Article 4 – Parallel Wording Differences

Within the four Gospels of the New Testament, many teachings and stories of Jesus Christ are mentioned in two or three of the accounts, and some events are mentioned in all four.  Within the many sets of parallel verses there are almost always differences in the specific words and word-forms that each account records.

One common type of wording difference is the use of synonyms to convey the same basic meaning of thought, such as when "Rabbi" is used in one Gospel, and "Teacher", or "Master", or even "Lord", in another; or "young donkey" in one account, and "colt" or "foal" in the other(s).

A second type of difference occurs within the parallel verses when the Gospels all use the same root word, but with different suffixes, as when they describe the action as taking place in a different tenses - such as the present and the past, or even the future.  Examples of this include "walk" "walking" and "walked"; and "say" "saying" and "said".  Different suffixes on the same root word also occur when something is mentioned as being single in one Gospel, and as plural in another.

Whatever the wording differences between the texts of the synoptic verses, in those many places of duplicated repetition, only one word or word-form could be retained and copied into the fifth column of this book, and this required that a choice be made as to which word, words, or word-forms would be used, and which would not be retained.  Word retention choices were generally made so that each line of text within the fifth column flowed logically and smoothly to the next line; and where the choice concerned the action tense of a word or sentence, the preference was to leave the action in the present tense.

For more information on the choices that were made to harmonize the wording differences among the parallel sections of the four Gospels, see Note 1.2 - Harmonize the Parallel Verses.

It is noted that for every word choice that was made in the fifth column of this book, another person might see it another way, and make a different choice.  As such, Five Column - The Synoptic Gospel is open to review and comment.  If you have some constructive feedback or a suggestion that would improve this work, please share it using the Feedback Page.  All feedback and suggestions for the improvement of this work are greatly appreciated, especially those that enhance future editions.