There are several different positions on who wrote each of the four gospels, the order of their composition, and the sources used. Below is rough outline of Robert Alan King’s position on the history regarding the authors, the order of composition, and the sources used for each of the four Gospels:
- Matthew was the first Gospel composed of the four, and it was originally written in Aramaic for Christian Jews. Matthew may have written this Gospel as a joint effort by or with the assistance with some of the other apostles, disciples and/or eyewitnesses. The Greek version of Matthew was a later translation from the Hebrew relying upon Mark and Luke for much of its own translation. It is also probable that the Greek Matthew was expanded further with some additional content from both Mark and Luke.
- Mark was a shorter version of Matthew’s Gospel in Greek as an oral script for public presentation to an audience consisting of primarily Hellenistic Jews and God-fearers who spoke Greek. Mark translated from Matthew and added some of Peter’s input and testimony to compose this Gospel in Greek. It was probably the first Greek gospel of the four.
- Luke was written in Greek after Matthew and Mark, using Matthew, Mark and other sources or witnesses, geared toward a Gentile Christian audience.
- John was composed last of the four Gospels, drawing the most heavily upon the eyewitness testimony of John, as well as parts of Mark and possibly Luke.
King rejects the hypothesis of a Q Document as conjecture, finding it much more likely that Matthew was composed entirely from oral testimony and remembrance. Luke may have used some additional written sources besides Matthew and Mark (but most, if not all, of his additional content, probably came from oral interviews of eyewitness testimony). There is no necessity to imagine a non-existent document in the composition of the four Gospels.
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