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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LITERARY DEPENDENCY

LITERARY DEPENDENCY SIMPLY MEANS COPYING FROM ONE GOSPEL TO ANOTHER

The false witnesse's accused Jesus as follows -

This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days' (Matt 26:61)

We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.' (Mk 14:58)

BUT

These false witnesses misquote, as false witnesses do, from the book of John, (Jn. 2:19) not from Matthew or Mark as one would expect. It is not in either of these books. These statements are similar but have a different sense because the verbs are different, which definitely indicates that neither Mark nor Matthew were copied from each other. They are different statements uttered by different people. And humanly speaking John must preceed Matthew and Mark because that is the source of the quote. This of course, need not be the case when the Gospels are divinely inspired.

MOREOVER

The two statements are not the same statements but separate statements by different witnesses and occur in different books. If there was literary dependancy one would expect the statements to be the same statement and attributed to both witnesses. There are a great many similar instances where the dialogue in two or more Gospels are similar but have a different sense and hence are definitely not the same statement, indicating that the Gospels were independently written. See Jesus' baptism

AND

How did Matthew and Mark know what happened at the trial if they were not present? The statements above are only heard at the trial by John, not Matthew or Mark who record them but John who does not record them. How did Matthew and Mark know what was recorded in John, if John was not written? Would John tell Matthew and Mark these words but not record them himself in his own Gospel? It makes good literature to have an important prophetic statement at the beginning of a book falsely quoted at the end in the climax.

Why does John not do this? Why do Matthew and Mark also not do this by inserting the original prophesy in the beginning of their their books, after all, it is a pophesy that they may have heard Jesus speak in Jerusalem, although not being disciples at that time? In fact the literary quality of this only comes out when all the Gospels are put together in a harmony.

This speaks in favour of Divine inspiration, is contrary to literary dependency and indicates that God desires us to be able to read the Gospels as a harmony.

AND

The genealogies of Matthew and Luke are in a different order to each other. This rules out a common written source such as may have been found in temple records, for no one copies documents in reverse order. In fact Luke's genealogy would never have existed in Jewish records because it ends with a declaration that Adam was the son of God. This is not an idea that is really found elsewhere in Scripture, for although man as a whole is regarded as sons of God, no particular man, especially Adam, one who would be considered reprobate would be so called, nor would the possiblity that Jesus was not the son of Joseph but merely the supposed son of Joseph and hence fatherless and thereby illegitimate, be considered a son of God, for the illegitimate son under Mosaic Law was not counted as one of God's people. Luke, indeed no one, would copy from Matthew and reverse the genealogical record.

This is strong evidence against the possibilty of books of the Gospels being copied one from another but it certainly supports revelation by the Holy Spirit.