Biblical Tradition?

I was wondering about this last night, and I would like some opinions about this…

While Catholics believe in the validity of Sacred Tradition; most Protestants, for the most part, reject it as man-made -]garbage/-] nonsense.

What I would like to know is; who were Matthew, Mark, and Luke? While it is widely accepted that the Apostle John wrote the fourth Gospel; who were the authors of the other three? They weren’t counted among “the Twelve.” There’s nothing in the Bible about who they are at all… No mention anywhere. Were they eye-witnesses to Jesus; or was the Story of Jesus and His Ministry passed down to them via SACRED TRADITION; and the authors decided to put pen to paper?

This is more rhetorical than anything else; and non-Catholics are especially encouraged to weigh in.


Protestants generally do not understand what is Sacred Tradition. They do have their own tradition…they just do not realize it…and it has no connection to Apostolic Tradition…:smiley:

Someone correct me if I am wrong in any of this, but it is my understanding that tradition holds Matthew was written by the Apostle Matthew, the tax collector. Mark was a disciple of St. Peter and is traditionally considered to have written his Gospel based on St. Peter’s version (telling) of the events. Luke was a disciple of St. Paul and wrote according to the version he learned from him.

Matthew was one of the Twleve Apostles. Mark, very young during Christ’s life on Earth, was a disciple of St. Peter. Luke was a physician who traveled with St. Paul.

The original author or “Matthew” is traditionally believed to be the apostle Levi, the tax collector. While modern scholarship tends to conclude that the finalized version of “Matthew” was not the direct composition by the apostle himself, the source of the gospel material, known as “Q” has of recent been identified with the “sayings gospel” that Papias claimed St. Matthew composed.

In the late 20th century, some who supported the “Q” source theory concluded that it was exactly as Papias identified the original Matthew gospel, “oracles [sayings] in a Hebrew dialect.” With this current theory critical and traditional beliefs have now meshed to agree with one another: the “oracles” or “Q” source was written by Matthew first and this was later redacted into the final Greek form that could have been finalized by a much older Matthew, but which scholars feel was likely finalized by disciples from his congregation in Syria.

This would explain why Luke, the author of the gospel with his name, leans heavily as “Q” for a source (if it was truly the apostle’s composition identified by Papias). Luke was not an apostle, or even a Jew, but a Gentile traveling companion of St. Paul. Luke offers a combination of sources, mixing “Q” (Matthew’s oracles) with things he may have learned from Paul, and even from interviews, possibly even with the Virgin Mary. He also seems to be aware of the gospel of Mark and used that composition as a source as well.

St. Mark was a companion of St. Peter, the first pope. His gospel is the opposite of “Q”–which was just sayings. Mark’s gospel was more. It was a narrative. Papias said that it was based on Peter’s preaching.

While there are some who hold to some of the older theories, the very latest scholarship goes something like this:

*]The earliest written compositions of Jesus consisted of nothing but a collection of Jesus’ sayings or “oracles.”

*]St. Matthew wrote his collection of oracles first and in Hebrew/Aramaic.

*]Mark, under the guidance of St. Peter, wrote his gospel either around the same time or afterwards, in the form of a narrative.

*]St. Matthew’s original source (which may be what scholars have been calling “Q”) was placed into the form we know now (in narrative form like "Mark), being composed in Greek and translating the “oracle/Q” sayings of the apostle into Greek as well.

*]Luke wrote his gospel next. He used Mark and “Q” as sources. Some scholars view Luke’s gospel as St. Paul’s testimony to Christ since Luke was Paul’s companion, as Mark was to Peter. Luke also wrote a sequel to his gospel about the apostles, now known as “Acts of the Apostles.”

*]John’s gospel was written around 25-30 years afterwards.

Now this is some of the very latest information based on theories developed as late as 4 years ago. Not everyone agrees with the latest theories. Others may have very valid arguments that go contrary to what is written here. But it should be noted that critical studies are finally beginning to match with long-held tradition, at least in some quarters.

And finally, my submission of this information is meant to be informative only. It isn’t meant to reflect my personal opinions on the matter or should be construed as a reflection of my personal convictions. I am but a student in these matters.

Ah, yes… Matthew = Levi the Tax Collector. Got it.

That should explain the Gospel of Matthew. Thank you! But you are saying that Mark and Luke got info second hand, correct?

Very good responses from all of you so far. Thank you!

Yes. Since both Mark and Luke were not apostles, they got their information from other sources (which Luke admits to in the very first sentences of his gospel).

It is because their compositions are traditionally attributed to St. Peter and St. Paul as the apostolic sources that these two gospels are included in the canon. If they had not been these writings would not have been accepted since the Church decided only to use apostolic testimony as a requisite for what would be considered a written gospel.

Mark was a disciple of Peter…he recorded Peter’s account. Mark can be considered Peter’s gospel also.

Luke, who was with St. Paul…is known to have also stayed in Ephesus, with John and the Mother of our Lord…Mary…which sort of explains why there are more details on the infancy of Jesus in Luke’s than in the Matthew and Mark.

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