If the gospels are eyewitness accounts then why is it clearly evident that Matthew, Mark, and Luke just copied each other? There are so many verses that are exactly the same and that doesn’t make sense if they were based on different eyewitness accounts. If you could help explain this to me that would be greatly appreciated.


Whoever told you that Matthew Mark and Luke “just copied each other,” is giving you some obvious misinformation.  The fact is that by the time Mark wrote, probably the late 50s AD, there already an oral tradition, with a varying content, that was used across all the churches.  Much of what Mark wrote down was a combination of what he had personally experienced (he is a minor character in his own gospel), what he had been hearing as part of the oral tradition, plus what he had gleaned from Peter. Mark was a close partner with Peter.  Then, when Matthew and Luke wrote, they did not re-invent the wheel, but used some of the material from the oral tradition, plus the gospel of Mark.  Matthew added some material from his own first-had knowledge, and Luke did much research to put his gospel together. (by the way, Luke’s is not an eyewitness account) Each gospel is quite different.  Matthew and Luke do borrow some from Mark, but also use the oral tradition and possibly other unknown sources (such as a theoretical Q document) In any case, for both there is more that is different than is the same as Mark. Not a single story is identical. In fact, hardly a single sentence is identical. Often Matthew can be used to explain Luke, Luke can be used to explain John, John can be used to explain Mark and so forth. Here is a link to a power point with several examples of these “undesigned coincidences,” which prove beyond a doubt that these are independent accounts. Undesigned Coincidences  These are clearly independent accounts, but, other than Mark, all had previous gospels as potential starting-points for what they wrote. So, yes, there is a fair amount of overlap, but in no part did any author simply copy any other.  The four gospels are four separate but closely related versions of the life and teaching of Jesus.  Their perspectives are quite different, and this is reflected in the divergencies between the gospels.
John Oakes

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