A Little Note on the Gospels

John and Mark do not mention Peter walking on water. Seems like a fairly important event not to include in their Gospels! Do you have a quick guess why?

(source: Facebook Conversation)

OK, I totally stole someone else’s conversation on Facebook.  But it was a good question, and I never could resist trying to answer good questions (yes, even as a kid).

My answer:

John has all three Synoptics available when he writes his Gospel, so he feels much more free to develop themes and frame the events, rather than repeat them. Mark is the briefest of the Gospels, and is traditionally believed to be John Mark’s recording of Peter’s testimony to the life of Christ. One could hypothesize that Peter declined to put himself in the spotlight, but that is probably not necessary. Matthew’s outline was probably known to all, as he likely compiled a “sayings Gospel” in Aramaic almost 20yrs before writing his Greek Gospel (we don’t have the Aramaic text today). I would suggest that Luke, gathering the greatest breadth of testimony, had Matthew’s information and most of Mark’s in hand when writing. So it makes sense that several accounts found in Luke and Matthew are not elsewhere.

Here are a few loose threads for further reading on the subject:

Flawed but still helpful Wikipedia discussion of the “Hebrew Gospel Hypothesis.”

Good discussion of the authorship of Matthew’s Gospel by Jimmy Akin:

Regardless of what sources this individual may have used, the book exhibits far too much literary architecture and organization to be a patchwork document assembled without a single authorial vision. As evidence for this fact, I would point both to large-scale structures in the work, like the fact that the sayings of Jesus that are scattered in Mark and Luke tend to be gathered into collected discourses on distinct topics that are then organized chiastically

(source: Let Matthew Be Matthew)

Evangelical scholar William Varner’s work on the Didache, which discusses the strong literary evidence that Didache, James, and Matthew in Greek have a common Aramaic–>Greek source that would have to be available in Palestine before the late 50s.  (that’s the 50s, not the ’50s.)