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The Writing of the New Testament

Sometimes layered under the hype of doctrine and dogma relating to the writing of the Scriptures, one finds some interesting verses among the inspired writ which causes pause and one to scratch ones head. Of these, which are many, the writing of the NT is replete with examples. First, let’s realize that we have no idea HOW inspiration worked, as God chose not to bore us with the gory details. From words we have developed a doctrine or a dogma of how “we think it worked” but the mechanics are not clear. In fact, the original words in Greek should be examined and understood first, since the English (a relatively modern language at that, is but a poor substitute for the richness of the words originally chosen to express such in the Greek. Now I am sure that will open me to castigation by my KJV friends, but in the words of my friend Billy Kelly: “At least while you are chewing on me, you can let someone else rest.”

So let’s get back to the New Testament. First, you need to know that there exists more than 40 gospels from NT times. Some of these are more together, from the existence of copies standpoint than are the four Gospels in the NT. Most scholars agree that the Gospel of Mark is the oldest, and there is evidence that some of the Gospel was used by the other three in their writing as source material. They share the same stories, in the same order, and often in the same words.

So now to get to the point of this blog…..Luke, in the beginning of his Gospel says, “Wheras, many have attempted to compile a narrative of the things which have been fulfilled among us, just as eye witnesses and ministers of the word delivered them over to us, (these narratives being those some 40 or so other Gospels), it seemed good to me also, having followed all these things closely from the beginning, to write for you an orderly account” (Luke 1:1-3) (Note in parenthesis is mine).

So Luke admits the existence of these other gospel writings and this apparently this includes the book of Mark which made it into the inspired writings, and yet Luke says that his book is written to give an orderly account, which apparently was reflecting on the lack of order of these other books including the Gospel of Mark. And of course you can see the questions raised by this assertion. But Luke, who apparently had a low opinion of Mark’s Gospel did not ignore it completely, as he used many of Mark’s stories in his own writing, sometimes in Mark’s own language. Luke and Mark are both second-hand accounts. But it is interesting that they are written well before (widely accepted) either of the two first-hand accounts of Matthew and John.

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