Last time we studied the authors of Mark and Luke and in this post we will finish up with Matthew and John. As those who have been regular visitors to this blog know I believe that the Gospels are the absolute center of the Bible and the words of Jesus are the absolute center of the Gospels. I realize that for many of you do not choose to believe as I do. You may not see the words of Jesus as having any more significance to your daily life than any other words in Scripture. It seems that many Protestant sects put more weight on the Pauline epistles and its many rules than they do on the direct words of our Creator. I know some of you say that all the words in the bible are from Jesus; I respectfully disagree with that assumption. I hope you will respect my belief that you are sadly misguided in this area. Anyway, let’s get on with the focus of this post.
The Gospel of Matthew, which fills out the synoptic Gospels was written by the Apostle Matthew who like Peter and John sat at Jesus’ feet. There was very little doubt about the authorship of this Gospel among the early Christians. But, as it would be there is now some doubt. Some say it is obvious that Matthew takes much of his text from Mark and why would the Apostle Matthew need to do that as he also was with Jesus for the three years of his ministry. Many dispute this claim and just say that Matthew cited much of Mark to just substantiate what Mark was saying. I kind of buy into that argument. It is generally believed that Matthew was completed around the same time as Luke. The Jewish nature of Matthew’s Gospel is somewhat unique to the other Gospels. If Matthew was born around the same time as Jesus then that would have made him about seventy years old at the finishing of his text. That would be a very old and mature man in those times.
The Gospel of John is unique to the four Gospels. This gospel has many touches, that the other don’t have. It has more personal recollections of an eyewitness. John just seemed to take his writings more personally than the other three authors. That is probably why the Gospel of John is considered the favorite of many Christians today. It might be because his gospel followed the other three and he just thought he would add personal things that the others did not include. John was also trying to influence the Greek thinkers of the time. The traditional view of the date of the writing was believed to be around 85 AD which is about 50 years after Christ’s ascension. That would make John a very old man for the times. The same John is often attributed to also writing the book of Revelation. The dating of that book is generally thought to be about 95 AD. So if the Apostle John did indeed write Revelations he was a about 100 years old at the time! But the authorship of Revelations is much in question today and was so even back in the early times. They say that there is just too much difference in the writing style of the Apostle for Revelations be from John. I have no opinion on that as Revelations is probably my least favorite, and therefore least studied, book of the New Testament.
This concludes our look at the believed four authors of the Gospel accounts.