How Many Words of Jesus Christ are Red?

Now that The Red Letter Gospel has been completed, which is a red-lettered edition of The Synoptic Gospel, the question has been asked, “What percentage of the Gospel is just the words of Jesus Christ?”

To begin, the full word count of the complete texts of the four Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, from the English version of the NASB (New American Standard Bible), is a total of 83,680 words.

The Synoptic Gospel - Scene 674When the texts are arranged in the four Gospel harmony and word-for-word merger of FIVE COLUMN: The Synoptic Gospel, the combined Gospel is 65,493 words, or just over 22% shorter in length.  This 22% is mostly the duplication that is repeated within the parallel sections of Gospel verses, which is excluded in the combined text of the fifth column.

Counting only the original words of Jesus Christ from The Red Letter Gospel, and excluding where other people repeat in speech words that He said (which would also be colored red), the count of His words is 31,426, or almost 48% of the entire Gospel!  This means that almost one half of the entire unified Gospel story are only the words of Jesus! Amazing! read more

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

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

The Gospel as Four Witnesses?

In discussing a single Gospel account that is unified from the texts of the four Gospels of the New Testament, I have many times heard some version of this statement, which is usually given as an objection to a having merged Gospel:  “It is important to have the four different Gospels, because they are like four witnesses,” and then they usually add, “at a traffic accident.”

For a while thi4 Gospel Writerss made sense, until I thought about it.  In the first place, the Gospel story of The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ is not a “traffic accident”  – whatever you mean by that.  Could a worse analogy be chosen, besides anything else to do with witnessing a murder, war or other crime?

Why not use a positive, meaningful analogy, like, “Four witnesses to a birth” – as in the birth of Christianity. Or perhaps, “four witnesses at the Coronation of a King”; or “four witnesses at a wedding”, as Jesus is pictured as a Groom, and the Church as His Bride (Revelation 19:7, 21:9).  You can pick any nice event that requires witnesses, and it will be better, rather than to think of the four Gospel writers as witnesses at a “traffic accident”. read more

Why Merge The Gospels?

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Why merge the four Gospels?  It is important to preserve each of the four individual accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, because each contains unique sayings, events and stories that are not found within the others.

Yes, that is true, and the world will always have the four Gospels as they now appear in all of the versions of the New Testament of the Holy Bible.  However, because there is overlap and duplication amongst so much similarity, the benefits of producing a single, concise account has long been recognized, and the first attempt at a merger of the content of the four Gospels into a single storyline may have been Tatian’s Diatessaron of 160 CE.

Because there are differences in the details that each account records, no single instance of a parallel saying or event could by itself be considered complete or accurate if it lacked a detail that is mentioned in the text of one or more of the other Gospel accounts.  For this reason, the only way to know the full detail of all of the things that Jesus Christ said and did and taught, is to read all four of the Gospel accounts.  As to why these particular four Gospel accounts have been preserved together, in lieu of any and all others, see The Synoptic Gospel – Note 5.1: Why Are There Four Gospels? read more