V.12. Did the Gospel Writers Copy From Each Other?

Question: I have been told that the Gospel writers copied from each other. Is there any truth in this?

Answer: Whenever you hear something like this, always ask the person for proof. Of course, there is none. Each writer is inspired to write as directed by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God in 2 Peter 1:21 says,

“For the prophecy (i.e. God’s Word) came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”

Here are just a few examples to disprove the theory. Matthew records the following which are not recorded in any of the other Gospels:

  1. Visit of the Wise Men (2:1-12).
  2. Parable of the Ten Virgins. (25:1-13).
  3. The Tribute Money. (17:24-27).
  4. Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. (20:1-16).
  5. Discourse on the Judgment Day. (25:31-46).

Mark only records:

  1. The Return of Christ to Capernaum (2:1-12).
  2. Blind Man Healed at Bethsaida (8:22-26).

In Luke only do we find:

  1. Gabriel appears to Zacharias (1:5-22).
  2. Birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80).
  3. The Seventy Sent Forth (10:1-16).
  4. Healing of the Ten Lepers (17:11-19).
  5. Dying Thief’s Confession (23:39-43).

Only recorded by John are:

  1. Discourse of New Birth (3:1-21).
  2. Samaritan Woman (4:4-26).
  3. Raising of Lazarus (11:1-46).
  4. Washing the Disciple’s Feet (13:1-20)
  5. Promise of the Holy Spirit (16:7-15).

Some of the Gospels give the same event, but with additional information. For example, John 12:3 records that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus, but mentions nothing about Mary pouring the ointment on the head of Jesus. Mark 14:3 records the same event, but gives the additional information of Mary anointing Christ’s head with the ointment. Mark in 14:3 records three things not recorded by John. (1). The event took place in the house of Simon, the Leper. (2). The ointment was in an alabaster box. (3). She broke the box. John records several things not found in Mark, such as: (1). Mary took a pound of ointment. (John 12:3). (2). The house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (John12:3). (3). Judas objects to Mary’s anointing Christ. (John 12:4,5).

Now, back to the anointing of the feet by Mark and the anointing of the head by John—both are correct! This is verified by Christ, Himself, in Mark 14:9 when Christ stated, “She is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” The body would include both head and feet. The Holy Spirit inspired both Mark and John as to what to record with their pens, as

“All Scripture is given by  inspiration of God.” - 2 Timothy 3:16

This is why the four Gospels were written, to give us a complete composite of facts concerning our wonderful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; and, to show the foolishness of the accusations attacking the infallible Word of God. (1 Corinthians 1:19,20).


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