The Synoptic Gospel Problem
by Bobby Bruno 5/05/2014 / Bible Studies
As a believing, born again, Holy Spirit filled, Christian, I look upon the synoptic problem as no problem at all. To me the word of God is just that, no matter who wrote the gospels when, where, or how. For me, God gave these men the words; they obediently wrote them down and passed them on for future generations to know who Jesus is and what He came here for. When men start to reason about, instead of pray and read the Bible, I tune them out and let the Spirit of God inform me as to what I am to believe and follow as His child.
The Synoptic Problem is defined as how the first three gospels relate to one another based on what sources were used for each depending on which gospel was written first. It is believed that the book of Matthew was written first and that the other gospels used it as a source for their information. Although there are some similarities between the gospels, such as they are all about Jesus and who He was to us. The two most important ones to hang our beliefs on are that all the writers were eyewitnesses to Jesus' preaching, and that they were all written shortly after Jesus' ascension into heaven. This helps to give great validity to the gospels' being authentic and true.
The sources that made the writing of the gospels possible was, first, the Holy Spirit who gave the writer the words to copy down; and then second, each other's words and also eyewitnesses to Jesus time here on earth. But one source is a source of great confusion is the source only known as "Q". This source has never been found, but has been debated as a possible source for each gospel writer.
The main sources used by each gospel writer that has been confirmed are each other, along with their own and other's eyewitness. Depending on who is doing the deciding, the book of Matthew was the first gospel to be written and was written independently of other sources but
his own eyewitness; some say Matthew was written with some of Mark's and Q's input. The book of Mark is said to have followed Peter in his travels and recorded all that he saw along the journey; Mark may have used some of Matthew's writings to fill in gaps. It is said that Luke may have used many eyewitnesses to compile his gospel, possibly even using the "Q" writings as a source. John's gospel was the only one written to an individual, and by his own admission, used many reliable eyewitnesses to gather his information into a complete whole so that all may be known about Jesus' time here on earth.
As long as men debate about who wrote what, when it was written, where the writers got their information from, the longer it will take them to finally see what the Gospels are really for: instruction of who Jesus is and why He came to save humanity for Himself. I've never believed in debating anything the Bible says, as debating is just a way for people to not come to any conclusion about what they are debating about; debating is nothing more than arguing until somebody wins, even if they are wrong.
The solution to the synoptic problem is easy: read the bible and follow what it says. I subscribe to the literal interpretation of the Bible, except where a literal interpretation would not give a sense of what the scriptures are saying. When man begins to reason out the Bible, God is usually left out of the picture. That's when Satan does his best work to undermine the lives that Jesus wants to save. That's when the seed is choked off and God flies away in the chaff. The problem with the "synoptic" gospels is men who don't want God; they just want to be right.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.