Reconciling the Difference between the Synoptics and John


#1

Hello fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have a question that has come up when looking into the biblical presentations of Jesus Christ and researching a historical Jesus as well as theological. It seems that the synoptics and John provide two differing accounts in certain senses. For example, the Synoptics will use the parables and similes to allude that Jesus is the messiah. However, in John, it is very early presented that Jesus is the messiah and that he is the ‘way the truth and the light.’ Is there a way or is there a need to formulate an argument to present both presentations of Jesus?

God Bless.


#2

Here is how I explained it to my son yesterday. Of the gospels, two were written by apostles, two by road warriors, so to speak. I do not know if Matthew or Mark came first, but it seems clear they are written to different audiences, and in different styles. Luke traveled with Paul, who also traveled with Mark. So no doubt these stories which were passed around orally for years will seem very much alike. I know scholars like to refer to a common source (Q) that the synoptics came from, but I just call it stuff that the apostles and early disciples talked about. Mark wrote it down, Matthew wrote it down, then along comes Luke and does the same.

This is the background from which, years later, John decided he needed to write his gospel. Of all the people in the world, there was none more qualified, except maybe Peter who did seem inclined to writing a gospel. There really would be no need to repeat much of what was already written, but rather there was a lot of good stuff that John knew needed to be told. He may have been the last living person that knew some of the things that Jesus said.


#3

Both John and the Synoptics are historical. The differences are in the purpose for the writing and the audiences the authors wrote to.


#4

John was still receiving revelation decades after some of the other Apostles had died. Since the synoptics were written 30-50 years before, their content was well known. John filled in what was not in the synoptic Gospels. His purpose was different.

But wait! The early Church was not established or run on a “bible”, a “book”, “scrolls” or any writing. No one searched for the “Q” source. It was the oral Apostolic teaching and preaching. Read the Prologue to Luke (Luke 1:1-4). Theophilus learned nothing - zero, zip, nada - from Luke’s Gospel. Luke wrote it only to confirm the oral Apostolic teaching that Theophilus had already received.

Read the Didache, the earliest non-canon writing extant. It was composed while the Apostle John was still living and preaching. In it, there is not a single mention of any writing of any type. It is the pure Church as Jesus founded it. You do not need a bible or any writing to be a Christian. We are blessed to have the scriptures, they are irreplaceable, but they are not absolutely necessary to the true Church.

Since 16th century European man invented sola scriptura, we are tricked into proof texting, slinging verses and demanding written proof. The primitive Church did none of this. They simply believed and obeyed.


#5

Amen! :thumbsup:

Some time ago there was a poll asking which was more damaging to Christianity…something like that. And the choices were communism, atheism, secularism a couple of more. But I selected one that wasn’t on the list…protestantism. The separation of Jesus from His Church and making the Bible the sole means for each individual to come up with their own religion…I think atheism,etc. are the result of that.


#6

John put it all together years later, whereas the others were eyewitness accounts.
There’s nothing to reconcile.
The message is the same.
Christ is the Messiah.
Follow Him.
He’s coming back.
Get busy.


#7

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.