THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM

ARE THERE ERRORS IN THE BIBLE?
ARE THERE ERRORS IN THE GOSPELS?
IS THERE LITERARY DEPENDENCY IN THE GOSPELS?
COPYRIGHT NEIL CADMAN B Sc.(Arch.) B Arch. M.Rel.Ed.
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CHAPTER CHRONOLOGY

EVERY CHAPTER IS CHRONOLOGICALLY SET, EXCEPT ONE

Having seen that there is an overall chronological framework to each Gospel, the next step is to examine the introductory verse of each chapter, to see if there is any indication that the chapters themselves follow each other in chronological order. The following arrangement shows the first verse of each chapter with chronological indicators highlighted

LEGEND
I Indicates indeterminate order
F Indicates following order
C Concurrent order
R Retrospective order
Then Bold type in mauve illustrate chronological indicators

MATHEW



The book of the generation of Jesus Christ (1:1)

Initial

But Jesus having been born... (2:1)

F

But in those days John the Baptist came preaching... (3:1)

F

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit... (4:1)

F

But seeing the multitudes, He went up... (5:1)

F

Beware that you do not your alms... (6:1)

F

Judge not that you be not judged... (7:1)

F

But when He was come down from the mountain... (8:1)

F

And having entered into the boat, crossed over... (9:1)

F

And having called His twelve disciples... (10:1)

F

And it came to pass when Jesus had finished commanding. (11:1)

F

At that time Jesus went through the grain fields... (12:1)

F

The same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. (13:1)

F

At that time Herod the Tetrarch... (14:1)

F

Then came to Jesus... (15:1)

F

And having come to Him... (16:1)

F

And after six days... (17:1)

F

At that time the disciples came to Jesus... (18:1)

F

And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these sayings... (19:1)

F

For the kingdom of heaven... (20:1)

F

And when they drew near Jerusalem... (21:1)

F

And Jesus answering and spoke to them again... (22:1)

F

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes... (23:1)

F

And going forth Jesus went away from the temple... (24:1)

F

Then shall the kingdom of heaven... (25:1)

F

And it came to pass when Jesus had finished all these... (26:1)

F

But morning having come... (27:1)

F

But late on the Sabbath as it was getting dark toward the first... (28:1)

F




MARK



The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ... (1:1)

Initial

And again he entered Capernaum after some days... (2:1)

F

And he entered the synagogue again... (3:1)

F

And again he began to preach by the sea... (4:1)

F

And they came to the other side of the sea... (5:1)

F

And they went out from there and came to His own country... (6:1)

F

And are gathered together to Him the Pharisees and some of the... (7:1)

F

In those days, the multitudes being very great... (8:1)

C

And He said to them...here standing... (9:1)

F

And He arose from there and came to the region of Judea... (10:1)

F

And when they drew near Jerusalem... (11:1)

F

And He began to speak to them in parables... (12:1)

F

And as He went out of the temple... (13:1)

F

But after two days it was the Passover... (14:1)

F

Immediately in the morning... (15:1)

F

And being past the Sabbath... (16:1)

F




LUKE



There was in the days of Herod... (1:5)

Initial

it came to pass in those days... (2:1)

F

But in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberus Ceasar. (3:1)

F

But Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit returned from the Jordan... (4:1)

F

But it came to pass, as the multitude pressed about Him, that He stood by... (5:1)

F

But it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first that... (6:1)

F

But when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people... (7:1)

F

And it came to pass afterward, that He went through every city and village... (8:1)

F

But having called together His twelve disciples ... (9:1)

F

But after these things the Lord appointed seventy others also... (10:1)

F

And it came to pass as He was praying... (11:1)

F

In the meantime, when a innumerable multitude of people had... (12:1)

F

There were present at that time some who told Him about the Galileans... (13:1)

F

And it came to pass as He having gone into a house...on the Sabbath ... (14:1)

F

And all the tax collectors and the sinners were drawing near... (15:1)

F

He also said to His disciples... (16:1)

F

But Hesaid to the disciples... (17:1)

F

But Hespoke a parable to them... (18:1)

F

And having entered He passed through Jericho... (19:1)

F

And it came to pass on one of those days, as He taught in the temple... (20:1)

R *

But having looked up He saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury... (21:1)

F

But the feast of unleavened bread drew near, which is called Passover... (22:1)

F

And having risen up the whole multitude... (23:1)

F

But on the first day of the week... (24:1)

F




JOHN



In the beginning was the word... (1:1)

Initial

On the third day... (2:1)

F

There was a man of the Pharisees... (3:1)

I

Therefore when the Lord knew...He left... (4:1-2)

F

After these things there was a feast of the Jews... (5:1)

F

After these things... (6:1)

F

After these things... (7:1)

F

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives... (8:1)

F

And passing on... (9:1)

F

Truly, truly, I say to you... (10:1)

F

But there was a certain man who was sick... (11:1)

F

Therefore six days before the Passover... (12:1)

F

But before the feast of the Passover... (13:1)

F

Let not your heart be troubled... (14:1)

F

I am the true vine... (15:1)

F

These things have I spoken... (16:1)

F

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes... (17:1)

F

These things, Jesus having said. He went out... (18:1)

F

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him... (19:1)

F

But on the first day of the week... (20:1)

F

After these things... (21:1)

F

* This is a little ambiguous. It could mean on one of the days just past or on one of the days immediately following. At this stage it is best to assume that it is retrospective by as much as a week or two. This does not mean that it is not chronologically ordered as it is still a chronological indicator but perhaps a little vague.

CONCLUSION

It can be clearly seen that the introduction of almost every chapter of each Gospel follows its preceding chapter in chronological order. There is only one retrospective verse, (Lk. 20:1) and one concurrent verse (Mk. 8:1) and one indeterminate verse (Jn. 3:1) All others indicate a sequential flow of events.

If each chapter begins with a sentence that follows the last sentence of the previous chapter and within those chapters there are eighteen incidents, which are chronologically fixed, it can now be said that there is a definite overall chronology to the Gospels. However at this stage it has yet to be proved whether or not every event is chronologically ordered. For on the basis of there being apparent disordered events such as the temple cleansing there is still a prima facie case that chronology is not consistent throughout the Gospels.

Jesus says, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Jn. 12:48