How is The Synoptic Gospel Better than Four Separate Gospels?

There are many ways that The Synoptic Gospel is better than reading the four separate Gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

The biggest advantage with having a merged harmony of the four Gospels of the New Testament is that when the texts are aligned, and the words are combined and merged on a word-for-word basis, all of the repetition of the stories, and the duplication of their words is removed.  Almost half (49%) of all of the 3,779 verses that make up the four Gospels are repeated or paralleled in one or more of the other Gospel accounts.  By consolidating the overlapping and repeated words, a text is produced that is fully 22% shorter, and this makes it not only faster to read, but the story is now much easier to understand.

A second advantage to having one consistent Gospel story created by combining the four Gospel texts is that removing the duplication and repetition also eliminates the confusion caused by reading the same thing more than once, or even over and over again, as when all four of the Gospel accounts are recalling the same event or saying.  There are several sayings and stories of Jesus that are found in three, and even all four of the Gospel accounts, and it is confusion to have to read the same thing more than once. read more

Commentary on Scene 021 – The Genealogy of The Messiah

CHAPTER 0

Act 2 – The Genealogy of Jesus

Scene 1 – The Genealogy of The Messiah

Matthew 1:1-17

  1. The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:
  2. Abraham was the father of Isaac,
  3. Isaac the father of Jacob,
  4. and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
  5. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar,
  6. Perez was the father of Hezron,  Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  7. and Hezron the father of Ram.
  8. Ram was the father of Amminadab,
  9. Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
  10. and Nahshon the father of Salmon.
  11. Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab,
  12. Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth,
  13. and Obed the father of Jesse.
  14. Jesse was the father of David the King.
  15. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah.
  16. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam,
  17. Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
  18. and Abijah the father of Asa.
  19. Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
  20. Jehoshaphat the father of Joram,
  21. and Joram the father of Uzziah.
  22. Uzziah was the father of Jotham,
  23. Jotham the father of Ahaz,
  24. and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
  25. Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
  26. Manasseh the father of Amon,
  27. and Amon the father of Josiah.
  28. Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
  29. After the deportation to Babylon: Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel,
  30. and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel.
  31. Zerubbabel was the father of Abihud,
  32. Abihud the father of Eliakim,
  33. and Eliakim the father of Azor.
  34. Azor was the father of Zadok,
  35. Zadok the father of Achim,
  36. and Achim the father of Eliud.
  37. Eliud was the father of Eleazar,
  38. Eleazar the father of Matthan,
  39. and Matthan the father of Jacob.
  40. Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.
  41. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations;
  42. from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations;
  43. and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

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In this third post of the Scenes of The Synoptic Gospel a new Act begins, entitled, The Genealogy of Jesus.  You can probably guess what this Scene is about…

This Scene is taken entirely from the Gospel of Matthew, where verse 1 begins with, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, …” 

It is interesting to note that the name “Jesus” is the first and also the last name that is mentioned in the New Testament, so that He is like the book-ends that hold the entire cannon together.  And this means that the New Testament is clearly about Jesus Christ.

This record has usually been considered to be through Joseph, the “father” of Jesus, and it represents a royal lineage which mentions many of the Kings of Israel, as opposed to the genealogy that is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, which has traditionally been seen as listing a more priestly lineage through His mother Mary, and we will examine that in the next post, on the commentary of Scene 022. read more

An Interview with Daniel John – Part 2

Has this type of Harmonious Merger of the Gospels existed before?

Long before there were the four Gospels that we have today, placed side-by-side as a collection in the New Testament, the four accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were combined in a merged harmony called, the “Diatessaron“, in about 160 CE.  The creator of that unified Gospel account was a man named Tatian, who was a student of Justin Martyr in Rome. After Justin died, Tatian continued his school, until he came into conflict with the Church of Rome, and left the city.

A Harmony of the GospelsIt should be noted that in the year 160 CE, when Tatian was compiling his merger, there were many Gospel accounts, and collections of the sayings and teachings of Jesus Christ, being circulated throughout the growing church. By some accounts, there were more than 20 such “Gospels”. Of those, Tatian used just four, the same four accounts that are found in every New Testament of Jesus Christ today.  Why he used these four Gospel accounts, in favor or lieu of the others, was likely because he knew John’s Gospel to be inspired, and perhaps he used the other three because they were so similar. read more

Commentary on Scene 012 – The Word of God

CHAPTER 0 – PROLOGUE

Act 1 – Foreword

Scene 2 – The Word of God

John 1:1-5, 9-10, 14

  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  2. He was in the beginning with God.
  3. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
  4. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
  5. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.
  6. There was the true Light, which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
  7. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
  8. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him –
  9. but we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

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Listen to the audio:

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This second Scene from The Synoptic Gospel is taken entirely from the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and is one of the most deeply profound and spiritually significant theological statements that has ever been made!

It is appropriate to use it here in the Prologue Chapter of The Synoptic Gospel because it talks about beginnings.  This is the beginning of The Gospel Story of Jesus Christ, and it opens the New Testament, even as the opening line of the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

From the first verse, “In the beginning was the Word. …” the first thing to consider is: the beginning of what?  The beginning of God?  The beginning of the Word?  The beginning of Heaven or the heavens?  The beginning of the universe?  Or is it merely the beginning of the earth?

The second question is, what is “the Word”?  And if “word” means something that is spoken verbally, as a command, who is the one that spoke it? read more

The Essential Pastor’s Tool – FIVE COLUMN

FIVE COLUMN – The Synoptic Gospel is a valuable tool for every Pastor to use when composing a Sermon or lesson from the Gospels!

Now it is easy to see which Gospel verses are part of a parallel set – meaning that the same saying or story is told in two or more of the four Gospel accounts. While it does not always make a difference as to which version of a story is used from which Gospel, sometimes the differences between the accounts can be very important, and in these cases, it is useful to see what the different versions of the saying or event from each of the Gospels are.

FIVE COLUMN Scene 863Until now, a sermon or lesson would include verses from one Gospel, or another, and unless the person creating the sermon had the use of a Four Gospel Harmony – which aligns the parallel sections of the Gospels in four columns side-by-side – then neither they, nor their audience, would even be aware that the same story was mentioned, with differences, in one or more of the other Gospels. read more