God used his four Gospels to accomplish a purpose. Each Gospel and author had a different purpose and each focused on the different facets of Jesus and his ministry. “The first three Gospels “are referred to as the synoptic gospels because of the large amount of overlapping materials. (In Greek, synoptic means “seen together’). The Gospel of John is distinguished from the synoptic gospels due to the accounts on Jesus miracles and discourses.” (Mueller 79). The Gospel of John is often used to compare and contrast the synoptic three gospels. The synoptic gospels and their similarities has risen a growing suspicion if the authors had a common source or if they retrieved their information or it has even been argued they copied each other’s gospels. This has caused many growing issues among Christians over a span of time concerning the similarities and differences in each gospel. Between the earliest surviving Gospel and the death of Jesus, four decades had passed; knowing this gives a person reasonable belief Gospels were the true writings. They were written by the authors based on many writings as well as eyewitness testimony. The similarities in Matthew, Mark and Luke can be explained by oral tradition meaning what they saw and heard for themselves; as well as stories and events told by communities during Jesus life and after his death. The first three Gospels are what are known as the “Synoptic Problem”. “The Synoptic Problem addresses the need to account for the similarities and differences in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.” (Mueller 85)
The “Synoptic Problem” is not really a problem at all it is a question which consists of who wrote the first gospel and did one copy from the other? How did the three gospels bear such a likeness to each other and not the Gospel of John? There is no real or correct answer to this question or problem. The synoptic gospels were obviously written in different places, by different people and
Cited: Farmer, William R. THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM . Mercer University Press, 1981. Hanson, R P C. Bp. "Assessment of motive in the study of the Synoptic Gospels”. Modern Churchman (1967.): ns 10 no 4 Jl 1967, p 255-269. James McConkey, Robinson, Christopher, the Sayings Gospel Q: Mueller, J.J., SJ, editor. Theological Foundations. Winona: Anselm Academic, Christian Brothers Publications, 2007. Piper, Ronald Allen. "The gospels behind the Gospels: current studies on Q." Novum Testamentum (1995): 23. Smith, Mahlon H. A Synoptic Gospels Primer. 1997. 17 September 2012 .