Did Matthew Copy from Mark?

Most biblical scholars conclude that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke include large portions of the earlier gospel of Mark in their own accounts. Vocabulary, grammar, structure – in some places the text is verbatim. More than 80% of Mark is found in Luke and more than 90% is found in Matthew (https://bible.org/article/synoptic-problem).

As an example here are a few verses from the Last Supper.

Luke 22 Mark 14 Matthew 26
17And he received a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18for I say unto you, I shall not drink from henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave to them, 22And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye: this is my body. 23And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it. 26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

You can see the obvious parallels between the gospels. If Matthew was sitting with Jesus at the Last Supper, why would he copy someone else’s account, especially Mark (companion of Peter) who may not have even been there? This is a defining period of his life, which he supposedly died defending later – why copy? Why not his own words?

This is just an example there are many more – take a look at http://www.para-gospel.com to further compare the synoptic gospels. It’s hard to argue that the accounts are independent eye witnesses.


Pre-emptive replies:
1) It’s not 97% and 88% – Hopefully you agree that large portions were copied – Why should any of Matthew or Luke come from Mark?
2) Matthew and Luke weren’t eye witnesses – Agreed, then this question isn’t for you
3) Matthew was first – ok, then why did Mark copy Matthew?
4) The text is inspired by the Holy Spirit/written by god – Then where do disagreements come from? And what about the Gospel of John (92% unique)? Was that not inspired?
5) They are describing the same events, so there is similarity – It’s not the similarity that we’re discussing, it’s the copying

Further reading:
https://goo.gl/hC9LKX – Discussion of why Mark is the earliest gospel
https://goo.gl/J9DuuH – Broader discussion of the Synoptic Problem

Further questions – Why does Matthew refer to himself in the 3rd person? Were the gospels anonymous? Why do the passion accounts vary so wildly?

Thoughts to mail@fizzingatoms.com

2 comments on “Did Matthew Copy from Mark?”

  1. John baskette says:

    I agree with you, but you need a better example. The last supper could be a case where a common memorized ritual formula is being quoted, not the other gospel.

    1. fizzingatoms_x66bvv says:

      Fair point – any suggestions?

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