and uses circumstances for His own Divine ends. Moreover, if in Jesus the prophecies of a Coming Davidic king, supernaturally born, had found at last their fulfilment, so also in Him were summed up all the many strands in the web of Jewish anticipation. He was ‘the Beloved’ (Matthew 25:31-46 Matthew 17:5) whom God had eternally chosen (Matthew 3:16, Matthew 12:18), and to whom God had eternally given all things (Matthew 11:27) and all power (Matthew 28:18). He was the supernatural Son of Man, who was to come upon the clouds of heaven (Matthew 16:28, Matthew 26:64, Matthew 24:30), and to sit upon the throne of His glory to judge all men (Matthew 16:28, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 25:31). And the events of His life down to the minutest details had been foretold in the OT. Thus Isaiah had foretold the circumstances (Matthew 1:22), and Micah the place, of His birth (Matthew 2:5). Hosea had foreseen the flight into Egypt, Jeremiah the massacre of the infants at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:17); and the settlement of His parents at the ill-famed village of Nazareth had been the subject of prophecy (Matthew 2:23). His herald John had been fore-announced by Isaiah (Matthew 3:3), and the same prophet had foreseen the Christ’s ministry in Galilee, with Capernaum as His headquarters (Matthew 4:14). That He healed the sick was in accordance with a prophecy of Isaiah, and the contrast between His gracious and gentle work and the noisy clamour of His opponents, found anticipation in another passage of the same prophet (Matthew 12:17-21). Zechariah had foreseen His entry as King into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:5), His betrayal (Matthew 26:24), and the desertion of His disciples (Matthew 26:31); and the whole course of His tragic end had been Divinely fore-ordained, and foretold in Scripture (Matthew 16:23 161810041753 Matthew 26:54; Matthew 26:56).
Such was the Person of Jesus. He was the Divinely foreordained Messiah, the supernaturally-born King of Israel, the unique Son of God. What then had been His work? It is clear that the editor of the Gospel is much more concerned with Christ’s doctrine than with His work, with what He had said than with what He had done. He is interested in the events of the life chiefly in so far as they proved Jesus to be the Messiah of the OT, and with His actions either as proofs of His supernatural power over all the known forces of life, or as illustrative of His attitude towards the orthodox Pharisaism of the day. He could, e.g., heal disease, even leprosy, without use of drugs or medical appliances, by the simple exercise of His will (Matthew 8:8 ‘Speak the word only,’ Matthew 8:16 ‘with a word’), the cure being immediate and complete (Matthew 8:13, Matthew 9:22, Matthew 15:28, Matthew 17:18). He could control the forces of nature (Matthew 8:26-27), and could drive out demons from the unhappy beings of whom they had taken possession (Matthew 8:28-34). He exercised upon earth the Divine prerogative of forgiving sin (Matthew 9:1-8), and raised the dead to life (Matthew 9:25). He could feed multitudes with a few loaves and fishes (1618100417_21 Matthew 15:32-39). On the other hand, He associated with people who were regarded by the leaders of religion as ill friends for a devout man (Matthew 9:11), and seemed negligent of the rules which the Pharisees had framed as the guides of a pious life. His disciples did not fast (Matthew 9:14), and broke Sabbath regulations (Matthew 21:28-32). He Himself performed acts of healing on the Sabbath day (Matthew 12:10), and His disciples neglected the regulations about purification of the hands before meals (Matthew 15:2). After a ministry marked by acts like these, He had been put to death by the Romans at the instigation of the Pharisees and Sadducees. He had expected this fate, and had foretold it to His disciples as being ordained of God and prophesied in Scripture (Matthew 16:21 δεῖ, Matthew 16:23 τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, Matthew 17:12; Matthew 17:22-23, Matthew 20:18-19). He had promised that on the third day He should be raised again, and this was fulfilled; and He had ascended into heaven.
Now it is clear that the details thus sketched furnish a very small part of the significance of the Gospel to the editor. The miracles proved Christ’s power, or illustrated His attitude towards Pharisaism, or showed Him to be the Messiah of the OT. But to what end was He powerful, and, if the Messiah, where was His Kingdom? We might have expected to find a good deal more emphasis laid on the significance of Christ’s death, but such emphasis is strikingly absent. The death is rather regarded as without significance in itself, but as a necessary stage in the revelation of the Messiah. He had come to found a Kingdom, but in accordance with the Divine plan had been put to death. Clearly then the Kingdom remained yet to come, and the death was a necessary prelude to glorification. The insistence on the fact that the death had to take place, because it had been foretold in the Scriptures, suggests the inference that to the editor it was a fact which required explanation, a difficult phase in the history of the Messiah rather than the central fact which itself explained everything else in His life. In two passages only is the death referred to as having any purpose or effect, rather than as being simply a thing which had happened as a necessary transition stage from the earthly life to the heavenly monarchy of the Messiah. In one of these Christ is represented as saying that He came to give His life as a ransom for many (λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν, Matthew 20:28); in the other He speaks of His blood as shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). It is easy to see how sayings like these could be made the foundation of a theology which would explain the whole of Christ’s life from the significance of His death. But it is equally clear that the editor of the First Gospel has recorded them because they formed part of the tradition which had come to him, without seeing in them an explanation of the entire earthly life of the Messiah. They are incidental rather than fundamental to his Gospel.
Thus the facts of Christ’s life as here recorded would have been meaningless to the editor without the teaching which he records. It is in that that he finds the explanation of Christ’s life. The facts alone were obscure and difficult. Jesus was the Davidic Messiah and also the Son of God. He had entered into human history through the Virgin’s womb. He had evinced His supernatural power in all that He did. But then He had allowed Himself to be put to death, because, as He said, the Scriptures had foretold it; and rising from the dead, He had gone into heaven again. But how then was He the Messiah, and where was the Kingdom? The main object of the Gospel is to explain this, and the explanation is given in the great discourses which the editor has formed by massing sayings or groups of sayings.
(2) The Kingdom.—The central subject of Christ’s doctrine had been the near approach of the ‘kingdom of the heavens.’ With this He began His ministry (Matthew 4:17), and wherever He went He taught this as a good news (Matthew 4:23). The Kingdom, He taught, was coming, but not in His lifetime. After His ascension He would come as Son of Man upon the clouds of heaven (Matthew 16:27-28, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 24:30), would send His angels to gather together the elect (Matthew 24:31, Matthew 13:41), and would sit on the throne of His glory (Matthew 16:28, Matthew 19:28, Matthew 25:31). This would happen in the lifetime of the generation to whom He spoke (Matthew 16:28, Matthew 24:34, Matthew 10:23), immediately after the great tribulation accompanying the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:29); but God alone knew the exact day and hour (Matthew 24:30). Then the twelve Apostles should sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). In the meantime He Himself must suffer and die, and be raised from the dead. How else could He come upon the clouds of heaven? And His disciples were to preach the good news of the coming Kingdom (Matthew 10:7, Matthew 24:14) among all nations, making disciples by baptism (Matthew 28:19). The body of disciples thus gained would naturally form a society bound by common aims (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:17). They would be distinct from the existing Jewish polity, because the Jews as a people, the ‘sons of the kingdom,’ i.e. those who should have inherited it (Matthew 8:12), would definitely reject the good news (Matthew 21:32; Matthew 21:42-43, Matthew 22:7). Hence the disciples of the Kingdom would form a new spiritual Israel (Matthew 21:43 ‘a nation’) which would include many who came from east and west (Matthew 8:12).
In view of the needs of this new Israel of Christ’s disciples, i.e. of the true sons of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:38), who were to await His coming on the clouds of heaven, it is natural that a large part of the teaching recorded in the Gospel should concern the qualifications required in those who hoped to enter the Kingdom when it came. They were still to live in allegiance to the revelation of God made in the OT, which was permanently valid. Not a letter was to pass away from it (Matthew 5:18). Its permission of divorce still held good (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:3 ff.). Christ had not abolished the Mosaic distinctions between clean and unclean meats (see notes on Matthew 15:20). His disciples were still to take two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16); and the Sabbath was still to be held sacred (Matthew 24:20). But they were to search beneath the letter of the OT for its spiritual meaning. Their ‘righteousness’ was to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, because they were to interpret the Law of Moses in a sense which would make it more far-reaching in its effect upon conduet than ever before (Matthew 5:21-48). In particular, their ‘righteousness’ was to be less a matter of something done that men might see it, and more a right relation to God, taking effect in action known only to God Himself (Matthew 6:1-34). In relation to their fellow-men they were to cultivate humility, and to suppress self-assertiveness (Matthew 18:1-14); to exercise forgiveness (Matthew 18:15; Matthew 18:21-35); to be slow to judge their fellows (Matthew 7:1-5); to do to others what they would have done to themselves (Matthew 7:12). In relation to wealth, they were not to hoard up treasure upon earth, but to trust in God’s care for them (Matthew 6:19-34, Matthew 19:28), seeking first His righteousness and Kingdom. In relation to sexual morality, they were to be chaste in thought (Matthew 5:28); marriage was an indissoluble bond, broken only by adultery (Matthew 19:9). But some were called to live single lives for the Kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 19:12). In relation to God, they were to pray to Him for their daily needs, for His forgiveness, and for deliverance from the evil that is in the world (Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 7:7-11).
In the above sketch of the picture drawn for us in the First Gospel of the Person and teaching of the Messiah, we have purposely omitted the parables. Most of the parables in this Gospel are parables of the Kingdom. With the exception of Matthew 18:21-35, they do not, as in the case of many of St. Luke’s parables, inculcate some Christian virtue or practice, such as love of one’s neighbour, or earnestness in prayer, but convey some lesson about the nature of the Kingdom and the period of preparation for it. Their interpretation will often depend largely upon the conception of the Kingdom with which the reader approaches them. We are not now concerned with the meaning which they were intended to convey when they were originally spoken. But it should be sufficiently obvious that if we ask what meaning they had for the editor of the First Gospel, and why he selected them for insertion in his Gospel, the answer must be that he chose them because he believed that they taught lessons about the Kingdom of the heavens in the sense in which that phrase is used everywhere else in his Gospel, of the Kingdom which was to come when the Son of Man came upon the clouds of heaven. Thus the parable of the Sower illustrates the varying reception met with by the good news of the Kingdom as it is preached amongst men. That of the Tares also deals not with the Kingdom itself, but with the period of preparation for it. At the end of the age the Son of Man will come to inaugurate His Kingdom. A phrase here, ‘shall gather out of his kingdom,’ has been pressed to support the interpretation that the Kingdom is thought of as present now. But it need convey no such meaning. The ‘good seed’ is interpreted as equivalent to the ‘sons of the kingdom,’ i.e. according to Jewish usage, not they who already live in or possess the Kingdom, but those who are destined to inherit it when it comes. It is not inaugurated until the ‘end of the age.’ Then when the ‘Son of Man’ comes, the ‘Kingdom’ comes; and the method of its foundation is not a gathering of the elect out of the mass of mankind, but a gathering of the wicked from amongst the elect, a gathering of them out of the Kingdom that the righteous may inherit it and shine forth in it. There is nothing here or elsewhere in this Gospel to suggest that the scene of the Kingdom is other than the present world renewed, restored, and purified (cf. παλινγενεσία, Matthew 19:28).
The parables of the Mustard Seed and of the Leaven describe the way in which the good news of the Kingdom spreads rapidly and penetrates deeply into human society. Those of the Hid Treasure and of the Goodly Pearl emphasize its value, and teach the lesson that a man must give up all else to enter into it. That of the Drag-Net has much the same application as the parable of the Tares. The doctrine of the Kingdom attracts good and bad alike. But at the end of the age, when the Kingdom is inaugurated, there will be a separation.
In Matthew 20:1-16 occurs the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard. In its present context this seems to be intended to teach the lesson that in discipleship of the Kingdom priority, whether in date of entrance upon discipleship or of position now, will not carry with it special privilege within the Kingdom when it comes. All shall receive the same reward—eternal life.
Of the other parables in the Gospel, Matthew 18:21-35 does not bear directly upon the doctrine of the Kingdom, but emphasizes forgiveness as a qualification in all who wish to enter it. Matthew 12:2 illustrates the perverse attitude of the Pharisees towards the Baptist’s preaching. Matthew 21:33-46 and Matthew 22:1-10 are historical forecasts of the fate of the Jewish nation. Matthew 22:11-14 emphasizes the necessity for all who hope to enter the Kingdom of possessing the necessary qualifications. Matthew 25:1-13 and 1618100417_7 teach the suddenness of its appearance and the necessity of watching for its coming. Matthew 3:17, describes the test by which the King when He comes will admit the righteous into His Kingdom.
Of several of these parables it will rightly be felt that, as originally spoken, they had a wider meaning and scope than that here given, and one which is inconsistent with the narrow limits of the Kingdom to be inaugurated immediately after the fall of Jerusalem. That is quite true. But the question is not, What did these parables mean when they were originally spoken? but, What interpretation did the editor put upon them when he incorporated them into his Gospel? He everywhere seems to use the phrase ‘kingdom of the heavens’ in its eschatological sense. In four or five passages he has, instead, the ‘kingdom of God.’ In Matthew 6:33 τοῦ θεοῦ is probably not genuine (omit אBg1 [2] k). As regards Matthew 19:24, a passage borrowed from Mk., the fact that Mt. in 13 other places where ‘kingdom of God’ occurs in Mk., substitutes ‘kingdom of the heavens,’ or omits or paraphrases the passage, makes it very probable that ‘kingdom of the heavens’ should be read here also. In Matthew 12:28, Matthew 21:31; Matthew 21:43 the editor has retained ‘kingdom of God,’ not because he regarded it as equivalent to ‘kingdom of the heavens,’ but because he felt that in these passages the idea conveyed was different from that which his phrase ‘kingdom of the heavens’ everywhere carries with it; and he therefore retained ‘kingdom of God’ to mark the difference.
Thus the conception of Christianity as expressed in this Gospel may be summarized as follows. Jesus was the King-Messiah of the OT. He was also the Son of Man of apocalyptic anticipation. But how could the functions ascribed to these two ideals be combined? Only if the King passed through death that He might come again on the clouds to inaugurate His Kingdom. And to those who could read the OT aright, all this had been foretold. Hence the Crucifixion. When Jerusalem fell, the end of the age would come, and the Son of Man would appear. In the meantime the good news was to be preached, and men were to be gathered into the society of disciples of the Messiah.
2. Date and place of composition.—If the dominant conception of the book has been rightly sketched, very important conclusions can be drawn as to its provenance and date. It must have been written by a Jewish-Christian, probably by a Jewish-Christian of Palestine, and it cannot date from long after the fall of Jerusalem. For it is inconceivable that any one should so arrange the words of Christ as to convey the impression that He had taught that He would return as Son of Man immediately after the fall of Jerusalem, if many years had elapsed since that event. And this conclusion as to the early date and Palestinian origin of the Gospel is supported by other features of the book. It is markedly anti-Pharisaic, and strongly Jewish-Christian in outlook.
(1) Its anti-Pharisaism.—This already underlies the stories of the first two chapters, which are most easily explained as a narrative of facts written to rebut Pharisaic calumnies. Christ was born of a virgin, but He was legally of Davidic descent, and the Virgin Mary’s marvellous history already found prototypes by contrast in the history of women connected with the ancestors of the Christ. If He went into Egypt, it was in the days of His infancy, and He brought no magical arts thence. If His parents settled at Nazareth, it was that the tenor of prophecy might be fulfilled.
So far the anti-Pharisaic polemic of the writer has been defensive and implicit. In the third chapter it becomes manifest and open. The sayings of the Baptist are so arranged as to form a sermon of denunciation of the Pharisees and Sadducees. They are a ‘brood of vipers,’ who pride themselves on their descent from Abraham. But right action based on repentance is the only ground for hope of God’s favour. The Messiah is at hand, and will sweep away all such false claims with the fire of judgment. In the Sermon on the Mount the same anti-Pharisaic polemic is found. Their ‘righteousness’ will not admit them into the Kingdom (Matthew 5:20). They are ‘hypocrites’ whose religious observances are based on desire for personal eredit (
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel, Last
The Gospel read at the end of Mass, usually from the first chapter of Saint John, except on days in Lent, vigils, and Sundays when a feast of major rite is celebrated, and the third on Christmas Day.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Altar, Gospel Side of
The left side of the altar as one faces it, so called because portions of the Gospels are read there at Mass.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel of Saint Luke
The third book of the New Testament, whose author is Saint Luke, a disciple and companion of Saint Paul. The Gospel was written before the year 63, at which time Saint Luke wrote his second work, Acts of the Apostles. After making diligent inquiries of those who had seen and conversed with the Lord, he set down the life and teachings of Jesus as the sure foundation for the truth of Christianity (Luke 1:1-4). He narrates how Jesus, by His Life and teaching and by the ministry of the Apostles, brought salvation to the whole world. Among the characteristics of this Gospel are: the portrayal of Our Lord's mercy towards sinners; the prominence given the Mother of Jesus and other pious women; the clear and vivid delineations of characters; the frequent and beautiful parables of Jesus. The Gospel contains 24 chapters and maybe divided into:
the hidden life (1-2)
preaching of Saint John, baptism, and temptation (3:1 to 4:13)
teaching, miracles, and works of mercy in Galilee and the founding of the Church (4:14 to 9:50)
the "Perean Ministry," work of Jesus outside of Galilee (9:51 to 19:28)
ministry in Jerusalem (19:29 to 21:38)
Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension (22-24)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that the harmonious tradition from the earliest ages, the testimony of ancient writers, the use of the Gospel by the early Church, constitute certain proof that Saint Luke wrote the entire Gospel as contained in our Bibles before the year 70, and that it is a true historical document. Chapters specially commendable for reading are:
1-2, the five joyful mysteries
6, the sabbath day, choice of the Apostles
10, Good Samaritan
12,13, 14, instructions on following Christ
15, parables of mercy
22-24, Passion and Glory of Jesus
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gospel, the,
εὐγγέλιον. 'Good news' or 'glad tidings.' Everything worthy of this title must come from God. It has not always had the same character. It was good news to Adam and Eve that the Seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent. Doubtless they believed it, for Eve said, when Cain was born, "I have gotten a man from the Lord." Genesis 3:15 ; Genesis 4:1 . It was good news to Noah (when God made known that He was going to destroy all flesh) that he and his family should be saved in an ark, and that God would establish His covenant with him. Noah believed God, and was preserved. Hebrews 11:7 . It was good news to Abraham, when called out by God to be blessed by Him, to be told that he should have a son in his old age; that his seed should possess the land, and that in his Seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed. Galatians 3:8 . Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Genesis 15:6 ; Romans 4:3 . It was good news to the Israelites, when slaves to Pharaoh, that God had come down to deliver them by the hand of Moses. They believed the good news, "they bowed their heads and worshipped." Exodus 4:31 . But this was only a part of the good news to Israel; they were not only to be brought out of Egypt; but to be brought into a "good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey." Here alas, many of them failed; though this 'gospel,' as it is called in the Epistle to the Hebrews, was preached to them, it did not profit them, because it was not mixed with faith in them: they "entered not in because of unbelief." Hebrews 4:2-6 .
The "glad tidings of the kingdom" was prophesied of in the O.T. and was preached by the Lord Jesus when on earth. Matthew 4:23 ; Luke 4:43 , etc.; and will be preached in the future. Matthew 24:14 . Though this gospel was rejected by Israel at large, the Lord gathered around Him a little flock, who formed the nucleus of the church at Pentecost. Then Jesus Christ was preached and the forgiveness of sins through His death, "the gospel of the grace of God," and this was towards all mankind. Acts 20:24 .
To Paul was revealed "THE GOSPEL OF THE GLORY," that God has glorified Christ, and that His glory shines in the face of Him who put away the sins of believers. 2 Corinthians 4:4 ; 1 Timothy 1:11 . So peculiarly was this committed to Paul that he called it 'my gospel.' 2 Timothy 2:8 . It embraced more than salvation, great as that is, for he was desirous of making known "the mystery of the gospel," which separates believers from the first man of the earth, and associates them with Christ glorified in heaven.
In the future there will be glad tidings for Israel when God's time is come to bless them. The messengers will publish peace and salvation, and say to Zion, "Thy God reigneth." Isaiah 52:7 . There will also be proclaimed THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL to the Gentiles, that which has been from the beginning, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. The testimony rendered by means of angelic power is, "Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgement is come," with the injunction to worship the Creator. Revelation 14:6,7 .
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel in Liturgy
From the earliest times the Gospels were read and explained during Divine services; gradually certain portions, appropriate to the chief feasts and seasons of the year, were chosen and became a fixed part of the Mass. Thus, in Advent the Gospels relate to preparation for the coming of Christ; at Christmastide and the Epiphany, to the birth and childhood of Christ; in Lent, to penance and the Passion of Christ; at Eastertide, the last discourses of Jesus; after Pentecost, the nature and development of the Kingdom of God and the duties of its members. During the reading of the Gospel all stand as a mark of reverence for the Word of God and sign their foreheads, lips, and breast with the cross as a sign of readiness to believe, profess, and cherish its truths. The Gospel is read or sung after the Epistle by the celebrant, standing at the left side of the altar, as the people face it. The Last Gospel is that regularly read at the end of Mass (John 1); except on Vigils, days in Lent when the Mass of a feast is celebrated, and days of Special Commemoration.
King James Dictionary - Gospel
GOS'PEL, n. L. evangelium, a good or joyful message.
The history of the birth, life, actions, death, resurrection, ascension and doctrines of Jesus Christ or a revelation of the grace of God to fallen man through a mediator, including the character, actions, and doctrines of Christ, with the whole scheme of salvation, as revealed by Christ and his apostles. This gospel is said to have been preached to Abraham, by the promise, "in thee shall all nations be blessed." Galatians 3:8 .
It is called the gospel of God. Romans 1:1 .
It is called the gospel of Christ. Romans 1:16 .
It is called the gospel of salvation. Ephesians 1.13 .
1. God's word. 2. Divinity theology. 3. Any general doctrine. GOS'PEL, To instruct in the gospel or to fill with sentiments of religion.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - John, Gospel of
JOHN, GOSPEL OF . Introductory . The Fourth Gospel is unique among the books of the NT. In its combination of minute historical detail with lofty spiritual teaching, in its testimony to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the preparation it makes for the foundations of Christian doctrine, it stands alone. Its influence upon the thought and life of the Christian Church has been proportionately deep and far-reaching. It is no disparagement of other inspired Scriptures to say that no other book of the Bible has left such a mark at the same time upon the profoundest Christian thinkers, and upon simple-minded believers at large. A decision as to its character, authenticity, and trustworthiness is cardinal to the Christian religion. In many cases authorship is a matter of comparatively secondary importance in the interpretation of a document, and in the determination of its significance; in this instance it is vital. That statement is quite consistent with two other important considerations. (1) We are not dependent on the Fourth Gospel for the facts on which Christianity is based, or for the fundamental doctrines of the Person and work of Christ. The Synoptic Gospels and St. Paul’s Epistles are more than sufficient to establish the basis of the Christian faith, which on any hypothesis must have spread over a large part of the Roman Empire before this book was written. (2) On any theory of authorship, the document in question is of great significance and value in the history of the Church. Those who do not accept it as a ‘Gospel’ have still to reckon with the fact of its composition, and to take account of its presence in and influence upon the Church of the 2nd century.
But when these allowances have been made, it is clearly a matter of the very first importance whether the Fourth Gospel is, on the one hand, the work of an eye-witness, belonging to the innermost circle of Jesus’ disciples, who after a long interval wrote a trustworthy record of what he had heard and seen, interpreted through the mellowing medium of half a century of Christian experience and service; or, on the other, a treatise of speculative theology cast into the form of an imaginative biography of Jesus, dating from the second or third decade of the 2nd cent., and testifying only to the form which the new religion was taking under the widely altered circumstances of a rapidly developing Church. Such a question as this is not of secondary but of primary importance at any time, and the critical controversies of recent years make a decision upon it to be crucial.
It is impossible here to survey the history of criticism, but it is desirable to say a few words upon it. According to a universally accepted tradition, extending from the third quarter of the 2nd cent. to the beginning of the 19th, John the Apostle, the son of Zebedee, was held to be the author of the Gospel, the three Epistles that went by his name, and the Apocalypse. This tradition, so far as the Gospel was concerned, was unbroken and almost unchallenged, the one exception being formed by an obscure and doubtful sect, or class of unbelievers, called Alogi by Epiphanius, who attributed the Gospel and the Apocalypse to Cerinthus! From the beginning of the 19th cent., however, and especially after the publication of Bretschneider’s Probabilia in 1820, an almost incessant conflict has been waged between the traditional belief and hypotheses which in more or less modified form attribute the Gospel to an Ephesian elder or an Alexandrian Christian philosopher belonging to the first half of the 2nd century. Baur of Tübingen, in whose theories of doctrinal development this document held an important place, fixed its date about a.d. 170, but this view has long been given up as untenable. Keim, who argued strongly against the Johannine authorship, at first adopted the date a.d. 100 115, but afterwards regarded a.d. 130 as more probable. During the last fifty years the conflict has been waged with great ability on both sides, with the effect of modifying extreme views, and more than once it has seemed as if an agreement between the more moderate critics on either side had become possible. Among the conservatives, Zahn and Weiss in Germany, and Westcott, Sanday, Reynolds, and Drummond in this country, have been conspicuous; whilst, on the other hand, Holtzmann, Jülicher, and Schmiedel have been uncompromising opponents of the historicity of the Gospel on any terms. Schürer, Harnack, and others have taken up a middle position, ascribing the book to a disciple of John the Apostle, who embodied in it his master’s teaching; whilst Wendt and some others have advocated partition theories, implying the existence of a genuine Johannine document as the basis of the Gospel, blended with later and less trustworthy matter.
The position taken in this article is that the traditional view which ascribes the authorship of the Gospel to John the Apostle is still by far the most probable account of its origin, the undeniable difficulties attaching to this view being explicable by a reasonable consideration of the circumstances of its composition. Fuller light, however, has been cast upon the whole subject by the discussions of recent years, and much is to be learned from the investigations of eminent scholars and their arguments against the Johannine authorship, especially when these do not rest upon a denial of the supernatural element in Scripture. In the present treatment of the subject, controversy will be avoided as far as possible, and stress will be laid upon the positive and constructive elements in the examination. The method adopted will be to inquire into (1) the External Evidence in favour of St. John’s authorship; (2) the Internal Evidence; (3) the scope of the Gospel and its relation to the Synoptics; (4) Objections and suggested alternative Theories; (5) Summary of the Conclusions reached.
1. External Evidence . It is not questioned that considerably before the close of the 2nd cent. the four Gospels, substantially as we have them, were accepted as authoritative in the Christian Church. This is proved by the testimony of Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, in Gaul, writing about a.d. 180; Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, about a.d. 170; Clement, head of the catechetical school in Alexandria, about 190; and Tertullian, the eloquent African Father, who wrote at the end of the century, and who quotes freely from all the Gospels by name. The full and explicit evidence of the Muratorian Canon may also be dated about a.d. 180. Irenæus assumes the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel as generally accepted and unquestioned. He expressly states that after the publication of the other three Gospels, ‘John the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon His breast, himself also published the Gospel, while he was dwelling at Ephesus in Asia.’ He tells us that he himself when a boy had heard from the lips of Polycarp his reminiscences of ‘his familiar intercourse with John and the rest of those that had seen the Lord.’ He dwells in mystical fashion upon the significance of the number four, and characterizes the Fourth Gospel as corresponding to the ‘flying eagle’ among the living creatures of Ezekiel 1:10 ; Ezekiel 10:14 . Theophilus of Antioch quotes it as follows: ‘John says, in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God’ ( Aut. 22). The Muratorian Fragment, which gives a list of the canonical books recognized in the Western Church of the period, ascribes the Fourth Gospel to ‘John, one of the disciples,’ and whilst recognizing that ‘in the single books of the Gospels different principles are taught,’ the writer adds that they all alike confirm the faith of believers by their agreement in their teaching about Christ’s birth, passion, death, resurrection, and twofold advent. Clement of Alexandria, in handing down ‘the tradition of the elders from the first,’ says that ‘John, last of all, having observed that the bodily things had been exhibited in the Gospels, exhorted by his friends and inspired by the Spirit, produced a spiritual gospel’ (Eus. HE vi. 14). Tertullian, among other testimonies, shows his opinion of the authorship and his discrimination of the character of the Gospels by saying, ‘Among the Apostles, John and Matthew form the faith within us; among the companions of the Apostles, Luke and Mark renovate it’ ( adv. Marc . iv. 2).
Was this clearly expressed and wide-spread belief of the Church well based? First of all it must be said that the personal link supplied by Irenæus is of itself so important as to be almost conclusive, unless very strong counter-reasons can be alleged. It was impossible that he should be mistaken as to the general drift of Polycarp’s teaching, and Polycarp had learned directly from John himself. On the broad issue of John’s ministry in Asia and his composition of a Gospel, this testimony is of the first importance. The suggestion that confusion had arisen in his mind between the Apostle and a certain ‘Presbyter John’ of Asia will be considered later, but it is exceedingly unlikely that on such a matter either Polycarp or his youthful auditor could have made a mistake. The testimony of churches and of a whole generation of Christians, inheritors of the same tradition at only one remove, corroborates the emphatic and repeated statements of Irenæus.
It is quite true that in the first half of the 2nd cent. the references to the Gospel are neither so direct nor so abundant as might have been expected. The question whether Justin Martyr knew, and recognized, our Gospels as such has been much debated. His references to the Gospel narrative are very numerous, and the coincidences between the form of the records which he quotes and our Gospels are often close and striking, but he mentions no authors’ names. In his first Apol . ch. 61 (about a.d. 160), however, we read, ‘For Christ also said, Except ye be born again, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven,’ which would appear to imply, though it does not prove, an acquaintance with the Fourth Gospel. Other references to Christ as ‘only begotten Son’ and the ‘Word’ are suggestive. The recent discovery of Tatian’s Diatessaron ( c [1] . a.d. 160) makes it certain that that ‘harmony’ of the Gospels began with the words, ‘In the beginning was the Word,’ and that the whole of the Fourth Gospel was interwoven into its substance. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (before a.d. 120) apparently quotes 1 Jn. in the words, ‘For every one who does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist,’ but no express citation is made. The Epistles of Ignatius (about a.d. 110) apparently show traces of the Fourth Gospel in their references to ‘living water,’ ‘children of light,’ Christ as ‘the Word’ and as ‘the door,’ but these are not conclusive. Papias may have known and used this Gospel, as Irenæus seems to imply ( adv. Hær . 36); and Eusebius distinctly says that he ‘used testimonies from the First Epistle of John’ ( HE iii. 39).
Some of the most noteworthy testimonies to the use of the Gospel in the former part of the 2nd cent. are drawn from heretical writings. It is certain that Heracleon of the Valentinian school of Gnostics knew and quoted the Gospel as a recognized authority, and it would even appear that he wrote an elaborate commentary on the whole Gospel. Origen quotes him as misapprehending the text, ‘No one has seen God at any time.’ Hippolytus in his Refutation of all Heresies (vi. 30) proves that Valentinus (about a.d. 130) quoted John 10:8 , ‘The Saviour says, All that came before me are thieves and robbers,’ and that Basilides a little earlier made distinct reference to John 1:9 : ‘As it is said in the Gospels, the true light that enlighteneth every man was coming into the world.’ Slighter and more doubtful references are found in the Clementine Homilies and other heretical writings, and these go at least some way to show that the peculiar phraseology of the Fourth Gospel was known and appealed to as authoritative in the middle of the 2nd century.
It is not, however, by explicit references to ‘texts’ that a question of this kind can be best settled. The chief weight of external evidence lies in the fact that between a.d. 150 and 180 four Gospels were recognized in the Church as authentic records, read in the assemblies, and accepted as authoritative. Also, that the fourth of these was with practical unanimity ascribed to St. John, as written by him in Asia at the very end of the 1st century. This acceptance included districts as far apart as Syria and Gaul, Alexandria, Carthage and Rome. Can the whole Church of a.d. 180 have been utterly mistaken on such a point? True, the early Christians were ‘uncritical’ in the modern sense of the word criticism. But they were not disposed lightly to accept alleged Apostolic writings as genuine. On the other hand, the inquiry into their authenticity was usually close and careful. A period of fifty years is short when we remember how generations overlap one another, and how carefully traditions on the most sacred subjects are guarded. It is hardly possible to suppose that on such salient questions as the residence of the Apostle John for twenty years in Asia, and the composition of one of the four authoritative Gospels, any serious error or confusion could have arisen so early. At least the prima facie external evidence is so far in favour of Johannine authorship that it must stand accepted, unless very serious objections to it can be sustained, or some more satisfactory account of the origin of the Gospel can be suggested.
2. Internal Evidence . The first point to be noted under this head is that the book makes a direct claim to have been written by an eye-witness, and indirectly it points to the Apostle John as its author. The phrase ‘We beheld his glory’ ( John 1:14 ) is not decisive, though, taken in connexion with 1 John 1:1-4 , if the Epistle be genuine, the claim of first-hand knowledge is certainly made. There can be no question concerning the general meaning of John 19:35 , though its detailed exegesis presents difficulties. The verse might be paraphrased, ‘He that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is genuine and real; and he knoweth that he speaketh things that are true, so that ye also may believe.’ No one reading this can question that the writer of the narrative of the Crucifixion claims to have been present and to be recording what he had seen with his own eyes. A peculiar pronoun is used in ‘ he knoweth,’ and Sanday, E. A. Abbott, and others would interpret the word emphatically, of Christ; but its use is probably due to the fact that the writer is speaking of himself in the third person, and emphasizes his own personal testimony. Parallel instances from classical and modern writers have been adduced. In John 21:24 further corroboration is given of the accuracy of the disciple who was at the same time an eye-witness of the events and the author of the narrative. It appears, however, to have been added to the Gospel by others. ‘We know that his witness is true’ is probably intended as an endorsement on the part of certain Ephesian elders, whilst the ‘I suppose’ of John 1:25 may indicate yet another hand. In addition to these more or less explicit testimonies, notes are freely introduced throughout the Gospel which could proceed only from a member of the innermost circle of Christ’s disciples, though the writer never mentions his own name. Instead, he alludes to ‘ the disciple whom Jesus loved ’ in such a way that by a process of exhaustion it may be proved from chs. 20 and 21 that John was intended. It can hardly be questioned that the writer delicately but unmistakably claims to be that disciple himself. An ordinary pseudonymous writer does not proceed in this fashion. The authority of an honoured name is sometimes claimed by an unknown author, as in the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Baruch , not fraudulently, but as a literary device to give character to his theme. In this case, however, the indirect suggestion of authorship either must indicate that the Apostle wrote the book, modestly veiling his own identity, or else it points to an unwarrantable pretence on the part of a later writer, who threw his own ideas into the form of a (largely imaginary) narrative. Some modern critics do not shrink from this last hypothesis; but it surely implies a misleading misrepresentation of facts incredible under the circumstances. A third theory, which would imply collaboration on the part of one of John’s own disciples, will be discussed later.
Does the Gospel, then, as a whole bear out this claim, directly or indirectly made? Is it such a book as may well have proceeded from one who ranked amongst the foremost figures in the sacred drama of which Jesus of Nazareth was the august centre? The answer cannot be given in a word. Many features of the Gospel strongly support such a claim. Putting aside for the moment its spiritual teaching, we may say that it displays a minute knowledge of details which could have come only from an eye-witness who was intimately acquainted not only with the places and scenes, but with the persons concerned, their characters and motives. No artistic imagination could have enabled an Ephesian Christian of the 2nd cent. either to insert the minute topographical and other touches which bespeak the eye-witness, or to invent incidents like those recorded in chs. 4 and 9, bearing a verisimilitude which commends them at once to the reader. On the other hand, there is so much in the Gospel which implies a point of view entirely different from that of Christ’s immediate contemporaries, and there are so many divergences from the Synoptics in the description of our Lord’s ministry as regards time, place, the manner of Christ’s teaching, and particular incidents recorded as to make it impossible to ascribe it to the son of Zebedee without a full explanation of serious difficulties and discrepancies. But for these two diverse aspects of the same document, there would be no ‘Johannine problem.’ It will be well to take the two in order, and see if they can be reconciled.
It has been usual to arrange the evidence in narrowing circles; to show that the author must have been a Jew, a Palestinian, an eye-witness, one of the Twelve, and lastly the Apostle John. It is impossible, however, to array here all the proofs available. It must suffice to say that a close familiarity with Jewish customs and observances, such as could not have been possessed by an Ephesian in a.d. 120, is shown in the account of the Feast of Tabernacles (ch. 7), the Dedication (John 10:22 ), Jews and Samaritans ( John 4:19-20 ), conversation with women in public ( John 4:27 ), ceremonial pollution ( John 18:28 ), and other minute touches, each slight in itself, but taken together of great weight. The numerous references to the Messianic hope in chs. 1, 4, 7, 8. and indeed throughout the Gospel, indicate one who was thoroughly acquainted with Jewish views and expectations from within. Familiarity with the Jewish Scriptures and a free but reverent use of them are apparent throughout. The places mentioned are not such as a stranger would or could have introduced into an imaginary narrative. As examples we may mention Bethany beyond Jordan ( John 1:28 ), Ænon ( John 3:23 ), Ephraim ( John 11:54 ), the treasury ( John 8:20 ), the pool of Siloam ( John 9:7 ), Solomon’s porch ( John 10:23 ), the Kidron ( John 18:1 ). It is true that difficulties have been raised with regard to some of these, e.g. Sychar ( John 4:5 ); but recent exploration has in several instances confirmed the writer’s accuracy. Again, the habit of the writer is to specify details of time, place, and number which must either indicate exceptional first-hand knowledge, or have been gratuitously inserted by one who wished to convey an impression of ‘local colour.’ The very hour of the day at which events happened is noted in John 1:39 , John 4:6 ; John 4:52 , John 19:14 ; or ‘the early morning’ is mentioned, as in John 18:28 , John 20:1 , John 21:4 ; or the night, as in John 3:2 , John 13:30 . The specification of six water-pots ( John 2:6 ), five and twenty furlongs ( John 6:19 ), two hundred cubits ( John 21:8 ), and the hundred and fifty-three fishes ( John 21:11 ), is a further illustration either of an old man’s exact reminiscences of events long past or of a late writer’s pretended acquaintance with precise details.
The portraiture of persons and incidents characteristic of the Gospel is noteworthy. The picture is so graphic, and the effect is produced by so few strokes, often unexpected, that it must be ascribed either to an eye-witness or to a writer of altogether exceptional genius. The conversations recorded, the scene of the feet-washing, the representation of the Samaritan woman, of the man born blind, the portraiture of Peter, of Pilate, of the priests and the multitude, the questionings of the disciples, the revelation of secret motives and fears, the interpretations of Christ’s hidden meanings and difficult sayings may , as an abstract possibility, have been invented. But if they were not and it is hard to understand how a writer who lays so much stress upon truth could bring himself to such a perversion of it then the author of the Gospel must have moved close to the very centre of the sacred events he describes. In many cases it is not fair to present such a dilemma as this. The use of the imagination in literature is often not only permissible, but laudable. It is quite conceivable that a Jew of the 2nd cent. before Christ might use the name of Solomon, or the author of the Clementine Homilies in the 2nd cent. a.d. might write a romance, without any idea of deception in his own mind or in that of his readers. But the kind of narrative contained in the Fourth Gospel, if it be not genuinely and substantially historical, implies such an attempt to produce a false impression of first-hand knowledge as becomes seriously misleading. The impossibility of conceiving a writer possessed of both the power and the will thus deliberately to colour and alter the facts, forms an important link in the chain of argument. Fabulous additions to the canonical Gospels are extant, and their character is well known. They present a marked contrast in almost all respects to the characteristic features of the document before us. The name of John is never once mentioned in the Gospel, though the writer claims to be intimately acquainted with all the chief figures of the Gospel history. As deliberate self-suppression this can be understood, but as an attempt on the part of a writer a century afterwards to pose as ‘the beloved disciple,’ a prominent figure in elaborate descriptions of entirely imaginary scenes, it is unparalleled in literature and incredible in a religious historian.
A volume might well be filled with an examination of the special features of the Gospel in its portrayal of Christ Himself. Even the most superficial reader must have noticed the remarkable combination of lowliness with sublimity, of superhuman dignity with human infirmities and limitations, which characterizes the Fourth Gospel. It is in it that we read of the Saviour’s weariness by the well and His thirst upon the Cross, of the personal affection of Jesus for the family at Bethany, and His tender care of His mother in the very hour of His last agony. But it is in the same record that the characteristic ‘glory’ of His miracles is most fully brought out; in it the loftiest claims are made not only for the Master by a disciple, but by the Lord for Himself as the Light of the World, the Bread from Heaven, the only true Shepherd of men, Himself the Resurrection and the Life. He is saluted not only by Mary as Rabboni, but by Thomas as ‘my Lord and my God.’ The writer claims an exceptional and intimate knowledge of Christ. He tells us what He felt, as in John 11:33 and John 13:21 ; the reasons for His actions, as in John 6:6 ; and he is bold to describe the Lord’s secret thoughts and purposes ( John 6:61 ; John 6:64 , John 18:4 , John 19:28 ). More than this, in the Prologue of a Gospel which describes the humanity of the Son of Man, He is set forth as the ‘only’ Son of God, the Word made flesh, the Word who in the beginning was with God and was God, Creator and Sustainer of all that is. This marked characteristic of the Gospel has indeed been made a ground of objection to it. We cannot conceive, it is said, that one who had moved in the circle of the Immediate companions of Jesus of Nazareth could have spoken of Him in this fashion. The reply is obvious. What kind of a portrait is actually presented? If it be an entirely incredible picture, an extravagant attempt to portray a moral and spiritual prodigy or monstrosity, an impossible combination of the human and the Divine, then we may well suppose that human imagination has been at work. But if a uniquely impressive image is set forth in these pages, which has commanded the homage of saints and scholars for centuries, and won the hearts of millions of those simple souls to whom the highest spiritual truths are so often revealed, then it may be surmised that the Fourth Gospel is not due to the fancy of an
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel of Saint Matthew
The first book of the New Testament. Its author is the Apostle Saint Matthew, who wrote an account of Our Lord's life in the Hebrew dialect then in use by the Palestinian Jews (Aramaic), about 40 or 50. He wrote the Gospel in Palestine for converts from Judaism, to confirm them in their faith in Jesus as the promised Messias, and to convince the unbelievers that they had rejected the Redeemer. The characteristic which especially distinguishes this Gospel from the others is the frequent citations of and allusions to the Old Testament prophecies. The fulfillment of these prophecies in Jesus proves Him to be the Messias. The 28 chapters of the Gospel may be divided according to the following topics Jesus is proven the Messias in His ancestry, birth, and infancy (1-2); He is shown to be the Messias in the preparation for the public ministry (3-4); He manifests Himself as the Messias in public life, being teacher and legislator (5-7), wonder-worker (8-9), founder of the Kingdom of Goa (10-25); He is shown to be the Messias in the humility of His sufferings and the glory of His Resurreetion (26-28). The Biblical Commission, June 19, 1911, declared that the universal and constant tradition dating from the first centuries and expressed in early writings, ancient codices, versions and catalogues of the Bible, proves beyond doubt that Saint Matthew wrote the first Gospel, as we now have it in our Bibles, before the year 70, and that the Gospel is in conformity with historical truth. Chapters specially commendable for reading: 1-2, the hidden life; 5,6, 7, Sermon on the Mount; 13,16, 18,19, parables, and instructions on the Kingdom of God; 15, last judgment; 26-28, Passion, Death and Resurrection.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Gospel of Saint John
The fourth Book of the New Testament and last of the Sacred Books written. Its author is the Apostle Saint John, who wrote the Gospel at Ephesus shortly before his death, about the year 100. He records how Jesus, during His life, manifested His glory and proved Himself to be the Messias and Son of God. While the first three Gospels are mainly concerned with the human side of the life of Christ and with His ministry in Galilee, Saint John is more intent on showing the Divine side of the Saviour's life and treats especially of His ministry in Judea and Jerusalem. The Gospel is characterized by its sublimity of doctrine and diction, and by the many discourses of Jesus which make up the greater portion of the narrative. Consisting of twenty-one chapters, it is written in chronological order and contains: prologue declaring the Eternity and Divinity of the Word made Flesh (1:1-18); manifestation of Christ's glory as Messias and Son of God in His public ministry (1:19 to 12:50); revelation of His glory to the Apostles on the night before His Passion (13-17); outer glorification of Jesus in His Passion and death (18,19); manifestation of His Glory as the Risen Lord (20,21). The Biblical Commission, May 29, 1907, declared that the constant and universal tradition from the 2century, the testimony of the Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, the codices, versions and catalogs of the Sacred Books, all give convincing proof that the fourth Gospel was written by Saint John and that it is a strictly historical document. Chapters specially commendable for reading: 1, Prologue, First Disciples; 2, Cana, Cleansing of the Temple; 4, Samaritan Woman; 6, Promise of the Holy Eucharist; 10, Good Shepherd; 11, Raising of Lazarus; 12-18, Discourses after the Last Supper; 20,21, the Risen Lord.
CARM Theological Dictionary - Gospel
The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures."
The gospel comes from God (Galatians 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), is a mystery (Ephesians 6:19), and is a source of hope (Colossians 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1 Corinthians 4:15), and peace (Ephesians 6:15).
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ministry, Gospel
An ordinance appointed for the purpose of instructing men in the principles and knowledge of the Gospel, Ephesians 4:8 ; Ephesians 4:11 . Romans 10:15 . Hebrews 5:4 . That the Gospel ministry is of divine origin, and intended to be kept up in the church, will evidently appear, if we consider the promises, that in the last and best times of the New Testament dispensation there would be an instituted and regular ministry in her, Ephesians 4:8 ; Ephesians 4:11 . Titus 1:5 . 1 Peter 5:1-14 : 1 Timothy 1:1-20 :; also from the names of office peculiar to some members in the church, and not common to all, Ephesians 4:8 ; Ephesians 4:11 ; from the duties which are represented as reciprocally binding on ministers and people, Hebrews 13:7 ; Hebrews 13:17 . 1 Peter 5:2-4 ; from the promises of assistance which were given to the first ministers of the new dispensation, Matthew 28:20 ; and from the importance of a gospel Ministry, which is represented in the Scripture as a very great blessing to them who enjoy it, and the removal of it as one of the greatest calamities which can befall any people, Revelation 2:3 :
See books under last article.
People's Dictionary of the Bible - Gospel
Gospel. From the Anglo-Saxon God-spell, "good tidings," is the English translation of the Greek euaggelion, which signifies "good" or "glad tidings." Luke 2:10; Acts 13:32. The same word in the original is rendered in Romans 10:15 by the two equivalents "gospel" and "glad tidings." The term refers to the good news of the new dispensation of redemption ushered in by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The "good news" is denominated either simply the "gospel," Matthew 26:13, or else "the gospel of the kingdom," Matthew 9:35; of "Jesus Christ,"
Mark 1:1; "of peace," Romans 10:15 A. V., but omitted in R. V.; Ephesians 6:15; of "salvation," Ephesians 1:13; of "God," 1 Thessalonians 2:9; and of grace. Acts 20:24. The four Gospels were issued probably during the latter half of the first century—those of Matthew and Mark and Luke before the destruction of Jerusalem; and that of John towards the close of the century. Before the end of the second century, there is abundant evidence that the four Gospels, as one collection, were generally used and accepted. In the fourth Gospel the narrative coincides with that of the other three in a few passages only. The common explanation is that John, writing last, at the close of the first century, had seen the other Gospels, and purposely abstained from writing anew what they had sufficiently recorded. In the other three Gospels there is a great amount of agreement. If we suppose the history that they contain to be divided into 89 sections, in 42 of these all the three narratives coincide, 12 more are given by Matthew and Mark only, 5 by Mark and Luke only, and 14 by Matthew and Luke. To these must be added 5 peculiar to Matthew 2:1-23 to Mark 9:1-50 to Luke, and the enumeration is complete. But this applies only to general coincidence as to the facts narrated—the amount of verbal coincidence, that is, the passages either verbally the same or coinciding in the use of many of the same words, is much smaller. The First Gomel was prepared by Matthew for the Jew. He gives us the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews, the Messianic royalty of Jesus. Mark wrote the Second Gospel from the preaching of Peter. Luke wrote the Third Gospel for the Greek. It is the gospel of the future, of progressive Christianity, of reason and culture seeking the perfection of manhood. John, "the beloved disciple," wrote the Fourth Gospel for the Christian, to cherish and train those who have entered the new kingdom of Christ, into the highest spiritual life. See Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Paul says: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Romans 1:16. To the Corinthians he writes: "I came not to you with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:1-2.
The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Gospel
Or God's spell. This is a Saxon word, meaning good tidings. The Greeks called the gospel evangelical; hence the writers of it are called Evangelists. The word itself, as used in modern language, means the proclamation of pardon, mercy, and peace, in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. And so infinitely important and interesting is it in the eyes of all men that are made partakers of its saving grace, that the very feet of them that are commissioned to preach it are said to be beautiful. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah 52:7) And, indeed, the gospel is, without exception, the best news JEHOVAH ever proclaimed to man, or man ever heard. Angels thought so, when at the command of God they posted down from heaven, at the birth of Christ, as if ambitious to be the first preachers of it to a lost world, and in a multitude of the heavenly host met together, to proclaim the blessed tidings to the Jewish shepherds, saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men." (Luke 2:13-14)
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Mark, Gospel by
Each Gospel has its peculiar characteristics, as may be seen under the heading GOSPELS. In Mark the Lord Jesus is more particularly in view as the Servant — Prophet, and 'the gospel' or 'glad tidings' has a prominent place. As with some of the prophets in the O.T. we have no information as to their genealogy, so here we have no human genealogy of the Lord, as is given in Matthew and Luke. The narrative abruptly introduces "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." John the Baptist's ministry is shortly described to pave the way for that of Christ, which He entered on after being baptised. There are no details here of the temptation: simply the fact stated that Jesus was tempted of Satan forty days, and was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered unto Him. As soon as John was cast into prison the Lord began His unceasing work, taking up the testimony that the kingdom of God was at hand.
In the first two chapters are presented the various proofs which the Lord gave of His mission, which were as a testimony to the leaders in Israel.
In Mark 3 we see the break with the existing unbelieving generation, the calling of the apostles, and the consequent disowning of His kindred in the flesh.
Mark 4 and Mark 5 give an epitome of His personal service, carrying us on to the raising up of Israel in the future, figuratively presented in the ruler's daughter. This closes that view of the Lord's personal service.
In Mark 6 the service of the apostles comes into view: the Lord begins to send them forth two and two. For Himself ( Mark 7 ) He retired to the north-west into the district of Tyre and Sidon, and healed the daughter of the Syrophenician woman — His grace thus going out to the Gentiles. After returning through Decapolis, and ( Mark 8 ) feeding the four thousand at Gennesaret, He went to the north-east, and ( Mark 9 ) was transfigured before His three disciples; it was probably on Mount Hermon. From this time we find the Lord repeatedly bringing before His disciples the truth of His approaching death and resurrection, and the consequences flowing therefrom.
The visit of the Lord to Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles, and His discourses there, are not given in this gospel: nor the mission of the seventy: nor His visit to Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication: nor the death and raising of Lazarus.
Mark 10 opens with the Lord on the other side of Jordan on His last visit to Jerusalem. On the way He tells His disciples again of the ill-treatment and death that awaited Him there; but James and John seek a grant from Him, that they might sit on His right hand and on His left in the glory. Sight is restored to blind Bartimaeus (who called Him 'Son of David') at Jericho, the city of the curse.
Mark 11 . There followed the triumphal entry into Jerusalem.The exclamations here do not speak of Him as king, but as of their 'father David:' "Hosanna; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest." Thus the Lord's connection with Israel as Son of David is proclaimed in this gospel, which has been mostly occupied with His labours in Galilee of the Gentiles.
Of the discourses that followed the Lord's entry into Jerusalem, the parables of the Two Sons and the Marriage of the King's Son are not found in this gospel; nor the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and the Goats.
For the prophecies given in Mark 13 refer to MATTHEW, Matthew 14
The solemn events of the Lord's agony in the garden, the trial, condemnation and crucifixion follow. Of the Lord's utterances on the cross, His asking forgiveness for His murderers; His promise to the repentant thief; His commending His mother to John; His saying, 'I thirst;' 'It is finished;' and His commending His Spirit unto the Father, are not recorded here. His commission to the eleven was "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." Signs should follow them that believe. After the ascension, they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Thus the narrative closes with a commission, which is viewed as having been carried out by the apostles. Briefly the gospel may be said to present to us the personal service of Christ and of His apostles.
It is believed that in Mark's gospel chronological order has been preserved more than in any other. What is peculiar to this gospel are the many details and personal touches. We see too how immediately that one thing was done the Lord was occupied with another, as a diligent and devoted servant. All praise to His holy name! For a list of the principal events in the gospel history see NEW TESTAMENT.
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Matthew, Gospel by
In this gospel Christ is more especially presented as the Messiah, the son of Abraham, and son of David. See GOSPELS. The genealogy here starts with Abraham, in contrast with that in Luke, which goes back to Adam because in that gospel the Lord is viewed as connected with man, i.e., the seed of the woman. Here we read, He "shall save his people from their sins," and in this gospel only is quoted the prophetic name IMMANUEL, 'God with us.' Here only is the account given of the Magi inquiring for the 'King of the Jews,' with the flight into Egypt, and the massacre of the infants. (The Magi did not come 'when Jesus was born' [1] but several months afterwards. It is better translated 'Jesus having been born.') Christ is called out of Egypt, taking part thus in the history of Israel, God's first-born son. Exodus 4:22 . The Messiah being rejected, the remnant comes into weeping. Matthew 2:17,18 .
Matthew 3 , Matthew 4 . The remnant are separated by the preaching of John. Messiah takes His place with them in Jordan according to divine order. His Person is attested by a voice from heaven, and the full revelation of God in connection with the Son upon earth. Led of the Spirit, He overcomes Satan, and then calls the remnant around Himself.
In Matthew 5 — Matthew 7 the principles of Christ's doctrine are unfolded largely, in contrast with that of 'them of old time.' It goes to the springs of evil, and condemns the principles of violence and corruption; and the character of God Himself becomes the standard of practice for man here. The gate was strait and the way narrow which led to life, and there were but few (the remnant) who found it.
Matthew 8 : and Matthew 9 present Jehovah's servant, verifying Isaiah 53:1 and Psalm 103:3 , and His service, ending with the typical raising up of Israel in the ruler's daughter.
Christ goes on with His patient work of preaching the gospel of the kingdom, teaching in the synagogues, healing the sick, casting out demons, and exposing all the false pretensions that were in the leaders of the Jews.
In Matthew 10 Jesus takes the place of administrator, as Lord of the harvest, and sends out the twelve with a commission limited to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
In Matthew 11 Christ shows the superiority of the kingdom of heaven to the prophetic ministry, ending in John the Baptist; and of the revelation of the Father to His own mighty works, which had not produced repentance; and
In Matthew 12 He breaks the special links which had been formed in His coming after the flesh.
In Matthew 13 Christ reveals Himself as the Sower, in which character He had all along been acting. He gives a series of parables showing the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. First, how 'the word of the kingdom' was received, and the various obstacles in the world calculated to oppose and hinder its growth. Then, how, through the work of the enemy, false professors would spring up in the kingdom, and how evil principles would be introduced into it, which would work insidiously. The first four parables were spoken to the people — that of the Tares being peculiar to this gospel. The Lord in explaining (in the house) the parable of the Tares, speaks of the completion of the age, and of the judgement by which the Son of man by angelic agency shall purge "out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity." The last three parables were spoken to the disciples in private, and are peculiar to this gospel. They speak of the secret purpose of the kingdom. Christ buys the field in view of the treasure hidden there, and also buys the pearl of great price for its value in His eye. The gospel net gathers good and bad, but at the completion of the age a discriminating judgement will sever the "wicked from among the just," See PARABLES.
Christ continues His work of grace notwithstanding His rejection by the rulers of Israel, and
In Matthew 16 the truth of His person as Son of the living God having been confessed by Peter as the result of the Father's revelation, He announces this as the foundation of the church which He will build, and against which the power of Hades shall not prevail. He gives to Peter the keys of 'the kingdom of heaven' (an expression peculiar to Matthew, turning the eyes of the disciples to heaven as the source of light and authority, in contrast to a kingdom as from an earthly centre, Zion, Romans 11:26 ), and speaks of His own coming again in the glory of His Father to give to every man his reward. The parables had dealt with the kingdom in mystery , but some who stood there should at once have a glimpse of the kingdom in glory, which was vouchsafed to them in seeing Jesus transfigured before them on the mount.
In Matthew 18 the Lord furnishes instruction as to the order and ways of the kingdom, including the dealing with an offending brother, and again speaks of 'the church,' and of its voice of authority, though it was then future; and adds the marvellous declaration as to where His presence would be vouchsafed, a place morally distant from the then existing temple and its priesthood: "Where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them." The Lord proceeded in the parable of the King that would take account of His servants, to enforce the necessity of His disciples forgiving one another, as otherwise they would come under His Father's hand. Farther on, the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard maintains the sovereignty of the Lord in dispensing His own things: both of these parables being peculiar to Matthew. The Lord forewarns His disciples of what awaited Him, and gives them instruction to follow His example. Matthew 20:27,28 .
In Matthew 21 the Lord rode triumphantly as Zion's king into Jerusalem, claiming His inheritance, accompanied by a great crowd, which cried, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." He cleansed the temple a second time, and put to silence the chief priests, the elders, and all who sought to entangle Him in His talk, enforcing, too, the responsibility of the husbandmen. Notwithstanding their opposition, He spoke of the certainty of the establishment of God's purpose in the parable of the marriage of the King's Son. He foretold the judgements that should fall upon Jerusalem. He would often have gathered them, but they would not. He left them with the solemn words, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matthew 23:38,39 .
In Matthew 24 the disciples asked three questions, Matthew 24:3 . The Lord did not answer the question as to when the events predicted should take place, and His reply is a further prophecy. Matthew 24:4 to end of Matthew 24:44 are concerning Israel. Matthew 24:4-14 coincide with the first half of Daniel's 70th week; and Matthew 24:15-28 with the last half of that week. Matthew 24:45-51 refer to Christians. This and the following chapter show the whole range and extent of what comes under the judgement of the Son of man, both in His coming and sitting on His throne.
Matthew 25 is peculiar to Matthew; Matthew 25:1-30 , the parables of the Ten Virgins and of the Talents, apply to professing Christians. Matthew 25:31-46 refer to the living Gentile nations who will be judged according to how they have treated the Jewish messengers, the brethren of Christ. See JUDGEMENT, SESSIONAL.
The events of the trial, judgement, crucifixion, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus follow. The last scene with the apostles in this gospel is in Galilee, where Jesus had appointed to meet them, thus resuming connection with them as a Jewish remnant. He commissions them to teach all nations, adding, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age." Compare "God with us" in Matthew 1:23 . In a sense He remains with His own: hence the ascension is not here mentioned. Christ will be found again with Israel on earth, and then bless them and the Gentiles through them. The fact that Matthew was present at the ascension, and yet does not mention so important an event, is sufficient evidence that the evangelist had divine guidance as to what he should record: all such differences in the gospels are really by the inspiration of God, and are a profitable study.
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of
It has often been declared that this gospel was gathered by the writer from various sources, especially from the apostle Paul, because he was so much with that apostle. This was an early opinion. Irenaeus and Tertullian asserted that we have in Luke the gospel that Paul preached. Eusebius referred the words 'according to my gospel' ( 2 Timothy 2:8 ) to the gospel of Luke; and Jerome agreed with this. Many modern writers repeat the same. In this theory there are two grave errors. The one is endeavouring to account for the Gospel of Luke by mere human agency, instead of recognising that the writer was led and guided by the Holy Spirit. The other is ignoring the unique character of the gospel taught by Paul, which he declared he had received by the revelation of Jesus Christ, and which is called "the gospel of the glory of the Christ." It associated the believer with Christ in the glory. 2 Corinthians 4:4 .
On the other hand, it is evident that Luke's presentation of the service of Christ on earth is in correspondence with the service of 'the apostle of the Gentiles,' whose fellow-labourer and companion Luke was. Grace to man — 'to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,' as Paul expresses it — is the key-note of Luke's gospel.
The Gospel of Luke sets the Lord before us in the character of Son of man, revealing God in delivering grace among men. Hence the present operation of grace and its effect are more referred to, and even the present time prophetically, not the substitution of other dispensations, as in Matthew, but of saving, heavenly grace. At first no doubt (and just because He is to be revealed as Man, and in grace to men), He is presented (in a prefatory part in which there is the most exquisite picture of the godly remnant) to Israel, to whom He had been promised, and in relationship with whom He came into this world; but afterwards this gospel presents moral principles which apply to man generally whosoever he may be, whilst yet manifesting Christ, for the moment, in the midst of that people. This power of God in grace is displayedin various ways in its application to the wants of men.
After the transfiguration ( Luke 9 ), which is recounted earlier, as to the contents of the gospel, than by the other evangelists, we find the judgement of those who rejected the Lord, and the heavenly character of the grace which, because it is grace, addresses itself to the nations, to sinners, without any particular reference to the Jews, overturning the legal principles according to which the latter pretended to be, and as to their external standing were originally called at Sinai to be, in connection with God. Unconditional promises to Abraham, etc., and prophetic confirmation of them, are another thing. They will be accomplished in grace and were to be laid hold of by faith.
After this (Luke 19 , Luke 20 , Luke 21 ), details are given as to that which should happen to the Jew according to the righteous government of God; and, at the end, the account of the death and resurrection of the Lord, accomplishing the work of redemption.
Luke morally sets aside the Jewish system and introduces the Son of man as the Man before God, presenting Him as the One who is filled with all the fulness of God dwelling in Him bodily, as the Man before God, according to His own heart, and thus as Mediator between God and man, centre of a moral system much more vast than that of Messiah among the Jews. While occupied with these new relations (ancient in fact as to the counsels of God), Luke nevertheless gives the facts belonging to the Lord's connection with the Jews, owned in the pious remnant of that people, with much more development than the other evangelists, as well as the proofs of His mission to that people, in coming into the world — proofs which ought to have gained their attention, and fixed it upon the child who was born to them.
That which specially characterises the narrative, and gives peculiar interest to this gospel, is that it sets forth what Christ is Himself. It is not His official glory, a relative position that He assumed; neither is it the revelation of His divine nature in itself; nor His mission as the great Prophet. It is Himself, as He was, a man on the earth — the Person one would have met every day had one lived at that time in Judaea or in Galilee.
A remark may be added as to the style of Luke. He often brings a mass of facts into one short general statement, and then expatiates at length on some isolated fact, where moral principles and grace are displayed. [1]
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Gospel
a history of the life, actions, death, resurrection, ascension, and doctrine of Jesus Christ. The word is Saxon, and of the same import with the Latin term evangelium, or the Greek ευαγγελιον , which signifies "glad tidings," or "good news;" the history of our Saviour being the best history ever published to mankind. The history is contained in the writings of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, who from thence are called evangelists. The Christian church never acknowledged any more than these four Gospels as canonical: notwithstanding which, several apocryphal gospels are handed down to us, and others are entirely lost.
The four Gospels contain each of them the history of our Saviour's life and ministry; but we must remember, that no one of the evangelists undertook to give an account of all the miracles which Christ performed, or of all the instructions which he delivered. They are written with different degrees of conciseness; but every one of them is sufficiently full to prove that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviour of the world, who had been predicted by a long succession of prophets, and whose advent was expected at the time of his appearance, both by Jews and Gentiles.
2. That all the books which convey to us the history of events under the New Testament were written and immediately published by persons contemporary with the events, is most fully proved by the testimony of an unbroken series of authors, reaching from the days of the evangelists to the present times; by the concurrent belief of Christians of all denominations; and by the unreserved confession of avowed enemies to the Gospel. In this point of view the writings of the ancient fathers of the Christian church are invaluable. They contain not only frequent references and allusions to the books of the New Testament, but also such numerous professed quotations from them, that it is demonstratively certain that these books existed in their present state a few years after the conclusion of Christ's ministry upon earth. No unbeliever in the apostolic age, in the age immediately subsequent to it, or, indeed, in any age whatever, was ever able to disprove the facts recorded in these books; and it does not appear that in the early times any such attempt was made. The facts, therefore, related in the New Testament, must be admitted to have really happened. But if all the circumstances of the history of Jesus, that is, his miraculous conception in the womb of the virgin, the time at which he was born, the place where he was born, the family from which he was descended, the nature of the doctrines which he preached, the meanness of his condition, his rejection, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, with many other minute particulars; if all these various circumstances in the history of Jesus exactly accord with the predictions of the Old Testament relative to the promised Messiah, in whom all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, it follows that Jesus was that Messiah. And again: if Jesus really performed the miracles as related in the Gospels, and was perfectly acquainted with the thoughts and designs of men, his divine mission cannot be doubted. Lastly: if he really foretold his own death and resurrection, the descent of the Holy Ghost, its miraculous effects, the sufferings of the Apostles, the call of the Gentiles, and the destruction of Jerusalem, it necessarily follows that he spake by the authority of God himself. These, and many other arguments, founded in the more than human character of Jesus, in the rapid propagation of the Gospel, in the excellence of its precepts and doctrines, and in the constancy, intrepidity, and fortitude of its early professors, incontrovertibly establish the truth and divine origin of the Christian religion, and afford to us, who live in these latter times, the most positive confirmation of the promise of our Lord, that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
3. The Gospels recount those wonderful and important events with which the Christian religion and its divine Author were introduced into the world, and which have produced so great a change in the principles, the manners, the morals, and the temporal as well as spiritual condition of mankind.
They relate the first appearance of Christ upon earth, his extraordinary and miraculous birth, the testimony borne to him by his forerunner, John the Baptist, the temptation in the wilderness, the opening of his divine commission, the pure, the perfect, and sublime morality which he taught, especially in his inimitable sermon on the mount, the infinite superiority which he showed to every other moral teacher, both in the matter and manner of his discourses, more particularly by crushing vice in its very cradle, in the first risings of wicked desires and propensities in the heart, by giving a decided preference to the mild, gentle, passive, conciliating virtues, before that violent, vindictive, high-spirited, unforgiving temper, which has been always too much the favourite character of the world; by requiring us to forgive our very enemies, and to do good to them that hate us; by excluding from our devotions, our alms, and all our virtues, all regard to fame, reputation, and applause; by laying down two great general principles of morality, love to God, and love to mankind, and deducing from thence every other human duty; by conveying his instructions under the easy, familiar, and impressive form of parables; by expressing himself in a tone of dignity and authority unknown before; by exemplifying every virtue that he taught in his own unblemished and perfect life and conversation; and, above all, by adding those awful sanctions, which he alone, of all moral instructers, had the power to hold out, eternal rewards to the virtuous, and eternal punishments to the wicked. The sacred narratives then represent to us the high character that he assumed; the claim he made to a divine original; the wonderful miracles he wrought in proof of his divinity; the various prophecies which plainly marked him out as the Messiah, the great Deliverer of the Jews; the declarations he made that he came to offer himself a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind; the cruel indignities, sufferings, and persecutions to which, in consequence of this great design, he was exposed; the accomplishment or it, by the painful and ignominious death to which he submitted, by his resurrection after three days from the grave, by his ascension into heaven, by his sitting there at the right hand of God, and performing the office of a Mediator and Intercessor for the sinful sons of men, till he shall come a second time in his glory to sit in judgment on all mankind, and decide their final doom of happiness or misery for ever. These are the momentous, the interesting, truths on which the Gospels principally dwell.
4. We find in the ancient records a twofold order, in which the evangelists are arranged. They stand either thus, Matthew, John, Luke, Mark; or thus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. The first is made with reference to the character and the rank of the persons, according to which the Apostles precede their assistants and attendants ( ακολουθοις , comitibus. ) It is observed in the oldest Latin translations and in the Gothic; sometimes also in the works of Latin teachers; but among all the Greek MSS. only in that at Cambridge. But the other, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, is, in all the old translations of Asia and Africa, in all catalogues of the canonical books, and in Greek MSS. in general, the customary and established one as it regarded not personal circumstances, but as it had respect to chronological; which is to us a plain indication what accounts concerning the succession of the evangelists, the Asiatic and Greek churches, and also those of Africa, had before them, when the Christian books were arranged in collections. It is a considerable advantage, says Michaelis, that a history of such importance as that of Jesus Christ has been recorded by the pens of separate and independent writers, who, from the variations which are visible in these accounts, have incontestably proved that they did not unite with a view of imposing a fabulous narrative on mankind. That St. Matthew had never seen the Gospel of St. Luke, nor St. Luke the Gospel of St. Matthew, is evident from a comparison of their writings. The Gospel of St. Mark, which was written later, must likewise have been unknown to St. Luke; and that St. Mark had ever read the Gospel of St. Luke, is at least improbable, because their Gospels so frequently differ. It is a generally received opinion, that St. Mark made use of St. Matthew's Gospel in the composition of his own; but this is an unfounded hypothesis. The Gospel of St. John, being written after the other three, supplies what they had omitted. Thus have we four distinct and independent writers of one and the same history; and, though trifling variations may seem to exist in their narratives, yet these admit of easy solutions; and in all matters of consequence, whether doctrinal or historical, there is such a manifest agreement between them as is to be found in no other writings whatever. Though we have only four original writers of the life of Jesus, the evidence of the history does not rest on the testimony of four men. Christianity had been propagated in a great part of the world before any of them had written, on the testimony of thousands and tens of thousands, who had been witnesses of the great facts which they have recorded; so that the writing of these particular books is not to be considered as the cause, but rather the effect, of the belief of Christianity; nor could those books have been written and received as they were, namely, as authentic histories, of the subject of which all persons of that age were judges, if the facts they have recorded had not been well known to be true.
5. The term Gospel is often used in Scripture to signify the whole Christian doctrine: hence, "preaching the Gospel" is declaring all the truths, precepts, promises, and threatenings of Christianity. This is termed "the Gospel of the grace of God," because it flows from God's free love and goodness, Acts 20:24 ; and when truly and faithfully preached, is accompanied with the influences of the divine Spirit. It is called "the Gospel of the kingdom," because it treats of the kingdom of grace, and shows the way to the kingdom of glory. It is styled, "the Gospel of Christ," because he is the Author and great subject of it, Romans 1:16 ; and "the Gospel of peace and salvation," because it publishes peace with God to the penitent and believing, gives, to such, peace of conscience and tranquillity of mind, and is the means of their salvation, present and eternal. As it displays the glory of God and of Christ, and ensures to his true followers eternal glory, it is entitled, "the glorious Gospel," and, "the everlasting Gospel," because it commenced from the fall of man, is permanent throughout all time, and produces effects which are everlasting.
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Mark, Gospel of
By whom written. --The author of this Gospel has been universally believed to be Mark or Marcus, designated in (Acts 12:12,25 ; 15:37 ) as John Mark, and in ch. 5,13 as John.
When is was written. --Upon this point nothing absolutely certain can be affirmed, and the Gospel itself affords us no information. The most direct testimony is that of Irenaeus, who says it was after the death of the apostles Peter and Paul. We may conclude, therefore, that this Gospel was not written before A.D. 63. Again we may as certainly conclude that it was not written after the destruction of Jerusalem, for it is not likely that he would have omitted to record so remarkable a fulfillment of our Lord's predictions. Hence A.D. 63-70 becomes our limit, but nearer than this we cannot go. --Farrar.
Where it was written . --As to the place, the weight of testimony is uniformly in favor of the belief that the Gospel was written and published at Rome. In this Clement, Eusebius, Jerome, Epiphanius, all agree. Chrysostom, indeed, asserts that it was published at Alexandria; but his statement receives no confirmation, as otherwise it could not fail to have done, from any Alexandrine writer. --Farrar.
In what language. --As to the language in which it was written, there never has been any reasonable doubt that it was written in Greek.
Sources of information . --Mark was not one of the twelve; and there is no reason to believe that he was an eye and ear witness of the events which he has recorded but an almost unanimous testimony of the early fathers indicates Peter as the source of his information. The most important of these testimonies is that of Papias, who says, "He, the Presbyter (John), said, Mark, being the Interpreter of Peter, wrote exactly whatever he remembered but he did not write in order the things which were spoken or done by Christ. For he was neither a hearer nor a follower of the Lord, but, as I said, afterward followed Peter, who made his discourses to suit what was required, without the view of giving a connected digest of the discourses of our Lord. Mark, therefore, made no mistakes when he wrote down circumstances as he recollected them; for he was very careful of one thing, to omit nothing of what he heard, and to say nothing false in what he related." Thus Papias writes of Mark. This testimony is confirmed by other witnesses. --Abbott.
For whom it was written. --The traditional statement is that it was intended primarily for Gentiles, and especially for those at Rome. A review of the Gospel itself confirms this view.
Characteristics . -- (1) Mark's Gospel is occupied almost entirely with the ministry in Galilee and the events of the passion week. It is the shortest of the four Gospels, and contains almost no incident or teaching which is not contained in one of the other two synoptists; but (2) it is by far the most vivid and dramatic in its narratives, and their pictorial character indicates not only that they were derived from an eye and ear witness, but also from one who possessed the observation and the graphic artistic power of a natural orator such as Peter emphatically was. (3) One peculiarity strikes us the moment we open it, --the absence of any genealogy of our Lord. This is the key to much that follows. It is not the design of the evangelist to present our Lord to us, like St. Matthew as the Messiah, "the son of David and Abraham," ch. 1:1, or, like St. Luke, as the universal Redeemer, "the son of Adam, which was the son of God." ch. 3:38. (4) His design is to present him to us as the incarnate and wonder-working Son of God, living and acting among men; to portray him in the fullness of his living energy. --Cambridge Bible for Schools.
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Mat'Thew, Gospel of
Its authorship . --That this Gospel was written by the apostle Matthew there is no reason to doubt. Seventeen independent witnesses of the first four centuries attest its genuineness.
Its original language . --The testimony of the early Church is unanimous that Matthew wrote originally in the Hebrew language. On the otherhand doubt is thrown over this opinion, both statements of by an examination of the fathers and by a consideration of peculiar forms of language employed in the Gospel itself. The question is unsettled, the best scholars not agreeing in their Judgment concerning it. If there was a Hebrew original, it disappeared at a very early age. The Greek Gospel which we now possess was it is almost certain, written in Matthew's lifetime; and it is not at all improbable that he wrote the Gospel in both the Greek and Hebrew languages. --Lyman Abbolt. It is almost certain that our Lord spoke in Greek with foreigners, but with his disciples and the Jewish people in Aramaic (a form of language closely allied to the Hebrew). --Schaff. The Jewish historian Josephus furnishes an illustration of the fate of the Hebrew original of Matthew. Josephus himself informs us that he, wrote his great work "The History of the Jewish Wars," originally in Hebrew, his native tongue, for the benefit of his own nation, and he afterward translated it into Greek. No notices of the Hebrew original now survive. --Professor D.S. Gregory.
The date .-- The testimony of the early Church is unanimous that Matthew wrote first of the early Church is among the evangelists. Irenieus relates that Matthew wrote his Gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching, and founding the Church at Rome, after A.D. 61. It was published before the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 50.--Alford. We would place our present Gospel between A.D. 60,66. If there was an original Hebrew Gospel, an earlier date belongs to it --Ellicott.
Its object .-- This Gospel was probably written in Palestine for Jewish Christians. It is an historical proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Matthew is the Gospel for the Jew. It is the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah of the prophets. This Gospel takes the life of Jesus as it was lived on earth, and his character as it actually appeared, and places them alongside the life and character of the Messiah as sketched in the prophets, the historic by the side of the Prophetic, that the two may appear in their marvellous unity and in their perfect identity. --Professor Gregory.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Gospel
Signifies good news, and is that revelation and dispensation which God has made known to guilty man through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer. Scripture speaks of "the gospel of the kingdom," Matthew 24:14 , the gospel "of the grace of God," Acts 20:24 , "of Christ," and "of peace," Romans 1:16 10:15 . It is the "glorious" and the "everlasting" gospel, 1 Timothy 1:11 Revelation 14:6 , and well merits the noblest epithets that can be given it. The declaration of this gospel was made through the life and teaching, the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord.
The writings which contain the recital of our Savior's life, miracles, death, resurrection, and doctrine, are called GOSPELS, because they include the best news that could be published to mankind. We have four canonical gospelsthose of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These have not only been generally received, but they were received very early as the standards of evangelical history, as the depositories of the doctrines and actions of Jesus. They are appealed to under that character both by friends and enemies; and no writer impugning or defending Christianity acknowledges any other gospel as of equal or concurrent authority, although there were many others which purported to be authentic memoirs of the life and actions of Christ. Some of these apocryphal gospels are still extant. They contain many errors and legends, but have some indirect value.
There appears to be valid objection to the idea entertained by many, that the evangelists copied from each other or from an earlier and fuller gospel. Whether Mark wrote with the gospel by Matthew before him, and Luke with Matthew and Mark both, or not, we know that they "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," while recounting the works and sayings of Christ which they had seen or knew to be true, using no doubt the most authentic written and oral accounts of the same, current among the disciples. They have not at all confined themselves to the strict order of time and place.
GOSPEL OF MATTHEW. The time when this gospel was written is very uncertain. All ancient testimony, however, goes to show that it was published before the others. It is believed by many to have been written about A. D. 38. It has been much disputed whether this gospel was originally written in Hebrew or Greek. The unanimous testimony of ancient writers is in favor of a Hebrew original, that is, that it was written in the language of Palestine and for the use of the Hebrew Christians. But, on the other hand, the definiteness and accuracy of this testimony is drawn into question; there is no historical notice of a translation into Greek; and the present Greek gospel bears many marks of being an original; the circumstances of the age, too, and the prevalence of the Greek language in Palestine, seem to give weight to the opposite hypothesis. Critics of he greatest name are arranged on both sides of the question; and some who believe it to have been first written in Hebrew, think that the author himself afterwards made a Greek version. Matthew writes as "an Israelite indeed," a guileless converted Jew instructing his brethren. He often quotes from the Old Testament. He represents the Savior as the fulfillment of the hopes of Israel, the promised Messiah, King of the kingdom of God.
GOSPEL OF MARK. Ancient writers agree in the statement that Mark, not himself an apostle, wrote his gospel under the influence and direction of the apostle Peter. The same traditionary authority, though with less unanimity and evidence, makes it to have been written at Rome, and published after the death of Peter and Paul. Mark wrote primarily for the Gentiles, as appears from his frequent explanations of Jewish customs, etc. He exhibits Christ as the divine Prophet, mighty in deed and word. He is a true evangelical historian, relating facts more than discourses, in a concise, simple, rapid style, with occasional minute and graphic details.
GOSPEL OF LUKE. Luke is said to have written his gospel under the direction of Paul, whose companion he was on many journeys. His expanded views and catholic spirit resemble those of the great apostle to the Gentiles; and his gospel represents Christ as the compassionate Friend of sinners, the Savior of the world. It appears to have been written primarily for Theophilus, some noble Greek or Roman, and its date is generally supposed to be about A. D. 63.
GOSPEL OF JOHN. The ancient writers all make this gospel the latest. Some place its publication in the first year of the emperor Nerva, A. D. 96, sixty-seven years after our Savior's death, and when John was now more than eighty years of age. The gospel of John reveals Christ as the divine and divinely appointed Redeemer, the Son of God manifested in flesh. It is a spiritual, rather than historical gospel, omitting many things chronicled by the other evangelists, and containing much more than they do as to the new life in the soul through Christ, union with him, regeneration, the resurrection, and the work of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of the "disciple whom Jesus loved" pervades this precious gospel. It had a special adaptation to refute the Gnostic heresies of that time, but is equally fitted to build up the church of Christ in all generations.
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of,
The third Gospel is ascribed, by the general consent of ancient Christendom, to "the beloved physician," Luke, the friend and companion of the apostle Paul.
Date of the Gospel of Luke . --From ( Acts 1:1 ) it is clear that the Gospel described "the former treatise" was written before the Acts of the Apostles; but how much earlier is uncertain. Perhaps it was written at Caesarea during St. Paul's imprisonment there, A.D. 58-60.
Place where the Gospel was written. --If the time has been rightly indicated, the place would be Caesarea.
Origin of the Gospel. --The preface, contained in the first four verses of the Gospel, describes the object of its writer. Here are several facts to be observed. There were many narratives of the life of our Lord Current at the early time when Luke wrote his Gospel. The ground of fitness for the task St. Luke places in his having carefully followed out the whole course of events from the beginning. He does not claim the character of an eye-witness from the first but possibly he may have been a witness of some part of our Lord's doings. The ancient opinion that Luke wrote his Gospel under the influence of Paul rests on the authority of Irenreus, Tertulian, Origen and Eusebius. The four verses could not have been put at the head of a history composed under the exclusive guidance of Paul or of any one apostle and as little could they have introduced a gospel simply communicated by another. The truth seems to be that St. Luke, seeking information from every quarter, sought it from the preaching of his be loved master St. Paul; and the apostle in his turn employed the knowledge acquired from other sources by his disciple.
Purpose for which the Gospel was written. --The evangelist professes to write that Theophilus "might know the certainty of those things wherein he had been instructed." ch, ( Luke 1:4 ) This Theophilus was probably a native of Italy and perhaps an inhabitant of Rome, in tracing St. Paul's journey to Rome, places which an Italian might be supposed not to know are described minutely, (Acts 27:8,12,16 ) but when he comes to Sicily and Italy this is neglected. Hence it would appear that the person for whom Luke wrote in the first instance was a Gentile reader; and accordingly we find traces in the Gospel of a leaning toward Gentile rather than Jewish converts.
Language and style of the Gospel. --It has never been doubted that the Gospel was written in Greek, whilst Hebraisms are frequent, classical idioms and Greek compound words abound, for which there is classical authority. (Prof. Gregory, in "Why Four Gospels" says that Luke wrote for Greek readers, and therefore the character and needs of the Greeks furnish the key to this Gospel. The Greek was the representation of reason and humanity. He looked upon himself as having the mission of perfecting man. He was intellectual, cultured, not without hope of a higher world. Luke's Gospel therefore represented the character and career of Christ as answering the conception of a perfect and divine humanity. Reason, beauty righteousness and truth are exhibited as they meet in Jesus in their full splendor. Jesus was the Saviour of all men, redeeming them to a perfect and cultured manhood. --ED.)
Morrish Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel by
This Gospel is different in character from the other three, which are often called 'the Synoptical Gospels,' because they each give a fuller account of events than is found in John. The gospel by John has often been judged to be supplementary to the others; but this is not a true view of it. It stands by itself, complete in itself. Each gospel has its own characteristic line: for this see under GOSPELS.
It is the gospel in which we have most distinctly the revelation of the Godhead. The Father is revealed in the Son in both words and works; and in the rejection of the Son the Father was rejected. And, consequent on the Son going back to the Father who had sent Him, the Holy Ghost was to be sent from the Father in His name. See John 14 — John 16 .
In John, together with the state of man, is brought out the gift of eternal life, as if the Lord Jesus had been rejected and redemption had already been accomplished. Israel is viewed as reprobate throughout: the feasts are not spoken of as the feasts of Jehovah, but as 'of the Jews,' and 'the Jews' (those of Jerusalem and Judaea) are distinguished from 'the people,' who may have been Galileans or visitors at the feasts from districts outside Judaea.
John 1 . All the essential names of the Lord are brought out in this chapter. His essential Godhead before creation; He is the Creator; the true Light; the only-begotten of the Father (His eternal Sonship); He is the Incarnate, 'the Word became flesh;' the Lamb of God; the Son of God; the Messiah; the king of Israel; and the Son of man. The Jews, 'his own,' received Him not; but to those who received Him He gave authority to become children of God. The Lord became a centre for such, and
1, His dwelling place an abode for them;
2, He is the One to be followed down here;
3, He is the hope of Israel.
A glimpse of millennial glory is given in the declaration at the close of the chapter as to angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
John 2 gives a type of millennial blessing in the marriage feast (Jesus being the source of the 'good wine' — the best joy — when the wine of Israel had run out), and His divine right in cleansing the temple would be proved by His power in raising the temple of His body, by which, for the time, the material temple was set aside. John 2:23-25 belong to John 3 . The Lord discerns who are really His.*
* The 'third day' of John 2:1 probably refers to the millennial day: John's testimony being the first, John 1:35 ; Christ's ministry the second, John 1:43 ; and the millennium the third.
John 3 . Man, such as he is by nature, and even under privilege needs a work of the Spirit in him for the apprehension of, or entrance into the kingdom of God. He must be born of water and of the Spirit: that which is born of the Spirit is spirit in contrast to flesh, and the water no doubt signifies the word morally: cf. John 15:3 ; 1 Peter 1:23 . This should have been known by a teacher of Israel from the prophetic announcement with regard to earthly blessing in Ezekiel 36:25 , etc. But the Lord proceeds to speak of heavenly things. Man, being a sinner, his whole status as in the flesh, whether Jew or Gentile, is regarded as judged and set aside in the lifting up of the Son of man, the antitype of the brazen serpent, and life is found for man beyond death. This introduces the testimony of the love of God to the world, and His purpose for man in His giving His only begotten Son, namely, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. The love of God is not limited to the Jews.
A further and touching testimony is rendered to the Lord by John the Baptist, whose joy was fulfilled in hearing His voice, though he himself should be eclipsed. The last two verses are doubtless the words of the evangelist. The Son being presented, the issue would be either eternal life or the wrath of God.
John 4 . Being obliged to withdraw through the jealousy of the Pharisees from Judaea, the Lord on His road to Galilee must needs pass through Samaria, where He meets with a poor empty-hearted woman — empty spite of all her efforts to find satisfaction in sin. To her He speaks of God being a giver , and that He Himself was ready to give her living water — water that should be in the one receiving it a fountain of water springing up into eternal life — doubtless that which is called in Romans 8 "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," a source of perennial satisfaction within. Connected with this the Father is revealed as seeking worshippers. At the close of the chapter the Lord restores a nobleman's son who was at the point of death, typical of that which He was doing in Israel to sustain the faith of the godly remnant ready to perish.
John 5 . The impotent man was enabled to carry that whereon he lay. The blessing which had resided in vain in the pool of Bethesda, so far as he was concerned, was now superseded by what was in the word of the Son of God.* This miracle being performed on the Sabbath served to bring out His glory. "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." The Father and the Son are one in the activity of grace. The Father does not judge; the Son quickens and judges. The one who hears His word, and believes on the Father who sent Him, has everlasting life, and will not enter into judgement — is passed, in fact, out of death into life. Those morally dead hear His voice now, and those who have heard shall live. Those in their graves shall also hear, and shall come forth, and there shall be a resurrection of life, and one of judgement. † Life in this chapter is viewed in connection with the voice of the Lord as the Son. He brings the soul into the light ofthe Father. Apart fromthe testimony of John, there was the three-fold witness to His glory: His works, the Father, and the scriptures.
* Some editors omit from 'waiting,' ver. 3, to end of ver. 4; but it is doubtless a portion of what God caused to be written, and should be retained.
† 'Judgement' in vers. 22,27,30; 'condemnation' in ver. 24; and 'damnation' in ver. 29, are all the same Greek word, κρίσις.
John 6 . Five thousand men are fed by the power of the Lord. Struck by this sign of power the multitude, recognising Him as the Prophet, would make Him king. But He retires to a mountain apart, typically in the place of Priest. The disciples meanwhile were on the sea amid darkness and storm. The Lord went to them, walking on the sea. All this would seem to have its application to Israel — the Lord being seen as Prophet, King, and Priest. He will bring them to their desired haven.
What follows has a present application. The Son of man was the true bread from heaven, and the work of God was that people should believe on Him. There is a contrast here between the manna and the new and heavenly food; and life is presented from the point of view of man's appropriation,rather than as the quickening power of the Son of God, as in John 5 . "If any one shall have eaten of this bread he shall live for ever." But for this Christ must die — must give His flesh for the life of the world. "He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has life eternal; and I will raise him up at the last day." To appropriate His death is to accept death to all that in which the flesh lives morally, to find life in Him who is out of heaven, and who is gone back thither. This puts every one to the test.
John 7 . The earthly blessing, of which the Feast of Tabernacles is typical, is deferred, owing to Christ's rejection: even His brethren did not believe in Him. But the great day of the feast is the eighth, typical of the day of new creation and of eternal blessing; of this the Spirit is the earnest, as sent from a glorified Christ. On this day Jesus stood and cried, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this he said concerning the Spirit, which they that believed on him were about to receive." The Jews are left in dissension and darkness.
John 8 — John 10 . The Lord is now manifested as the Light, according to what is said of Him in John 1 . Those who brought to Him a case of flagrant sin in the expectation of putting Him in a dilemma, were themselves convicted by the light of His word: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." They went out of His presence one by one, convicted by their own conscience. The testimony of His own word as the light of the world follows, and is definitely rejected by the Jews; and when He at length bears witness, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am," they took up stones to cast at Him.
Passing through the midst of them the Lord went on His way, and in John 9 gives sight to a man born blind. Here the testimony is that of His work. The leaders of the Jews were themselves blind, and said of Jesus, "We know that this man is a sinner." Being confounded at the poor man's simple reasoning, they cast him out of the synagogue. Upon this Jesus reveals Himself to him as Son of God, and as such he worships Him. Cast out, he finds himself in the company of One whose glorious Person is thus made known. But the Jew is made blinder by the light that has come in.
Rejected both in word and work, the Lord is now revealed as the Shepherd of the sheep in John 10 , which must be read in close connection with what precedes. If the Jews cast His disciples out of the synagogue, it was the Lord who led them out of the Jewish fold. For this He was the Shepherd, and the door of the sheep. No doubt His death is supposed here. By Him if any one entered in he should be saved, and find liberty and food, in contrast to the Jewish system in which these were not found. He is the good Shepherd, and gives His life for the sheep; and there is a reciprocal knowledge or an intimacy between Himself and the sheep who are of a new and heavenly order, as there is between the Father and Himself. Also there is no fold now, but one flock and one Shepherd: thus Jews and Gentiles are joined in one flock. Furthermore, He gives His sheep eternal life, and preserves them as given Him of the Father, on the absolute security of His own and His Father's hand. The Jews seeking again to take Him, He departed beyond Jordan.
John 11 . Here the glory of the Son of God is revealed, Jesus setting Himself forth to the faith of His own as the resurrection and the life. Lazarus is allowed to die, but it was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. He embodies and expresses in His own person victory over death, and an entirely new order of life in man, which only the Son become man, and dying, could make available to us. In the resurrection of Lazarus this is set forth in pattern; but at the same time a crisis was reached as regards His testimony to the Jews, and He is now conspired against by the leaders of the people, who decide that it was expedient that one man should die for the nation. The high priest spoke this by inspiration, and the Spirit adds, "and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." All was now ready for the final act.
John 12 . Mary, in communion with His own mind, anoints His body for His burial, and the house is filled with the odour of the ointment. The godly remnant at Bethany is distinguished by the place He had in their hearts, and Mary by her deep appreciation of His worth. A final testimony is given to the daughter of Zion as her king rode into Jerusalem, sitting on an ass's colt, amid the acclamations of the crowd, who gave witness to His having raised Lazarus. The Pharisees for the moment were confounded.
His glory as Son of God having been displayed, and He being presented to Jerusalem as Son of David, certain Greeks now express a desire to see Jesus. These were Gentiles, and their petition serves to bring out yet another glory of the Lord Jesus. He is the Son of man; and the hour was come that the Son of man should be glorified. He could not take the kingdom, and bring in blessing either for Jews or Greeks without dying; and, while the kingdom glory would be deferred, He would Himself be glorified as Son of man, and would, in dying as the grain of wheat, bring forth much fruit. But this was for another world — for life eternal; one's life in this world must be hated, and a rejected Christ followed. We here see what the counsels of God are in regard to man being glorified in heaven, and how the death of the Son of man would bring them about. But the world is now definitely judged and its prince cast out, and a lifted-up Son of man becomes the attractive object and gathering point for faith. The chapter closes with the utter rejection of the Jews. Thenceforward the ministry of the Lord is in private with His own.
John 13,14 . In John 13 the Lord washes the disciples' feet, the hour having come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father; in view, that is, of this great fact. The point was to maintain them in moral suitability to the new place to which He was going, in which they should have part with Him. The action of the word (the water) would free them morally to enter into and enjoy communion with Him when gone to the Father. At the outset they had been washed or bathed all over (as in the consecration of the priests) and this was not to be repeated; but, to enjoy heavenly things, a continuous practical cleansing was necessary, signified by the washing of the feet alone. (See WASHING.) This gracious work is set forth as a pattern for the disciples to do to one another — to remove, that is, by the ministry of the word, all that hinders communion. They were to be suited as servants to represent the Lord in this world, and for this they must first be suited to Himself. To Judas however these things could not apply. Having received the sop at the hands of the blessed Lord, Judas went out immediately to betray Him; and it was night. The chapter shows the Lord's knowledge of every form of evil to which His people could be exposed in this world.
In contrast to what is here discovered as to man, the Lord brings forward the glorification of the Son of man, in whom the glory of God would first be secured. He should be immediately glorified. His disciples would be known as His by their love one to another, this being the new commandment given by the Lord. What the flesh is, even in a saint of God, is set forth in Peter's sincere but self-confident assertion of faithfulness even to death. In view of all that man is, there was enough to appal the disciples in the prospect of Christ leaving them, but they were to believe in Jesus (John 14 ) as they believed in God; and hence their heart need not be troubled. He was going away to prepare a place for them in His Father's house, and would come again to receive them to Himself. He was Himself the way, the truth, and the life — the revealer of and way to the Father — a divine Person, who could say, "I am in the Father and the Father in me." He was going to the Father, and whatever they should ask in the Son's name the Father would do. And further, "If ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it." This supposes that they would be in the knowledge of His interests during His absence. They were to keep His commandments, if they loved Him.
He would ask the Father, who would give them another Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who would remain with them for ever: He would be in them. Furthermore, He would not leave them orphans, He would Himself come to them. The Comforter would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance what He had said to them. He left them peace, and gave them His own peace. If they loved Him they would rejoice that He was going to the Father. All this discourse, preparatory to His departure, was to fit the disciples to serve His interests when He should be gone from them.
John 15 . The Lord in this chapter shows how He had taken the place of the vine, which Israel had been set to be by Jehovah (Psalm 80 ; Isaiah 5 .), but in which it had utterly failed, so far as fruit was concerned. The Lord was the true Vine, and no fruit could be borne but as abiding in Him: as He said, "Without me ye can do nothing." The disciples were to abide in His love, keeping His commandments. He calls them friends, no longer bondsmen, for all things He had heard of His Father He had made known to them. But they were to love one another. The world would hate them because they were not of it: it had however hated Him first. But when the Comforter was come, the Spirit of truth, He should bear witness concerning the Lord, and the disciples would do so likewise, because they had been with Him from the beginning.
John 16 . The Lord warns the disciples of the persecution they would meet with from the world. He was about to leave them; but this was for their advantage, because the Comforter would come to them in His stead. This great event would on the one hand have its bearing on the world; and on the other, on the disciples. To the world the Holy Spirit would bring demonstration of sin, righteousness, and judgement; while the disciples would be guided by Him into all the truth. He would glorify the Son, and show to them the things of the Father which were the Son's. The Lord would be withdrawn from them for a little while by death, but they would see Him again, as indeed they did, a foretaste of what is yet to come in a still more blessed manner. They should thus have a joy which no one could take from them, in the knowledge and enjoyment of the new relationship with the Father, into which He was introducing them. The world however would rejoice at being rid of Him: terrible testimony to its state.
The disciples failed to apprehend the true import of the Lord's discourse about the Father, in which He assured them of the Father's love for them, by reason of which they might henceforward address themselves immediately to Him in the name of the Son, that is, in His interests, and be assured of their petitions. For the moment they would be scattered, and, but for the Father's presence with Him, would leave Him alone. The Lord spoke these things to them that in Him they might have peace, whereas in the world they should have tribulation.
John 17 . There follows a prayer to the Father, in which, in the most affecting manner, the Lord allows us to know His desires for His own according to the counsel of the Father. It is divided into three parts; the first, down to the end of John 17:5 , having reference to His own glory, and the consequent glory of the Father; the second, to John 17:19 , referring to the disciples then present — the eleven; the third, to those who should believe on Him through their word. Eternal life; the revelation of the Father's name, and the relationship with Him in which the disciples were placed in consequence; their place in the world; their oneness in the present and in the future; glory with Christ, in which all who believe share; and the love of the Father to the Lord Jesus, into which His own are brought, are some of the subjects in this portion.
John 18 . Jesus in the garden is betrayed by Judas. The agony of the Lord is not recorded here, which may be owing to His being seen in this gospel as Son of God; and those sent to arrest Him fall to the ground. He is arraigned before Caiaphas and before Pilate, to whom He confesses that He is a king. The Jews choose Barabbas.
John 19 . Jesus is pronounced to be guiltless, but is condemned by Pilate, after being presented to the Jews as their king. They call for His crucifixion, declaring that they have 'no king but Caesar.' On the cross He commits His mother to John. Jesus having fulfilled all, Himself delivers up His spirit. From His pierced side flow blood and water: cf. 1 John 5:6-8 .
John 20 records the resurrection of the blessed Lord and its result. Mary Magdalene, ignorant of the great event, but with the deepest affection for her Lord, came in the early morning of the first day of the week to the sepulchre. He was no longer there. She summoned Peter and John, who, running and looking into the sepulchre, took note of what they saw as evidence on which they believed. They then went home again. She, with less intelligence but more affection, lingered still. To her the Lord revealed Himself, and not suffering her to touch Him (no doubt as indicating that the relationship with His own was no longer of an earthly kind), He sent her with the surprising message to His disciples, "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." He put them in His own relationship as man before His Father and God. Then we have a picture of the assembly gathered in the truth of this relationship, in the midst of which He Himself took His place. He brought peace to them, assuring them that He was in very deed the same who had been pierced and nailed to the cross. He then gave them their commission: "As the Father sent me forth, I also send you," again pronouncing peace. Having said this, He breathed into them and said, "Receive [1] Holy Spirit." This must not be confounded with Acts 2 , in which the descent of the Holy Ghost is connected more with power. Here it corresponds with the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:2 . Thomas, who saw and believed, represents the Jewish remnant in the latter day, who will believe when they see the Lord.
John 21 . This is on the ground of the synoptic gospels, that is to say, is dispensational in its character — the draught of fishes is identified with the work of Christ in connection with earth. Led by Peter the disciples go fishing, but catch nothing. The Lord appears to them, and tells them to cast the net on the right side of the ship; and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. There is no breaking of the net here, and 153 great fishes are secured. They now recognise the Lord, and find a dinner ready prepared, of which they are invited to partake. All this points to a resumption of the Lord's earthly association with His people Israel, whom He will use for an abundant ingathering of souls from among the sea of nations after the close of the present period.
After this we have the full restoration of Peter in a passage of most touching grace, and obscurely the relative portion and service of both Peter and John.
It is not surprising that a book, in which the divine glory of the Son of God is especially unfolded, should be concluded by the surmise of the apostle, that the world itself could not contain all that might be written of His doings.
Smith's Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of
This Gospel was probably written at Ephesus about A.D. 78. (Canon Cook places it toward the close of John's life, A.D. 90-100. --ED.) The Gospel was obviously addressed primarily to Christians, not to heathen. There can be little doubt that the main object of St. John, who wrote after the other evangelists, is to supplement their narratives, which were almost confined to our Lord's life in Galilee. (It was the Gospel for the Church, to cultivate and cherish the spiritual life of Christians, and bring them into the closest relations to the divine Saviour. It gives the inner life and teachings of Christ as revealed to his disciples. Nearly two-thirds of the whole book belong to the last six months of our Lord's life, and one-third is the record of the last week. --ED.) The following is an abridgment of its contents: A. The Prologue. ch. ( John 1:1-18 ) B. The History, ch. ( John 1:19 ; John 20:29 ) (a) Various events relating to our Lord's ministry, narrated in connection with seven journeys, ch. (John 1:19 ; John 12:50 )
First journey, into Judea, and beginning of his ministry, ch. (John 1:19 ; John 2:12 )
Second journey, at the passover in the first year of his ministry, ch. (John 2:13 ; John 4:1 )
Third journey, in the second year of his ministry, about the passover, ch. (5:1).
Fourth journey, about the passover, in the third year of his ministry, beyond Jordan, ch. (John 6:1 )
Fifth journey, six months before his death, begun at the feast of tabernacles, chs. (John 7:1 ; John 10:21 )
Sixth journey, about the feast of dedication, ch. (John 10:22-42 )
Seventh journey, in Judea towards Bethany, ch. (John 11:1-54 )
Eighth journey, before his last passover, chs. (John 11:55 ; John 12:1 ) (b) History of the death of Christ, chs. (John 12:1 ; John 20:29 )
Preparation for his passion, chs. John 13:1 ... John 17:1
The circumstances of his passion and death, chs. (John 18:1 ; 19:1 )
His resurrection, and the proofs of it, ch. (John 20:1-29 ) C. The Conclusion , ch. ( John 20:30 ; John 21:1 )
Scope of the foregoing history, ch. (John 20:30,31 )
Confirmation of the authority of the evangelist by additional historical facts, and by the testimony of the elders of the Church, ch. (John 21:1-24 )
Reason of the termination of the history, ch. (John 21:25 )
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John, Gospel of
Both early tradition and evidence from the Bible itself indicate that ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ was John the son of Zebedee, and that this John was the author of John’s Gospel (Colossians 2:18-1970; John 21:24).
The other Gospels mention John by name frequently, as he was one of the three apostles who featured prominently in much of the activity of Jesus. But his name never appears in John’s Gospel. The writer, following a common practice of not mentioning his own name, used instead the descriptive name by which he was well known (John 13:23; John 19:26; John 21:7; see JOHN THE APOSTLE). Perhaps John’s use of this title showed his unending gratitude for all that Jesus had done for him.
The apostle at Ephesus
John was very old at the time he wrote his Gospel, and was probably the last survivor of the original apostolic group. Some even thought he would never die (John 21:23). Records from the period immediately after the New Testament era indicate that he lived his later years in Ephesus in Asia Minor, where he fought against false teachers. He probably wrote his Gospel within the last decade or so of the first century.
Wrong teaching about Jesus had appeared over the years (Colossians 2:4; John 9:1-129; 1618100417_9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5), and was to become very destructive with the Gnostic heresies of the second century. John was already dealing with early stages of these errors at Ephesus.
Certain teachers had come into the church and denied that the divine and the human were perfectly united in Jesus. Some denied that Jesus was fully divine, others that he was fully human. John opposed both errors. His book, however, was not intended merely as an attack on false teaching. He had a positive purpose, and that was to lead people to faith in Christ, so that they might experience the full and eternal life that Christ had made possible (John 20:31; cf. John 1:4; John 3:15; John 4:14; John 5:24; John 6:27; John 8:12; John 10:10; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 17:3).
From the opening words of the book, John asserted that Jesus was truly God (John 1:1) and truly a human being (John 1:14). As to his divinity, he was the eternal one who created all things (John 1:2-3) and who came from the heavenly world to reveal God (John 1:18; John 3:13; John 5:18-19; John 6:62; John 14:9; John 14:11) As to his humanity, he had a material body that possessed the normal physical characteristics (John 4:6-7; John 9:6; John 19:28; John 19:34) and that experienced the normal human emotions (John 11:35; John 12:27).
Characteristics of John’s Gospel
By the time John wrote his Gospel, the other three Gospels were widely known. Since John and his readers were no doubt familiar with them, there was no point in John’s producing a similar narrative-type account of Jesus’ life. John was concerned more with showing the meaning of incidents in Jesus’ life. The stories he knew were beyond number (John 20:30; John 21:25), but from them he made a selection, around which he built his book. He used this material to teach spiritual truth by showing what the chosen incidents signified. For this reason he called the incidents ‘signs’ (e.g. John 2:1-11; John 4:46-54; John 6:1-14; John 11:1-44; see SIGNS).
Because the signs were designed to show that Jesus was the messianic Son of God (John 20:30-31), they were often followed by long debates with the Jews (e.g. John 5:1-15 followed by 5:16-47; 1618100417_67 followed by 9:13-10:39). These and other debates that Jesus had with the Jews provided John with his teaching material. He used the words of Jesus to teach the Christian truths he wanted to express (e.g. John 7:1-52; John 8:12-59).
The contrast between John and the other Gospel writers is seen when one of John’s ‘signs’ is recorded also in the other Gospels. The other writers did little more than tell the story, whereas John followed the story with lengthy teaching that arose out of it (e.g. cf. Matthew 14:13-21 with John 6:1-14 and the teaching that follows in v. 26-65).
John’s concern with the interpretation of events showed itself also in the way he recorded some of Jesus’ lengthy conversations with people (e.g. with Nicodemus in John 3:1-15 and with the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-26). Likewise he used his account of the Last Supper, reported briefly in the other Gospels, to provide five chapters of teaching on important Christian doctrines (John 13; John 14; John 15; John 16; John 17).
In John’s Gospel, more than in the others, there is an emphasis on the reason for the Jews’ hatred of Jesus. They considered that his claim to be God in human form was blasphemy, and they were determined to get rid of him (John 6:42; John 7:28-30; John 8:57-59; John 10:33; John 10:39; John 11:25; John 11:53). The strongest opposition to him was in Jerusalem, and John’s Gospel shows that Jesus spent more time in Jerusalem than is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke (John 2:13; John 5:1; John 7:14; John 7:25; John 8:20; John 10:22-23; John 11:1).
Summary of contents
In the introduction Jesus is presented as the eternal Word who became flesh (1:1-18). John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus (1:19-28) and then baptized him (1:29-34), after which Jesus called his first disciples (1:35-51), presented his first ‘sign’ to them (2:1-11), then went to Jerusalem and cleansed the temple (2:12-25). Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about new birth (3:1-21), and John the Baptist spoke to the Jews about Jesus (3:22-36).
Upon leaving Judea, Jesus met and taught various people in Samaria (4:1-42) and performed a healing miracle in Galilee (4:43-54). Back in Jerusalem a further healing miracle resulted in a dispute with the Jews about Jesus’ divine sonship (5:1-47). After a miracle in Galilee that provided food for a multitude, people wanted to make Jesus king (6:1-21). Jesus taught them that the only ‘food’ that could truly sustain them was himself (6:22-71). Jesus’ unbelieving brothers urged him to go to Jerusalem and perform his wonders at a festival that was about to take place (7:1-13), but when Jesus went he taught the people and aroused much opposition (7:14-8:11). He met more opposition when he taught that he was the light of the world (8:12-30) and the one who could set people free (8:31-59).
Jesus’ healing of a blind man in Jerusalem brought him into further conflict with the Jewish leaders (9:1-41). This resulted in Jesus’ contrasting himself as the good shepherd with them as worthless shepherds (10:1-30). After being further attacked, he went to the regions around the Jordan River, where many believed (10:31-42). At Bethany, just outside Jerusalem, he raised Lazarus from death, declaring himself to be the resurrection and the life (11:1-44). This was the event that finally stirred the Jews to plot his death (11:45-57).
After an anointing at Bethany (12:1-8), Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly (12:9-19) and gave his final public teaching (12:20-50). At the Passover meal with his disciples he demonstrated the nature of true service by washing their feet (13:1-20) and warned of the betrayer among them (13:21-38).
In the teaching that followed, Jesus told the disciples that as he had come from the Father, so he would return to the Father, after which he would send his Spirit to indwell them (14:1-31). They had to abide in him (15:1-17) and bear persecution for his sake (15:18-27). Jesus spoke further of the Holy Spirit’s work (16:1-15), but in their confusion of mind the disciples scarcely understood him (16:16-33). He then prayed at length to his Father, not only for himself and his disciples, but also for those who would yet believe (17:1-26).
Upon going to Gethsemane to pray again, Jesus was arrested and taken to the high priest (18:1-27). From there he was taken to the Roman governor (18:28-40), humiliated before the people (19:1-16), crucified (19:17-30) and buried (19:31-42). On the third day he rose from the dead, appearing first to Mary and then to his disciples (20:1-25). The next week he appeared to the disciples again (20:26-31). Some time later he appeared to seven of the disciples at the Sea of Galilee (21:1-14), where he delivered a final challenging message to Peter (21:15-25).
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gospel
In simple terms ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’. When God’s Old Testament people Israel were in captivity in Babylon and God announced to them that he was going to release them and bring them back to their homeland, that was good news (Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7; Isaiah 61:1-2). When Jesus came to release people from the bondage of Satan and give them new life, that too was good news (Luke 4:16-19).
Based on facts
The gospel that Jesus Christ proclaimed was that the promises God gave to Old Testament Israel were now fulfilled in him. The promised kingdom of God had come, and salvation was available to all who would repent of their sins and trust in him for forgiveness (Mark 1:14-15; see KINGDOM OF GOD).
Early Christian preachers, such as Peter, John, Stephen and Paul, preached the same message. But whereas Jesus’ preaching of the gospel was during the period leading up to his death and resurrection, the early Christians’ preaching followed his death and resurrection. They therefore laid great emphasis on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as historical facts that no one could deny. Those facts were the basis of the gospel they preached (Acts 2:22-42; Acts 3:12-26; Acts 7:1-53; Acts 13:17-41; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7).
There is only one gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). It is called the gospel of God, or the gospel of the grace of God, to emphasize that it originates in God and his grace (Acts 20:24; Romans 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:11). It is called the gospel of Christ, or the gospel of the glory of Christ, to emphasize that it comes only through Jesus Christ (Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13). It is called the gospel of the kingdom, the gospel of salvation and the gospel of peace, to emphasize that those who believe it enter God’s kingdom and receive eternal salvation and peace (Matthew 9:35; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 6:15).
A message of life
Because the gospel is inseparably linked with the great truths of God’s saving work through Christ, ‘gospel’ has a meaning far wider than simply ‘news’. It refers to the whole message of salvation, and even to salvation itself (Mark 8:35; Mark 10:29; Romans 1:1-4; Romans 1:16-17; Ephesians 3:7; 1 Peter 1:25; see JUSTIFICATION; SALVATION). Through it the power of God works, bringing life to those who accept it, and destruction to those who reject it (Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:3; Hebrews 4:2). Sometimes the single word ‘gospel’ is used for the body of Christian truth, or even for the whole new way of life that comes through Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 6:19-20; Philippians 1:27).
God entrusts the gospel to Christians so that they might preserve it and pass it on to others (Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:11). Therefore, while it is God’s gospel, it becomes in a sense their gospel (Romans 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:8). Christians have a responsibility to spread this gospel worldwide, even though it may mean sacrificing personal desires and suffering personal hardships. They will carry out the task gladly when they appreciate what God’s love has done for them through Christ (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15; 1 Corinthians 9:16; 1 Corinthians 9:23; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; see EVANGELIST; MISSION).
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Luke, Gospel of
Of the four Gospels, Luke is the longest and most orderly. It gives a greater overall coverage of the life of Jesus than the other Gospels, though like them it does not attempt to provide a biography of Jesus. The author has gathered and arranged his material with a certain purpose in mind, and with much skill has produced a book that contains more well known stories of Jesus than any other.
Writing the book
In his opening statement, Luke mentions briefly how he prepared his Gospel. Since he himself had never seen or heard Jesus, he obtained the material for his book from careful research of existing records and from the accounts of eye-witnesses (Luke 1:1-4). He followed his Gospel with a second volume, known to us as the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:1-3; see ACTS, BOOK OF).
Though a doctor by profession (Colossians 4:14), Luke was also an accurate historian, and he liked to date biblical events according to secular history (Luke 1:5; Luke 2:1-2; Luke 3:1-2). In addition he was a reliable Christian worker who spent many years of Christian service with Paul. (For further details see LUKE.) Luke probably assembled much of the material for his book while he was helping Paul during the two years of Paul’s imprisonment in Palestine (cf. Acts 21:17; Acts 23:31-33; Acts 24:27).
Later, Luke travelled with Paul from Palestine to Rome (Acts 27:2; Acts 28:16). There he met Mark (Luke 18:9-1467; Colossians 4:14; Philem 24). Mark also had been preparing a Gospel, and Luke was able to take some of Mark’s material, combine it with his own, and so bring his book to completion. (For further details see GOSPELS.)
Purpose and characteristics
Luke prepared his Gospel for a person of some importance (probably a government official) named Theophilus, to give him a trustworthy account of the life of Jesus (Luke 1:1-4). In his second volume, written for the same person, Luke traced the spread of Christianity (Luke 17:11-181).
However, Luke was concerned with more than just recording history. He wrote with a distinctly Christian purpose. He wanted to show that God in his love had a plan of salvation for the human race, that the Saviour according to that plan was Jesus, and that Jesus’ followers then spread his message of salvation worldwide (Luke 1:17; Luke 2:11; Luke 3:4-6; Luke 4:18; Luke 4:21; Luke 19:10; Luke 24:44-48; cf. Acts 1:8). This salvation was not for Jews only, but for people everywhere, regardless of nationality or race (Luke 19:1-996; Luke 3:6-8; Luke 4:25-27; Luke 7:9; Luke 10:29-37; Luke 17:11-18).
In a society where many were disadvantaged, Luke showed that God’s salvation was available equally to all. Many of the socially despised would receive it, but many of the socially respectable would miss out (Luke 7:29-30; Luke 10:30-37; Luke 16:19-31; 1618100417_7; 1618100417_2). Among the disadvantaged people that Luke wrote about as being blessed by God were slaves (Luke 7:2-7; Luke 12:37), aliens (Luke 10:30-37; Luke 17:16), lepers (Luke 4:27; 1618100417_34), the poor (Luke 1:53; Luke 2:7; Luke 6:20; Luke 7:22) and women (Luke 2:36-38; Luke 7:37-48; Luke 8:2; Luke 13:11-13), in particular, widows (Luke 4:25; Luke 7:12-15; Luke 18:1-7; Luke 21:1-4).
Summary of contents
The Gospel of Luke falls naturally into major sections, the first of which covers the birth and childhood of Jesus. After an introduction (1:1-4), Luke records the prophecy of John’s birth (1:5-25), the prophecy of Jesus’ birth (1:26-38), Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (1:39-56), John’s birth (1:57-80), Jesus’ birth (2:1-20), temple ceremonies after his birth (2:21-40) and a visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve years old (2:41-52).
A short section deals with the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It includes the preparatory preaching of John the Baptist (3:1-20), the baptism of Jesus (3:21-22), Jesus’ genealogy (3:23-38) and the devil’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (4:1-13).
Luke then gathers together, in one section, material relating to the work Jesus did over a period of about three years, mainly in Galilee. This material includes Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth (4:14-30), various healings (4:31-44), the call of his first disciples (5:1-11), further healings (5:12-26), the call of Matthew (5:27-32) and explanations of the nature of true religion (5:33-6:11). After the appointment of twelve apostles (6:12-19), there are further teachings (6:20-49), miracles of compassion (7:1-17), explanations to John’s disciples (7:18-35) and demonstrations of forgiveness and devotion (7:36-50). Jesus’ teaching in parables (8:1-21) is followed by demonstrations of his power over storms, demons and sickness (8:22-56). The section concludes by recounting the work of the twelve (9:1-27), the transfiguration of Jesus (9:28-36) and some failures by the apostles (9:37-50).
Much of the next, very long, section is found only in Luke. The section deals mainly with Jesus’ ministry in Samaria and around the Jordan Valley, and leads to his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It begins with Jesus’ reminder of the cost of discipleship (9:51-62) and his sending out of an additional seventy disciples to hasten the spread of the gospel into all regions of Palestine (10:1-24). Then come teachings and stories about love (10:25-42), prayer (11:1-13), inward cleansing (11:14-36), hypocrisy (11:37-12:3), anxiety (12:4-34), readiness for the crises ahead (12:35-13:9), the nature of Christ’s kingdom (13:10-14:24), true discipleship (14:25-35), repentance (15:1-32), wealth (16:1-31), forgiveness, faith and gratitude (17:1-19), the coming of the son of Man (17:20-18:8), self-sufficiency (18:9-30), the Messiah’s ministry (18:31-43) and the responsibilities of the Messiah’s servants (19:1-27).
At last Jesus reached Jerusalem, and a short section deals with his few days there before his crucifixion. After his triumphal entry into the city and his cleansing of the temple (19:28-48), he came into conflict with the Jewish leaders (20:1-21:4) and spoke of coming judgment (21:5-38).
Finally, Luke deals with events relating to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus prepared for his last Passover with his disciples (22:1-13), then spent some time with them in the upper room (22:14-38) before going to Gethsemane, where he was arrested (22:39-53). He was brought before the Jewish leaders (22:54-71), then before the Roman governor (23:1-25), and afterwards taken outside the city and crucified (23:26-56). On the third day he rose from the dead (24:1-12) and appeared to his disciples in various places (24:13-43). Six weeks later, after giving further teaching and a final blessing, he departed from them (24:44-53).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Gospel Side
The north side of the Altar (the left side as we facethe Altar) at which the Holy Gospel is read. (See EPISTLE SIDE.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Gospel, the Holy
The title given to the passage from the Gospelsread at Holy Communion, commonly called "the Gospel for the Day."During the reading of the Holy Gospel the people are to stand asrequired by the rubric. This custom is intended to show a reverentregard to the Son of God above all other messengers.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Gospel
The word "Gospel" is derived from the Anglo-SaxonGodspell, signifying "good news"; founded originally on certainwords used by the angel in announcing the Saviour's Birth, viz.:"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy" (St. Luke 2:10).The word is greatly misunderstood and frequently misapplied, theidea seems to be that "Gospel religion," "Gospel sermons" and"preaching the Gospel," mean certain doctrines such as individualelection, calling, justification, sanctification and the like.These are regarded as being very Scriptural, and in accordance withthe Scriptural method. When, however, we turn to the Scriptures wefind that such doctrines are not "the Gospel" at all, but simplydeductions from it. In the New Testament the word "Gospel" is appliedexclusively to the announcement of certain events, certain outwardfacts connected with the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity,namely, the Incarnation, Birth, Life, Death, Burial, Resurrectionand Ascension of the Son of God. Such was the "good tidings"announced by the angelic choir, such is the purpose of the NewTestament Scriptures, and that Gospel religion or Gospel preachingwhich brings these sublime facts to bear on the hearts and livesof men, as living realities and guiding motives, alone can beScriptural and truly Gospel. This being the case, we can understandhow the Church's Year with its changing seasons of joy and penitence,setting forth so clearly all these facts in our Lord's Life,preaches the very Gospel of Christ and in accordance with theScriptural method. (See CHRISTIAN YEAR.)
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - John, the Gospel According to
Well called "the Gospel of the incarnate God," "the Gospel of witness," that of the Father, that of Scripture, that of miracles, that of Jesus Himself. Written at Ephesus at the request of the Asiatic bishops to set forth more profoundly Christ's Divinity (Jerome, Prolegomena in Matthew). Ephesus, after Jerusalem's fall, A.D. 70, took a chief place in oriental Christendom. Containing a large Christian church, a synagogue of zealous Jews, and the most famous of pagan temples that of Artemis or Diana, it was a common meeting ground for widely diverse creeds. Philosophical speculation too had free scope in its xystus; here Cerinthus broached his doctrines, concocted at Alexandria. Its commercial position on the sea linking the East and West adapted it as an admirable center for the diffusion of gospel truth. John sets forth the positive truth which indirectly yet effectively counteracts Gnosticism, Ebionitism, and docetism. The Spirit has made his Gospel virtually supplementary to the other three. (See GOSPELS; JESUS CHRIST.)
Theirs is that of "Christ according to the flesh," his that of "Christ according to the Spirit." As he joined Christ early he records facts of His ministry in Galilee and Jerusalem, prior to those in the three synoptists. He writes with a specification of times and places, and a freshness, which mark an eye-witness (John 1:29; John 1:35; John 1:37-40; John 2:1; John 3:1; John 4:40; John 4:43; John 6:22; John 13:1-11; John 18:10-16; John 19:26; John 20:3-10; John 20:24-29). That the beloved disciple (called episteethios from his reclining on Jesus' breast) was the writer appears from John 19:25-27; John 19:35; John 21:24; John 1:14. Another undesigned propriety identifying him is, though naming John the Baptist 20 times he always omits "the Baptist," whereby the three synoptists distinguish him from John the evangelist.
PLACE AND TIME. His allusions in the peculiar terms of his prologue to the theosophic notions prevalent at Ephesus accord with that city being the place of his writing the Gospel. Acts 18:24 implies the connection between Alexandria, the headquarters of Gnosticism, and Ephesus. John 21 is an appendix written subsequently to John 20:30-31 (which at first completed the Gospel), perhaps after Peter's martyrdom. The Gospel cannot have been written at the same time and place as Revelation, the styles are so different, His mode of counting the hours as we do was Asiatic (see Townson, Harmony, 8:1, section 3), and accords with Ephesus being the place of writing. His not feeling it necessary to explain Jesus' prophecy that John should tarry until He came (John 21) shows that he wrote soon after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), when that event was generally understood as being the Lord's coming, namely, in judgment upon the Jews.
In John 5:2 the sheep market with five porches is spoken of as still standing, perhaps spared as some other things for convenience by Titus (Josephus, B. J., 7:1, section 1). Testimonies of authenticity. If John 21:24-25 came from some Ephesian disciples this is the oldest testimony to it. 2 Peter 1:14 alludes to (John 21:18) Christ's prophecy of Peter's crucifixion, taking for granted his readers' acquaintance with the Gospel, the strongest kind of testimony as being undesigned. Ignatius (his Epistle to the Romans), Polycarp (his Epistle to the Philippians), the Epistle to Diognetus, Justin Martyr (Apol. 1:61, Dialogue with Trypho 63,88), contain implied quotations of it; their not expressly quoting it is due to the prevalence of oral more than written teaching at first; while the inspired preachings of apostles were fresh in memory definite appeals to writings are less to be expected than in the following age. The general references of the former and the definite quotations of the latter are just what we might expect presuming the Gospel genuine.
Papias (Eusebius H. E. iii. 39) used the first epistle of John which is close akin to the Gospel. Tatian's Diatessaron opens," In the beginning was the Word"; he quotes this Gospel in Orat. contra Gentil. Thus, its currency A.D. 170 is proved. Theophihs of Antioch (Autol. 2) first expressly attributes it to John; he wrote a commentary on the four and a harmony (Jerome Alg. 53, Vir. Illust. 25). He and Tadan therefore, in the second century, considered the four the exclusively canonical standard. Irenaeus, a hearer of Polycarp, the disciple of John, argues for the propriety of the number four; his argument proves their long and universal acceptance by the church more conclusively than if it had been his aim to demonstrate it. The Alogi of Asia Minor were the only sect that rejected this Gospel, owing to their opposition to Montanus, whose heresies they thought were favored by it. The diversity of the scene and incidents of Christ's ministry in it, as compared with the three preceding Gospels, is just what we might expect if the author were acquainted with them.
For while as an independent witness he does not with formal design supplement them, yet he generally omits under the Spirit those particulars already handled by his predecessors. Excepting the crucifixion and resurrection, respecting which he gives new information, he has only two sections in common with the Synoptists (John 6:1-21; John 12:1). He omits Christ's baptism, temptation, mission of the twelve, transfiguration (of which he was one of the three selected eye witnesses), the Lord's supper, and the agony in Gethsemane, yet incidental hints show his taking them for granted as known already (John 1:14; John 1:32; John 13:2; John 14:30; John 18:1; John 18:11), which last refers to the very words of His prayer during the agony, recorded by the synoptists, an undesigned coincidence and so a proof of authenticity; John 14:30 is the link between the temptation (Luke 4:13) and His agony (Luke 22:40-53); John 11:1 assumes the reader's acquaintance with Mary and Martha, from Luke 10:38.
So John 4:43-44; John 7:41, tacitly refer to the facts recorded in Matthew 13:54; Matthew 2:23; Matthew 18:33 takes for granted the fact recorded in Luke 23:2. John 6, wherein he repeats the miraculous feeding of 5,000 recorded by the synoptists, is introduced to preface the discourse which John alone records. In John 12 the anointing by Mary is repeated for its connection with Judas' subsequent history. The objections to John's acquaintance with the synoptical Gospels are based on the presumption that in that case he was bound to slavishly supplement them and guard against the appearance of discrepancies between him and them.
But he was an independent witness, not formally designing to supplement; yet as knowing their Gospels he would mostly use materials heretofore not handled. As they presented Jesus' outer and popular life, so it remained that he should represent the deeper truths of His divine mission and Person. They met the church's first needs; he, its later wants. Luke's Gospel was written under Paul's superintendence at least 20 years before John's. Considering the intercourse between the Christian churches it is incredible that his Gospel should have been unknown at Ephesus, John's and previously Paul's scene of labours, and this to John a "pillar" of the church.
DESIGN. John, the last surviving apostle, would surely be consulted on the canonicity of New Testament Scriptures which by God's providence he lived to see completed. Theodore of Mopsuestia, 4th century (Catena Johann. Corder. Mill New Testament) says John did attest it. Clement Alex. (Eusebius, H. E. vi. 14) states on the authority of old presbyters (and the Muratorian Fragment, Ant. M. Aev. 3, confirms the statement) that John wrote at his friends' request to give Christ's "spiritual" aspect, the former Gospels already having given His "bodily" aspect. John, who leant on Jesus' breast, His closest intimate, was the fittest to set forth the deeper spiritual truths of the Son of God. Thus the "ye" (John 19:35; John 20:31) will refer to John's "friends" primarily, the general church secondarily. To prove "that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God" is this Gospel's declared design, that men so "believing might have life through His name."
A continued polemic reference is not likely, considering John's contemplative and usually loving spirit. An incidental guarding of the truth against incipient heresies in that region certainly there is in the prologue and John 19:34; John 20:20; John 20:27; compare John 1:14. Paul in epistle to Colossians alludes to the Judaizing form of Gnosticism. Oriental and Grecian speculations combined at Alexandria to foster it. As the Docetae denied that the divine Word assumed a real body, so the Ebionites denied His real Godhead. John counteracts both incidentally in subordination to his main design. He uses in a sense congruous to Old Testament, and sanctioned by the Spirit, the terms used by gnostics in a false sense. The prologue gives the keynote of the Gospel: the eternal Godhead of the Word who was made flesh that, as He created all things, so He might give light and life to those born again of His Spirit; on, the other hand Satan's counterwork, His rejection by His own countrymen, though in His own person fulfilling all their law.
His adversaries are called "the Jews," the nation by the time of John writing having become through continued resistance of the truth identified With their hierarchical chiefs, Jesus' opponents; whereas in the synoptists the several classes of opponents are distinguished, "Pharisees," "scribes," "lawyers," "chief priests," etc. After Jerusalem's fall Jehu living among the Gentiles regarded the Jews as no longer the people of God; an undesigned confirmation of authenticity. That the writer was a Jew appears from his quoting the Hebrew Old Testament (not Septuagint): John 12:40; John 19:37. His own brother James he never names; a pseudo John of later times would have been sure to name him. The synoptists and Acts similarly never introduce him individually. John dwells most on the deep spiritual truths, Christ's essential oneness with the Father, His mystical union with believers, the promise of the Comforter, and love the "new commandment."
Yet Matthew, Mark, and Luke have the germs of them, and Paul further develops them (Matthew 5:44; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 16:16; Matthew 28:20; Luke 10:22; Luke 24:49). Matthew 26:11 verbally agrees with John 12:8. Compare 1 Corinthians 13; Colossians 1:15-16; 2 Corinthians 5:17. (On the Passovers in John (See JESUS CHRIST.) As John, though mainly treating of Jesus' ministry in Judea, yet has occasional notices of that in Galilee (John 1:43-2:13, after the temptation, recorded by the synoptists as following the baptism, John 1:32; namely, the Galilean ministry before John's imprisonment, John 3:24, whereas they begin with it after John's imprisonment: Mark 1:14), so they, though mainly treating of the Galilean ministry, plainly hint at that in Judaea also (Matthew 4:25; Matthew 23:37; Matthew 27:57; Luke 10:38; Luke 13:34; Mark 3:7-8).
Thus, John 4:1-3 is the introduction to the Galilean ministry described by them. John 7:1; John 7:9, intimates a transfer of Jesus' ministry to Galilee after the second last Passover (John 6:4-5). The feeding of the 5,000 links him to Matthew 14:15. This Passover He did not attend, but in the same year attended the feast of tabernacles, six months before His death (John 7:2; John 7:10). John 10:22; John 10:40, Jesus' retirement to beyond Jordan after His visit to Jerusalem at the feast of dedication, answers to Matthew 19:1. The continuous Galilean ministry of two years and a third (excepting the Jerusalem short visit, John 5) was naturally first recorded as having most internal unity. John's later record dwells on the omitted parts; this accounts for the Gospel being fragmentary, but possessing spiritual unity.
It is significant that in the Gospel setting forth the glory of the Son of God the Judaean ministry is prominent, for there is the appointed "throne of the great King"; whereas in the Gospels setting forth the Son of man the scene is "Galilee of the Gentiles." In John, as in the Synoptists, Jesus sets forth His divine Messiahship not so much by assertions as by acts: John 5:31-32; Matthew 7:28-29; Luke 4:18; Luke 4:21; compare John 9:36; John 10:24. His disciples' vacillation arose from the conflict between faith resulting from His miracles and disappointment at His not openly setting up His Messianic kingdom. The sameness of John the Baptist's style and John's (John 1:16; John 3:31-36) is just what was to be expected, the evangelist insensibly catching his former master's phraseology.
The synoptists having already recorded the parables which suited the earlier ages of the church, it remained for John to record the parabolic allegories: John 10:1-6 (parabolee nowhere occurs in John, but paroimia ), John 3:8; John 15:1 ff; John 4:35; John 4:38; compare Matthew 9:38. The language is pure Greek, but the thought is Hebraic, especially the mode of connecting sentences by conjunctions, "and," "but," "then," etc. The periodic sentences of the logical Paul, and John's simplicity of style, clothing the profoundest thoughts, answer to their respective characters.
His characteristic phrases are testimony or witness, glory, the truth, light, darkness, eternal life, abide, the world, sin, the true (i.e. genuine, aleethinos ) God, the Word, the only-begotten Son, love, to manifest, to be begotten or born of God, pass from death, the Paraclete or Comforter, flesh, spirit, above, beneath, the living water, the bread of life. Authorized Gospel terms were most needed in the matured age of the church when John wrote, and were adopted by John from Jesus Himself. Peculiar to John are "verily, verily" (Amen, Amen) beginning a sentence (others use it at the end of a sentence, Jesus alone at the beginning), John 1:51; "little children" (John 13:33), as in 1 John; "in the name" (John 5:43), i.e. representing the person; "lay down life" (John 10:11; John 10:17).
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Will of Man: Adverse to the Gospel
When the dove was weary she recollected the ark, and flew into Noah's hand at once: there are weary souls who know the ark, but will not fly to it. When an Israelite had slain, inadvertently, his fellow, he knew the city of refuge, he feared the avenger of blood, and he fled along the road to the place of safety; but multitudes know the refuge, and every Sabbath we set up the sign-posts along the road, but yet they come not to find salvation. The destitute waifs and strays of the streets of London find out the night refuge and ask for shelter; they cluster round our workhouse doors like sparrows under the eaves of a building on a rainy day; they piteously crave for lodging and a crust of bread; yet crowds of poor benighted spirits, when the house of mercy is lighted up, and the invitation is plainly written in bold letters, 'Whosoever will, let him turn in hither,' will not come, but prove the truth of Watts's verse:
'Thousands make a wretched choice, And rather starve than come.'
'Tis strange, 'tis passing strange, 'tis wonderful!

Sentence search

Evangelize - ) To preach the Gospel. ) To instruct in the Gospel; to preach the Gospel to; to convert to Christianity; as, to evangelize the world
Gospel -
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). ...
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 )
Apocrypha - ...
The following is a list of the Apocrypha: ...
Apocrypha of Jewish Origin ...
Jewish Apocalypses ...
Book of Henoch
Assumption of Moses
Fourth Book of Esdras
Apocalypse of Baruch
Apocalypse of Abraham
Legendary Apocrypha of Jewish Origin ...
Book of Jubilees, or Little Genesis
Third Book of Esdras
Third Book of Machabees
History and Maxims of Ahikar, the Assyrian
Apocryphal Psalms and Prayers ...
Psalms of Solomon
Prayer of Manasses
Jewish Philosophy ...
Fourth Book of Machabees
Apocrypha of Jewish Origin with Christian Accretions ...
Sibylline Oracles
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
Ascension of Isaias
Apocrypha Of Christian Origin ...
Apocryphal Gospels of Catholic Origin ...
Protoevangelium Jacobi, or Infancy Gospel of James, describing the birth, education, and marriage of the Blessed Virgin
Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew
Arabic Gospel of the Infancy
History of Joseph the Carpenter
Transitu Marire, or Evangelium Joannis, describing the death and assumption of the Blessed Virgin
Judaistic and Heretical Gospels ...
Gospel according to the Hebrews
Gospel according to the Egyptians
Gospel of Peter
Gospel of Philip
Gospel of Thomas
Gospel of Marcion
Gospel of Bartholomew
Gospel of Matthias
Gospel of Nicodemus
Gospel of the Twelve Apostles
Gospel of Andrew
Gospel of Barnabas
Gospel of Thaddeus
Gospel of Philip
Gospel of Eve
Gospel of Judas Iscariot
Pilate Literature and Other Apocrypha concerning Christ ...
Report of Pilate to the Emperor
Narrative of Joseph of Arimathea
Pseudo-Correspondence of Jesus and Abgar, King of Edessa
Gnostic Acts of the Apostles ...
Acts of Peter
Acts of John
Acts of Andrew
Acts and Martyrdom of Matthew
Acts of Thomas
Acts of Bartholomew
Catholic Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles ...
Acts of Peter and Paul
Acts of Paul
Acts of Paul and Thecla
Acts of Philip
Acts of Matthew
Acts of Simon and Jude
Acts of Barnabas
Acts of James the Greater
Apocryphal Doctrinal Works ...
Testamentum Domini
Nostri Jesu
Preaching of Peter, or Kerygma Petri
Apocryphal Epistles ...
Pseudo-Epistle of Peter
Pseudo-Epistles of Paul
Pseudo-Epistles to the Laodiceans
Pseudo-Correspondence of Paul and Seneca
Christian Apocryphal Apocalypses ...
Apocalypse of Peter
Apocalypse of Paul
Evangel - ) Good news; announcement of glad tidings; especially, the Gospel, or a Gospel
Ospel - ) To instruct in the Gospel. ) Any system of religious doctrine; sometimes, any system of political doctrine or social philosophy; as, this political Gospel. ) Anything propounded or accepted as infallibly true; as, they took his words for Gospel. ) A selection from one of the Gospels, for use in a religious service; as, the Gospel for the day. ) Accordant with, or relating to, the Gospel; evangelical; as, Gospel righteousness
Gospel - The word "Gospel" is derived from the Anglo-SaxonGodspell, signifying "good news"; founded originally on certainwords used by the angel in announcing the Saviour's Birth, viz. The word is greatly misunderstood and frequently misapplied, theidea seems to be that "Gospel religion," "Gospel sermons" and"preaching the Gospel," mean certain doctrines such as individualelection, calling, justification, sanctification and the like. When, however, we turn to the Scriptures wefind that such doctrines are not "the Gospel" at all, but simplydeductions from it. In the New Testament the word "Gospel" is appliedexclusively to the announcement of certain events, certain outwardfacts connected with the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity,namely, the Incarnation, Birth, Life, Death, Burial, Resurrectionand Ascension of the Son of God. Such was the "good tidings"announced by the angelic choir, such is the purpose of the NewTestament Scriptures, and that Gospel religion or Gospel preachingwhich brings these sublime facts to bear on the hearts and livesof men, as living realities and guiding motives, alone can beScriptural and truly Gospel. This being the case, we can understandhow the Church's Year with its changing seasons of joy and penitence,setting forth so clearly all these facts in our Lord's Life,preaches the very Gospel of Christ and in accordance with theScriptural method
Disgospel - ) To be inconsistent with, or act contrary to, the precepts of the Gospel; to pervert the Gospel
Fitches - Isaiah 28:25 (b) In this passage types are used to illustrate the preaching of the Gospel, the harvesting of souls, and the use of the person after he is saved. ...
The fitches represent some of the things that accompany the Gospel. The wheat represents the saving message of the Gospel. ...
The four other grains may represent songs, prayers, humbleness of mind, and acceptance of the Word, all of which do usually accompany the preaching of the Gospel. GOD's Gospel must occupy the principal place in all of our ministry to the lost
Gospel - It is called the Gospel of his Grace, because it flows from his free love, Acts 20:24 . The Gospel of the kingdom, as it treats of the kingdoms of grace and glory. The Gospel of Christ, because he is the author and subject of it, Romans 1:16 . The Gospel of peace and salvation, as it promotes our present comfort and leads to eternal glory, Ephesians 1:13 ; Ephesians 6:15 . The glorious Gospel, as in it the glorious perfections of Jehovah are displayed, 2 Corinthians 4:4 . The everlasting Gospel, as it was designed from eternity, is permanent in time, and the effects of it eternal, Revelation 14:6 . There are about thirty or forty apocryphal Gospels; as the Gospel of St. Barnabas, the eternal Gospel, &c
Ospelize - ) To form according to the Gospel; as, a command Gospelized to us. ) To instruct in the Gospel; to evangelize; as, to Gospelize the savages
Gospel - This Gospel is said to have been preached to Abraham, by the promise, "in thee shall all nations be blessed. ...
It is called the Gospel of God. ...
It is called the Gospel of Christ. ...
It is called the Gospel of salvation. GOS'PEL, To instruct in the Gospel or to fill with sentiments of religion
Glad Tidings - KJV phrase for good news (Luke 1:19 ), a synonym for Gospel as the news Jesus brought of God's kingdom (Luke 8:1 ; Acts 13:32 ; Romans 10:15 ). See Gospel
Gospel - In simple terms ‘gospel’ means ‘good news’. ...
Based on facts...
The Gospel that Jesus Christ proclaimed was that the promises God gave to Old Testament Israel were now fulfilled in him. But whereas Jesus’ preaching of the Gospel was during the period leading up to his death and resurrection, the early Christians’ preaching followed his death and resurrection. Those facts were the basis of the Gospel they preached (Acts 2:22-42; Acts 3:12-26; Acts 7:1-53; Acts 13:17-41; 1 Corinthians 15:1-7). ...
There is only one Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). It is called the Gospel of God, or the Gospel of the grace of God, to emphasize that it originates in God and his grace (Acts 20:24; Romans 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 1:11). It is called the Gospel of Christ, or the Gospel of the glory of Christ, to emphasize that it comes only through Jesus Christ (Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13). It is called the Gospel of the kingdom, the Gospel of salvation and the Gospel of peace, to emphasize that those who believe it enter God’s kingdom and receive eternal salvation and peace (Matthew 9:35; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 6:15). ...
A message of life...
Because the Gospel is inseparably linked with the great truths of God’s saving work through Christ, ‘gospel’ has a meaning far wider than simply ‘news’. Sometimes the single word ‘gospel’ is used for the body of Christian truth, or even for the whole new way of life that comes through Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 1:27). ...
God entrusts the Gospel to Christians so that they might preserve it and pass it on to others (Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 Timothy 1:11). Therefore, while it is God’s Gospel, it becomes in a sense their Gospel (Romans 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:8). Christians have a responsibility to spread this Gospel worldwide, even though it may mean sacrificing personal desires and suffering personal hardships
Evangelist - , "a messenger of good" (eu, "well," angelos, "a messenger"), denotes a "preacher of the Gospel," Acts 21:8 ; Ephesians 4:11 , which makes clear the distinctiveness of the function in the churches; 2 Timothy 4:5 . euangelizo, "to proclaim glad tidings," and euangelion, "good news, Gospel. " Missionaries are "evangelists," as being essentially preachers of the Gospel
Mission - A power or commission to preach the Gospel. Thus Jesus Christ gave his disciples their mission, when he said, "go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature
Luke, Gospel According to - The authors of the first three Gospels, the synoptics, wrote independently of each other. Luke's Gospel has been called "the Gospel of the nations, full of mercy and hope, assured to the world by the love of a suffering Saviour;" "the Gospel of the saintly life;" "the Gospel for the Greeks; the Gospel of the future; the Gospel of progressive Christianity, of the universality and gratuitousness of the Gospel; the historic Gospel; the Gospel of Jesus as the good Physician and the Saviour of mankind;" the "Gospel of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man;" "the Gospel of womanhood;" "the Gospel of the outcast, of the Samaritan, the publican, the harlot, and the prodigal;" "the Gospel of tolerance. " The main characteristic of this Gospel, as Farrar (Cambridge Bible, Luke, Introd. " This Gospel is indeed "rich and precious. " (See MATTHEW; MARK; GospelS . ) ...
There are seventeen of our Lord's parables peculiar to this Gospel. ) The synoptical Gospels are related to each other after the following scheme. If the contents of each Gospel be represented by 100, then when compared this result is obtained: ...
Mark has 7 peculiarities, 93 coincidences. ...
This Gospel contains twenty-eight distinct references to the Old Testament. This Gospel was written, therefore, probably about 60 or 63, when Luke may have been at Caesarea in attendance on Paul, who was then a prisoner
Logia Jesu - The sacred or Divine words or discourses of Christ in the Gospel. Some have read in the expression of Papias an original or a source anterior to our First Gospel and made up exclusively of logia or discourses, but it would be difficult to substantiate this claim, from which important conclusions are derived as to the composition of the Gospels. More likely Papias, by the word logia means the Gospel (discourses and facts of Christ's life). Some authorities agree with the suggestion of Batiffol, that these might be an extract deliberately made from an apocryphal Gospel, such as the Gospel to the Hebrews
Luke, Gospel of, - The third Gospel is ascribed, by the general consent of ancient Christendom, to "the beloved physician," Luke, the friend and companion of the apostle Paul.
Date of the Gospel of Luke . --From ( Acts 1:1 ) it is clear that the Gospel described "the former treatise" was written before the Acts of the Apostles; but how much earlier is uncertain. ...
Place where the Gospel was written. ...
Origin of the Gospel. --The preface, contained in the first four verses of the Gospel, describes the object of its writer. There were many narratives of the life of our Lord Current at the early time when Luke wrote his Gospel. The ancient opinion that Luke wrote his Gospel under the influence of Paul rests on the authority of Irenreus, Tertulian, Origen and Eusebius. The four verses could not have been put at the head of a history composed under the exclusive guidance of Paul or of any one apostle and as little could they have introduced a Gospel simply communicated by another. ...
Purpose for which the Gospel was written. Hence it would appear that the person for whom Luke wrote in the first instance was a Gentile reader; and accordingly we find traces in the Gospel of a leaning toward Gentile rather than Jewish converts. ...
Language and style of the Gospel. --It has never been doubted that the Gospel was written in Greek, whilst Hebraisms are frequent, classical idioms and Greek compound words abound, for which there is classical authority. Gregory, in "Why Four Gospels" says that Luke wrote for Greek readers, and therefore the character and needs of the Greeks furnish the key to this Gospel. Luke's Gospel therefore represented the character and career of Christ as answering the conception of a perfect and divine humanity
Glad Tidings - —See Gospel
Mat'Thew, Gospel of - --That this Gospel was written by the apostle Matthew there is no reason to doubt. On the otherhand doubt is thrown over this opinion, both statements of by an examination of the fathers and by a consideration of peculiar forms of language employed in the Gospel itself. The Greek Gospel which we now possess was it is almost certain, written in Matthew's lifetime; and it is not at all improbable that he wrote the Gospel in both the Greek and Hebrew languages. Irenieus relates that Matthew wrote his Gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching, and founding the Church at Rome, after A. We would place our present Gospel between A. If there was an original Hebrew Gospel, an earlier date belongs to it --Ellicott. -- This Gospel was probably written in Palestine for Jewish Christians. Matthew is the Gospel for the Jew. It is the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah of the prophets. This Gospel takes the life of Jesus as it was lived on earth, and his character as it actually appeared, and places them alongside the life and character of the Messiah as sketched in the prophets, the historic by the side of the Prophetic, that the two may appear in their marvellous unity and in their perfect identity
Evangelium - = evangelium (Gospel); used in the breviary ...
Evang. - = evangelium (Gospel); used in the breviary ...
s.g.l. - = Servants of the Gospel of Life ...
Gospel, a Law - It has been disputed whether the Gospel consists merely of promises, or whether it can in any sense be called a law. The answer plainly depends upon adjusting the meaning of the words Gospel and law: if the Gospel be taken for the declaration God has made to men by Christ, concerning the manner in which he will treat them, and the conduct he expects from them, it is plain that this includes commands, and even threatenings, as well as promises; but to define the Gospel so, as only to express the favourable part of that declaration, is indeed taking the question for granted, and confining the word to a sense much less extensive than it often has in Scripture: compare Romans 2:16 . ; and it is certain, that, if the Gospel be put for all the parts of the dispensation taken in connection one with another, it may well be called, on the whole, a good message. In like manner the question, whether the Gospel be a law or not, is to be determined by the definition of the law and of the Gospel, as above. If law signifies, as it generally does, the discovery of the will of a superior, teaching what he requires of those under his government, with the intimation of his intention of dispensing rewards and punishments, as this rule of their conduct is observed or neglected; in this latitude of expression, it is plain, from the proposition, that the Gospel, taken for the declaration made to men by Christ, is a law, as in Scripture it is sometimes called, James 1:25 . But if law be taken in the greatest rigour of the expression, for such a discovery of the will of God, and our duty, as to contain in it no intimation of our obtaining the Divine favour otherwise than by a perfect and universal conformity to it, in that sense the Gospel is not a law
Gospel - Scripture speaks of "the Gospel of the kingdom," Matthew 24:14 , the Gospel "of the grace of God," Acts 20:24 , "of Christ," and "of peace," Romans 1:16 10:15 . It is the "glorious" and the "everlasting" Gospel, 1 Timothy 1:11 Revelation 14:6 , and well merits the noblest epithets that can be given it. The declaration of this Gospel was made through the life and teaching, the death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord. ...
The writings which contain the recital of our Savior's life, miracles, death, resurrection, and doctrine, are called GospelS, because they include the best news that could be published to mankind. We have four canonical Gospelsthose of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are appealed to under that character both by friends and enemies; and no writer impugning or defending Christianity acknowledges any other Gospel as of equal or concurrent authority, although there were many others which purported to be authentic memoirs of the life and actions of Christ. Some of these apocryphal Gospels are still extant. ...
There appears to be valid objection to the idea entertained by many, that the evangelists copied from each other or from an earlier and fuller Gospel. Whether Mark wrote with the Gospel by Matthew before him, and Luke with Matthew and Mark both, or not, we know that they "spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," while recounting the works and sayings of Christ which they had seen or knew to be true, using no doubt the most authentic written and oral accounts of the same, current among the disciples. ...
Gospel OF MATTHEW. The time when this Gospel was written is very uncertain. It has been much disputed whether this Gospel was originally written in Hebrew or Greek. But, on the other hand, the definiteness and accuracy of this testimony is drawn into question; there is no historical notice of a translation into Greek; and the present Greek Gospel bears many marks of being an original; the circumstances of the age, too, and the prevalence of the Greek language in Palestine, seem to give weight to the opposite hypothesis. ...
Gospel OF MARK. Ancient writers agree in the statement that Mark, not himself an apostle, wrote his Gospel under the influence and direction of the apostle Peter. ...
Gospel OF LUKE. Luke is said to have written his Gospel under the direction of Paul, whose companion he was on many journeys. His expanded views and catholic spirit resemble those of the great apostle to the Gentiles; and his Gospel represents Christ as the compassionate Friend of sinners, the Savior of the world. ...
Gospel OF JOHN. The ancient writers all make this Gospel the latest. The Gospel of John reveals Christ as the divine and divinely appointed Redeemer, the Son of God manifested in flesh. It is a spiritual, rather than historical Gospel, omitting many things chronicled by the other evangelists, and containing much more than they do as to the new life in the soul through Christ, union with him, regeneration, the resurrection, and the work of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of the "disciple whom Jesus loved" pervades this precious Gospel
Homily - At present there are four methods of treating the homily: ...
to treat separately each sentence of the Gospel
to focus the entire content of the Gospel in a single idea
to select some virtue or vice arising out of the Gospel, and to treat it to the exclusion of all else
to paraphrase and explain the entire Gospel, and then make an application of it
Evangelism - ) The preaching or promulgation of the Gospel
Epaenetus - A convert to the Gospel
Gospel, the Holy - The title given to the passage from the Gospelsread at Holy Communion, commonly called "the Gospel for the Day. "During the reading of the Holy Gospel the people are to stand asrequired by the rubric
Cummin - Isaiah 28:25-27 (c) Probably in this story the wheat represents the Gospel message, while the other four grains represent other truths that should and do accompany Gospel preaching. Certainly there are many such truths to be found in all good teaching and preaching, but these are not to replace the Gospel of GOD's grace
Mosiac Dispensation - Inferiority of the, to the Gospel dispensation
Evangelic - ) Belonging to, or contained in, the Gospel; evangelical
Holy Days And Seasons - (See CHRISTIAN YEAR, also articles onFEASTS, FASTS and Gospel
Twelve Apostles, Gospel of - TWELVE APOSTLES, Gospel OF . See Gospels Gospel - The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Specifically, the Gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. "...
The Gospel comes from God (Galatians 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), is a mystery (Ephesians 6:19), and is a source of hope (Colossians 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1 Corinthians 4:15), and peace (Ephesians 6:15)
Promulgation - ) The act of promulgating; publication; open declaration; as, the promulgation of the Gospel
Damaris - A woman at Athens who believed the Gospel preached by Paul
Gospel - Gospel. The same word in the original is rendered in Romans 10:15 by the two equivalents "gospel" and "glad tidings. The "good news" is denominated either simply the "gospel," Matthew 26:13, or else "the Gospel of the kingdom," Matthew 9:35; of "Jesus Christ,"...
Mark 1:1; "of peace," Romans 10:15 A. The four Gospels were issued probably during the latter half of the first century—those of Matthew and Mark and Luke before the destruction of Jerusalem; and that of John towards the close of the century. Before the end of the second century, there is abundant evidence that the four Gospels, as one collection, were generally used and accepted. In the fourth Gospel the narrative coincides with that of the other three in a few passages only. The common explanation is that John, writing last, at the close of the first century, had seen the other Gospels, and purposely abstained from writing anew what they had sufficiently recorded. In the other three Gospels there is a great amount of agreement. He gives us the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews, the Messianic royalty of Jesus. Mark wrote the Second Gospel from the preaching of Peter. Luke wrote the Third Gospel for the Greek. It is the Gospel of the future, of progressive Christianity, of reason and culture seeking the perfection of manhood. John, "the beloved disciple," wrote the Fourth Gospel for the Christian, to cherish and train those who have entered the new kingdom of Christ, into the highest spiritual life. Paul says: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
Mark - was the nephew of Barnabas, being his sister's son; and he is supposed to have been converted to the Gospel by St. Not long after, he set out from Antioch with those Apostles upon a journey, which they undertook by the direction of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of preaching the Gospel in different countries: but he soon left them, probably without sufficient reason, in Perga in Pamphylia, and went to Jerusalem, Acts 13. Epiphanius, Eusebius, and Jerom, all assert that Mark preached the Gospel in Egypt; and the two latter call him bishop of Alexandria. Mark's Gospel is alluded to by Clement of Rome; but the earliest ecclesiastical writer upon record who expressly mentions it is Papias. The works of these fathers contain numerous quotations from this Gospel; and, as their testimony is not contradicted by any ancient writer, we may safely conclude that the Gospel of St. The authority of this Gospel is not affected by the question concerning the identity of Mark the evangelist, and Mark the nephew of Barnabas; since all agree that the writer of this Gospel was the familiar companion of St. Peter revised and approved this Gospel, and others have not scrupled to call it the Gospel according to St. Mark's right to be considered as the author of this Gospel, but merely to give it the sanction of St. The following passage in Eusebius appears to contain so probable an account of the occasion of writing this Gospel, and comes supported by such high authority, that we think it right to transcribe it: "The lustre of piety so enlightened the minds of Peter's hearers at Rome, that they were not contented with the bare hearing and unwritten instruction of his divine preaching, but they earnestly requested St. Mark, whose Gospel we have, being an attendant upon St. Peter, to leave with them a written account of the instructions which had been delivered to them by word of mouth; nor did they desist till they had prevailed upon him; and thus they were the cause of the writing of that Gospel, which is called according to St. Mark wrote a short Gospel from what he had heard from St. ...
Different persons have assigned different dates to this Gospel; but there being almost a unanimous concurrence of opinion, that it was written while St. 64, we are inclined to place the publication of this Gospel about A. Mark having written this Gospel for the use of the Christians at Rome, which was at that time the great metropolis and common centre of all civilized nations, we accordingly find it free from all peculiarities, and equally accommodated to every description of persons. Quotations from the ancient prophets, and allusions to Jewish customs, are, as much as possible, avoided; and such explanations are added as might be necessary for Gentile readers at Rome; thus, when Jordan is first mentioned in this Gospel, the word river is prefixed, Mark 1:5 ; the oriental word corban is said to mean a gift, Mark 7:11 ; the preparation is said to be the day before the Sabbath, Mark 15:42 ; and defiled hands are said to mean unwashed hands, Mark 7:2 ; and the superstition of the Jews upon that subject is stated more at large than it would have been by a person writing at Jerusalem. Mark's Gospels, have pointed out the use of the same words and expressions in so many instances that it has been supposed St. Matthew's Gospel before him; but the similarity is not strong enough to warrant such a conclusion; and seems no greater than might have arisen from other causes. Matthew recorded in his Gospel; and the same circumstances might be mentioned in the same manner by men who sought not after "excellency of speech," but whose minds retained the remembrance of facts or conversations which strongly impressed them, even without taking into consideration the idea of supernatural guidance. Matthew's Gospel does not correspond with the account given by Eusebius and Jerom as stated above
Sermons: Must be Full of Christ - Said the lamented M'Cheyne, 'Some speculate on doctrines about the Gospel, rather than preach the Gospel itself
Mark, Gospel of Saint - The second book of the New Testament, and the second Gospel to be written. The Gospel was written in Greek between the years 50,60, and was addressed to Roman converts to Christianity. The Gospel is characterized by its vivid descriptions of Our Lord's miracles, which occupy so prominent a place in the narrative that it is often called the "Gospel of Miracles. " The sixteen chapters are written in the chronological order, with some exceptions, and follow these general divisions: ...
preparation through the preaching of Saint John, the baptism, and temptation (1,2-13)
the preaching and miracles of Jesus in Galilee (1,14, to 9,50)
the journey to Jerusalem for the feast of the Pasch, and the last days of Our Lord's teaching (10-13)
the Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension (14-16)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that all reasonable doubt that Saint Mark is the author of the second Gospel as now contained in our Bibles, and that the Gospel was written before the year 70 and according to the preaching of Saint Peter, has been removed by the clear evidence of tradition from the earliest ages, as found in the testimony of the Fathers, in the use of the Gospel by early Christians, and its place in ancient codices and versions
Evangelical - Belonging to, or consistent with, the Holy Gospels,derived from the Greek word for Gospel
Monotessaron - ) A single narrative framed from the statements of the four evangelists; a Gospel harmony
Gospel (2) - GOSPEL. —‘Gospel’ is the modern form of the Anglo-Saxon word ‘godspell,’ representing the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον. ” ’ It would seem, however, that the choice of the Greek verb εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, as well as the contexts of the word in the Gospels, provide that ‘further qualification. In particular, Jesus appropriated the name ‘gospel’ for the contents of His message. Mark sums up that beginning thus: ‘Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe in the Gospel. ’ There are many proofs that Jesus used this word ‘gospel’ to describe His message; cf. ‘The Gospel’ became the normal Christian title for the message which Jesus came to proclaim, and which He sent forth the Apostles to preach to every creature. this sentence occurs twice: ‘Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people’ (Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35). Luke distinguishes ‘teaching’ and ‘preaching the Gospel’ (Luke 20:1); and in Luke 9:2 he tells that the Twelve were sent forth ‘to preach the kingdom and to heal the sick. Mark does not contrast the two words ‘teach’ and ‘preach the Gospel’ in the same verse; but in Mark 1:14; Mark 1:21, he ascribes to Jesus ‘preaching the Gospel’ and ‘teaching. ’...
It would seem, therefore, that the work of Jesus was threefold: He preached the Gospel, He taught, and He healed. If this distinction is valid, the term ‘gospel’ did not apply to all that Jesus said and did. It seems clear that Jesus distinguished the Gospel that He preached from the teaching that accompanied it. What then was implied by the term ‘gospel’? It was essentially ‘news’ or ‘tidings. It is called ‘the Gospel of God’ (in Mark 1:14 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885); the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ (in Matthew 4:23; Matthew 9:35; Colossians 1:15-192). Luke uses the compound phrase, ‘the Gospel of the kingdom of God’ (Luke 4:43; Luke 16:16). These phrases must be studied, and in addition it must be noted that Jesus connected the Gospel with His own person. ...
(a) The phrase ‘the Gospel of God’ indicates a message from God and about God that is good news to men. It is certain that Jesus gave the world a new idea of God; and this Gospel of Jesus was the revelation of God as ‘our Father in heaven. This ‘gospel of God’ includes, further, the good news to the heavily laden Jew that ‘the Father seeketh true worshippers to worship in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:23; cf. The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9) ‘shows the Gospel to be the Fatherhood of God applied to the whole of life; to be an inner union with God’s will and God’s kingdom, and a joyous certainty of eternal blessings and protection from evil’ (Harnack). John sums up this aspect of the Gospel in the immortal words, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). This relation of love between God and man has been pointed to as the distinguishing feature of the Gospel. Thus Réville writes:...
‘The Christian Gospel is essentially characterized by its declaration that the bond between God and man is one of love. ]'>[1] ...
(b) The phrase ‘the Gospel of the kingdom’ describes the good news brought by Jesus in its relation to that Kingdom of God or of heaven which He proclaimed. It implies that the Kingdom has ‘a Gospel. ’ The Gospel and the Kingdom are not co-extensive any more than the Gospel and God are. In brief, this Gospel was that the Kingdom of heaven is opened to all believers. Jesus preached ‘the Gospel of the kingdom’ when He offered the highest spiritual good to all penitent and humble souls. ...
(c) But these two forms of the Gospel do not exhaust its fulness. The presence of Jesus in the world was itself a Gospel. ...
(d) But the core of this aspect of the Gospel is reached only when it is connected definitely with the redeeming work of Jesus. He was conscious of a profounder mission than preaching the Gospel. It was impossible for Jesus to connect the Gospel chiefly with His death, before He was crucified. Paul identifies ‘the Gospel’ with the message about ‘Christ crucified’ (1 Corinthians 1:17). ...
The meaning of the term ‘gospel’ as used by Jesus may now be summed up. This Gospel was not only the theme of His preaching, but was exemplified continually in His manner of life. We must return now to the distinction between ‘preaching the Gospel’ and ‘teaching. ’ Much of the teaching of Jesus could not be directly classed under the ‘gospel’ as sketched above. It rested upon the Gospel as its foundation. Nevertheless it was an ethical code, intended to guide those who have previously accepted the Gospel. The Gospel of Jesus is the manifesto of the Kingdom, explaining its nature and inviting all to become its citizens. ...
This probably explains the subsequent use of the term ‘gospel. ’ Wonderful as the teaching of Jesus was, the Gospel seemed still more marvellous. At any rate, that Gospel seemed of first importance. It had to be preached before the teaching of Jesus could follow; and whilst points of contact could be found between the teaching of Jesus and other ethical systems, there was nothing in the world like the Gospel of Jesus. And thus the term ‘gospel’ was most frequently on the lips of the Apostles; and by a natural process it was extended to cover the entire contents of their report of Jesus, including His teaching. All that the Apostles had to tell about Jesus was called ‘the Gospel. The Gospel brought by Jesus was not entirely new. The Gospel preached by Jesus gave full substance and final form to the faint and tremulous hopes of centuries. For this reason the Gospel must be the unchanging element in the Church’s message. ...
A distinction has been drawn between the Gospel which Jesus preached and His ethical teaching. But whilst the Christian ethic develops and is modified by circumstances, the Christian Gospel cannot change. All are agreed that this is to preach the Gospel. In particular, there is an increasing demand for a social Gospel, whilst some maintain that the Gospel cannot be concerned with social conditions. Probably the term ‘gospel’ is being used in two senses. As Jesus used it, ‘the Gospel’ is a definite message, distinct from the Christian ethic, and also distinct from the work of healing practised by the Lord. But from Apostolic days onward the term ‘gospel’ has been used to cover the threefold function—preaching the Gospel, teaching the ethic, and healing the sick. In its original and more limited sense, ‘gospel’ is simply the ‘news’ brought by Jesus. In its historical and broader sense, ‘gospel’ is the whole ‘God-story’: it includes the entire record of Jesus Christ’s life and work. In this sense ‘gospel’ includes all ethical teaching and social service that are in accordance with the mind of the Master. Jesus used it to describe the ‘good news’ He brought to the poor and the meek of the earth; and this ‘gospel’ must ever be the foundation upon which the Church builds, though the foundation is not to be confused with the fabric erected upon it. A brief space must be given to the consideration of the Gospel in the rest of NT in so far as it is connected with Christ. In one sense this would involve an exposition of many chapters of Acts and of all the Epistles, for He is ‘the head-stone of the corner,’ and the Gospel is only ‘complete in Him. ’ But all that can he attempted is an indication of the place occupied by Christ in the Gospel as preached by the Apostolic, Church. ...
When we pass from the Gospels to the Acts and the Epistles, we are conscious at once of a change of standpoint. In the Gospels, Christ’s disciples are a group of learners. The Apostles are seeking to obey their Lord’s injunction to preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). ...
This identification of ‘the Gospel’ with Christ Himself may be accounted for partly by the experience of the Apostles. The Apostles were commanded to ‘preach the Gospel. Jesus Christ preached the Gospel of the fatherly love of God, establishing a Kingdom into which all men might be admitted, and He offered Himself as the authoritative proof of that love (cf. Now it is evident that the crucifixion of Jesus shook such a Gospel to its foundations. How could the Gospel preached by Jesus survive His death? Only if He Himself survived His death. To rehabilitate His Gospel, His authority must be rehabilitated. When they had seen Him ‘alive after his passion,’ His disciples were prepared to go and ‘preach the Gospel to every creature’ (Acts 1:3). They did more than rehabilitate the authority of Jesus: they brought His own significance for the Gospel into clear relief. Such unique events set the personality of Jesus in the heart of the Gospel, investing Him with peculiar importance (Acts 2:22-36; Acts 3:13-26; Acts 5:31, 1 John 1:1-3, Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 1:3-8). But in Apostolic thought the Gospel could never be preached apart from Jesus Christ, nor could the significance of Jesus Christ be understood apart from the Gospel
Mark (2) - Mark, the Gospel of. The universal consent of the ancient church ascribed the second Gospel to John Mark. The arrangement of this Gospel appears to be: 1. It is, therefore, most likely that the Gospel was written in that city
Palsy - The descriptions of the Gospel writers do not permit identifications with specific forms of paralysis. The Gospel writers were rather concerned to present Jesus as the One to whom God had entrusted the authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6 ) and whose healing ministry was a cause for glorifying God (Matthew 9:8 )
Gospels, Apocryphal - GospelS, APOCRYPHAL . Among these were not only the sources of our canonical Gospels, but also a number of other writings purporting to come from various companions of Jesus and to record His life and words. The Gospels were supplemented by others, until there resulted a literature that stands related to the NT Canon much as the OT Apocrypha stand related to the OT Canon. Individual Gospels seem to have been used as authoritative, but none of them was ever accepted generally. The Origin of the Apocryphal Gospels. Few apocryphal Gospels reach us entire, and many are known to us only as names in the Church Fathers. It would seem, however, as if the literature as we know it might have originated: ( a ) From the common Evangelic tradition preserved in its best form in our Synoptic Gospels ( e. Gospel according to the Hebrews, Gospel of the Egyptians). The Gospels of this sort undertake to complete the account of Jesus’ life by supplying fictitious incidents, often by way of accounting for sayings in the canonical Gospels. Gospel of Nicodemus, Protevangelium of James, Gospel according to Thomas, Arabic Gospel of Infancy, Arabic Gospel of Joseph, Passing of Mary). (c) From the need of Gospel narratives to support various heresies , particularly Gnostic and ascetic ( e. Gospels according to Peter, Philip, pseudo-Matthew, the Twelve Apostles, Basilides). ...
In this collection may be included further a number of other Gospels about which we know little or nothing, being in ignorance even as to whether they were merely mutilated editions of canonical Gospels or those belonging to the third class. The present article will consider only the more important and best known of these apocryphal Gospels. Characteristics of these Gospels. Even the most superficial reader of these Gospels recognizes their inferiority to the canonical, not merely in point of literary style, but also in general soberness of view. With the exception of a few sayings, mostly from the Gospel according to the Hebrews, the teaching they contain is obviously a working up of that of the canonical Gospels, or clearly imagined. These Gospels possess value for the Church historian in that they represent tendencies at work in the Church of the first four or five centuries. ...
These Gospels, when employing canonical material, usually modify it in the interest of some peculiar doctrinal view. This is particularly true of that class of Gospels written for the purpose of supporting some of the earlier heresies. The Most Important Gospels...
1. The Gospel according to the Hebrews . (1) The earliest Patristic statements regarding our NT literature contain references to events in the life of Jesus which are not to be found in our canonical Gospels. Eusebius declares that one of these stories came from the Gospel according to the Hebrews. Clement of Alexandria and Origen, particularly the latter, apparently knew such a Gospel well. 25) mentions the Gospel as belonging to that class which, like the Shepherd of Hermas and the Didache , were accepted in some portions of the Empire and rejected in others. Jerome obtained from the Syrian Christians a copy of this Gospel, which was written in Aramaic, and was used among the sects of the Nazarenes and Ebionites, by which two classes he probably meant the Palestinian Christians of the non-Pauline churches. ...
(2) The authorship of the Gospel according to the Hebrews is in complete obscurity. This would make it like our Gospel according to Mark, with which, however, it cannot be identified if it is to be judged by such extracts as have come down to us. ...
(3) The time of composition of the Gospel according to the Hebrews is evidently very early. It may even have been one form of the original Gospel of Jesus, co-ordinate with the Logia of Matthew and the earliest section of the Book of Luke. Caution, however, is needed in taking this position, as the quotations which have been preserved from it differ markedly from those of any of the sources of our canonical Gospels which can be gained by criticism. At all events, the Gospel is to be distinguished from the Hebrew original of the canonical Gospel of Matthew mentioned by Papias (Euseb. On the whole, the safest conclusion is probably that the Gospel was well known in the eastern part of the Roman Empire in the latter half of the 2nd cent. , and that in general it was composed of material similar to that of the canonical Gospels, but contained also sayings of Jesus which our canonical Gospels have not preserved for us. ...
The most important quotations from the Gospel are as follows: ...
‘If thy brother sin in word and give thee satisfaction, receive him seven times in the day. ...
‘Also the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews, which was recently translated by me into Greek and Latin, which Origen, too, often uses, relates after the resurrection of the Saviour: “But when the Lord had given the linen cloth to the priest’s servant, He went to James and appeared to him. ...
‘In the Gospel according to the Hebrews … is the following story: “Behold, the Lord’s mother and His brethren were saying to Him, John the Baptist baptizes unto the remission of sins; let us go and be baptized by him. ...
‘In the Gospel which the Nazarenes are accustomed to read, that according to the Hebrews, there is put among the greatest crimes, he who shall have grieved the spirit of his brother’ (Jerome, in Ezech . ...
‘In the Hebrew Gospel, too, we read of the Lord saying to the disciples, “And never,” said He, “rejoice, except when you have looked upon your brother in love. ...
‘And if any one goes to the Gospel according to the Hebrews, there the Saviour Himself saith: “Just now my mother the Holy Spirit took me by one of my hairs and carried me off to the great mountain Tabor” ’ (Origen, in Joan . ...
‘It is written in a certain Gospel, the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews, if any one likes to take it up not as having any authority but to shed light on the matter in hand: “The other,” it says, “of the rich men said unto Him, Master, by doing what good thing shall I have life? He said to him, Man, do the Law and the Prophets. ...
‘The Gospel which has come down to us in Hebrew characters gave the threat as made not against him who hid (his talent), but against him who lived riotously; for (the parable) told of three servants, one who devoured his lord’s substance with harlots and flute-girls, one who gained profit many fold, and one who hid his talent; and how in the issue one was accepted, one merely blamed, and one shut up in prison’ (Euseb. The Gospel of the Egyptians . This Gospel is mentioned in the last quarter of the 2nd cent. by Clement of Alexandria, by whom it was regarded as apparently of some historical worth, but not of the same grade as our four Gospels. ...
The origin of the Gospel is altogether a matter of conjecture. The probability that it represents the original Evangelic tradition is not as strong as in the case of the Gospel according to the Hebrews. It is not impossible, however, that the Gospel of the Egyptians contained the original tradition, but in form sufficiently variant to admit of manipulation by groups of heretics. ...
The most important sayings of Jesus which have come down from this Gospel are from the conversation of Jesus with Salome, given by Clement of Alexandria. And they are contained, I think, in the Gospel according to the Egyptians. ...
‘And why do not they who walk any way rather than by the Gospel rule of truth adduce the rest also of the words spoken to Salome? For when she said, “Therefore have I done well in that I have not brought forth,” as if it were not fitting to accept motherhood, the Lord replies, saying, “Eat every herb, but that which hath bitterness eat not” ’ ( ib. The Gospel according to Peter . This Gospel is mentioned by Eusebius ( HE vi. ...
In 1886 a fragment of this Gospel was discovered by M. The Gospel of Nicodemus . This Gospel embodies the so-called Acts of Pilate , an alleged official report of the procurator to Tiberius concerning Jesus. ...
Our present Gospel of Nicodemus, embodying this alleged report of Pilate, was not itself written until the 5th cent. Altogether it contains twenty-seven chapters, each one of which is marked by the general tendency to elaborate the Gospel accounts for homiletic purposes. The Gospel may none the less fairly be said to represent the belief in this visit of Jesus to departed spirits which marked the early and mediæval Church. ...
Although the Gospel of Nicodemus was of a nature to acquire great popularity, and has had a profound influence upon the various poetical and homiletic presentations of the events supposed to have taken place between the death and resurrection of Jesus, and although the Acts of Pilate has been treated more seriously than the evidence in its favour warrants, the Gospel is obviously of the class of Jewish Haggadah or legend. It is also of interest as lying behind the two Latin Gospels of pseudo- Matthew and the Nativity of Jesus ; although it may be fairly questioned whether these two later Gospels are derived directly from the Protevangelium or from its source. The Gospel according to Thomas . Hippolytus quotes from a Gospel according to Thomas which was being used by the Naassenes. The Gospel was also known to Origen and to Eusebius, who classes it with the heretical writings. It exists to-day in Greek, Latin, and Syriac versions, which, however, do not altogether agree, and all of which are apparently abbreviated recensions of the original Gospel. ...
The Gospel of Thomas is an account of the childhood of Jesus, and consists largely of stories of His miraculous power and knowledge, the most interesting of the latter being the account of Jesus’ visit to school, and of the former, the well-known story of His causing twelve sparrows of clay to fly. The original Gospel of Thomas, the nature of which is, however, very much in dispute, may have been in existence in the middle of the 2nd century. The Arabic Gospel of the Childhood of Jesus . The Arabic Gospel is a translation of a Syriac compilation of stories concerning the child Jesus. Its earlier sections are apparently derived from the Protevangelium, and its later from the Gospel of Thomas. ...
This Gospel supplies still further stories concerning the infancy of Jesus, and begins by declaring that Jesus, as He was lying in His cradle, said to Mary, ‘I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth. ’ The miracles which it narrates are probably the most fantastic of all in the Gospels of the infancy of Jesus. From the fact that it uses other apocryphal Gospels, it can hardly have been written prior to the 7th or 8th century. The Gospel of Philip . such a Gospel circulated among the Gnostics in Egypt. This Gospel undertakes to explain the non-appearance of Joseph in the account of the canonical Gospels. The Gospel of the Twelve Apostles . This Gospel is identified by Jerome with the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The Gospel comes down to us only in quotations in Epiphanius (Hær. To judge from these quotations, it was a re-writing of the canonical Gospels in the interest of some sect of Christians opposed to sacrifice. If these fragments given by Epiphanius are from a Gospel also mentioned by Origen, it is probable that it dates from the early part of the 3rd century. This Gospel has come to us in Greek, Latin, Syriac, Sahidic, and Ethiopic versions. In addition to these Gospels there is a considerable number known to us practically only by name: ...
( a ) The Gospel according to Matthias (or pseudo-Matthew ). ’ If these are the same as the ‘Gospel according to Matthias,’ we could conclude that it was known in the latter part of the 2nd cent. ...
( b ) The Gospel according to Basilides . , and is said by Origen to have had the audacity to write a Gospel. The Gospel is mentioned by Ambrose and Jerome, probably on the authority of Origen. Little is known of the writing, and it is possible that Origen mistook the commentary of Basilides on ‘the Gospel’ for a Gospel. It is, however, not in the least improbable that Basilides, as the founder of a school, re-worked the canonical Gospels, something after the fashion of Tatian, into a continuous narrative containing sayings of the canonical Gospels favourable to Gnostic tenets. ...
( c ) The Gospel of Andrew . ...
( d ) The Gospel of Apelles . Probably a re-writing of some canonical Gospel. ’...
( e ) The Gospel of Barnabas . ...
( f ) The Gospel of Bartholomew . ...
( g ) The Gospel of Cerinthus . ...
( h ) The Gospel of Eve . ...
( i ) The Gospel of Judas Iscariot , used by a sect of the Gnostics the Cainites. ...
( j ) The Gospel of Thaddæus . ...
( k ) The Gospel of Valentinus . ...
( l ) The Fayyum Gospel Fragment . It contains the words of Christ to Peter at the Last Supper, but in a different form from that of the canonical Gospels. ...
( m ) The Logia , found by Grenfell and Hunt at Oxyrhynchus, contains a few sayings, some like and some unlike the canonical Gospels. Possibly derived from the Gospel of the Egyptians. ...
( o ) The Gospel of Zacharias . ...
Other Gospels were doubtless in existence between the 2nd and 6th centuries, as it seems to have been customary for all the heretical sects, particularly Gnostics, to write Gospels as a support for their peculiar views. The oldest and most interesting of these was ...
( p ) The so-called Gospel of Marcion , which, although lost, we know as a probable re-working of Luke by the omission of the Infancy section and other material that in any way favoured the Jewish-Christian conceptions which Marcion opposed. This Gospel can be largely reconstructed from quotations given by Tertullian and others. The importance of the Gospel of Marcion as thus reconstructed is considerable for the criticism of our Third Gospel
Matthew, Gospel According to - As to the time of its composition, there is little in the Gospel itself to indicate. ...
The cast of thought and the forms of expression employed by the writer show that this Gospel was written for Jewish Christians of Palestine. The Gospel is full of allusions to those passages of the Old Testament in which Christ is predicted and foreshadowed. " This Gospel contains no fewer than sixty-five references to the Old Testament, forty-three of these being direct verbal citations, thus greatly outnumbering those found in the other Gospels. The main feature of this Gospel may be expressed in the motto, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. " ...
As to the language in which this Gospel was written there is much controversy. From the first this Gospel in Greek was received as of authority in the Church. It is confessed that this Gospel has never been found in any other form than that in which we now possess it. ...
The leading characteristic of this Gospel is that it sets forth the kingly glory of Christ, and shows him to be the true heir to David's throne. It is the Gospel of the kingdom. Some Latinized forms occur in this Gospel, as kodrantes (Matthew 5:26 ), for the Latin quadrans, and phragello (27:26), for the Latin flagello. ...
As to the relation of the Gospels to each other, we must maintain that each writer of the synoptics (the first three) wrote independently of the other two, Matthew being probably first in point of time. " (See MARK; LUKE; GospelS
Gospel - ...
Where the message is Gospel for Israelites and based on fact, the news is in every case but one (Romans 3:21-2664 ) related to God the Savior. ...
The joy that attends the Gospel finds ultimate expression in the praise of God. Except for Mark 14:8-9 and Hebrews 4:2,6 , the New Testament restricts Gospel terminology to proclamations made during the time of fulfillment, when the salvation promised in the Old Testament is actually accomplished . According to Mark 1:1-4 the Gospel "begins" not in the Old Testament but with John the Baptist, in whom Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled. John's own preaching is Gospel, too (Luke 3:18 ): it warns sinners of impending doom and urges them to repent before the axe falls (3:7-9); it assures the repentant of forgiveness (3:3) and membership in Messiah's community (3:17). According to Romans 1:1-5 the Gospel promised in the Old Testament is actually given when Jesus comes (see also Acts 13:32-33 ). ...
Jesus' Gospel declares: "The time has come. ...
As the Israelites are a sinful people (2 Timothy 2:8-90 ; Luke 1:77 ), Jesus proclaims his Gospel to the whole nation (Matthew 4:23 ; 9:35 ; 15:24 ). ...
Throughout Jesus' ministry, the theme of his Gospel remains the dawning kingdom of God (Matthew 4:23 ; 24:14 ; Luke 4:43 ; 16:16 ), a message preached almost exclusively to Jews (Matthew 11:6 ; 15:24 ). Yet Jesus provides glimpses into what the Gospel is to become. He speaks of persons who make sacrifices "for me and for the Gospel" (Mark 8:35 ; 10:29 ). Jesus and the Gospel are here associated in the closest way. We are moving toward the time when the Proclaimer of the Gospel will become the Proclaimed. Mark 13:10 and Matthew 24:14 foretell the preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles. Galatians 3:8 indicates that Jesus and his death will be prominent themes in the worldwide Gospel. Here we have an indication of the cruciality of Jesus' death both for the provision of salvation announced in his Gospel and for the launching of the mission to the Gentiles. ...
The New Testament: Stage Two: For the Gospel declared after Jesus' resurrection, our main sources are Acts and the letters of Paul. ...
God authors the Gospel and authorizes its proclamation (Acts 15:7 ; 16:10 ; Romans 1:1-5 ; Galatians 1:11-16 ; 2:7-9 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:2-9 ). Paul's Gospel is both a witness to an expression of God's grace (Acts 20:24 ; Colossians 1:5-6 ), power (1Col 1:17-27 ; 1Col 1:17-25), and glory (2Col 4:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:11 ). To accept the Gospel is to turn to God (Acts 14:15 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-9 ). To disobey the Gospel is to be deprived of the knowledge of God (2 Thessalonians 1:8 ). To trade the true Gospel for a false one is to turn away from God (Galatians 1:6 ). Moreover, Christ has become the Gospel's major theme. Mark describes his whole book as "the Gospel about Jesus Christ" (1:1). Galatians 2:7-9 speaks not of two Gospels but of two mission fields; Paul (apostle to the uncircumcised) and Peter (apostle to the circumcised) are both entrusted with the "gospel of Christ" ( Galatians 1:7 ), the message ordained for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 1:16 ). The "different Gospel" of Galatians 1:6-9,2 Corinthians 11:4 is not another Gospel about Jesus, but a message about "another Jesus"not the real Jesus, but one who exists only in the minds and the message of its advocates. On the other hand, to preach the true Christ is to preach the true Gospel, however questionable one's motives ( Philippians 1:15-18 ); to respond rightly to the Gospel is to turn to Christ (Acts 11:20-21 ; Romans 10:8-17 ; 2 Samuel 1:20 ). ...
The Gospel bears witness to every aspect of Christ's saving work, from his birth and public ministry to his second coming and the last judgment. But Christ's death and resurrection, the crucial saving events, are the Gospel's most prominent themes. Mark's whole Gospel prepares for Passion Week. In Paul's Gospel Jesus' death and resurrection are central (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 ), with the cross at the very center (1618100417_60:5; 1618100417_1 ; 2Col 5:14-21). According to 1Peter the bearers of the Gospel focused, as had the Old Testament prophets, upon "the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" (1:11-12). ...
Paul declares (Romans 1:16 ; 1Col 1:17-18) the Gospel to be "the power of God"not merely a witness to, but an expression of his power. The Gospel is no bare word but is laden with the power of the Holy Spirit (1Col 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6 ). The Gospel effects the salvation it announces and imparts the life it promises. ...
The Gospel offers salvation "through the grace of our Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:11 ). Paul testifies "to the Gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24 ). The Gospel is a witness to God's grace. The Gospel is a channel of God's grace. "A righteousness from God is revealed" in the Gospel ( <
Luke - The beloved physician, whose praise is in the Gospel. The church is highly indebted to this man, under the Holy Ghost, for the blessed Gospel which bears his name, and the Acts of the Apostles
Pisidia - Here Paul preached the Gospel
Euodias - cooperate with, or as Alford, help toward the reconciliation of, Euodia and Syntyche) inasmuch as they labored with me in the Gospel. "...
At Philippi women were the first hearers of the Gospel, and Lydia the first convert. The coincidence marks genuineness, that in the Epistle to the Philippians alone instructions are given to women who labored with Paul in the Gospel, not without danger (Acts 16:13; Acts 16:19-20; Philippians 1:28). " Being early converted, they would naturally take a leading part in teaching the Gospel to other women, in a private sphere of labor (1 Timothy 2:11-12)
Muzzle - Paul cited this prohibition of muzzling a treading ox to illustrate the principle that “the laborer deserves to be paid” and specifically that “those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel” ( 1 Corinthians 9:9-14 ; 1 Timothy 5:17-18 NRSV)
Defile, Defilement - Under the Gospel, defilements are those of the heart, of the mind, the temper, and the conduct. Moral defilements are as numerous, and as strongly prohibited under the Gospel as ever, though ceremonial defilements have ceased, Matthew 15:18 Romans 1:24
Alogian - John's Gospel and the Apocalypse, which speak of Christ as the Logos
Gospels - The First Three Gospels...
1. -(a) The central factor here is the date of the Second Gospel. 213) will show that this Gospel is dated by modern writers between a. 1, dates the Gospel after the death of St. ...
Since the publication of Moffatt’s book Harnack has re-opened the whole question of the date of the first three Gospels by arguing that Acts was written at the end of St. ]'>[1] It would follow, of course, that the Third Gospel must be earlier, and the Second, since it is one of the sources of the Third, earlier still. Mark wrote his Gospel after the death of St. ] and now Harnack, argue that the words ‘after the death of’ do not date the writing of the Gospel, but, taken in the light of the whole context, mean that the apostolic preaching did not come to an end with the death of the apostles, but was handed down after their death, in written books, about the date of the composition of which nothing is said. ...
Harnack is thus left free to place the Second Gospel before St. ]'>[3] which connects the Gospel with Rome, may perhaps mean that Mark edited there his previously written Gospel. Harnack does not attempt to date the Second Gospel more narrowly. Paul’s imprisonment affords a limit after which the Second Gospel could not have been written, the relationship between the Second Gospel and the First, which presupposes it, may furnish another. ...
(b) The First Gospel is assigned by most modern writers to the period 65-90 (see Moffatt). Mark, the inclination to date the First Gospel relatively late is due to a belief that it reflects the atmosphere of a period in which the Church has become organized and developed. This method of argument seems wholly due to the fact that modern critics read the Gospel through ‘Catholic’ spectacles. In particular, two lines of thought in the Gospel point to this period: (1) the writer’s belief in the permanent validity of the Mosaic Law, (2) his eschatology. ...
The First Gospel is, as is well known, the most apocalyptically coloured of the Synoptic Gospels. ]'>[5] that the presence of passages like Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:34 does not presuppose an early date for the Gospel, because the Evangelist, writing comparatively late, might have preserved such sayings if he found them in his sources. He might of course have done so, but the question is not one of a few isolated passages; it affects the whole Gospel, V. Stanton†
That the apocalyptic colouring of the First Gospel, in so far as it is peculiar to that book, is due to the Evangelist himself and not to one of his sources seems wholly incredible. Allow that the Gospel was written about the year a. Would the Church ever have received a book into which the writer had thrust his own conception of Christ as an utterer of apocalyptic fantasies at a later period when they had a Gospel of St. ] argues that the Apocalypse, written towards the close of the century, proves that there wore at that period circles with a strong liking for apocalyptic literature, and seems to think that the First Gospel may therefore have been written comparatively late. The Gospel was read in the Church at an early date and everywhere received. Moreover, it was one thing for the Church to value an Apocalypse placed in the mouth of the Ascended Christ; it would have been quite another matter for it at a date when, as the Third and Fourth Gospels show, the tendency was rather to diminish than to enhance the apocalyptic element in the Lord’s words, to accept a Gospel in which (according to the theory) there were placed wholesale in His month during His earthly life sayings couched in technical apocalyptic language which He never used. A Gospel so judaized, as would be the First Gospel on this theory, in idea and in language, would have been recognized as alien to the true tradition of Christ’s life, and would have stood little chance of being received as an apostolic writing. ...
If then we are right in dating the First Gospel about a. His Gospel must be prior to that date, and fall between 30 and 50. Peter was prominent in Jerusalem as leader of the little society of disciples of Jesus the Messiah (the First Gospel reflects this rightly). During this interval the Second Gospel may well have been written. If written at Jerusalem, the Gospel would naturally have been composed in Aramaic, and there is much in its style and language to suggest this. He left with his cousin Barnabas for Antioch, and there (circa, about 44-47) it may have been found desirable to translate the Gospel into Greek. When the controversy between the Churches of Antioch and Jerusalem broke out a little later, the writer of the First Gospel took St. Mark’s work as his basis, and wrote a longer Gospel, inserting from another source much of the Lord’s teaching as preserved at Jerusalem. The Second Gospel may quite well have been re-edited at Rome; but if so, the changes made in it cannot have been many, for it is clear that the editor of the First Gospel had St. ...
(c) The Third Gospel is generally dated c. But if Harnack is right about the date of the Acts, the Gospel must of course be earlier, i. *
(b) The majority of modern writers are also agreed in referring the First Gospel to an unknown writer. This term does not describe aptly such a book as our First Gospel, but would more naturally apply to a collection of utterances or sayings (see Moffatt, p. Now our First Gospel is certainly not a translation of an Aramaic or Hebrew work. It was written in Greek by a writer who used at least one Greek source, the Second Gospel, and who used also the Greek OT (see St. Foreign scholars for the most part refuse in any way to identify the discourse source which has been used in the First Gospel with Papias’ Matthaean Logia (Harnack, however, admits that it may well have been an apostolic work). , or in one of them, but also a good deal that is common to all three Gospels, because he believes that St. (2) Harnack,*
(c) The authorship of the Third Gospel is bound up with the question of the authorship of Acts. Critics, like Jülicher, who date Gospel and Acts about a. Paul, wrote both Acts and Gospel. ]'>[19] argues that the style and language of Gospel and Acts, including the ‘we’ sections, decisively prove that both works were written by one person and that he was a physician. Characteristics...
(a) The Second Gospel is neither a history nor a biography. ...
If a keynote to the Gospel be wanted, it may be found in the phrase ‘having authority’ (Mark 1:22). ’ In accordance with this is the emphasis in the Gospel upon the impression made by Him upon the peasantry. ’...
(b) If the Second Gospel is a book of reminiscences, or rather of notes of a great teacher’s reminiscences of the life of his Master, the First Gospel is a theological treatise in narrative form. ; and article ‘Matthew (Gospel)’ in Dict. of Christ and the Gospels . ...
(c) In the Third Gospel we come at last to a professed biography or history of a life. It is best treated when taken as the first part of a Great historical work of which Acts is the second volume, and some of the following features characterize both works: (1) if in the First Gospel Jeans is ‘He who fulfils’ and in the Second He is the one having authority and power, in the Third He is the Divine Healer; (2) there is a strong universalistic note. Jesus is the Second Adam, and His Gospel is for all peoples (cf. Luke 2:14; Luke 2:23; Luke 3:6); (3) prominence is given to women in both Gospel and Acts; (4) there is considerable emphasis upon prayer, the influence of the Holy Spirit, and upon Christianity as being a religion marked by thanksgiving, joy, and peace. About the first part of the Gospel hangs the peace of God, clothing it like a soft garment. The Fourth Gospel. -The Fourth Gospel is dated by many modern writers in the early part of the 2nd cent. (a) The Fourth Gospel conflicts with the first three in facts such as the date of the Crucifixion, the cleansing of the Temple, and the account of John the Baptist; it is therefore hopelessly unhistorical, and cannot have been written by an apostle. The Christology is so different from that of the Synoptic Gospels that the sayings put into the mouth of Christ must be mainly the work of an author (not an apostle) who is writing under the influence of Jewish Alexandrian Philosophy and of Stoicism. 522; Scott, Fourth Gospel, p. attribution of the Gospel to the Apostle? This is hopelessly misleading. Irenaeus misunderstood Polycarp and attributed the Gospel to John the Apostle when he ought to have assigned it to John the Elder. ...
(b) The contrast drawn between the Christology of the Synoptic Gospels and that of the Fourth Gospel is open to the same criticism. What right have we to regard the first three Gospels as an adequate presentation of the Person of Christ, and not as three slightly varying forms of a tradition which represented a very meagre part of a life which was many-sided? For hints in the Synoptic Gospels of a Judaea n ministry see Moffatt, Introd. With respect to the teaching of Christ, the Synoptic Gospels give us a significant hint
Homiletics - The science or study of composing and preaching sermons, so called from homily, the name applied to familiar explanations of the Gospel
Doctrine - The doctrines of the Gospel are the principles or truths taught by Christ and his apostles. The truths of the Gospel in general. Instruction and confirmation in the truths of the Gospel
Kerygma - In this large passage Paul is explaining his Gospel in contrast to the influence of the Jews who are concerned about signs and of the Greeks who are concerned about wisdom. The believers in Corinth seem to view the Gospel through Sophist eyes as "wisdom" and the evangelists as "wisdom teachers. " Paul is correcting this kind of misunderstanding of the Gospel. " Paul goes on to declare that this message is the power and wisdom of God that, in fact, the Jews and Greeks are seeking; yet they fail to perceive these qualities in the Gospel and reject it as an offense or foolishness. For Paul kerygma is the Gospel or the proclamation of the death of Christ to bring about the salvation of all those who believe. Interestingly, at the beginning of this section Paul uses the word "gospel" (euangelion ) and spells out the four crucial elements of the Gospel: Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and appearances (vv. Clearly Paul understands "our preaching" as the Gospel he has just defined in the opening verses of the chapter. The interchangeability of kerygma and Gospel in this passage brings out unmistakably that the kerygma is the Gospel message about Christ's death and resurrection. In the closing doxology of Romans, Paul parallels Gospel (euangelion ) and proclamation (kerygma [16:25). Probably the conjunction "and" ( kai [1]) would be better translated "that is, " which would show that by proclamation Paul means the Gospel or message about Christ. As it is here paralleled with Gospel, kerygma is certainly intended to mean the content or message Paul proclaims. Because the entire Letter to the Romans is an elaborate and systematic development of the Gospel, it might be suggested that Romans is at the same time the most extensive statement of Paul's kerygma. Thus, throughout the salutation "truth, " "knowledge, " "promise, " "word, " and "preaching" (kerygmati [1]) all refer to the message or the Gospel Paul proclaims. Thus it may be said that the context indicates that he is referring to the content of the Gospel he proclaims, which is the message that has been entrusted to him from God. The context indicates that he means the Gospel or the message he has proclaimed throughout his ministry. " The use of "words" ( logois ) at the end of verse 15 further strengthens the understanding that kerygma in verse 17 does refer to the Gospel or message about Jesus' death and resurrection. ...
The meaning of kerygma all six times that Paul uses this term is consistently the message about Jesus, the content of the Gospel Paul so courageously proclaimed throughout his ministry
Gospel Side - The north side of the Altar (the left side as we facethe Altar) at which the Holy Gospel is read
Innocents, Slaughter of the - The Gospel writer cites this as fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15 . However, it can be found in ancient nonbiblical documents, such as the Protoevangelium of James , Infancy Gospel of Thomas , and Gospel of Pseudo- Matthew . These sources no doubt relied on the biblical Gospel for the record
Neonomianism - Williams's "Gospel Truth Stated," &c: "To supply the room of the moral law, vacated by him, he turns the Gospel into a new law, in keeping of which we shall be justified for the sake of Christ's righteousness, making qualifications and acts of ours a disposing subordinate righteousness, whereby we become capable of being justified by Christ's righteousness. Whether the Gospel be a new law in the Socinian, popish, or Arminian sense. Whether the Gospel be a law more new than is implied in the first promise to fallen Adam, proposed to Cain, and obeyed by Abel, to the differencing him from his unbelieving brother. Nor whether the Gospel be a law that allows sin, when it accepts such graces as true, though short of perfection, to be the conditions of our personal interest in the benefits purchased by Christ. Nor whether the Gospel be a law, the promises whereof entitle the performers of its conditions to the benefits as of debt. Is the Gospel a law in this sense; namely, God in Christ thereby commandeth sinners to repent of sin, and receive Christ by a true operative faith, promising that thereupon they shall be united to him, justified by his righteousness, pardoned, and adopted; and that, persevering in faith and true holiness, they shall be finally saved; also threatening that if any shall die impenitent, unbelieving, ungodly, rejecters of his grace, they shall perish without relief, and endure sorer punishments than if these offers had not been made to them?...
2. Hath the Gospel a sanction, that is, doth Christ therein enforce his commands of faith, repentance, and perseverance, by the foresaid promises and threatenings, as motives to our obedience? Both these I affirm, and they deny; saying, the Gospel in the largest sense is an absolute promise without precepts and conditions, and a Gospel threat is a bull. Do the Gospel promises of benefits to certain graces, and its threats that those benefits shall be withheld, and the contrary evils inflicted for the neglect of such graces, render these graces the condition of our personal title to those benefits? This they deny, and I affirm," &c. ...
It does not appear to have been a question in this controversy, whether God in his word commands sinners to repent, and believe in Christ, nor whether he promises life to believers, and threatens death to unbelievers; but whether it be the Gospel under the form of a new law that thus commands or threatens, or the moral law on its behalf, and whether its promises to believing render such believing a condition of the things promised. In another controversy, however, which arose about forty years afterward among the same people, it became a question whether God did by his word, call it law or Gospel, command unregenerate sinners to repent and believe in Christ, or do any thing also, which is spiritually good. Of those who took the affirmative side of this question, one party maintained it on the ground of the Gospel being a new law, consisting of commands, promises, and threatenings, the terms or conditions of which were repentance, faith, and sincere obedience. But those who first engaged in the controversy, though they allowed the encouragement to repent and believe to arise merely from the grace of the Gospel, yet considered the formal obligation to do so as arising merely from the moral law, which, requiring supreme love to God, requires acquiescence in any revelation which he shall at any time make known
Mark, Feast of Saint - Mark is called theEvangelist because he is the writer of the Gospel which bears hisname. It is supposed that he wrote his Gospel at thedictation of St. Mark is represented with alion at his side, with reference to the royal character of the Sonof David, which is emphasized in this Gospel
Didymus - It appears only in John's Gospel
Gospels, the - God having been pleased to give in His word four Gospels, it is manifest that He had a design and purpose in doing so, which it is well to endeavour to discover. If it is accepted that God is really the author of them all, it at once sweeps away all questions of anterior documents, from which one evangelist selected certain events, and another chose events somewhat different; and also the unworthy hypothesis that after the first, each writer had before him the Gospel or Gospels that had been previously written, and then sought to supply their deficiencies. ...
It is surprising that the mass of modern commentators do not see any design in the differences in the Gospels, and that each Gospel has its own peculiar characteristics. The Gospel opens with "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. " And the genealogy goes no further than Abraham, whereas in Luke it ascends to Adam, agreeing with the scope of that Gospel. All proving that this Gospel was a testimony to Jesus as the true Messiah for Israel. " On His entry into Jerusalem He was hailed with "Hosanna to the son of David," which is not found in the other Gospels: with many other designed differences. In pointing out the characteristic feature of this Gospel, which represents Christ as the Messiah and Son of David, it is not meant that other characters of the Lord are not there in a subordinate degree. Indeed in this Gospel the Person of the Lord is very prominent, for every promise depends on the truth and glory of His Person. The opening words show that it is the Gospel rather than the history of Jesus Christ, Son of God, which gives character to this Gospel. It opens with a short preface to prepare the way for the introduction of the Gospel of the kingdom of God, quoting part of Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 . Various details show that Christ is the faithful servant of this Gospel: for instance, the word εὐθέως, translated 'immediately,' 'straightway,' 'forthwith,' etc. In the passage "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father:" the words 'neither the Son' occur in this Gospel only, agreeing with the passage that "the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth. ' Surely all these things, and other differences that could be named, show the character of the Gospel to be the Lord Jesus as the divine Servant. In this Gospel Jesus is presented as Son of man: as observed above, His genealogy is traced to Adam. In this Gospel only we have the parable of the good Samaritan, teaching that grace does not ask the question, "who is my neighbour?" for all men are neighbours; and here only we get the parable of the lost sheep, the lost piece of money, and the prodigal son: it is God seeking the lost. The remarkable opening of this Gospel gives its character. In this Gospel the raising of Lazarus is recorded, and the Lord declares Himself to be 'the resurrection and the life. In these and many other passages in this Gospel we see the characteristic presentation of Jesus as the Son of God; though from the fifth chapter onwards, His perfect dependence upon the Father is fully presented. ...
Thus in the four Gospels we have, as it were, four divine portraits of the Lord Jesus in the characters above named. Each of the Gospels is further considered under its respective name. ...
The distinctive features of the Gospels may be further studied by observing the frequency of certain Greek words in each. ...
Believe, to πιστεύω 11 15 9 100 ...
End of the world (age) 5 - - - ...
Father, The πατήρ 44 5 17 122 ...
Glory, glorify δόξα, δοξάζω 12 4 22 42 ...
Immediately εὐθέως, εὐθύς 18 42 8 7 ...
Kingdom of God 5 15 33 2 ...
Kingdom of the Heavens 32 - - - ...
Know, to γινώσκωι 20 13 28 54 ...
Life ζωή 7 4 6 36 ...
Light φῶς 7 1 6 23 ...
Love ἀγαπάω, ἀγάπη 9 5 14 44 ...
Love φιλέω 4 - 1 13 ...
Parable παραβολή 17 13 18 - ...
People λαός 15 3 36 3 ...
Power δύναμις 13 10 15 - ...
Preach, to κηρύσσω 9 14 9 - ...
Preach (the Gospel), to εὐαγγελίζω 1 - 10 - ...
Scribe γραμματεύς 24 22 15 1 ...
True ἀληθής 1 1 - 12 ...
True ἀληθινός - - 1 8 ...
Truly ἀληθῶς 3 2 3 10 ...
Truth ἀληθεια 1 3 3 25 ...
Witness μαρτυρέω, μαρτυρία 1 3 3 47 ...
Woe οὐαί 13 2 14 - ...
Works ἔργον 5 2 2 27 ...
World κόσμος 9 3 3 79 ...
For the Chronology of the Gospel History see NEW TESTAMENT
Matthew - His history we have in the Gospel
Philemon - He was brought to a knowledge of the Gospel through the instrumentality of Paul (19), and held a prominent place in the Christian community for his piety and beneficence (4-7). He is called in the epistle a "fellow-labourer," and therefore probably held some office in the church at Colosse; at all events, the title denotes that he took part in the work of spreading a knowledge of the Gospel
Ones'Imus - ) He fled from his master end escaped to Rome, where he was led to embrace the Gospel through Paul's instrumentality. Whether Paul desired his presence as a personal attendant or as a minister of the Gospel is not certain from verse 13 of the epistle
Clergyman - ) An ordained minister; a man regularly authorized to preach the Gospel, and administer its ordinances; in England usually restricted to a minister of the Established Church
Handwriting - The "blotting out the handwriting" is the removal by the grace of the Gospel of the condemnation of the law which we had broken
Crescens - In Galatia he preached the Gospel, according to the Apostolic Constitutions
Centurion - This is a word often met with in the Gospel; and the meaning is, that the man who was a Centurion, commanded, or governed, an hundred soldiers
Evangelists, Symbols of the - The human head indicates Saint Matthew, because he begins his Gospel with the human ancestry of our Saviour. " The sacrificial ox is the symbol of Saint Luke, for his Gospel begins with the story of the priest Zachary. The eagle, soaring far into the heavens, is the emblem of Saint John, who, in the opening words of his Gospel, carries us to Heaven itself: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
Symbols of the Evangelists - The human head indicates Saint Matthew, because he begins his Gospel with the human ancestry of our Saviour. " The sacrificial ox is the symbol of Saint Luke, for his Gospel begins with the story of the priest Zachary. The eagle, soaring far into the heavens, is the emblem of Saint John, who, in the opening words of his Gospel, carries us to Heaven itself: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
Matthew, Gospel of Saint - He wrote the Gospel in Palestine for converts from Judaism, to confirm them in their faith in Jesus as the promised Messias, and to convince the unbelievers that they had rejected the Redeemer. The characteristic which especially distinguishes this Gospel from the others is the frequent citations of and allusions to the Old Testament prophecies. The 28 chapters of the Gospel may be divided according to the following topics Jesus is proven the Messias in His ancestry, birth, and infancy (1-2); He is shown to be the Messias in the preparation for the public ministry (3-4); He manifests Himself as the Messias in public life, being teacher and legislator (5-7), wonder-worker (8-9), founder of the Kingdom of Goa (10-25); He is shown to be the Messias in the humility of His sufferings and the glory of His Resurreetion (26-28). The Biblical Commission, June 19, 1911, declared that the universal and constant tradition dating from the first centuries and expressed in early writings, ancient codices, versions and catalogues of the Bible, proves beyond doubt that Saint Matthew wrote the first Gospel, as we now have it in our Bibles, before the year 70, and that the Gospel is in conformity with historical truth
Luke, Gospel of Saint - The Gospel was written before the year 63, at which time Saint Luke wrote his second work, Acts of the Apostles. Among the characteristics of this Gospel are: the portrayal of Our Lord's mercy towards sinners; the prominence given the Mother of Jesus and other pious women; the clear and vivid delineations of characters; the frequent and beautiful parables of Jesus. The Gospel contains 24 chapters and maybe divided into: ...
the hidden life (1-2)
preaching of Saint John, baptism, and temptation (3:1 to 4:13)
teaching, miracles, and works of mercy in Galilee and the founding of the Church (4:14 to 9:50)
the "Perean Ministry," work of Jesus outside of Galilee (9:51 to 19:28)
ministry in Jerusalem (19:29 to 21:38)
Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension (22-24)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that the harmonious tradition from the earliest ages, the testimony of ancient writers, the use of the Gospel by the early Church, constitute certain proof that Saint Luke wrote the entire Gospel as contained in our Bibles before the year 70, and that it is a true historical document
Gospel of Saint Luke - The Gospel was written before the year 63, at which time Saint Luke wrote his second work, Acts of the Apostles. Among the characteristics of this Gospel are: the portrayal of Our Lord's mercy towards sinners; the prominence given the Mother of Jesus and other pious women; the clear and vivid delineations of characters; the frequent and beautiful parables of Jesus. The Gospel contains 24 chapters and maybe divided into: ...
the hidden life (1-2)
preaching of Saint John, baptism, and temptation (3:1 to 4:13)
teaching, miracles, and works of mercy in Galilee and the founding of the Church (4:14 to 9:50)
the "Perean Ministry," work of Jesus outside of Galilee (9:51 to 19:28)
ministry in Jerusalem (19:29 to 21:38)
Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension (22-24)
The Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912, declared that the harmonious tradition from the earliest ages, the testimony of ancient writers, the use of the Gospel by the early Church, constitute certain proof that Saint Luke wrote the entire Gospel as contained in our Bibles before the year 70, and that it is a true historical document
Gospel of Saint Matthew - He wrote the Gospel in Palestine for converts from Judaism, to confirm them in their faith in Jesus as the promised Messias, and to convince the unbelievers that they had rejected the Redeemer. The characteristic which especially distinguishes this Gospel from the others is the frequent citations of and allusions to the Old Testament prophecies. The 28 chapters of the Gospel may be divided according to the following topics Jesus is proven the Messias in His ancestry, birth, and infancy (1-2); He is shown to be the Messias in the preparation for the public ministry (3-4); He manifests Himself as the Messias in public life, being teacher and legislator (5-7), wonder-worker (8-9), founder of the Kingdom of Goa (10-25); He is shown to be the Messias in the humility of His sufferings and the glory of His Resurreetion (26-28). The Biblical Commission, June 19, 1911, declared that the universal and constant tradition dating from the first centuries and expressed in early writings, ancient codices, versions and catalogues of the Bible, proves beyond doubt that Saint Matthew wrote the first Gospel, as we now have it in our Bibles, before the year 70, and that the Gospel is in conformity with historical truth
Mark, Gospel According to - As to the time when it was written, the Gospel furnishes us with no definite information. Mark also uses certain Latin words not found in any of the other Gospels, as "speculator" (6:27, rendered, A. ...
The characteristics of this Gospel are, (1) the absence of the genealogy of our Lord, (2) whom he represents as clothed with power, the "lion of the tribe of Judah. ...
The phrase "and straightway" occurs nearly forty times in this Gospel; while in Luke's Gospel, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times. "The Gospel of Mark," says Westcott, "is essentially a transcript from life. His Gospel is a rapid succession of vivid pictures loosely strung together without much attempt to bind them into a whole or give the events in their natural sequence. '" The leading principle running through this Gospel may be expressed in the motto: "Jesus came. preaching the Gospel of the kingdom" (Mark 1:14 )
Gospel - Gospel . A genitive case or a possessive pronoun accompanying it denotes: ( a ) the person or the thing preached (the Gospel of Christ, or of peace, or of salvation, or of the grace of God, or of God, or of the Kingdom, Matthew 4:23 ; Matthew 9:35 ; Matthew 24:14 , Mark 1:14 , Acts 20:24 , Romans 15:19 , Ephesians 1:13 ; Ephesians 6:15 etc. ‘The Gospel’ is often used in NT absolutely, as in Mark 1:15 ; Mark 8:35 ; Mark 14:9 RV [3] , Mark 16:15 , Acts 15:7 , Romans 11:28 , 2 Corinthians 8:16 (where the idea must not be entertained that the reference is to Luke as an Evangelist ), and so ‘this Gospel,’ Matthew 26:13 ; but English readers should bear in mind that usually (though not in Mark 16:15 ) the EV [4] phrase ‘to preach the Gospel’ represents a simple verb of the Greek. , or the Catholic Epistles, and only once in the Johannine writings ( Revelation 14:6 , ‘an eternal Gospel’ an angelic message). In Romans 10:16 ‘the Gospel’ is used absolutely of the message of the OT prophets. ...
The written record was not called ‘the Gospel’ till a later age. 150: ‘The Apostles in the Memoirs written by themselves, which are called Gospels,’ Apol
Evangelist - The English words ‘evangelist’ and ‘gospel’ come from the same word in the Greek. An evangelist is one who declares, preaches, brings, announces or proclaims the Gospel (or good news). 1 Timothy 1:12-166; Isaiah 61:1; see Gospel). In the early church they were mainly concerned with proclaiming the Gospel to those who had not heard it, and establishing churches in places where previously there were none (Acts 8:5; Acts 8:40; Acts 14:21; Acts 16:10; Romans 10:14-15; Romans 15:19-20; 2 Corinthians 10:16; see MISSION). Even established churches had need for someone to do the work of an evangelist among them (2 Timothy 4:5), for there was a constant necessity to make known the facts of the Gospel. ...
No matter how the servants of the Gospel may be classified or what era they may live in, the motivating force in their life and ministry is the love of God that they have experienced through Christ. They have a concern for those who have not yet heard or believed the Gospel, and this drives them on to make it known; for only the Gospel can save people from Satan’s power and give them eternal life (Romans 10:14; 2 Corinthians 4:1-6; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Acts 20:19-26; cf
Altar Side - The Epistle side of the altar is termed the left, and the Gospel, the right, with reference to the altar crucifix
Sergius - He is described as an intelligent man, and yielded to the claims of the Gospel
Side, Altar - The Epistle side of the altar is termed the left, and the Gospel, the right, with reference to the altar crucifix
Jehovah-Shammah - It was a type of the Gospel Church
Andronicus - Kinsman and fellow-prisoner of Paul, mentioned in the Epistle to the Romans as "of note among the apostles," an "apostle" in the wider sense of preacher of the Gospel
Evangelist - A "publisher of glad tidings;" a missionary preacher of the Gospel (Ephesians 4:11 ). They were itinerant preachers, having it as their special function to carry the Gospel to places where it was previously unknown. The writers of the four Gospels are known as the Evangelists
Eagle - The figure of an eagle is often used in the Church as anemblem to symbolize the flight of the Gospel message over the world. John, who more than any other of theApostles, was granted a clearer insight into things heavenly, asmay be seen from the Gospel, Epistles and the Revelation which hewas inspired to write
Poor: as Hearers - He said, 'If I might choose, I should still, as I have done hitherto, preach the Gospel to the poor. Many of them were gay, genteel people, so I spoke on the first elements of the Gospel, but I was still out of their depth
Evangelical - ) Contained in, or relating to, the four Gospels; as, the evangelical history. ) Belonging to, agreeable or consonant to, or contained in, the Gospel, or the truth taught in the New Testament; as, evangelical religion. ) Earnest for the truth taught in the Gospel; strict in interpreting Christian doctrine; preeminetly orthodox; - technically applied to that party in the Church of England, and in the Protestant Episcopal Church, which holds the doctrine of "Justification by Faith alone"; the Low Church party
M - Symbol designating one of the alleged sources of Matthew's Gospel according to the four document hypothesis
Thomas - His history we have in the Gospel
Clement - (clehm' uhnt) A fellow worker in the Gospel with Paul (Philippians 4:3 )
Nicanor - "of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom," but also preachers of the Gospel (Acts 6:1-10; Acts 8:5)
Bartholomew, Feast of st - John in his Gospel never mentions Bartholomew, while he oftenspeaks of Nathanael, and the other Evangelists, though they mentionBartholomew, never take notice of Nathanael. Bartholomew is thought to have preached the Gospel in NorthernIndia, where he is said to have left a Hebrew copy of St. Matthew's Gospel
Illuminated - Hebrews 10:32 refers to those who are knowledgeable of the saving message of the Gospel
Evangel - (Greek: eu, well; angelos, messenger) ...
A term rarely used denoting: good news, the Gospel; a book containing good news, one of the four Gospels; a bearer of good news, an evangelist or preacher
Nicodemus, Saint - He was a Pharisee, mentioned in Saint John's Gospel, 7,19, as speaking in behalf of Jesus in the Sanhedrin, and assisting at His burial
Aristobu'Lus - (the best counsellor ), a resident at Rome, some of whose household are greeted in ( Romans 16:10 ) Tradition makes him one of the 70 disciples and reports that he preached the Gospel in Britain
Luke, Gospel of - It has often been declared that this Gospel was gathered by the writer from various sources, especially from the apostle Paul, because he was so much with that apostle. Irenaeus and Tertullian asserted that we have in Luke the Gospel that Paul preached. Eusebius referred the words 'according to my Gospel' ( 2 Timothy 2:8 ) to the Gospel of Luke; and Jerome agreed with this. The one is endeavouring to account for the Gospel of Luke by mere human agency, instead of recognising that the writer was led and guided by the Holy Spirit. The other is ignoring the unique character of the Gospel taught by Paul, which he declared he had received by the revelation of Jesus Christ, and which is called "the Gospel of the glory of the Christ. Grace to man — 'to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,' as Paul expresses it — is the key-note of Luke's Gospel. ...
The Gospel of Luke sets the Lord before us in the character of Son of man, revealing God in delivering grace among men. At first no doubt (and just because He is to be revealed as Man, and in grace to men), He is presented (in a prefatory part in which there is the most exquisite picture of the godly remnant) to Israel, to whom He had been promised, and in relationship with whom He came into this world; but afterwards this Gospel presents moral principles which apply to man generally whosoever he may be, whilst yet manifesting Christ, for the moment, in the midst of that people. ...
After the transfiguration ( Luke 9 ), which is recounted earlier, as to the contents of the Gospel, than by the other evangelists, we find the judgement of those who rejected the Lord, and the heavenly character of the grace which, because it is grace, addresses itself to the nations, to sinners, without any particular reference to the Jews, overturning the legal principles according to which the latter pretended to be, and as to their external standing were originally called at Sinai to be, in connection with God. ...
That which specially characterises the narrative, and gives peculiar interest to this Gospel, is that it sets forth what Christ is Himself
John, the Gospel of - According to tradition the fourth Gospel was written by John the apostle in Ephesus, toward the end of his life. Perhaps because it is so different from the Synoptic Gospels, Clement of Alexandria called it the “spiritual Gospel. ” Since the beginning of the modern era, scholars have debated the authorship and historicity of this Gospel. The Gospel itself says only that it was written by the beloved disciple (John 21:20-24 ). Although this disciple is traditionally identified as the apostle John, the Gospel itself does not make this identification. ...
Part of the enigma of John is its distinctiveness from the other three canonical Gospels. ...
The Gospel of John, therefore, gives a distinctive account of Jesus' “signs,” His words, and His ministry. Parts of the Gospel are remarkably parallel to the synoptic accounts, but the distinctive elements should not be overlooked as one ponders its mystery and message. ...
A widely accepted theory holds that the Gospel makes use of an account of the signs Jesus performed. At other points one can also see evidences of earlier stages in the Gospel's composition. Similarly, the Gospel seems to reach its conclusion at the end of John 20:1 . Thomas's doubt was overcome, and Thomas voiced the Gospel's climactic confession: “My Lord, and my God!” (John 20:28 ). Jesus pronounced a beatitude on all who would later believe, and the evangelist stated the purpose for which the Gospel was written (John 20:30-31 ). To many Bible students the end of John 16:5-334 appears to be the original ending of the Gospel. Regardless of the whether material in the Gospel was added early or late in the process of composition, it all derived from the witness of the Beloved Disciple as his teachings were developed and used in the worship of the community that gathered around him. Other sections of the Gospel, such as the calling of the first disciples (John 1:35-51 ) may also reflect the preaching of this group at a time when they were appealing to fellow Jews. The Gospel reflects conflict with the Jewish authorities both during the ministry of Jesus and at the time of the writing of the Gospel. By telling about the life of Jesus in such a way that later believers saw similarities with their own struggles, the Gospel's message took on greater significance for the Christian community. ...
The Gospel was written after the separation from the synagogue to proclaim the Gospel message that gave the Christian community its identity and purpose. The Gospel of John features episodes in which individuals are caught between Jesus' call for faith and the Jewish authorities' rejection of His claims (Nicodemus, John 3:1 ; the man at the Pool of Bethesda, John 5:1 ; the crowds in Galilee, John 6:1 ; and the man born blind, John 9:1 ). The purpose of the Gospel, therefore, was twofold: (1) to call believers to reaffirm their faith and move on to a more mature faith, and (2) to call the “secret believers” (John 12:42 ; John 19:38 ) to confess Jesus as the Christ and join the Christian community. ...
The roots of the Johannine tradition reach back to the ministry of Jesus, and the Gospel stands on eyewitness testimony (John 19:34-35 ; John 21:24-25 ). The composition of the Gospel, described above, probably stretched over several decades, with the Gospel reaching its present form around A. Its place in the New Testament, following the other three Gospels, may reflect the memory that it was the last of the four Gospels. ...
The Gospel of John draws a portrait of Jesus as the divine Logos, the Christ, the Son of God. Sin is understood in the Gospel of John primarily as unbelief (John 16:9 ). The Gospel accepts this response as faith but calls believers on to faith that is based on Jesus' words and on the knowledge of God revealed in Jesus
Neonomians - God has eternally elected a certain definite number of men whom he will infallibly save by Christ in that way prescribed by the Gospel. By the ministry of the Gospel there is a serious offer of pardon and glory, upon the terms of the Gospel, to all that hear it; and God thereby requires them to comply with the said terms. Ministers ought to use these and other Gospel benefits as motives, assuring men that if they believe they shall be justified; if they turn to God, they shall live; if they repent, their sins shall be blotted out; and whilst they neglect these duties, they cannot have a personal interest in these respective benefits. It is by the power of the Spirit of Christ freely exerted, and not by the power of free-will, that the Gospel becomes effectual for the conversion of any soul to the obedience of faith. entitled to pardon, acceptance and eternal glory, as righteous before God; and it is the imputed righteousness of Christ alone, for which the Gospel gives the believer a right to these and all saving blessings, who in this respect is justified by Christ's righteousness alone. Yet such is the grace of the Gospel, that it promiseth in and by Christ a freedom from the curse, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life, to every sincere believer: which promise God with certainly perform, notwithstanding the threatening of the law. Williams's Gospel Truth Stated, &c. "...
To supply the room of the moral law, vacated by him, he turns the Gospel into a new Law, in keeping of which we shall be justified for the sake of Christ's righteousness, making qualifications and acts of ours a disposing subordinate righteousness, whereby we become capable of being justified by Christ's righteousness. Whether the Gospel be a new law in the Socinian, Popish, or Arminian sense. Whether the Gospel be a law more new than is implied in the first promise to fallen Adam, proposed to Cain, and obeyed by Abel, to the differencing him from his unbelieving brother. Nor whether the Gospel be a law that allows sin, when it accepts such graces as true, though short of perfection, to be the conditions of our personal interest in the benefits purchased by Christ. Nor whether the Gospel be a law, the promises whereof entitle the performers of its conditions to the benefits as of debt. Is the Gospel a law in this sense; viz. Hath the Gospel a sanction, 1: e. doth Christ therein enforce his commands of faith, repentance and perseverance, by the aforesaid promised and threatenings, as motives of our obedience? Both of these I affirm, and they deny; saying the Gospel in the largest sense is an absolute promise without precepts and conditions, and the Gospel threat is a bull. Do the Gospel promises of benefits to certain graces, and its threats that those benefits shall be withheld and the contrary evils inflicted for the neglect of such graces, render those graces the condition of our personal title to those benefits?...
This they deny, and I affirm, " &c. It does not appear to have been a question in this controversy, whether God in his word commands sinners to repent and believe in Christ, nor whether he promises life to believers, and threatens death to unbelievers; but whether he promises life to believers, and threatens death to unbelievers; but whether it be the Gospel under the form of a new law that thus commands or threatens, or the moral law on its behalf, and whether its promises to believing render such believing a condition of the things promised. In another controversy, however, which arose about forty years afterwards among the same description of people, it became a question whether God did by his word (call it law or Gospel) command unregenerate sinners to repent and believe in Christ, or to do any thing which is spiritually good. Of those who took the affirmative side of this question, one party attempted to maintain it on the ground of the Gospel being a new law, consisting of commands, promises, and threatenings, the terms or conditions of which were repentance, faith, and sincere obedience. But those who first engaged in the controversy, though they allowed the encouragement to repent and believe to arise merely from the grace of the Gospel, yet considered the formal obligation to do so as arising merely from the moral law, which, requiring supreme love to God, requires acquiscence in any revelation which he shall at any time make known. 220; William's Gospel Truth; Edwards's Crispianism Unmasked; Chauncey's Neonomianism Unmasked; Adams's View of Religions
Herald - Paul was appointed as a herald or preacher of the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:9-11 outlines Paul's Gospel as the good news that God has given grace by sending Christ who abolished death and brought life
Gos'Pels - The name Gospel (from god and spell , Ang. Before the end of the second century, there is abundant evidence that the four Gospels, as one collection, were generally used and accepted. As a matter of literary history, nothing can be better established than the genuineness of the Gospels. In the fourth Gospel the narrative coincided with that of the other three in a few passages only. The received explanation is the only satisfactory one namely, that John, writing last, at the close of the first century had seen the other Gospels, and purposely abstained from writing anew what they had sufficiently recorded. In the other three Gospels there is a great amount of agreement. It has been ascertained by Stroud that "if the total contents of the several Gospels be represented by 100, the following table is obtained: Matthew has 42 peculiarities and 58 coincidences. Why four Gospels. There were four Gospels because Jesus was to be commended to four races or classes of men, or to four phases of human thought,--the Jewish, Roman, Greek and Christian. Had not these exhausted the classes to be reached, there would doubtless have been more Gospels. The FIRST Gospel was prepared by Matthew for the Jew. He gives us the Gospel of Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews, the Messianic royalty of Jesus. Mark wrote the SECOND Gospel. The Gospel for him must represent the character and career of Jesus from the Roman point of view, as answering to the idea of divine power, work, law, conquest and universal sway; must retain its old significance and ever-potent inspiration at the battle-call of the almighty Conqueror. Luke wrote the THIRD Gospel in Greece for the Greek. It has its basis in the Gospel which Paul and Luke, by long preaching to the Greeks, had already thrown into the form best suited to commend to their acceptance Jesus as the perfect divine man. It is the Gospel of the future, of progressive Christianity, of reason and culture seeking the perfection of manhood. John, "the beloved disciple," wrote the FOURTH Gospel for the Christian, to cherish and train those who have entered the new kingdom of Christ, into the highest spiritual life
Luke, Festival of Saint - To himwe are indebted for two of the canonical books—the Gospel whichbears his name and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke's Gospel givesmore incidents in our Lord's Life than any of the others, and thebeauty and exceeding sweetness of his story of the Great Lifeare enriched with those Gospel hymns which have characterized theChurch's worship ever since, viz. Our Lord appears in this Gospel asthe Great High Priest, winning by His Sacrifice on the Cross, mercyand pardon for sinners
Kingdom of God - : the kingdom of Christ on earth, thekingdom of the Gospel, the Church of Christ. The Gospel which our Lord delivered to man is not anabstract Gospel, but "the Gospel of the kingdom ":—see St
Epistle Side - When the Priest celebrates alone, he first readsthe Epistle at the south side and then passes to the north sidewhere he reads the Gospel
Mark, the Gospel of - ...
Author The title “according to Mark” was added to this Gospel by scribes who produced the earliest copies of the Gospel. According to early church tradition, Mark recorded and arranged the “memories” of Peter, thereby producing a Gospel based on apostolic witness. Although Mark was a common Roman name, the Gospel writer is probably John Mark. Mark became an important assistant for both Paul and Peter, preaching the good news to Gentiles and preserving the Gospel message for later Christians. ...
Readers Mark wrote his Gospel for Gentile Christians. Mark's Gospel contains many terms borrowed from Latin and written in Greek, consider “taking counsel” (Mark 3:6 ), “Legion” (Mark 5:9 ), “tribute” (Mark 12:14 ), “scourged” (Mark 15:15 ). According to tradition, Peter was martyred in Rome during the Neronian persecution, which would place the date of Mark's Gospel about A. The theme of persecution dominates the Gospel of Mark (see Mark 10:30 ; compare Matthew 19:29 ; Luke 18:29 ). Dying for the Gospel would be equivalent to dying for Jesus (Mark 8:35 ; Matthew 16:25 ; Luke 9:24 ). ...
Style Mark has been called the “gospel of action. His sometimes rough and unrefined Greek grammar facilitates his ability to communicate the Gospel message by using familiar patterns of speech. Furthermore, the prominent role of Peter in the narrative (Peter remembered, Mark 11:21 ; see also Mark 1:36 ; Mark 14:37 ; Mark 16:7 ) confirms early Christian tradition that Mark relied upon the recollections of the apostle when he produced “the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1 ). ...
Form Upon first reading, the Gospel of Mark appears to be an arbitrary collection of stories about Jesus. After the Baptist fulfilled his role as the forerunner to the Messiah (in a very brief appearance), Jesus began His public ministry in Galilee by preaching the “gospel of God” and collecting a few disciples collecting a few disciples (Mark 1:14-20 ). Over one-third of Mark's Gospel is devoted to describing the events of the last week in the life of Jesus (Mark 10:32-15:47 ). The story ends as abruptly as it began; Mark finished his Gospel account with the angelic announcement of the resurrection of Jesus the Nazarene (the earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament end Mark's Gospel at Mark 16:8 ). Mark's chronology of Jesus leaves the reader with the impression that his only purpose in writing a Gospel was to preserve the oral tradition in written form. ...
The stories of the cleansing of the Temple and the cursing of the fig tree appear as isolated incidents in Matthew's Gospel, connected by chronological sequence (Matthew 21:12-22 ). In the Gospel of Mark, on the other hand, these two stories are interwoven to aid the reader in interpreting the parabolic activity of Jesus. The Gentile readers of Mark's Gospel would have especially appreciated the significant arrangement of these two stories. ...
Mark's Gospel is not just a collection of stories about Jesus; his book tells the story of Jesus as a whole. Mark developed the unifying “plot” of the Gospel story by unveiling the hidden identity of Jesus. Throughout Mark's Gospel, Jesus made every attempt to conceal His true identity. ...
The literary form of Mark's Gospel is no accident. The arrangement of the Gospel material gives every indication that a skilled literary craftsman has been at work. ” In Mark's Gospel, Jesus is identified with humanity in title and in kind. However, Mark penned a Gospel which was also designed to evoke faith in the deity of Jesus: the divine voice announced it from heaven, demons screamed it in agony, Peter professed it boldly, even a Roman soldier acknowledged, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 )
Last Gospel - The Gospel read at the end of Mass, usually from the first chapter of Saint John, except on days in Lent, vigils, and Sundays when a feast of major rite is celebrated, and the third on Christmas Day
Gospel, Last - The Gospel read at the end of Mass, usually from the first chapter of Saint John, except on days in Lent, vigils, and Sundays when a feast of major rite is celebrated, and the third on Christmas Day
High Mass - The complete rite of the Mass, the priest assisted by the deacon and subdeacon, and all the rubrics of the Order of Mass observed, such as chanting the Gospel, incensing altar, ministers, and people; also called solemn Mass
Ospeler - ) A priest or deacon who reads the Gospel at the altar during the communion service
Salathiel - 1 Corinthians 3:17 , or SHEALTIEL, father of Zerubbabel, Ezra 3:2 Nehemiah 12:1 Haggai 1:1 ; one of the ancestors of Christ, named in both the Gospel genealogies, Matthew 1:14 Luke 3:27
Evangelist, - Paul said, "Woe unto me if I preach not the Gospel. Though there was and is an especial gift to some to proclaim the Gospel, we read of others who helped to spread the good news, as when there was persecution at Jerusalem, all were scattered abroad except the apostles, and they went everywhere 'announcing' the glad tidings of, or evangelising, the word, Acts 8:4 ; and Paul speaks of some women who 'laboured with him in the Gospel,' Philippians 4:3 ; this they could have done in various ways without preaching publicly
Gospel in Liturgy - From the earliest times the Gospels were read and explained during Divine services; gradually certain portions, appropriate to the chief feasts and seasons of the year, were chosen and became a fixed part of the Mass. Thus, in Advent the Gospels relate to preparation for the coming of Christ; at Christmastide and the Epiphany, to the birth and childhood of Christ; in Lent, to penance and the Passion of Christ; at Eastertide, the last discourses of Jesus; after Pentecost, the nature and development of the Kingdom of God and the duties of its members. During the reading of the Gospel all stand as a mark of reverence for the Word of God and sign their foreheads, lips, and breast with the cross as a sign of readiness to believe, profess, and cherish its truths. The Gospel is read or sung after the Epistle by the celebrant, standing at the left side of the altar, as the people face it. The Last Gospel is that regularly read at the end of Mass (John 1); except on Vigils, days in Lent when the Mass of a feast is celebrated, and days of Special Commemoration
John, Gospel of (Critical) - JOHN, Gospel OF (I. External evidence for the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The problem of the historicity of the Gospel. —It is important to remember that the Kingdom of Christ was in being before the Gospel records were written. Previous to the publication of the Johannine Gospel, which is the latest of the four, St. Paul had completed his mission to the Gentiles; and in Ephesus, where the Gospel was written, his doctrine had already an assured place in the Christian Church. It is therefore historically untrue to say that faith in the Divine Person and work of Jesus is destroyed if the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel cannot he proved. ...
The question, however, of the authorship of this Gospel is more than a merely academic one. None of the other three claims to be written by the man whose name it bears, but the Fourth Gospel is issued with an explicit statement to that effect (John 21:24). The very way in which his identity is studiously concealed shows that the writer is himself conscious that the Gospel contains a personal testimony, which he does not hesitate to present as objective and impersonal. There can be no doubt that the Gospel is intended to be read as the work of the Apostle, and it would seriously detract from its value, if, as extreme critics are more and more inclined to allow, that claim means only that it contains a nucleus of Johannine tradition. The same objection applies to all partition theories of the Gospel (e. If, on the other hand, the writer was the beloved disciple, an eye-witness possessing a specially intimate knowledge of the mind and character of Jesus, we have an assurance that when, for example, he wrote the opening sentences of the Gospel, he felt himself in touch not merely with current theological. The striking juxtaposition in the Prologue of the timeless Logos idea and the historical witness of the Baptist, to whom the conception was unfamiliar, and the frequent mention of the Baptist throughout the Gospel, I even at times when the situation scarcely demands it (e. External Evidence for the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The prophecy of Lightfoot, that ‘we may look forward to the time when it will be held discreditable to the reputation of any critic for sobriety and judgment to assign to, this Gospel any later date than the end of the first century or the very beginning of the second,’ has been amply fulfilled. Again, it is not until the latter part of the century that there are indications of a distinct value attached to each separate Gospel. The contrast between the Synoptics and John in this period arose entirely from the differences in subject-matter, and there is no indication that the Fourth Gospel was set on a lower plane of authority. ’ This is in accordance with the usage of the Fourth Gospel itself, where the title ἀτόστολος is only once used (John 13:16), and there in a sense that seems to deprecate any presumptuous or mercenary claim to official position. , the evidence of those Ecclesiastical writers who have made direct or indirect reference to the Fourth Gospel. He explicitly attributes the Fourth Gospel to the Apostle, and gives it a place alongside Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Stress is also to be laid on the fact that Irenaeus speaks of the Gospels not merely as Apostolic, but also as inspired by the Holy Spirit. For him the tradition of the fourfold Gospel, which he supports strongly, has passed into a deep spiritual fact, which he seeks to establish, not by bringing forward proofs of authorship, but in his well-known mystic fashion. ‘The Gospel is the Divine breath or word of life for men; there are four chief winds therefore four Gospels. ’ He brings forward other analogies, all of which are equally fanciful, but serve to show that this firm belief in the fourfold Gospel as a Divine arrangement could not have been a creation of his own mind, but represents a tradition of considerable antiquity. the simple facts relating to the life and teaching of Christ]'>[1] had been set forth in the Gospels, on the exhortation of his friends (γνώριμοι), inspired by the Spirit, produced a spiritual Gospel. In his extant writings he quotes words from all the four Gospels, regards them as possessing Divine authority, and lays great emphasis on the differences between them and other writings professing to be Gospels. It is needless to quote passages from his writings, as he undoubtedly assumes without question the genuineness of the Gospel, and lays under contribution every chapter. His term for the fourfold Gospel is a legal term, Evangelieum Instrumentum, i. He became a distinguished leader of the Montanists, and would on that account be predisposed to combat any objection, if it had been urged, against the authenticity of the Gospel. At the same time, he is not indifferent to questions of literary criticism, applied to the Gospels. Luke, and is able to prove that Marcion’s Gospel is a mutilated copy. Sanday, in his Gospels in the Second Century (pp. Stanton, in The Gospels as Historical Documents (p. ...
The writer gives an account of the origin of the Fourth Gospel which is plainly legendary. The important statement in it is that the Gospel is the work of St. ’ Bacon (Hibbert Journal, April 1903) has interpreted the Muratorian Fragment as indicating the existence of controversy in the Church at that date as to the Apostolic authorship; but the emphasis on that question might easily be explained by the fact that the historicity—the varia principia of the Gospels—was alone in question. There is no attempt to harmonize the statements in the various Gospels; but it is sought to secure for the contents of the Fourth Gospel a place of equal authority with the other three. The legendary account of the origin of the Gospel would seem to indicate that the fact of the Apostolic authorship was already well established and well known. An additional confirmation of the view that the historicity alone is within the purview of the writer is that the words of the First Epistle (it is true in a somewhat inaccurate rendering), ‘What we have seen with our eyes, and heard with our ears, and our hands have handled, these things we have written’ (haec scripsimus), are quoted as a reference by the author to his Gospel. , who, while quoting a passage from the Gospel (1:13), also refers to St. His words are, ‘We are taught by the Holy Scriptures and all Spirit-bearing men, among whom John says’; and then follow verbatim quotations from the Prologue to the Gospel. There are also other sentences in his work that recall the Fourth Gospel. It is significant also, as belying any appearance of controversy as to the authorship of the Gospel, that he introduces the name of St. Commentaries on the Gospels are also attributed to him, but their genuineness, upheld by Zahn, is assailed by Harnack. ’ The battle of criticism still rages around the question whether Justin includes in these Memoirs only the four Gospels. It may now, at least, be regarded as settled amongst all classes of critics that Justin makes use of the Gospel (cf. Those, however, who deny that Justin regarded the Gospel as the work of the Apostle are laid under the necessity of explaining how his contemporary Irenaeus could be so assured that the Gospel is a genuine Apostolic work. The language, however, reveals some striking variations from the text of the Gospel. No one would now endorse the verdict of the author of Supernatural Religion, that ‘there does not exist a single linguistic trace by which the passage in Justin can be connected with the Fourth Gospel. Justin certainly uses ἀναγεννηθῆτε (‘born again’) instead of γεννηθῇ ἄνωθεν (‘born from above’) of the Fourth Gospel, but this variation is at least a possible rendering of the Johannine expression. 26) there is a passage containing similar linguistic deviations from the Gospel. Has their author copied Justin, or does the similarity point to the use by both of a common source other than the Gospel? The fact that the context in each is quite different excludes the first hypothesis, and the second may well be viewed as improbable, until the alleged common source—that ‘ghost-like’ Gospel of which Volkmar speaks—has emerged from the place of shades, and embodied itself in a MS (cf. ...
It ought to be sufficient to establish the high probability, amounting to certainty, that Justin quotes John 3:3-5, that, giving due weight to linguistic differences, the Fourth Gospel is the only source known to us from which he could have derived such ideas. The idea of birth as applied to spiritual change is found in none of the Gospels but St. As regards the impossibility of a second physical birth, it is to be noted that this somewhat wistful, and, at the same time, wilfully absurd, objection of Nicodemus—which in the Gospel is the symptom of a heart profoundly moved, and has a living place in the context—is prosaically reproduced by Justin. ...
Justin has other correspondences with the peculiar thought of the Fourth Gospel. Justin has also made much use of the thought of the Logos Gospel in his doctrine of the Logos, and his teaching on that subject is influenced by the theology of the Gospel. It is sometimes urged as an objection that Justin does not make more use of the authority of the Gospel in his teaching about the Logos, but this is to presuppose that the thought was first suggested to him by that source. ...
On the question of the relationship between Justin and the fragment of the Gospel of Peter, discovered in 1892, see Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iii. The evidence is insufficient to prove that this Gospel is one of Justin’s Memoirs. Loisy and Harnack hold that the Gospel of Peter is dependent on the Fourth Gospel, to whose existence it would therefore he the most ancient witness. The date of the Gospel of Peter is put circa (about) 110–130 by Loisy (Le Quatrième Évangile, p. ...
(2) His use of the Gospel. —Another consideration is adduced to prove that Justin did not regard the Gospel as an authority on the same level as the Synoptics, and therefore viewed it as non-Apostolic. Why has Justin not used the Fourth Gospel more? It is perfectly relevant to reply that we do not know, and perhaps never shall know, with complete certainty. Justin is certainly the first writer who displays the tendency to attach a separate value to the four Gospels; he is the first to speak of εὐαγγέλια instead of εὐαγγέλιον; but he can scarcely be expected to have completely emancipated himself, at this transition stage, from the older conception of the Gospel as embracing equally the contents of the four. Justin’s purpose and his audience must be borne in mind, and these would insensibly lead him to rely mostly on the Synoptic Gospels. It is specially noticeable that the witness of Christ to Himself, so prominent in the Fourth Gospel, is nowhere used by Justin as an argument, and in one place in the Dialogue with Trypho (ch. Moreover, it may be suggested that not even at that date was the Gospel regarded as, strictly speaking, historical, and its spiritual or reflective character rendered it hardly so suitable for Justin’s purpose as the Synoptics. John the Apostle? In the first place, if the Memoirs are composed of our four Gospels, we may answer the question with certainty in the affirmative. The plural ‘Apostles’ could be used only if he believed in the Apostolic authorship of the Fourth Gospel. Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documents, i. ...
Tatian clearly quotes the Gospel in his Oratio, which was written perhaps as early as 153 (so Zahn and Harnack), although he does not refer to the author by name. It is a compendium of the Life and Teaching of our Lord, founded on our four Gospels, and containing also some material taken from the Apocryphal Gospels. These lie collected and, with considerable difficulty, put away, substituting for them the four Gospels. ...
The Diatessaron includes the whole of the Fourth Gospel, except 1:6, the first half of 2:23, the Pericope Adulterae, and some other passages that are common to the Synoptics. ...
The significance of Tatian’s work lies in the fact that an authoritative value is attached to the contents of our four Gospels, and that the Fourth Gospel is placed on a level with the Synoptics. Moreover, Tatian’s use of the Fourth Gospel renders it very difficult to doubt that it was also one of the Memoirs of his contemporary, Justin. Unfortunately his testimony has given rise to more questions about the Gospel than it solves. Sanday in his most recent work, The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel, includes, the date of Papias among the ‘unsolved problems’)
Lessons, the - 103-164, as follows: "The Apostleshave taught, as they learned themselves, first the Law and then theGospel; for what is the Law but the Gospel foreshadowed; or what isthe Gospel but the Law fulfilled
Theophilus - The person to whom the Evangelist Luke sent his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles
Cana - This place is rendered memorable in the Gospel, being honoured with our Lord's presence at a marriage
Widely - ) In a wide manner; to a wide degree or extent; far; extensively; as, the Gospel was widely disseminated by the apostles
Grace, Means of - ...
But in popular language the expression is used in a wider sense to denote those exercises in which we engage for the purpose of obtaining spiritual blessing; as hearing the Gospel, reading the Word, meditation, self-examination, Christian conversation, etc
Pamphylia - It was in Pamphylia that Paul first entered Asia Minor, after preaching the Gospel in Cyprus
Abraham Men - Name given in contempt in Reformation days to the poor who were forced to wander and beg alms after the dissolution of the monasteries in England, originating probably from the Gospel parable of Lazarus, the poor man received into Abraham's bosom
Abram-Men - Name given in contempt in Reformation days to the poor who were forced to wander and beg alms after the dissolution of the monasteries in England, originating probably from the Gospel parable of Lazarus, the poor man received into Abraham's bosom
Harmony of the Gospels - Many have laboriously tried to mould the four Gospels into one narrative, thereby more or less destroying what is peculiar to each. Such attempts arise from not seeing that each Gospel has its own characteristics stamped upon it by God. See GospelS
Trophimus - A native of Ephesus, Acts 21:29, and a convert to the Gospel, probably under Paul's ministry
Paraclete - (peh ruh cleete) Transliteration of the Greek word Jesus used in John's Gospel for the Holy Spirit
Stephanas - A Christian of Corinth, whose family Paul baptized, the first convert to the Gospel in Achaia, probably about A
Apostle - ...
Apostles established churches (Romans 15:17-20), exposed error (Galatians 1:6-9), and defended the truth of the Gospel (Philippians 1:7; Php 1:17). Some were empowered by the Holy Spirit to perform Miracles (Matthew 10:1; Mat 10:8) and they were to preach the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20)
Romans - It is the fullest exposition of the great truth that the Gospel is the power of salvation unto all who believe. This epistle is designed to correct certain misapprehensions, and to show that the system of Jewish rites and ceremonies is done away by the Gospel dispensation, and that the way of salvation through Christ is opened alike to Jews and Gentiles, and that whosoever will may come directly and hopefully to Jesus Christ for salvation and pardon from sin
Matthew, Gospel According to - MATTHEW, Gospel ACCORDING TO. The First Gospel in the Early Church . ’ This remark occurs in his work The Exposition of the Lord’s logia , and is practically all the external information that we have about the Matthæan Gospel, except that Irenæus says: ‘Matthew among the Hebrews published a Gospel in their own dialect, when Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the Church’ ( Hær . in India, but the story is very uncertain; Epiphanius says that the Aramaic Gospel of Matthew existed in his day, in the possession of an Ebionite sect (distinguished in modern times as Elkesaites), and describes it; and Jerome describes what he alleges to be the original of Mt. , who choose the translation ‘oracles’) is that it is an early word for the Gospels. The ‘Lord’s logia’ which Papias expounded would be the story of our Lord’s life and teaching, and Papias would mean that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew (cf. The argument against the translation ‘oracles’ is deprived of force if we understand the reference to be, not necessarily to a written record, but to the Gospel story pure and simple, whether written or oral. Papias would then mean that Matthew wrote down the Gospel story in Hebrew. Even if we take the translation ‘discourses’ or ‘sayings,’ it is extremely unlikely that Papias meant that Matthew’s Gospel contained no narrative, though it is quite likely that discourse predominated in it. Mark Ministry, Gospel - An ordinance appointed for the purpose of instructing men in the principles and knowledge of the Gospel, Ephesians 4:8 ; Ephesians 4:11 . That the Gospel ministry is of divine origin, and intended to be kept up in the church, will evidently appear, if we consider the promises, that in the last and best times of the New Testament dispensation there would be an instituted and regular ministry in her,