GOSPEL COMPARISONS

AN INTRODUCTION TO TRIPLE-TRADITION COMPARISONS

by Dr. Robert L. Thomas (former Professor of New Testament, The Master's Seminary)

With minor modifications, the source of the section numbers and textual arrangements is Earnest de Witt Burton and Edgar Johnson Goodspeed, A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels in Greek (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947) The text followed in the Comparisons is that of the United Bible Society Greek Text, 4th edition. There are three parts to this work as follows:

Part One: Triple-Tradition Comparisons 

The texts used are those of the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Mark, and the Gospel of Luke in sections where all three Gospels include an account.

Each numbered section has seven Comparisons:

  1. one that designates identical words in all three Gospels,
  2. one that designates agreements of inclusion by Matthew and Mark against Luke,
  3. one that designates agreements of inclusion by Matthew and Luke against Mark,
  4. one that designates agreements of inclusion by Luke and Marks against Matthew,
  5. one that designates agreements of omission by Matthew and Mark against Luke,
  6. one that designates agreements of omission by Matthew and Luke against Mark, and
  7. one that designates agreements of omission by Luke and Mark against Matthew.

The Comparisons in parallel columns identify identical forms by underlining in two or three Gospels when relevant to the particular comparison being made. Three words or phrases in parallel columns are underlined in comparisons entitled "Matt-Mk-Lk Identical." Two words or phrases are underlined in parallel columns in comparisons entitled "Matt-Mk Inclusions." These are comparisons in which Matthew and Mark agree against Luke in what they include. Likewise, two words or phrases are underlined in parallel columns in comparisons entitled "Matt-Lk Inclusions" and "Mk-Lk Inclusions." The former of agreements of inclusion of Matthew and Luke against Mark and the latter are agreements of inclusion of Mark and Luke against Matthew.

The Comparisons in parallel columns also identify instances when two of the three Gospels agree with each other in omitting what is found in a third Gospel. The Comparisons citing the omissions of Lukan material by Matthew and Mark are entitled "Matt-Mk Omissions." The Comparisons citing the omissions of Markan material by Matthew and Luke are entitled "Matt-Lk Omissions." The Comparisons citing the omissions of Matthean material by Mark and Luke are entitled "Mk-Lk Omissions." In each of these comparisons the omission is either underlined or "boxed in."

In the comparisons of each section a tabulation of identical words in all three Gospels or agreements of two Gospels against a third Gospel comes at the end of each Comparison. In cases of identical words in all three Gospels, a percentage figure compares the number of identical words involved with the total number of words in the accounts of all Gospels in that particular section.

Care has been taken formulating these Comparisons, but in a work so voluminous errors of various types have undoubtedly crept in. The nature and number of the errors should not affect the final outcome of the Comparisons, however.

Contents

Each section number from the Burton-Goodspeed Harmony has seven subdivisions that appear in the follow alphabetical sequence:

  1. Matthew-Luke agreements of inclusion
  2. Matthew-Luke agreements of omission
  3. Matthew-Mark agreements of inclusion
  4. Matthew-Mark agreements of omission
  5. Matthew-Mark-Luke identical words
  6. Mark-Luke agreements of inclusion
  7. Mark-Luke agreements of omission
Section Number Section Title Matthew Mark Luke
17Ministry of The Baptist3:1-12 1:1-8 3:1-20
18The Baptism of Jesus3:13-17 1:9-11 3:21-22
19The Temptation4:1-11 1:12-13 4:1-13
20The Departure Into Galilee4:12-17 1:14, 15 4:14, 15
24The Healing of Peter's Mother-in-Law8:14-17 1:29-34 4:38-41
27The Healing of a Leper8:1-4 1:40-45 5:12-16
28The Healing of a Paralytic9:1-8 2:1-12 5:17-26
29The Call of Levi9:9-13 2:13-17 5:27-32
30The Question About Fasting9:14-17 2:18-22 5:33-39
31Plucking Grain on a Sabbath12:1-8 2:23-28 6:1-5
32The Withered Hand12:9-14 3:1-6 6:6-11
51The Kindred of Jesus12:46-50 3:31-35 8:19-21
52Parables by the Sea13:1-9 4:1-9 8:4-8
53The Reason for the Parables13:10-17 4:10-12 8:9, 10
54Explanation of the Parable of the Soils13:18-23 4:13-20 8:11-15
66The Stilling of the Tempest8:18:27 4:35-41 8:22-25
67The Gerasene Demoniac8:28-34 5:1-20 8:26-39
68Jairus' Daughter Raised and Others Healed9:18-34 5:21-43 8:40-56
70The Sending Forth of the Apostles9:35–10:4 6:6b, 7 9:1
71Instructions for the Journey10:5-15 6:8-11 9:2-5
76The Departure of Jesus and the Disciples11:1 6:12, 13 9:6
77The Death of John the Baptist14:1-12 6:14-29 9:7-9
78The Feeding of the Five Thousand14:13-23a 6:30-46 9:10-17
86Peter's Confession16:13-20 8:27-30 9:18-21
87Jesus Foretells His Death16:21-28  8:31–9:1 9:22-27
88The Transfiguration17:1-13 9:2-13 9:28-36
89The Epileptic Boy17:14-20 9:14-29 9:37-43a
90Jesus Again Foretells His Death17:22,23 9:30-32 9:43b-45
92Who is the Greatest?18:1-5 9:33-37 9:46-48
99The Departure From Galilee19:1, 2 10:1 9:51-56
136Blessing Little Children19:13-15 10:13-16 18:15-17
137The Rich Young Man19:16-30 10:17-31 18:18-30
139Prediction of the Crucifixion20:17-19 10:32-34 18:31-34
141Bartimaeus Healed 20:29-3410:46-52 18:35-43
144The Triumphal Entry 21:1-1111:1-11 19:29-44
146The Cleansing of the Temple 21:12-1711:15-19 19:45-48
148Jesus' Authority Challenged 21:23-2711:27-33 20:1-8
150The Unfaithful Husbandmen 21:33-4612:1-12 20:9-19
152Paying Tribute to Caesar 22:15-2212:13-17 20:20-26
153The Question About the Resurrection22:23-33 12:18-27 20:27-36
154The Question About the Great Commandment22:34-40 12:28-34 20:39, 40
155Jesus' Question About the son of David22:41-46 12:35-37 20:41-44
156Denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees23:1-12 12:38-40 20:45-47
160Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple24:1,2 13:1, 2 21:5, 6
161Beginning of the Olivet Discourse24:3-1413:3-13 21:7-19
162The Abomination of Desolation24:15-3813:14-23 21:20-24
163Concerning the Coming of the Son of Man24:29-31 13:24-27 21:25-28
164The Time That No One Knows24:32-44 13:28-37 21:29-33
170Conspiracy of the Chief Priests26:1-5 14:1, 2 22:1, 2
172Plot of Judas and the Rulers26:14-16 14:10, 11 22:3-6
173The Last Supper 26:17-3514:12-31 22:7-38
174The Agony in Gethsemane26:36-46 14:32-42 22:39-46
175The Betrayal and Arrest26. 47-56 14:43-52 22:47-53
176Trial Before the Jewish Authorities26:57-76 14:53-72 22:54-71
177The Trial Before Pilate27:1-31 15:1-20 23:1-25
178The Crucifixion of Jesus27:32-56 15:21-41 23:26-49
179The Burial of Jesus27:57-61 15:42-47 23:50-56
181The Resurrection Morning28:1-10 16:1-8 24:1-12

Part Two: Double-Tradition Comparisons 

The Burton-Goodspeed Harmony has 29 sections of double-tradition in the Synoptic Gospels. By underlining identical forms in the two of the Gospels in each section, one can compare the proportions of each section where literary interdependence may or may not have occurred.

Section Number Section Title Matthew Mark Luke
22Call of the Four4:18-221:16-20-----
25Preaching Tour of Galilee-----1:35-394:42-44
33Fame of Jesus12:15-213:7-12-----
34Choosing the Twelve-----3:13-196:12-19
35Character and Duties of Disciples5:1-16-----6:20-26
37Righteousness of the Kingdom and the Teaching of the Synagogue5:21-48-----6:27-36
40On Judging7:1-6-----6:37-42
43On Doing Righteousness7:13-27-----6:37-42
45The Centurion's Servant8:5-13-----7:1-10
47Message From John The Baptist11:2-30-----7:18-35
50Casting Out Demons By Beelzebub12:22-453:19b-30-----
55On the Use of Parables-----4:21-258:16-18
58The Mustard Seed13:31-324:30-32-----
60Jesus' Custom of Speaking in Parables13:34-354:33-34-----
69Rejection at Nazareth13:54-586:1-6a-----
79Walking on the Sea14:23b-366:47-56-----
80Eating With Unwashed Hands15:1-207:1-23-----
81Syrophoenician Woman15:21-287:24-308:40-56
82Return To The Sea Of Galilee15:29-317:31-37-----
83Feeding Of The 400015:32-398:1-10-----
84Demanding A Sign From Heaven16:1-128:11-21-----
93Man Casting Out Demons-----9:38-419:46-48
94On Offenses18:6-109:42-50-----
135Concerning Divorce19:3-1210:2-12-----
140The Ambition Of James And John21:20-2810:35-45-----
147Lesson Of The Withered Fig Tree21:18-2211:20-25-----
159Widow's Mite-----12:41-4421:1-4
165Concerning Faithfulness24:45-51-----21:34-36
171Anointing of Jesus26:6-1314:3-9-----

Part Three: Double-Tradition Comparisons in Triple Tradition Sections 

Triple-tradition sections are listed in Part One of these comparisons. Part Three of the comparisons puts two of the three Gospels at the same time along side each other. These comparisons are implemented in all possible combinations.

The sequence of the comparisons is reflected in the following charts.


Matthew-Mark

Section Number Total Words Identical Words Percentage
173678824.04%
181505435.53%
19213188.45%
201141412.07%
241563824.20%
271567044.30%
2832014845.96%
2920012060.40%
3023213056.12%
312409439.34%
321837641.53%
511679053.80%
5228016258.16%
532093014.49%
5427210036.63%
662705018.32%
6745711224.35%
6863310616.64%
701672414.20%
712364016.74%
763500.00%
7747218238.40%
7845319843.52%
862318034.33%
8739023660.36%
8844021849.77%
894018621.35%
90752228.57%
921613823.31%
99552442.11%
1361075045.87%
13754624845.26%
1391246249.21%
1412004421.89%
14437312633.87%
1462139242.79%
14823516068.05%
15041617441.90%
15221912054.98%
15333217653.29%
1542334418.72%
1551336246.81%
1562092210.38%
160762837.50%
16135914038.76%
16233521062.91%
16318110860.12%
16436516845.78%
1701012826.92%
172632030.77%
17366541262.07%
17437122059.42%
17532717052.28%
17666929844.48%
17774621428.80%
17866533249.85%
1791766033.71%
1813076220.26%
TOTALS16,8416,49839.00%

Mark-Luke

Section Number Total Words Identical Words Percentage
175076813.33%
18923235.42%
19233166.84%
20601015.15%
241825228.26%
271958442.64%
2840714237.65%
292119696%
3027314452.40%
3119811257.00%
322077435.85%
511335037.04%
522368234.85%
53973838.64%
542507630.71%
662096430.19%
6761624840.13%
6865811817.88%
7038820.00%
711314030.66%
762327.69%
77352349.60%
7842910624.59%
861396244.29%
8733318856.38%
883869625.00%
893927017.77%
90962829.70%
921404834.48%
999800.00%
1361199076.03%
13747225854.70%
1391253225.37%
1412315624.35%
14444112227.54%
1461566037.97%
14823813054.32%
15037916844.09%
1522089646.23%
15334117250.73%
154166105.95%
1551086258.18%
156896471.74%
160661420.59%
16137614037.43%
1622445421.88%
1631354028.99%
1642164039.46%
170562237.93%
172662232.43%
17385118621.81%
1742943812.79%
1752626825.76%
1766118413.70%
1776357411.62%
1786799413.80%
1791974220.90%
181305247.69%
TOTALS15,3874,45029.00%

Matthew-Luke

Section Number Total Words Identical Words Percentage
1761624440.00%
181402820%
1938718746%
2010866%
2415575%
271546844%
2833712236%
291857842%
302428033%
312224118%
322043417%
511375238%
522157233%
531873418%
542332410%
662433615%
674239422%
685375210%
7015575%
712344218%
762900.00%
7722730%
783508223%
862225424%
8731316452%
884089223%
892556224%
90801823%
921363425%
9910122%
136973839%
13747117838%
1391093835%
1411853821%
1444538819%
1461774827%
14822512254%
15043512429%
1522155424%
15332912839%
1549222%
1551196252%
156209126%
160601627%
1613558023%
1622725219%
1631504027%
1642797427%
17084810%
172701217%
17383512215%
1743024214%
1753108628%
1765788815%
177852587%
178741628%
1791703219%
181343144%
TOTALS15,5473,54123.00%