Comparing the Synoptic GospelsBy: Nick Rock, Alex Bennet-Fernandez, Ryan Aldrich and Ian Waller
The Three Synoptic Gospels • Matthew, Mark and Luke are often called the Synoptic Gospels. “Synoptic” is a Greek word meaning “having a common view.” • These writers especially wanted to write about the parables and miracles of Jesus. • The Gospel of John is quite different from the other three. He put his Gospel together from a different point of view. Rather than emphasizing the details of Jesus’ life, he wanted to give a deeper reflection of Jesus’ life as a whole.
Similarities of the Synoptic Gospels All three of the Synoptic Gospels emphasize the life of Jesus and specific details of the events during the year prior to his crucifixion. For example, all three focus on the ministry of Jesus while Jesus’ involvement with the poor and suffering are rarely mentioned in John’s Gospel. Throughout the Synoptic Gospels, the humanity of Jesus is emphasized where in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ deity is emphasized. Additionally, there are many examples where the specific details of the life of Jesus differ from those related in the Gospel of John. For example, the Synoptic Gospels refer to the burial shroud of Jesus as a single piece of cloth while John’s Gospel refers to the shroud as multiple pieces of cloth.
Similarities of the Synoptic Gospels (continued) Similarly, all of the synoptic gospels speak of one or more women visiting the tomb of Jesus on the Sunday following his crucifixion while John’s Gospel indicates that Mary went alone. Also, the Synoptic Gospels contains more than 2 dozen references to Jewish teachers or scribes who are puzzled and angered by Jesus’ teachings while there is no reference at all to such scribes in John’s gospel.
Matthew’s Gospel Matthew’s Gospel is very similar to the other two synoptic Gospels, however, it is not exactly the same. Matthew included some material in his Gospel that is not included in the others. For example, Matthew wrote of 8 beatitudes while Luke only wrote of 4 beatitudes and he told about them in a completely different way.
Mark’s Gospel Mark’s Gospel is also similar to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the synoptic Gospels, however, it does have great detail on Jesus’ life and his parables and miracles. Even though Mark’s Gospel is the shortest Gospel, it still is a very detailed and interesting Gospel.
Luke’s Gospel Luke’s Gospel is the last of the synoptic Gospels. In his Gospel, he first tells about the major births in the Bible such as the birth of Jesus, John the Baptist and Mary. Then, he tells about their lives and the affect they had on Christians at that time. Lastly, he tells of the parables and miracles of Jesus. Luke’s Gospel is a vital book to the Bible and relates all the stories of the Bible clearly and thoroughly.
Conclusion • The three synoptic Gospels are the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. All of these Gospels are similar to each other. They are, however, not exactly the same. All three also differ from the Gospel of John in theme, content, time duration, order of events and style. • Some of the Synoptic Gospels convey the same information in different ways. The main focus of the three Synoptic Gospels are the parables and miracles of Jesus, the life of Jesus and the births of the important disciples of Jesus in the New Testament. They also concentrate on his ministry in Galilee. • The Synoptic Gospels are important as they give us meaningful information about the actual life and teachings of Jesus.