Note 5.2 - Overlap Among the Four Gospels

Due to the large amount of parallel and overlapping stories shared between Matthew, Mark and Luke, it is generally accepted that Matthew and Luke likely borrowed material from Mark's Gospel, in addition to other sources, such as a yet unfound Q document (German: Quelle, meaning "source").

The relationship between the three Gospels and Q.There are many theories that additional documents must have existed to account for the unique material found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and these are from supposed M and L source documents, which may have been as pre or proto documents or sources, possibly made as early transcriptions of the first recordings of oral accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus.

There are many theories about the original source documents that contributed to the "modern" Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  These origin theories are noted in simplest terms by the number of source documents involved, as a “Two Source Hypothesis”, three source, four, six, and so on.

The relationship between the 3 Gospels and other sources.While it is interesting and useful to know which of the four accounts was written first, and who borrowed or copied which material from whom, and to speculate about what their original source documents may have been some two thousand years ago, the intent of The Synoptic Gospel is merely to align and harmonize the words of the texts of the four Gospels of the New Testament, to produce a single, unified and complete Gospel account of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.