Distrust: “Scholars Agree!”

It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order [the Gospel of Luke], most excellent Theophilus.  Luke 1:3 NASB

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Q, and John – what?!

Many scholars agree that there are five gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, Q, and John. I don’t agree, which will cause a dissing of whatever scholarly credentials that I possess.

Make another cup of coffee and pray for an increased dollop of scholasticism to read this Interruption.

We will discuss Matthew, Mark, Luke, but not John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have similar content, sometimes word-for-word. John, written later, doesn’t have the same focus, so is eliminated from this discussion.

Scholars dwell in ivory towers and sometimes must justify their existence, so, while smugly sitting in one in 1900, they decided:

If Mark was written first, and Matthew, along with Luke, were written afterward, then Mark was the origination of the material that is similar in both Matthew and Luke. Now, where did the material come from that is in both Luke and Matthew but not in Mark?

Let’s conspire and say, “Scholars agree that the similar content of both Luke and Matthew comes from Q. Wow, we just discovered a new gospel.”

Viola – the existence of Q.

Thus, a lot of scholars (not discredited Pastor Grant) agree that there are Matthew, Mark, Luke, Q, and John as gospels – five gospels not four gospels. Q stands for the German word “Quelle” which means “source.”

I don’t see why the scholars couldn’t have come up with a better name. (The Gospel of Grant has a nice ring to it.)

The problem?

There is no historical evidence for Q. None! Absolutely nothing! No one in nineteen hundred years of church history mentioned it and no ancient documents contain a book that could be called “Q.”

But today’s scholars agree, so, in Q we trust.

Those of us who want to believe the ancient church fathers and diss the Ph.D.’s from Yale and Harvard should accept that we will be disinherited from any claim to scholarship. We will need to find comfort in following common sense.


Perhaps scholars should believe in the inspiration of the gospels by the Spirit. Faith is often more coherent than intellectualism. There is a sniff test that learned Ph.D.’s can’t pass when it comes to Q.

I do believe the gospel writers used sources, and they were connected to one another. There is a good tradition that Luke, Mark, Peter, and Paul were in Rome at the same time as a scroll of the Gospel of Matthew.

Let’s get this straight…

(Luke/Paul – source of the Gospel of Luke) in Rome with a copy of the Gospel of Matthew along with (Peter/Mark – source of the Gospel of Mark).

I believe Matthew was written first and was well-known when Mark and Luke were written. I think Mark and Luke could have used Matthew as a source. Luke mentions at the beginning of his gospel that he investigated everything.

Peter/Mark along with Luke/Paul in Rome with a copy of the Gospel of Matthew, easily accounts for matched and unmatched content. Just add the Holy Spirit and viola – the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke!

Also, throwing out Q eliminates the consideration of renaming it the Gospel of Grant!

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