Synoptic Gospel

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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM:

A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM

AND DEFENSE OF MARKAN PRIORITY

A RESEARCH PAPERSUBMITTED TO DR. ROBERT KENDALL
FOR NEW TESTIMENT INTRODUCTION – NBST 525

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE MASTERS OF ARTS PASTORAL COUNSELING DEGREE
IN THE LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

BY

EDWIN KRZYZEK (STUDENT # 25767621)

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA
APRIL 2013
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION: UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM1
A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF SYNOPTIC RELATIONSHIPS2
Relationships in Vocabulary2
Relationships in Structure3
Relationships in Explanatory Material3
Relationships in Old Testament Quotation4
INVESTIGATIVE HISTORY OF SYNOPTIC RELATIONSHIPS4
The Early Church4
Modern Church6
PROPOSED SOLUTIONS TO THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM7
The Augustinian Proposal8
The Two-Gospel (Griesbach) Theory8
The Two-Document Hypothesis…………………………………………………………..9 The Four-Document Hypothesis10
MARKAN PRIORITY: A REASONABLE DEFENSE11
Synoptic Differences ……………………………………………………………...……. 11 Stylistic Features ……………………………………………………………………….. 12 Reasons for Mark ………………………………………………………………………. 12
CONCLUSION14
Bibliography15

ii

INTRODUCTION: UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM
When reading the Synoptic Gospels it is immediately apparent that similarities exist. The term synoptic means “presenting or taking the same or common view.” Since the first three books of the New Testament display such a high degree of agreement in the substance and arrangement, we say they are “synoptic.” In fact, the similarities are so significant that it appears that the authors must be referencing and borrowing material. While a substantial number of agreements exist, there are also many disagreements. How the three synoptic Gospels interrelate is what we define as the “Synoptic Problem.” Interestingly, calling it a “problem” presupposes that there is something to solve. However, the views of each synoptic author provide a mutually enriching view of Christ Jesus. Nevertheless, there are questions that need to be answered when examining the synoptic relationships. First, what does the Synoptic Problem look like in the Scriptural text? Next, what has the historical investigation revealed? Finally, one must ask if the proposed solutions to the problem are taking into consideration the totality of evidence. The purpose of this study is to answer these questions and give a reasonable picture of the Synoptic Problem, concluding with a defense of Markan Priority.

A GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF SYNOPTIC RELATIONSHIPS
Comparative efforts of the Synoptic Gospels occur in four major points. These are categorized as (1) Vocabulary (wording); (2) Order (structure); (3) Explanatory Material (Parenthetical); and (4) Old Testament Quotations. Relationships in Vocabulary

Using the Feeding Five Thousand story we can see an illustration of vocabulary relationships in the comparison chart below. The highlighted text shows a clear interplay between the words used by each author. Matt 14:19b-20 Taking the five loaves and the two fish (ichthus), looking up into heaven he blessed, and breaking, gave to the disciples the loaves, and the disciples to the crowds. And all ate and were satisfied. | Mark 6:41-42 And taking the five loaves and the two fish (ichthus), looking up into heaven, he blessed and he broke up the bread, and was giving to the disciples in order that they set before them, and the two fish he distributed to all. And all ate and were satisfied. | Luke 9:16-17 But taking the five loaves and the two fish (ichthus), looking up into heaven, he blessed them and he broke up, and was giving to the disciples to set before the crowd.

And they ate and were satisfied.|
Using this method we can see a significant similarity in wording as to show a literary relationship. More to the point, it would show a pronounced familiarity with one or more of the works. The...
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