John and the Synoptics

In this video, Professor Mark Goodacre helps us understand John’s use of the Synoptics.

Mark Goodacre is a New Testament scholar and Professor at Duke University. He has written extensively on the Synoptic Problem; that is, the origins of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He has defended the Farrer hypothesis, and thus accepts Markan priority but rejects Q.

Goodacre earned his MA, M.Phil and DPhil at the University of Oxford and was Senior Lecturer at the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham until 2005. He is a committed Christian.

Categories: Bible, Biblical scholarship, Scholarship

30 replies

  1. Islam is false, Bilal. You can try desperately to undermine and discredit Christianity all you want in order to reassure yourself, but it won’t change the self-evident fact that Muhammad and his Quran are frauds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OK for the sake of argument let us assume you are right. Now what do you make of John’s gospel and its relationship with the synoptics? Remember too that Goodacre is a Christian believer not an enemy of your faith.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Buahahahaha.
      O the frustration of the xtians who know full well their bible is just a mess written by unknown potatoes and getting exposed by their own scholars is just something amazing to watch.
      PW posts something about xtianity and all this kid can do is throw a toxic comment about Islam.
      You don’t even have one authentic word of Jesus in your NT. O what a failure your cult is.
      Islam is the only true religion of God Almighty.
      Xtianity is a joke at best. Get over it already kid. The sooner you realize that, the better.


    • LOL, brother Atlas, that’s all they can do. They have no answers and neither does their religion. So, they lash out at Islam in their desperation.

      Sammie, why did youR Canaanite god “inspire” John to be so far off from the Synoptics?

      Liked by 2 people

    • AT & QB,

      Sorry dumb and dumber but Islam couldn’t be more false. Pity you indoctrinated sods refuse to decipher the blatant obvious. But you just carry on defending child molestation, racism, and barbarism. It speaks volumes about the kind of hopeless bad intentioned pair of idiots you jokers are.


    • LOL, bad sammie sounds a little mad!

      Brother Partridge, I think these idiots have realized that people no longer buy into the BS of their religion. They are frustrated that people are leaving their idiotic religion by the millions, so all they can do is lash out and make hilarious statements. It’s a mark of their desperation. Educated people see through the lies of Christians. Truth is their bane. Lying is their only hope. That is why they belong in hell with their true father, Satan.


  2. God doesn’t need a tradition Paul- your words remember. So why the hypocrisy? You hate Christians that much?


    • There are Christians and there are Christians. Some good some evil.

      What do you think of John and the Synoptics? Both written by men not God.


    • Oh the irony! A bigoted, hate-filled Christian is complaining about hatred?

      Liked by 2 people

    • That’s called a false dichotomy. I’ve already told you, God doesn’t need a tradition. He speaks for himself. If you find that answer unsatisfying, then perhaps don’t use it yourself?


    • Your God certainly does need tradition.

      ‘For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures..’ 1 Cor 15.

      Paul received a tradition which he handed on to others. I notice that there are no verses anywhere in the OT that say what Paul claims about a messiah.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Goodacre on one thing – John was familiar with the Synoptics. Goodacre said “John was intimately familiar with the Synoptics”. Being an eyewitness himself, he already knew the details of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and since he was closer to Jesus than the others (he and Peter were the two closest), he had other details that the Synoptics left out.

    I don’t agree that John embellished anything; it is all true and and he focused on Jesus’ Jerusalem ministry and more private details and speeches, whereas the Synoptics focused on Galilee ministry. John did not see the need to repeat all the information that was already there in the 3 Synoptic gospels.


    • I think John embellished a great deal. It explains its difference to the synoptics. The Jesus of John is quite different to the Jesus of the synoptics. Both cannot be historical.


    • Paul Williams wrote:
      I notice that there are no verses anywhere in the OT that say what Paul claims about a messiah.

      I Cor. 15
      The Messiah died for our sins according to the Scriptures
      Isaiah 53
      Psalm 22
      Daniel 9:24-27 – Messiah will be cut off – see same concept in Isaiah 53:8 – he will be cut off. (died)
      Genesis 3:15 – the one to come from the woman’s seed (points to the virgin birth – Jesus is Ibn Maryam) would crush the serpent’s head. (defeat Satan)
      Genesis 12:3, 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10 – the seed to come from Abraham would be the one who would be a blessing to all the nations. (see Galatians 3:6-8 and Galatians 3:16 – The Messiah)

      that He was raised from the dead on the third day
      Psalm 16 – Messiah son of David raised from the dead – (Acts 2, 13, Hebrews 1, 5 show believing Jews of that day understood these verses in this way.)
      Jonah 1:17 – on the third day
      Psalm 110:1 – ascension to heaven and session at the right hand of the Father includes the resurrection from the dead.
      Daniel 7:13-14 – the son of Man goes up to the ancient of Days on clouds of heaven and receives a kingdom of people from all nations – Revelation 5:9; 7:9

      Jesus quoted these last 2 verses at His trial in Mark 14:60-64 and in Matthew 26 – the reaction of the chief priest and his previous question shows that the Jews understood that the Messiah is also Son of God and that those verses are about the Messiah.


    • Poor reply. None of these passages state that a Messiah would die for our sins. Its a made up doctrine.


    • Daniel 9:24-27 speaks about atonement, Messiah and Messiah being cut off; and that is a similar concept to the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:8 -“he will be cut off from the land of the living” and Jesus Himself said He is that suffering servant – Messiah – Mark 10:45.


    • 24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city,
      to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.
      25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
      26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
      Daniel 9:24-26

      “By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
      And as for His generation, who considered
      That He was cut off out of the land of the living
      For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
      Isaiah 53:8

      Messiah, atonement, dying for sins – its all there.

      And Jesus pointed to this text in Daniel 9 in Mathew 24 and Mark 13 showing that He was talking about 70 AD in verse 26 which proves Messiah died first, then 40 years later, 70 AD destruction of the temple happened.


    • Ken,

      Let’s read a scholarly & respected translation of this passage (Daniel 9 in the NRSV below). The Jewish Bible tells of many anointed people, kings, prophets, priests, even pagans. In itself it means someone especially commissioned to do God’s work. Daniel laments over the sin of Israel and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (verses 3-14); he begs God to turn away his anger against “your desolated sanctuary” (verse 17); he pleads for God’s forgiveness (verses 18-19).

      Next Gabriel appears (verses 20-23) and gives Daniel a vision which is narrated in verses 24-27. In the context of other historical references the anointed leader probably refers to either Zerubbabel or the high priest Joshua (Ezra 3:2; Hag. ch 1; Zech. 6.9-15), while the anointed one is most likely the high priest Onias III, killed in 171 BCE (2 Macc. 4.30-34). In the Jewish Bible “mashiah” never refers to the future ideal David king. That idea came much later. The prince is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Verse 27: Half a week, the three and a half years of the Maccabean revolt that had transpired to that time.

      All in all there is no reference to a future messiah dying for the world’s sins, and his resurrection from the dead three days later. Paul made this up.

      Daniel 9

      Daniel’s Prayer for the People
      In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who became king over the realm of the Chaldeans— 2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, must be fulfilled for the devastation of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9 has the prophet speaking in exile in Babylon and

      3 Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

      ‘Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

      7 ‘Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. 8 Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

      11 ‘All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. So the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers, by bringing upon us a calamity so great that what has been done against Jerusalem has never before been done under the whole heaven. 13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favour of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his[a] fidelity. 14 So the Lord kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us. Indeed, the Lord our God is right in all that he has done; for we have disobeyed his voice.

      15 ‘And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made your name renowned even to this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, in view of all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath, we pray, turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace among all our neighbours. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord,[b] let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. 18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!’

      The Seventy Weeks
      20 While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He came[c] and said to me, ‘Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision:

      24 ‘Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.[d] 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its[e] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place[f] shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.’


    • 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.”
      Daniel 9:26


    • it doesn’t say what Paul claims, that the messiah will die for the world’s sins, be buried, and be raised on the 3rd day.


    • “John did not see the need to repeat all the information that was already there in the 3 Synoptic gospels.”

      So he mentioned new stuff that would not have been known to anyone at the time? Oh, that makes it better! How convenient!

      And if it was not important to repeat the information mentioned in the Synoptics, then why was there a need for THREE gospels all repeating the same information? Of course, they didn’t just copy each other. Rather, they took great liberties at changing the information when they wanted. But other than that, they basically just repeated the same story over and over.


    • Paul

      “I think John embellished a great deal. It explains its difference to the synoptics. The Jesus of John is quite different to the Jesus of the synoptics. Both cannot be historical.”

      There’s no issue here as far as I’m concerned. The synoptics clearly show that those close to jesus did not fully comprehend who jesus was – this is consistent with jesus being the lord incarnate. God’s ways are simply too transcendent for humans to comprehend.

      The later work of John merely shows that his followers had time to come to terms with and understand what they had encountered.

      John merely shows a deeper understanding of who jesus was.

      Your objection backfires on islam, though. The religion of islam – which comes mostly from the man created hadith that relies on incorporating pagan practices – is largely not found in the “eternal word of allah”.

      The hadith which came about 200 years or so after the events of mohammed’s life, describe religious practices that are simply notfound in the quran.

      Simply put, your allah’s holey book is not islamic.


    • “The hadith which came about 200 years or so after the events of mohammed’s life, describe religious practices that are simply notfound in the quran.”

      Yes because they are “religious PRACTICES”. The Quran gives us the Word of God. It says to follow the Prophet and obey him. He teaches us to practice the religion in light of the Quran. That’s been the Islamic position for 1400 years.
      Who is better equipped to walk in the way of God then the one whom the book of God was given to.
      Besides they don’t come 200 years after the Prophet. They were written down 200 years later. We have hadith science to figure out which hadiths are authentic. Now let me ask you what do you know about your oral tradition? If we just look at the gospels then that oral tradition is about 30-65 years.
      But even if it was 30-65 seconds it wouldn’t matter cus if you don’t know the oral tradition then it wont matter even if the gospels were written at the time of Jesus himself.
      And lets pretend the OT (70% of your holey bible) coming MANY hundreds of years later orally with zero chains of narrations that we can check is a no biggy.

      “incorporating pagan practices”
      A xtian talking about pagan practices. O the irony!
      A mangod (who is called the word of god in John 1 and yet you tried to make a peep sound about the recitation of the Quran near Aisha during menstruation. So your word of god going through a vagina is by your ‘argument’ f****d up!) coming out of a vagina to be spit upon is not pagan at all OBVIOUSLY.

      “Simply put, your allah’s holey book is not islamic.”
      What a moronic conclusion. The Quran trumps everything else. It has the highest authority.
      So the Quran is within Islam and most Islamic literature is not found in the Quran so your “logical” conclusion is Quran is not Islamic?
      What has that retarded cult called crosstianity done to you people?

      Islam is the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.
      Not pagan joel’s retarded mental gymnastics.


    • belieber

      “Yes because they are “religious PRACTICES”. The Quran gives us the Word of God. It says to follow the Prophet and obey him. “

      Yet another example of your prophet disobeying his god….

      Narrated Zayd ibn Thabit: Al-Muttalib ibn Abdullah ibn Hantab said: Zayd ibn Thabit entered upon Mu’awiyah and asked him about a tradition. He ordered a man to write it. Zayd said: The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) ordered us not to write any of his traditions. So he erased it.
      Dawud Book 25, Number 3640

      Do you see it? Your god commanded that you follow your prophet. Your prophet commanded that you don’t.



    • Joel how about you first read the responses given to these types of questions first.
      I’ve heard this one before and it’s a bad argument.
      You only quote one piece of the Prophet’s saying. In Sahih Muslim it gives us a larger hadith containing the saying found in Sunan Dawood (which you quoted):
      “Do not write (what you hear) from me, and whoever has written something (he heard) from me, he should erase it. NARRATE to others (what you hear) from me; and whoever deliberately attributes a lie to me, he should prepare his seat in the Fire.”

      It wasn’t allowed to be WRITTEN down. But the tradition was allowed because the narrating his saying were allowed!
      As for the writing of the hadith, Taqi Usmani explains:
      The actual reason was that in the beginning of the revelation of the Holy Qur’ân, the companions of the Holy Prophet were not fully familiar with the Qur’ânic style, nor was the Holy Qur’ân compiled in a separate book form. In those days some companions began to write the ahâdîth along with the Qur’ânic text. Some explanations of the Holy Qur’ân given by the Holy Prophet were written by some of them mixed with the Qur’ânic verses without any distinction between the two. It was therefore feared that it would lead to confuse the Qur’ânic text with the ahâdîth.

      It was in this background that the Holy Prophet stopped this practice and ordered that anything written other than the Holy Qur’ân should be rubbed or omitted. It should be kept in mind that in those days there was a great shortage of writing paper. Even the verses of the Holy Qur’ân used to be written on pieces of leather, on planks of wood, on animal bones and sometimes on stones. It was much difficult to compile all those things in a book form, and if the ahâdîth were also written in the like manner it would be more difficult to distinguish between the writings of the Holy Qur’ân and those of the ahâdîth. The lack of familiarity with the Qur’ânic style would also help creating confusion.

      For these reasons the Holy Prophet directed his companions to abstain from writing the ahâdîth.

      But all this was in the EARLIER period of his prophethood. When the companions became fully conversant of the style of the Holy Qur’ân and writing paper became available, this transitory measure of precaution was taken back, because the danger of confusion between the Qur’ân and the hadîth no longer existed.

      At this stage, the Holy Prophet himself directed his companions to write down the ahâdîth. Some of his instructions in this respect are quoted below:

      1. One companion from the Ansâr complained to the Holy Prophet that he hears from him some ahâdîth, but he sometimes forgets them. The Holy Prophet said:

      “Seek help from your right hand,” and pointed out to a writing. [Jâmi’ Tirmidhi]

      2. Râfi’ ibn Khadij, the famous companion of the Holy Prophet says, “I said to the Holy Prophet [that] we hear from you many things, should we write them down?” He replied:

      You may write. There is no harm. [Tadrîb-ur-Râwi]

      3. Sayyiduna Anas reports that the Holy Prophet has said:

      Preserve knowledge by writing. [Jâmi’-ul-Bayân]

      4. Sayyiduna Abu Râfi’ sought permission from the Holy Prophet to write ahâdîth. The Holy Prophet () permitted him to do so. [Jâmi’ Tirmidhi]

      It is reported that the ahâdîth written by Abu Râfi’ were copied by other companions too. Salma, a pupil of Ibn ‘Abbâs says:

      I saw some small wooden boards with ‘Abdullâh Ibn ‘Abbâs. He was writing on them some reports of the acts of the Holy Prophet which he acquired from Abu Râfi’. [Tabaqât Ibn Sa’d]

      5. ‘Abdullâh ibn Amr ibn al-‘Aass reports that the Holy Prophet said to him:

      Preserve knowledge.

      He asked, “and how should it be preserved?” The Holy Prophet replied, “by writing it.” [Mustadrik Hâkim; Jâmi’-ul-Bayân]

      In another report he says, “I came to the Holy Prophet and told him, ‘I want to narrate your ahâdîth. So, I want to take assistance of my handwriting besides my heart. Do you deem it fit for me?’ The Holy Prophet replied, ‘If it is my hadîth you may seek help from your hand besides your heart.” [Sunan Dârimi]

      So then, in conclusion, we may say that there is an abundance of hadiths which mention the writing of hadith in the lifetime of Muhammad (peace be upon him). There is also evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself issued letters and written commands and teachings etc. Therefore, the hadiths were written in the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) lifetime, though not systematically, and that non-Quranic writing that occurred at that time cannot be doubted. Furthermore, there can be no doubt that many Companions and the Successors also actively wrote hadiths. The problem is ascertaining when precisely in his (peace be upon him) career the permission to write the hadith was granted and the precise reason why it was disallowed in the beginning.


    • AT,

      Only conclusion we can take from that sorry excuse for apologetics you just typed/copied/pasted is that Islam is a self contradiction mess.


    • Contradicting#


    • And where exactly lies the contradiction?


    • And it’s amazing I have to hear this from a cross worshiper who’s cult is nothing but a bunch paradox bullshit!
      mangod pagan concept
      jesus (god) having a god and still there is one god
      etc etc etc

      When your cult is filled with bullshit then it’s best you try and conceal it instead of trying to throw your bs on others in an sorry ass attempt to distract from the waste that is crosstianity.



  1. John and the Synoptics | kokicat

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