The Synoptic Gospel – The four Gospels as one
Have you ever noticed how many stories from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ are told in two or more of the Gospel accounts? Or wondered why only some teachings and events are recorded in all four of the Gospels, but each with slightly different wording and details?
The Greek term synoptic describes the material that is shared and repeated between the Gospels, and it means seeing together or seeing as one. The amount of material that is shared between the four Gospels ranges from as little as 10% of the contents of John being found within the other three Gospels, to the 85% of Mark’s Gospel which is synoptic with the others. This also means that only 15% of the Gospel of Mark is unique to Mark, and that at least 90% of John is unparalleled material that is mentioned only in John’s Gospel.
While having four witnesses to the life of Jesus Christ is reassuring, the overlap and repetition found between their stories can make it difficult to know the full sequence of all of the events that happened. In addition, those teachings and stories which are mentioned in more than one Gospel account can become emphasized over time, while you may seldom hear of an event that was recorded only once.
To create a single, unified account of every detail from all four of the Gospel accounts, their texts were arranged in four parallel columns side-by-side, which is known as a harmony. To make the sequence of all of the events easier to follow and understand, the Gospel verses were arranged in the FIVE COLUMN harmony according to a carefully constructed chronological timeline for the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
The next step of unifying the four Gospels removed the duplication by copying only one version of each paralleled word into the fifth column. With the duplication reconciled, the unified fifth column text, known as The Synoptic Gospel, is 22% shorter to read when compared to reading each of the four individual Gospel accounts back-to-back.
To show that 48% of the unified synoptic Gospel story is actually the words that Jesus Christ Himself spoke, a red letter edition was produced, known as The Red Letter Gospel. Read The Synoptic Gospel to know the full Gospel story of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and use The Red Letter Gospel to see the words of Jesus in red! Available as an ePub, PDF, printed book and audiobook.
For more information about FIVE COLUMN, The Synoptic Gospel and The Red Letter Gospel, visit synopticgospel.com. (Save 10% with code: light22)