Yeshwanth Bakkavemana

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The similarities and differences between the Fourth Gospel and Synoptic Gospel

  1. Introduction

The task of bringing out the similarities and differences of the Gospel of John in relation to the synoptic Gospels is a very complex task. Many scholars have undertaken this task and expounded the reasons behind the similarities and differences between the fourth Gospels and synoptic Gospels. The whole task of bringing out the similarities and differences is made on the assumption that the John’s Gospel was written after the synoptic Gospel. This paper mainly deals with the question “does John complements the Synoptic Gospels or does he surpasses them or contradicts them? The other issue this paper deals is about the dependent and independent origin of John’s Gospel in relation to the Synoptic Gospels. Has John depended on the Synoptic Gospels or on any other sources in composing his Gospel? Is there any probable explanation other than these two theories. Due to the limitation of this paper, I have selected few topics and presented the arguments of different scholars and my own reflections were added in each of the sections.

  1. The content:

The Gospel of John is a theological work written in a framework of Jesus’ life on earth. Traditionally this is placed alongside with the synoptic gospels. Raymond E. Brown states that “the very fact the John is classified as a Gospel is based on a tradition similar in character to the traditions behind the synoptic Gospels.”[1] Though it is placed alongside with the synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John has striking differences in its topography. All the three synoptic Gospels record Jesus’ Galilean ministry to a large extent where as his ministry in “Jerusalem was in the week leading to Passover, at which he was opposed by the Jewish rulers, arrested, tried and put to death by the Romans.”[2] In the Gospel of John, the ministry of Jesus is mostly concentrated in Jerusalem and Judea. The only description of Jesus’ Galilean ministry is of three signs in John 2: 1-11; 4: 43-54; and in chapter 6. This is a striking difference between John and the synoptic Gospels.

  1. The beginning of Jesus’ ministerial carrier:

In John’s Gospel, we see Jesus had already started his ministry in Judea at the same time as of John the Baptist. Whereas in the Synoptic Gospels we see Jesus ministry and his call to the first disciples after the imprisonment of John the Baptist.

  1. The time span of Jesus’ ministry:

Now, coming to the length of Jesus’ ministry, in Synoptic Gospels, though it is difficult to come up with the accurate length of his ministry. There is one visit mentioned where Jesus visits Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover. By this we may probably confine Jesus’ ministry to one year because after his visit to Jerusalem he was crucified there. In the Gospel of John we see Jesus is present at Jerusalem during three Passovers. So, extends Jesus’ ministry over two more years.

  1. Cleansing of the temple:

In the synoptic Gospels, the cleansing of the temple occurs during Jesus ministry whereas in John’s Gospel, it occurs at the beginning of Jesus public ministry. “This has led many to assume that Jesus cleansed the temple twice.”[3] Many scholars attribute the synoptic date of this event to be accurate. Why John mentioned this event at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry? The reason could be that John was trying to emphasize “its significance”[4] in understanding Jesus’ ministry.

  1. Difference in the meaning of “Temple cleansing act” :

As we have observed that all the four Gospels record “temple cleansing act”. Each gospel has its own meaning and significance in recording this event. Matthew presents this event immediately after the “triumphal entry” which signifies the fulfillment of the promise made in Deuteronomy 18: 15. The cleaning of the temple depicts the authority of Jesus as a King. In Mark, this event signifies “the symbolic destruction of the temple.”[5]For John this act signifies “the replacement of the temple”[6] with Christ’s death and resurrection.

  1. Differences in the date of “the Last supper”:

In John’s Gospel, we see that “the Last supper” took place on the eve of the Passover (Jh. 13: 1; 18: 28). In Synoptic Gospels, “the Last supper” was a Passover celebration. When we examine the Jewish traditions, the Passover was celebrated on two different dates. “One on the basis of a solar calendar, followed by the Essenes, the other a lunar calendar, observed by the Jewish authorities.” If it is on the basis of solar calendar, then the Passover would on Tuesday and on the basis of Lunar calendar, the Passover would be on Friday. However, the dating of “the Last supper” is an issue. Some scholars say that according to Synoptic gospels Jesus and the disciples had “the Last supper” in anticipation of the Passover celebration.

  1. In relation to the Synoptic Gospels:

When compared to the synoptic Gospels John omits many accounts which are by themselves characteristics of the synoptic Gospels. As mentions earlier, John focuses on Jesus’ ministry in south, in Judea, Samaria, than in Galilee while synoptic Gospels focuses on Jesus ministry in the North. The accounts like “narrative parables, the account of transfiguration, the record of institution of the Lord’s supper and many of Jesus’ pithy sayings”[7] were omitted and thematic concepts like Kingdom of God or Kingdom of heaven are also not to be seen. We also see frequent visits to Jerusalem and extended discourses and the resurrection of Lazarus and much more. But John supplements a new material which the synoptic Gospels make no mention. This unique material which John is presenting should be given a serious consideration. This is a “growing tendency”[8] to consider the historical, geographical and social details of the John’s Gospel. Now this brings us to an issue whether John is dependent on the synoptic Gospels or he composed the Gospel independent of the synoptic Gospels.

  1. Similarities between John and the synoptic Gospels:[9]

There are notable similarities when compared with the synoptic Gospels. For example

  • spirit’s anointing of Jesus as testified by John the Baptist (Mark 1: 10 and John 1:32),
  • the difference between the baptisms of the John the Baptist and Jesus (Mark 1: 7-8 and John 1: 23),
  • the feeding of the five thousand ( Mark 6: 32-44 and John 6: 1-15,
  • the walking on the water ( Mark 6:45-52 and John 6: 16-21).

There are some few parallels in the sayings of Jesus too, though they are not identical but partial. For example Matt. 9:37; Jh. 4:35, Mk. 6:4; Jh. 4:44, Matt. 25: 46; Jh. 5:29, Matt. 11: 25-27; Jh. 10: 14-15, Mk. 4:12; Jh. 12:39-40. It is inevitable for us to doubt whether John is literarily dependent on the synoptic Gospels or he is dependent on other sources other than synoptic Gospels.

  1. Dependence on the synoptic Gospels:

The narrative part of John’s Gospel includes the ministry of “John the Baptist, Jesus calling of the disciples, Temple cleansing, the healing of the official’s son, multiplication of loves and walking on water, peter’s confession, arguments with Jewish authorities, the anointing of Jesus and the entry into Jerusalem and outline of Last supper, passion, death, and resurrection.”[10] The theory like “supplementation” [11]presupposes the authorship of the Gospel to John the son of Zebedee who read the synoptic Gospels and wanted to compose Jesus’ life and a picture of spirituality. Now, John’s Gospel may not be a supplementation to the synoptic but it is an “interlocking tradition”[12] at many places in John and the synoptic. Interlocking tradition means John and the synoptic Gospels “mutually reinforce or explain each other without betraying overt literary dependence.”[13] For example, the assumption in Mark. 14: 49, which states that Jesus had constantly taught in the temple precincts is explained in John’s account of Judean ministry and there are many more.

There is a great argument among scholars about John’s use of another source other than synoptic Gospels. However, the first third of the 20th century, many scholars held on to the theory of dependence on the synoptic Gospels. At the bottom of this argument there was always a debate in regard to the affinity of John’s Gospel to the Gospel of Mark. C.H. Dodd argues that there is no clear and substantial evidence for any literary dependence of John on any of the synoptic Gospels.[14] But there are few scholars who say that John must have had read at least one of the synoptic Gospels and also pre-Gospel traditions. Since the Johannine dependency was not conclusively proven, the Independent theory of John’s Gospel had become dominant. The reason behind this is according to Dodd, “the early church was not such a bookish community as it has been represented.”[15] So, the medium of that time was oral transmission. So, according to Dodd, a liturgy, didache, Kerygma tradition was built. So, the Gospels were the products of these oral traditions. So, in a sense the gospels were the “products of anonymous faces in Christian communities that are more or less independent of other communities …”[16] In such a case, we cannot conclusively prove the dependency of John’s Gospel on the Synoptic Gospels.




  1. Independent of Synoptic Gospels:

The theory of “Johannine independence of the synoptic Gospels”[17] has become dominant by the mid 20th century. Many scholars felt that John might have had access to the traditions which are “similar and parallel” to the traditions that were used by the synoptic authors, but John carefully constructed his Gospel independently.[18] So, in that sense, the sources which John used might have been independent of the synoptic traditions. There are so many reasons for this. One is John presents a strong Christological theology in the prologue itself where as it is a developing concept in the synoptic Gospels. More so, these Christological themes are of different tradition, may be a tradition which has been developed after the Synoptic Gospels. John made use of these traditions which are independent to the synoptic traditions. Even Bultmann says the sources which have Jesus’ deeds and discourses are not historical and also not the synoptic Gospels, complied with the idea that the “passion narrative sources, though resembling the synoptic passion, was independent.”[19] The theory of “Interlocking” should not be taken into consideration to support the dependency of John’s Gospel on the synoptic Gospels. In a sense, according to interlocking theory, we can make sense of John’s Gospel when we read synoptic beforehand. It does not mean that it is essential to read Synoptic Gospels to understand the Gospel of John. It only establishes the historical value of the narration. For example, John’s passion narrative is well understood when it is read in the light of the synoptic Gospels. Even the theological points in John have some detail explanation in the synoptic Gospels and vice versa. So, the independent theory of John’s Gospel is more plausible than dependent theory of John’s Gospel on the Synoptic Gospels.

  1. Similarities and differences in theological concepts:

When compared to the synoptic Gospels, we find the Christology in the prologue and in the whole John’s Gospel at large is more advanced. In the prologue itself, John answers the basic question “who is Jesus?” To this, John responds by projecting Christ as the glorified one with the Father. Where as in the synoptic Gospels, the disciples grew in their understanding of “Who Jesus is?”. John conveys the failure of their understanding of “who Jesus is?” and where as in the synoptic Gospels it is not so. We find the themes like “Logos”, “Grace”, and “truth” which we do not find in the synoptic Gospels. The concept of “eternal life” when compared with synoptic Gospels, John presents it in a different way. In Synoptic Gospels, “zwh” which means eternal life always used in terms of “future life that will be given by God.”[20] so, it is used in contrast with the present age. So, the disciples had to deal with the problem of sin here in the present age in order to have eternal life. John uses this theme in a context of promise with an open invitation. He also speaks of “eternal life” in futuristic terms. According to him, those who believed Christ are already in “eternal life” in the present age and “it is fully realized in future with the coming of the Lord.”[21]

The other word peculiar to Johannine vocabulary is “truth”. In Synoptic Gospels, this word plays a small role. John uses this word as an opposite to the falsehood and genuineness. He presents this concept as the reality of the word which was revealed in Christ by the God the Father. The other term is “Glory”. John uses the “theophanic term”[22] glory which should not be misunderstood in physical terms but to be understood as an intimate relationship with the Father. This particular word in Greek is “doxa” which has some OT background. This word is actually derived from the Hebrew word “db¡kÉ””” which is God’s glory at the tabernacle. So, in synoptic Gospels, Christ’s glory is something that he would have in future. In a sense, Synoptic Gospels speak of “Glory” in future eschatological terms. John uses the word “Glory” in connection with the present age of Jesus’ ministry. We find this theme at the beginning of the gospel in the prologue where John presents Christ as the Incarnated word and as the glorified one with the Father.


  1. portrayal of Jesus in John and Synoptic Gospels:

John primarily deals with the question of “who is Jesus”. In the prologue itself he makes it obvious that Jesus is the Only Son of the Father. So, he starts his narration by presenting Jesus as “God” at the beginning of his Gospel. In the synoptic Gospels, Jesus is presented as a man-“the one who has right to forgive sins (Mark 2: 1-12 par. – and who can forgive sins but God alone?)”[23] It does not mean that the synoptic Gospels contradict the idea of Jesus as the Son of God but it is in a “seed form”[24] which was slowly developed in the Gospels by the end of their respective narrations. In John also, it does not mean that John was rejecting the human nature of Jesus. John also presents Jesus as a “subordinate to the Father.[25] The similarity of the four Gospels is that they all present Jesus as a teacher, healer and the one who suffered and died on the cross. Now, coming to the virgin birth in the John’s Gospel, it seems John was silent on this regard whereas all the synoptic Gospels recorded the Virgin birth account of Jesus. When we observe John’s Gospel, John was always talking about the pre-existence of Christ. This is something peculiar about the John’s Gospel. In the prologue, John presents Jesus as the “incarnated word of God”. What he meant was that the birth of Jesus was not of blood or by the will of man but by the will of God. Though John is not explicitly presenting the virgin birth account of Jesus Christ, he intrinsically shows the kind of birth pre-existent Christ had when he was incarnated into flesh. In this regard all the four Gospels, reject the procreation act in Jesus’ birth.

  1. Jesus’ miracles in John and the Synoptic Gospels:

The miracles in John’s Gospel are termed as “signs”. Raymond E. Brown outlines the the Gospel of John on this basis by entitling the part of miracles in John as “the book of signs”. Where as in Synoptic Gospels, it is miracles. In John’s Gospel, Jesus is presented as more than a miracle worker. All his signs explicitly refers to the faith. This is because all the miracles in John and also in the synoptic Gospels answer the question of Jesus’ identity. In John’s Gospel, John uses miracles more explicitly to explain the identity of Jesus but in Synoptic Gospels, they were used implicitly.[26]

  1. Jesus as “teacher or Rabbi” in John and Synoptic Gospels:

We know that from the four Gospels Jesus is designated as “teacher or Rabbi”. So, what is the difference in John and Synoptic Gospels? D. M. Smith says that it is Jesus’ teaching i.e., the way John presented Jesus’ teaching is different. Jesus’ teaching in John has a very narrow focus.[27] When we observe the teachings of Jesus in John, Jesus always spent his time with disciples teaching about himself. He is always been seen teaching his disciples about his identity. It is in this context we see the seven “I am” saying of Jesus which is peculiar and unique in John’s Gospel when compared to Synoptic Gospels. Erick Rust, as quoted by Okorie says that “ “no longer does God speaks through the prophets. Rather he stoops down in human form and through the historical life and deeds of Jesus, works his own mighty unique acts consummating in his saving self-revelation.””[28] In synoptic Gospels we see Jesus teaching in public. In a sense we see Jesus expounding his Christological identity and there by provoking the minds of the Pharisees and Sadducees and illuminating the minds of the disciples. Of course this aspect is there in the synoptic Gospels but it is in a developing state where it reaches its climax at the end of their respective narrations.

  1. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection:

In John, the suffering of Jesus is not highlighted whereas synoptic Gospels does. According to John, it is by his own decision and call, Jesus submits himself to the suffering of the Cross and to the death also. In Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was presented as a man under violent suffering and especially if we see the narrative at the Gethsemane, we come to know the intensity of the suffering of Jesus that the Synoptic Gospels were presenting. In John, the narration at Gethsemane is absent. The whole idea of John in presenting, as far as my observation is concerned is that John was trying to present Jesus as the one who has full control of the situation even in that hostile situations. In this regard, I would like to comply with D. M. Smith who says that it is Jesus who is in “control of matters.”[29] In Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is presented as the one who is silent before Pilate but in John it is Jesus who speaks.

Now, coming to the resurrection narrative, it has its place in all the four Gospels but is narrated in a different way. The question of when the resurrection happened was recorded in different forms which were confusing to the reader. While John agrees with Mark, Mathew and Luke uses different expressions. The events followed by resurrection account is presented in a dramatic way in John’s Gospel when compared to the Synoptic Gospels. All the four Gospels follows the same chronology of time – Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, but this is widely debated among the scholars. However, the authors of the four Gospels worked in the same chronological time framework. It should be noted there are discontinuities in resurrection account in the synoptic Gospels. John connects all those loses ends in the synoptic Gospels. So, John narrates form the discovery of the empty tomb, appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene, then Jesus appearance to his disciples and to Thomas the last of all and then to the narrative of Jesus questioning Peter.

Now Matthew reports the accounts of the crucifixion, the death of Jesus, the burial of Jesus, the resurrection- Mary Magdalene visit to the empty tomb, the report of the guard at the tomb and the great commission. Mark did not present much after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead but he records the great commission. Now, coming to Luke, though he adds the account of the event of two followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, he does not explicitly give the names of the women who visited the empty tomb. John records the detailed after-resurrection events of Jesus. The purpose is to enlighten the minds of the disciples and those who follow him. Here John explains in detail about the great commission in different appearings of Jesus to his disciples and it attains its complete meaning when Jesus challenges Peter and commissions what he has to do if he loves Jesus.

  1. Conclusion:

In Conclusion John’s Gospel has striking differences when compared to the Synoptic Gospels. So, far from this paper, we may probably say that John is complementing the Synoptic narration of Jesus’ life, ministry, his death and resurrection. In what, it is complementing the synoptic Gospels? It is explicitly explaining some details where Synoptic Gospels have those details implicitly in their narrations vice versa. Does this mean John is literally dependent on Synoptic Gospels? He may not have literally depended on the Synoptic Gospels but he might have had access to at least one the synoptic Gospels. Now, coming to the independent theory of John’s Gospel, John might have had used different sources which were not used by the Synoptic authors. Most probably these sources might be in oral tradition particularly circulated in the Johannine community of which John was the leader. In one way or the other all the four Gospels try to answer the question of Jesus’ identity. In John, he explicitly elevated Jesus as “the only Son of God” but in Synoptic Gospels it is in developing idea which reaches its climax at the end of their narrations. The most important feature of John’s Gospel is his portrayal of Jesus which is different from the Synoptic Gospels. When compared to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus is presented as more than a miracle worker. Especially the “I am” statements gives Jesus a status equal to God in connection with Old Testament conception of God (Yahweh).

My understanding is that though there are some chronological differences when we compare John’s Gospel with Synoptic Gospels but when this task is dealt textually- the content, the theological message remains the same. Though some themes in synoptic gospels may be in developing stage but on the surface level they project the same message. This binds all the four Gospels together. So, from the text itself we can say that John’s Gospel is complementing the synoptic Gospels and thus, answering the question that was raised in the beginning.





Beasley-Murray, G.R. “Synoptics and John.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, edited by Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and Howard I. Marshall. Leicester, England.

Brown S.S, Raymond . An Introduction to the Gospel of John.  Edited by Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B. First edition. New York: ABRL DOUBLEDAY, 2003.

Carson, D.A, and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

Dodd, C.H. Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel. Cambridge: The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1965.

Okorie, A.m. “The self-revelation of Jesus in the “T am” sayings of John’s Gospel.” ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials, no. by ATLA (2001).

S.J, Charles Homer Giblin, “Two complementary Literary Structures in John 1:1-18.” Fordham University,Bronx, NY  V.104 (1985): 87-103.

Smith, Moody. D. Johannine Christianity. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark LTD.,, 1987.

Thomaskutty, Johnson. “Introduction to Johannine Thought: with a detailed study of selected texts in English language.” Lecture presented at the Class Lecture on 07-07-2009, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune.


[1] Raymond  Brown S.S, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, ed. Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B, First edition. (New York: ABRL DOUBLEDAY, 2003), 90.

[2] G.R. Beasley-Murray, “Synoptics and John,” in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, ed. Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight, and Howard I. Marshall (Leicester, England), 792.

[3] Ibid., 793.

[4] Ibid., 793.

[5] Ibid., 817.

[6] Ibid., 817.

[7] D.A Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan), 257.

[8] Brown S.S, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 91.

[9] Carson and Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 258.

[10] Brown S.S, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 94.

[11] Ibid., 94.

[12] Carson and Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 258.

[13] Ibid., 258.

[14] Ibid., 259.

[15] C.H Dodd, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge: The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, 1965), 8.

[16] Carson and Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 260.

[17] Brown S.S, An Introduction to the Gospel of John, 97.

[18] Ibid., 97.

[19] Ibid., 98.

[20] Johnson Thomaskutty, “Introduction to Johannine Thought: with a detailed study of selected texts in English language” (Lecture presented at the Class Lecture on 07-07-2009, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune).

[21] Ibid.

[22] Charles Homer Giblin, S.J, “Two complementary Literary Structures in John 1:1-18,” Fordham University,Bronx, NY  V.104 (1985): 91.

[23] Carson and Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, 262.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Moody. D Smith, Johannine Christianity (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark LTD.,, 1987), 177.

[27] Ibid., 178.

[28] A.M Okorie, “The self-revelation of Jesus in the “I am” sayings of John’s Gospel,” ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials, no. by ATLA (2001),, 487.

[29] Smith, Johannine Christianity, 179.

A New Testament Survey























1.1 Authorship


     The authorship of this Gospel was undisputed in the early churches. This Gospel is traditionally ascribed to Matthew Levi, a tax collector or publican. One may see the name of “Matthew” in Matt 9:9-13; 10:3. He was termed “Legendary”[1]. This is mainly because he was disappeared from the history of church after he was mentioned in Acts 1:13. The early church father strongly admits that the author of this Gospel is Matthew himself. “‘Eusebius (c. A.D. 325) quotes Papias (c. A.D.100) as saying that Matthew had composed in Aramaic the oracles of the Lord, which were translated in to Greek by each man as he was able’”[2]. Many scholars think that Matthew wrote a rough description of life of Jesus in the Aramaic language before Mark’s Gospel was written. After Mark has written the Gospel in 65-70 A.D., Matthew revised his Gospel and included much of Mark’s in his own hand. “The final revision of this Gospel was a later edition work by himself or someone”[3]. Therefore there was a Gospel before the Gospel of Matthew was written but in Aramaic language which was very much accepted and widely used in the early churches before Mark’s Gospel. Papias states that “Matthew wrote the words in Hebrew dialect and each one interpreted as he could”[4]. But scholars considered it not as Hebrew dialect but of Aramaic. “Many have explained papias statement as referring to Aramaic original form which Greek Gospel is translated”[5].


1.2 Date and Place of Composition

 We cannot specifically suggest the date of this Gospel. The internal evidence throws some light on the date of its composition. It might have probably written “before the first dispersion of Jerusalem Christians (Acts 8:4)”[6]. In Matt 24:1-28, we see prophecy on Jerusalem’s destruction that which took place after A.D. 70. It might have probably written between A.D. 50- A.D. 70. This implies that the Gospel was written during the reign of Nero.

    Antioch is the place well-accepted by many scholars as the place of this Gospels composition. As the church in Antioch consists of both Aramaic and Greek speaking Gentiles, “no other place is suitable for it”[7].

1.3 Purpose

  1.                                      I.  For apologetical purpose

                                  II. To show Jesus of Nazareth as “The Messiah”.

                               III. To show that the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in


                              IV. For the benefit of the church in Antioch and for the Gentiles.

  1.                                  V.  For the Jewish community and also for Jewish converts.


1.4 Readers


           This Gospel is mainly intended to the Jewish community, Jewish converts and to the Gentiles living in Antioch. This Gospel is considered as “the favorite of the Syro-Jewish Church”[8]. This Gospel is well-suited for the church which was closely related to Judaism.


1.5 Central Message


The central message in this Gospel is the fulfillment of the Messianic Promises in Jesus Christ. This message revolves around Christ’s son ship and Kingship. It also preserves the old tradition. “…the essence of the Abrahamic covenant, which stressed God’s benefits to Abraham and to his seed as a separate people, and yet added: “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3)”[9].



1.6 Outline

Introducing Jesus (1:1-4:16)

Public ministry in and around Galilee.(4;17-16:20)

Private ministry in Galilee; preparing the disciples.(16:21-18:35)

Ministry in Judea ( 19:1-25:46)

The death and resurrection of Jesus. ( 26:1-28:20)


1.7 My Findings


                According to my knowledge, evaluating from the information I have gathered, there was already a source that was circulating during primitive period of Christianity. This source is called “the M source” which may have been a rough record of the sayings and some deeds of Jesus written in Aramaic as this language is well-accepted during the period of the early Church. Most probably this source might be the hand work of Matthew himself. Matthew also borrowed some of the deeds and sayings from another source called “Q” which may have been existed in oral tradition and later on written down. Later, after Mark has composed another Gospel, he revised his own version, translated by himself or from the community who followed his Gospel. Therefore we have strong probabilities to argue that the Gospel of Matthew was written by Matthew the Levi who was a tax collector, and so, we cannot brush this probability away. At the other hand we can not conclusively say that it was written by Matthew himself. Both have their own pros and corns. Regarding date, it was most probably written before the destruction of Jerusalem as internal evidence supports this view. It might have been composed between A.D. 50-A.D.70. The place of composition is in Antioch, as the internal and external evidences suggest which was discussed earlier.







2. The Gospel of Mark

2.1 Authorship


 Traditionally, the author of this Gospel is John Mark. He was the son of a wealthy widow, Mary. “Hayes suggests that he was “the spoiled son of a wealthy widow.”[10] He was often identified as the friend of the Apostles. He was a cousin of Barnabas, closely related to Peter and an assistant to Paul. Now we evaluate some of the internal and external evidences.

 The Internal evidences:

  • In Acts 12:12, Mark was introduced in the context of Peter’s deliverance from prison.
  • Acts 13:5, Mark went along as “assistant or Understudy” to Paul.
  • 1 Peter 5:3, Mark association with Peter.

            “The prayer meeting for the deliverance of Peter was held in her house, and it is possible that her home was the headquarters of the Christian leaders in Jerusalem.”[11]

  The External evidence:

       Now we will look some external evidences as it requires a detail investigation to arrive at most probable corroborating evidence.

     “Papias (c. A.D. 115), as quoted by Eusebius (A.D. 375), said:

                   And John the Presbyter also said this – Mark being the interpreter of Peter, whatsoever he recorded he wrote with great accuracy, but not, however, in the order in which it was spoken or done by our Lord, for he neither heard nor followed our Lord, but as before said, he was in company with Peter, who gave     him such instruction as was necessary, but not to give a history of our Lord’s discourses: wherefore Mark has not erred in anything, by writing some things as he has recorded them; for he was carefully attentive to one thing, not to pass by anything he heard, or to state anything falsely in these accounts.”[12]   Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 180) quoted that Peter hearers urged Mark to leave a record of doctrine of which it was authorized by Peter, later used in Churches.[13] Origen (c. A.D. 225), later said that Mark wrote his Gospel as Peter explained to him.[14] This can be corroborated with anit-Marcionite prologue (160/80). “This information associating Peter and Mark is echoed later in the anti-Marcionite prologue (160/80) that also refers to Mark as being “Study Fingered” ( Kolobosa/ktulos).”[15] So this traditional view seems to be most probable.

2.2 Date and Place of Composition:

           Most of the Scholars accept the date between “50-80 with preponderance of opinion favoring A.D. 65-70”.[16] Irenaeus view is also corroborated with anti-Marcionite prologue that it was written “after the death of Peter.”[17] This places date, as many scholars would agree, is A.D. 65-70. As we have earlier seen that Mark was interpreter of Peter and traditionally Peter was martyred in Rome. Internally, there are some passages which explain Jewish customs. If it is a Jewish community that Mark was writing to, then what is the necessary to explain their own customs? Therefore, it leads us to conclude that it was written for the Roman Pupil. This helps to identify the place of its composition in Rome.

2.3 Purpose:


  • To present the deeds of Jesus
  • To present the Gospel to Promiscuous crowd
  • To present to a Roman mind.
  • For teaching Purposes
  • For liturgical purposes.
  • To reform the church of his day.



2.4 Central Message:


                     The theme of this Gospel revolves around two doctrines- “son of God” and the other is “servant of God”. In a way he wanted to show Christ as both God who is above and God who is always on move and in reach. This is the reason why his Christology has both “Son of Man” and “Son of God” terms. This is to fight against the misconception of “Christology” in the Churches during his time.

2.5 Outline

Preaching the kingdom of God (1:1 – 8:26)                       

The cost of the Kingdom of God (8:27 – 10:52)              

Bringing in the Kingdom of God (11:1 – 16:20). 




                                           2.6 My Findings


                           The internal evidence is well corroborated with the external evidence. The Petrain-Markan association is also well established. In the light of these evidences we cannot simply brush out the possibility of authencity of the authorship to Mark. There is every possibility that Mark composed first draft from the preaching of Peter and later he developed a “Proto-Mark”. In the light of the scholars view, I would agree with the date

A.D. 65-70 which is the most probable date. We have very strong evidence internally indicating that this Gospel was written in Rome to Roman Pupil. The language, style and his description of the events leads us to this conclusion.












3. The Gospel of Luke

     3.1 Authorship

          The author of this Gospel does not reveal his identity but he gives some information to his aims, methods and his relationship with his contemporaries (Luke 1:1-4). During his time there are already some accounts which are circulating at that time by which he was not satisfied.[18]

His account on the life of Jesus is reliable. “His information came from competent official sources (“who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the world”-1:2).”[19] The author was not an eyewitness but he made a thorough investigation of the facts by the access he had to earlier narratives and people.

     Internal evidence:

                The author’s identity can be examined in the light of the relationship of this Gospel with the Book of Acts. We see the first reference in Acts 16:10 in the context of Paul’s departure from Troas on his secondary missionary journey. We observe the close relation between Luke and Acts as both were addressed to Theophilus.  “The resurrection and teaching ministry of the forty day accords well with the content of Luke 24.”[20]  Now looking in to the text of this Gospel, we can strongly assume that that the author had a strong literary ability. His Greek usage is well-polished. He presents some accounts from a physician point of view (cf. Mark 5: 26 and Luke 8:3). This is confirmed by “the title given to Luke in Colossians 4:14: “Luke, the beloved physician.” “[21] The author was an Antiochian Gentile who was converted in Antioch in not more than 15 years after Pentecost. Later he became friend of Paul and accompanied him in his second missionary journey. “Of the known traveling companions of this period, none fits the requirements except Luke.”[22] Therefore, in the light of above evidences Luke is the most probable possibility as an author of this Gospel.

External evidence:

               This Gospel was very much in circulation in the early part of 2nd century. Iraneus confirms the author of this Gospel as Luke.[23] This was again quoted in “Muratorian Canon” and much later in “Anti-Marcionite Prologue”.[24] In 1st an 2nd centuries Gnostics used a distorted form of Gospel of Luke.

3.2 Date and Place of Composition:

                The Gospel of Luke must have been written after the composition of Matthew and Mark but before the Book of Acts. At this time there was development in Christianity and that suggests a date in late sixties in 1st century. “Luke must be dated later than Mark, which is generally dated in the late sixties of the first century.”[25] So the probable date must be in between late sixties and late seventies. We can not come to a conclusion regarding the place of composition. “Concerning the Place of composition, there is no early tradition.”[26] Scholars have conjectured that the Gospel must have been written somewhere outside Palestine. “There are so many suggestions like Rome, Caesarea, Achia, Asia Minor, Alexandria, somewhere in Hellenistic world.” [27]

3.3 Purpose:


  • To give an systematic account of the life of Jesus
  • To give an historical basis for the accounts though not a historical book in its genre.
  • “To show Christianity was not a subversive sect.”[28]
  • For apologetical purpose.
  • To show the universality of the Christian message.


3.4  Readers:

       The Gospel of Luke was addressed to “Theophilus” which is Greek name. By this we can say that it was written for the Gentiles who were converted to Christianity. It was also intended for the lower class too, as he himself was from middle class but always reached out to the lower class. This is basically written for the people living outside Palestine.

3.5 Central Message

      The central message of this Gospel is the doctrine of Salvation, which was made available to mankind by the redemptive act of God through His Son Jesus, savior, who took away the sins of this world offering forgiveness to all with a mission to proclaim this good news to all.                             

3.6 Outline:

  1. Preface (1:1-4)
  2. The birth and childhood of Jesus(1:5-2:52)
  3. John the Baptist and Jesus (3:1-4:13)
  4. The work of Jesus in Galilee(4:14-9:50)
  5. The journey to Jerusalem(9:51-19:10)
  6. The teaching of Jesus in Jerusalem(19:11-21:38)
  7. The death and resurrection of Jesus.(22:1-24:53)


3.7 My Findings:

   According to my findings regarding the authorship of the Gospel of Luke is well collaborated with both the evidences that I have gathered here. Though the Scholars of the middle nineteenth century and of the twentieth would not agree with the authorship of Luke, one cannot simply brush away the traditional claim of this Gospel to Luke. We can strongly conclude that the one who wrote the Book of Acts is the same one wrote the Gospel of Luke. The usage of medical terms, vocabulary, well-polished language and a good chronology suggests that it was written by a “physician” which was attested to Luke by early Church fathers. Regarding the date, we cannot conclusively give a precise date, but evaluating the background of the Gospel of Luke, we can definitely say it was written after Matthew, Mark and Acts. This brings us to a probable date between late sixties to late seventies. We can not specify a particular place to the Gospel of Luke there are less evidences but we can say it was composed outside of Palestine as it was addressed to the people living outside Palestine.


4. The Gospel of John

4.1 Authorship:

  Traditionally the authorship was ascribed to John, the son of Zebedee, who was a last surviving member of the apostolic band. He was a Jew who was well-accustomed with Jewish practices and well-acquainted with the geographical layout of the land. He was an eyewitness to deeds and discourses of Jesus Christ (John 19:35- where he spoke in third person). He was identified as “beloved disciple” and a close associate of Peter.

Internal Evidence:

    From the internal evidences, we can infer that the writer of this Gospel is a fisherman from Galilee. “He was one of the sons of Zebedee (Mark 1:19-20), a fisherman of Galilee, and of Salome, who was probably the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother (cf. Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40; John. 15:40).”[29] He may have belonged to the first disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:40). We also see him as “a Participant later in the mission of the twelve (Matt. 10:1-2).”

External evidence:

      The external evidence draws us to the early church fathers. All the early Church fathers unambiguously agree that this Gospel was written by John, “the beloved disciple”.

 “Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 190), Origen (c. A.D. 220), Hippolytus (c. A.D. 225), Tertullian (c. A.D. 200), and the Muratorian Fragment (c. A.D. 170) agree in attributing the Fourth Gospel to John the son Zebedee.”[30]

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons was most important witness in the early Church.

“He wrote: “John the disciple of the Lord, who leaned on his breast, published the Gospel while living at Ephesus in Asia” (Adv. Haer. 3.12)”[31]

This statement is trustworthy as Irenaeus was well-acquainted with Polycrap who was a disciple of John. This can be corroborated by his letter to his friend Florinus.[32] Being urged by his friends to write an account, John “being inspired by the spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”[33] This is further expanded and attested in Muratorian canon. Now from the process of elimination, “Peter, Thomas, and Philip are mentioned so frequently in the third person that none of them could have been the author.”[34]

4.2 Date and place of composition


          Today it is almost common opinion that John was written in the last decade of 1st century. “The discovery of Gospel in Egypt, which have been dated from the first half of the second century, requires the writing of the Gospel within the limits of the first century.” [35]

              Tradition places John in Ephesus. But the most probable place is Syria. The Linguistic pattern of John leads us to think of “Greek speaking author in a Semitic environment.”[36]

4.3 Purpose

  • To create a conviction in the readers that Jesus is the Christ, Son of God.
  • To refute Docetism.
  • To win Jews of the Diaspora to faith in Jesus, the Messiah.
  • For apologetical purpose.
  • For polemic purpose.

4.4 Readers

By the information so far we have, we can say that this Gospel might have been written to the Jews and Gentiles who were under Hellenistic influences nada lo to the Gentiles in Ephesus.

The prologue (1:1-18)


4.5 Central message


                       The main theme can be grasped in the prologue of the Gospel- “Logos, Pre-existent, incarnate, rejected, yet revealed of God and giver of son ship to those who believe in his divine mission.”[37] It projects Christ’s pre-existence and his divine intervention to save the mankind from sin and wrath, and to offer the way to eternal life for all those who believe.




Introductory events (1:19-2:11)

Early encounters in Jerusalem, Samaria & Galilee (2:12-4:54)

Healing and discourse in Jerusalem (5:1-47)

Further sings and discourses in Galilee (6:1-71)

Jesus at the feast of Tabernacles (7:1-8:59)

Further healing and teaching (9:1-10:42)

The death and the raising of Lazarus (11:1-57)

5. The Acts of the Apostles

5.1 Authorship

                             AS earlier, in the Gospel of Luke, we have already established the probability of Luke as the author of Luke and Acts. Now we will see some of the internal and external evidences.

Internal evidence:

  1. 1.    Both the books (Luke-Acts) were addressed to the same person “Theophilus”.
  2. 2.    We see Luke picking up in Acts where he dropped in Luke 24; “Luke “resumes the narrative at the point where Luke dropped it.””[38]
  3. 3.    Certain passages were written in the first person plural, “WE”- “most plausible they came from the pen of a companion of Paul.”[39]
  4. 4.    By elimination of certain persons which were mentioned in Acts, Luke is the best probability.
  5. 5.    We can see Timothy did not accompany Paul on his trip from Philippi to Troas, but went later.
  6. 6.    Likewise if we consider the list in Colossians 4: 7-17 and Philemon 23-24- Aristarchus can be eliminated as one of the list in Acts 20.
  7. 7.    As Mark was mentioned in the third person in Acts, he is also eliminated. So, therefore, traditionally, Luke stands out to be the best possibility.


External evidence:

          The early church fathers attested this book. Even in the Western Church this book is considered as Holy Scripture. “In the western Church Irenaeus regards Acts as Holy Scripture and cites it as a Lucae de apostolis testfication.”[40]  Later on it was included in Muratorian  canon and Tertullian, Church father in Africa mentions about as “commentary of Luke” and in Alexandria, Clement recognizes it as in authentic Lukan writing. It was also found in Anti-Marcionite prologue.

5.2 Date and Place of Composition


        As we have deduced that the Gospel of Luke might have been written after the composition of Matthew and Mark, we can place the date somewhere after 62 A.D. The date of Acts is closely related with the Gospel of Luke as many see them as a single volume i.e. Luke-Acts. As Acts ends with the story of Paul still active in Rome and after two years of his arrival he was executed in the reign of Nero (A.D. 54- A.D. 68). The most probable date would be A.D. 75- A.D. 85.

         Regarding place, we are uncertain. Traditionally, it is Rome, but there are other possibilities like Ephesus and Antioch. So, we cannot be certain about the place of composition.

5.3 Purpose

  • To present a “Compromise”[41] between the two different groups.
  • To show the compromise in terms of Peter as representative of Jewish Christianity and Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.
  • To present historical significance of primitive Christianity.
  • For apologetic purpose.
  • To present Paul’s work and mission.
  • To give a “conformation”[42]  to the Gospel he wrote.

5.4 Readers

                          As the book is addressed to “Theophilus” which is a Greek name, we can infer that the readers would be mainly Gentiles and Jewish Christians under Hellenistic influence and also the churches in Rome, Ephesus and Antioch.

5.5 Central Message

                            The central message is to present the Christian beginnings, life and work of Paul and also peter.


  1. Acts can be divided into five main sections
  2. Introduction (1:1-11)
  3. The origin of the church Jerusalem (1:12-8:3)
  4. The period of transition: Samaria (8:4-11:18)
  5. The expansion to the gentiles (11:19-21:16)
  6. (The Pauline mission: Antioch and the Empire)
  7. The imprisonment and defence of Paul (21:17-28:31)
  8. (Caesarea and Rome).



6. Pauline letters



            All the Pauline letters can be categorized under seven sections.

6.1. Pastoral letters (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus).

6.2. Prison letters (Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon).

6.3. Pillar epistles (The Corinthian letters, Galatians)

6.4. Eschatological Epistles (The Thessalonians letters).

6.5. Romans

6.6. Hebrews

6.1. Pastoral letters

6.1.1 Authorship

 Traditionally, the authorship of Pastoral letters was ascribed to Paul. There is one view that these letters came from the “disciples” of Paul from the Pauline school of thought, but there is no evidence as such. “However, there is no evidence that a “school” of Paul existed after the apostle’s death.”[43]We do not have any such schools and we do not see them in any of early church father’s writings. “The early church fathers have also had not mentioned any such schools.”[44] F. c. Baur and H. J. Holtzman ascribe these letters as “second century forgeries”[45] because we can find the differences in vocabulary from the Pauline thought and also the absence of certain word usage by Paul. (“apokalyptō, energeō, kauchaomai, perisseuō, hypakouō, phroneō”[46]). But at the same time it is essential to accept that to forge somebody’s writings is not easy. The other explanation is that with the age there might be a variation in vocabulary and style of writing.

      When we observe the similarities between the three letters, we can certainly be sure that these letters were written by “same man under same general circumstances.” [47] Though there are some differences in the letters, “They still bear Paul’s name, and their connection with his known biography is sufficiently strong to warrant their acceptance…”[48] These letters were well acquainted to Justin Martyr, Heracleon, Hegesippus, Athenagorus and Theophilus.


6.1.2 Date and Place of Composition

                 Most proponents agree that these letters were written during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. Some scholars suggest a date between A.D. 61- A.D. 180, yet another suggest near A.D. 100. Some scholars who have seen them in Anti-Marcionite suggest a date between A.D. 140- A.D. 180. By observing some similarities between Polycrap epistle (A. D. 135) to Philippians and pastoral epistles- we can say that Polycrap was dependent on the Pastoral letters by looking parallels in to the text. So a date before A. D. 135 is reasonable. This gives us a date between A. D. 130- A. D. 150.

                   1 Timothy 1:3 suggests that the letter might have been written in Macedonia. 2 Timothy 1:8, 12; 2:9; 4: 6-7 suggests that it may have been written from the prison in Rome. Titus 1:5 suggests, the letter was written from Crete. There is also argument that 2 Timothy might have been written in Ephesian prison. However, 2 Timothy night have been written in either of these two places.

6.1.3. Purpose


  • To edify the church in Asia Minor.
  • To defend Christianity against “Judaizing segment”.
  • To defend against Gnostic heresy.
  • To defend against extreme ascetism.
  • To present the doctrinal insights to the Church.
  • To present his last days of his ministry.

6.1.4. Readers


                             The readers of these epistles are Gentiles, people in Asia. For Timothy and Titus, it is the Church in Rome and in Crete respectively.

6.1.5. Central message



                The central message of 1Timothy is mainly the ecclesiastical affairs like worship, appointing deacons, community relationships and to oppose heresies.


  1. Paul and Timothy (1:1-20)
  2. Worship and women (2:1-15)
  3. Requirements for church officials (3:1-13)
  4. Gods household (3:14-16)
  5. Approaching threats (4:1-16)
  6. Instructions about various classes (5:1-6:2)
  7. Miscellaneous instructions (6:1-21)



2 Timothy:

              The central message in 2 Timothy is encouraging and exhorting Timothy and warning of false teachings that timothy should be opposing.


Encouragement to be faithful (1:1-18)

Special advice to timothy (2:1-26)

Predictions and charges (3:1-17)

 Paul’s farewell to timothy (4:1-22)



              The central message of Titus is the edification and exhortation of the Church and the instructions regarding Church affairs reminding the implications of the Gospel.


Greetings 😦 1:1-4)

The appointment of church officers (1:5-9)

 How to deal with false teachers (1:10-16)

Instructions for various groups (2:1-10)

The doctrinal background for Christian living (2:11-3:8)

More warnings (3:9-11)

Concluding remarks (3:12-15)


6.2. Prison letters


6.2.1. Authorship



                  Traditionally, Prison letters were attributed to Paul. They undoubtedly had been written during his imprisonment as we can see some passages in his epistles Phil. 1:12-13; Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; col. 1:24; Philem. 1. When speaking of the authorship, ofcourse, all the Prison letters were traditionally well-accepted as Pauline. However, there are arguments regarding the authorship, especially the book of Ephesians was often have to face the test of authority by many scholars.




                Internally the book vividly expresses that Paul is the author of the book. We can see Paul’s genuine style, vocabulary and literary style in these letters which were well-accepted as Pauline thought. Though there are some views which ascribe the authorship of the book to Timothy by pointing Phil. 1:1, it is clear that it was written by Paul himself as we see the usage of singular personal pronouns, “I”, “me”, “my” occurring 51 times. Apart having same terms, like “bishop”, “deacon”, which would be of later development, the authorship of this epistle can be ascribed to Paul himself. A scholar like F. C. Baur in his book Paul; the Apostle of Jesus Christ which is a historical in its genre discredits all the epistles, their claims of authorship to Paul except Romans. But this argument was not able to withstand and slowly “fell in to disuse and essentially disappeared.”[49]

                    External evidence says that this letter was well-accepted by all the early Church fathers without question- “Polycarp of Smyrna, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and others not only quoted from Philippians, but assigned it safely to Paul.”[50]


                  Traditionally, this was well-accepted in the early Church. Modern scholars were divided in their opinions regarding the authorship of this epistle. It is not until 19th century, the authorship of this book was challenged. F.C. Baur and later his followers challenged the traditional claim of this book. However, his views were not convincing and it could not stand, but still others argue that this book was the work of an imitator of Paul. Now we will evaluate this view.

  • Practically speaking, it is very difficult to imitate one’s style of writing.
  • Paul’s way of Commenting “doctrinal truth and moral duty” is different for an imitator to imitate.
  • We can also observe “a combination of authority and humility, privilege and responsibility (both Pauline traits), as would be very hard to imitate effectively.”[51]
  • Though we may not argue from the stand point of the differences in literary style and usage of vocabulary, the book is more likely belongs to Pauline corpus.

                  The authorship of Ephesians was never disputed in the early church. It is well-known in some heretical schools, “notably by the Valentinians and by Marcion, and by several of apologists of 2nd century.”[52] This epistle is also included in Muratorian canon.



                 Traditionally, the authorship of this Gospel is ascribed to Paul. We have to note that the Church in colossae was not founded by Paul. The Church was founded by Epapharus one of the Paul’s colleagues. By internal evidence, Paul is the writer of Colossians. He was mentioned in Col. 1:1, Col. 1:23, and Col. 4:18. The objection comes from the differences in style and the language of the letter when compared along the Pauline thought. But there are similarities between this epistle to both Ephesians and Philemon. These similarities gives rise to question that did Paul alone write this Epistle. “The first significance denial of Paul’s authorship in recent times came in 1838 when E. T. Mageo hoff claimed to have found in Colossians “unpauline thought.””[53]  Internally we see some of the terms which are to be the terms of the later development in Pauline theology. The Gnosticism mentioned in this Epistle is of 2nd century but this epistle is of 1st century.

                    The relationship between Ephesians and Colossians gives some evidence regarding the authencity of the authorship. It seems Colossians is a brief work which has been expanded in the Epistle of Ephesians. Carson views this epistle as the “original letter which was brief because of his imprisonment, but was later expanded by the author of the epistle to the Ephesians.”[54] The early Church fathers accepted this epistle as a work of Paul. It was attested by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Justin and also we can see this epistle in Muratorian canon.  As we have already established the author of Epistle to the Ephesians is Paul, by above internal evidence we can presumably ascribe Paul as the author of Epistle to Colossians.


          Traditionally this epistle is ascribed to Paul. When we observe the style, literary similarities, vocabularies and especially a topic on slavery, we can assume that the author of Colossians is the author of Philemon. Ofcourse there are different views regarding the addressee of this letter, it is not our task to establish to whom the author was writing. More so, this is a very personal letter which has Paul’s personal stand on slavery. Keeping in view these premises we may presumably say that the author of Philemon is Paul who wrote this epistle from the prison.


6.2.2. Date and Place of Composition

             Philippians was written during Paul’s Roman Imprisonment. But there are two imprisonments that took place in Rome. One is Caesarea 56/58 and 58/60. We can give a most probable date between A. D. 56- A. D. 63.  Colossians was written during first imprisonment A. D. 62 or A. D. 63. Ephesians was written in Rome during A. D. 60- A. D. 61. Philemon was written in Rome most probably during the same time.

6.2.3. Purpose


  • To extend his gratitude for the favor received.
  • To promote Gospel and exalt the Lord through affliction.
  • To exhort humility.
  • To warn against confidence in the flesh.
  • To appeal for the peace among brethren.



  • To show the Gentiles were chosen by the Father through Christ.
  • To stress upon “eternal connection between Christ, the head, and his body, the Church.”[55]
  • To call the church to be worthy of being one in Christ’s body.
  • To emphasis on the unity of the Church.
  • To appeal to live in peace both in Church and in family.
  • To exhort to fight against temptation by putting the “armor of God.”




  • To emphasis on pre-eminence of Christ.
  • To emphasis on supremacy of Christ.
  • To emphasis on submission to Christ.
  • To emphasis on Christ’s preeminence of Christ in redemption.




  • To extend gratitude for the favor received.
  • To defend on behalf of Onesimus.
  • To request Philemon to accept Onesimus as his brother.



6.2.4. Readers



                Philippians was written to the Church in Philippi. Colossians was written to the Church of Colossians. Ephesians was written to the Church of Ephesians. This letter is a expanded version of Colossians. Letter to Philemon was addressed to a person Philemon.






6.2.5. Central message




          Philippians is a note of thanks for the favor received and expression of Christian life of Paul. The main theme of this book is pre-dominantly two topics. One is the good news that Christ died for men; the other is the assurance that men could posses his righteousness before God. These are the aspects of the Gospel.


  1. Introduction (1:1-11)
  2. Paul’s circumstances (1:12-26)
  3. Instruction concerning Christian living and fellowship (1:27-2:18)
  4. Future plans (2:19-30)
  5. Spiritual ambitions (3:1-21)
  6. Instructions, thanks and greetings (4:1-23)




The central message of Colossians is Paul’s Christology where he shows the pre-eminence of Christ in relationships, doctrines and also ethics. Redemption is prominent in the teaching of Colossians. Colossians shows that the Gospel has clear ethical consequences.


1:1 – 2                  Paul’s greeting

1:3 – 8                  Thanksgiving for faith, love, hope and the gospel

1:9 – 14      A prayer for knowledge and godly conduct

1:15 – 20    Jesus Christ, the Lord in creation and reconciliation

1:24 – 2:5   Paul’s mission and pastoral concern

2:6 – 15      The remedy for error: Christ in all His fullness

2:16 – 23    Freedom from legalism

3:1 – 4                  Seek the things above

3:5 – 11      Put away the sins of the past

3:12 – 17    Put on the grace of Christ

3:18 – 4:1   Behavior in the Christian household

4:2 – 6                  Final words of encouragement

4:7 – 18      Personal greetings and instruction.



The central message of this epistle is the Church. This epistle was not written for the novices in Christian faith, but to those, who having achieved some maturity in spiritual experience, wished to go to fuller knowledge and life. Its goal is, at an outset given in 4:13- unity of faith.


Address and salutation (1:1-2)

Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer (1:3-3:21)

Encouragement to live out the gospel of cosmic reconciliation and unity in Christ (4:1-6:20)

Postscript (6:21-24)



              The central message of this epistle is Paul’s plea to Philemon to receive Onesimus as his brother.


Paul’s greeting (1-3)

Thanksgiving and intercession for Philemon (4-7)

Paul’s plea for Onesimus (8-20)

Final remarks and greetings (21-25)



6.3. Pillar Epistles


6.3.1 Authorship


1 and 2 Corinthians:

            Traditionally both the letters are ascribed to Paul. “early external evidence from the following confirms this conclusion: Clement of Rome, to the Corinthians, Polycrap, to the Philippians (ch. 11), Iranaeus , Against Heresis, 4, 27 (45), clement of Alexandria (e.g., Paedag.1, 6[33]),

and Tertullian, de praescript. Adv. Haer., (Ch.33, 11:46).”[56] By observing literary evidence and also historical evidence it is more likely that 1 & 2 corinthians were written by Paul.

                   Internally we can see Paul’s acquaintance with city of Corinth- 1 Cor. 2:3. This is corroborated with Acts 18:1. He ministered there for more than one and a half year. Now regarding his acquaintance with the Corinth and his ministry and the external evidence that was presented, we may agree with the possibility of Paul being the author of 1 & 2 Corinthians. Here what “Robert and Plummer can say, “both the external and the internal evidence for the Pauline authorship are so strong that those who attempt to show that the writers succeed chiefly in proving their own incompetence as critics.””[57]


This epistle is traditionally ascribed to Paul. The Author himself reveals himself in Gal. 1:1 and Gal. 5:2. The style, vocabulary and theology that have been used strongly points out to Pauline thought. “The nature of its theological argument, its distinctive use of scripture, the character of its impassioned appeals, and the style of writing all point to Paul as its author.”[58] Apart from having many doubts by modern scholars like Br. Bauer, R. Steek and J. Gloël, it still stands the criticism. Bu the majority of the Scholars view this epistle as was written by Paul. Almost all scholars view Galatians as the standard example of Paul’s style and theology. By looking all these internal evidences and some of the arguments, the probability of Pauline authorship is very high.

                This was included in Marcion canon, Muratorian canon. “Polycarp in his letter to the Philippians quoted it.”[59]

6.3.2. Date and Place of Composition



1 & 2 Corinthians:

            By looking at Acts 19:1, we can say that Paul might have wrote 1 Corinthians after three years of his departure from Corinthians to Ephesians i.e., 51- 55 A. D. The other evidences for this date are the edict of Claudius and term office of Gallio (Acts 18: 2, 12) and Paul’s departure from Corinth (Acts 18: 18).  2 Corinthians may have been written a year later in Macedonia.


While regarding the date and the place of this epistle, one has to consider Northern Galatians theory and Southern Galatians theory. The region of Galatia was divided in two regions Northern Galatia and southern Galatia. There is no consensus regarding the destination of this epistle among the scholars. Some argue that this epistle was written to Northern Galatian territory and some Southern Galatian territory. On the basis of Northern Galatain territory, it may have been written in Ephesus in 52 A.D. On the basis of Southern Galatian territory, it may have written in 49-52 A.D. in Macedonia.

6.3.3. Purpose

       1 Corinthians:

  • To give a response to the reports and to the questions rose.
  • To instruct the church to live a good Christian life.
  • To warn them against some doctrinal and moral sins.
  • To instruct them in conducting an orderly worship.

   2 Corinthians:

  • To express his gratitude for receiving his instruction.
  • To exhort them regarding the fund that Paul was planning to collect in order to use it for the poor in Jerusalem.
  • To prepare them for his next visit to them 2 Cor. 12:14; 13:1; 5; 11.



  • To address some serious problems in the Church.
  • To defend his apostleship.
  • To defend himself against criticisms raised against him in the church.
  • To present the superiority of the Gospel.
  • To exhort the church to do good for all.



6.3.4. Readers


1 & 2 Corinthians:

          Both the Churches in Corinth and also Ephesus.


          As we are uncertain to whom this epistle was written, we cannot conclude the intended readers. If Southern Galatian theory is considered, it was written for the congregation at Antioch, Lystra, Derbe, Iconium, and others, Pisidian and Lycaonia. If Northern Galatian theory is considered, it was written in Ephesus.







6.3.5. Central message


1 Corinthians:

              1 Corinthians presents a better insight in to the problems of a pioneering church than almost any other writing in N.T. each problem was met by applying a spiritual principle rather than expanding in a long discourse. The problems like schism, fornication, libertinism, marriage between a believer and a non-believer, virgins, food offered to the idols, the procedure of worship, spiritual gifts and the resurrection of the body are dealt with in more practical way.


  1. Author and recipients (1:1-3)
  2. Christian approach to ministry in the church (1:4-4:21)
  3. Moral issues (5:1-6:20)
  4. Marriage problems (7:1-40)
  5. Gospel obligation in a pluralistic world (8:1-11:1)
  6. Orderly church life(15:1-58)
  7. The resurrection of the Christian body (16:1-24)
  8. Other business    



2 Corinthians:

                  2 Corinthians affords an insight in to the carrier of Paul that none of the epistles gives. It was written to defend himself against the criticisms of the Corinthian church. This epistle is more personal which portrays feelings, desire, dislikes, ambitions and obligations of Paul.


  1. The preface (1:1-11)
  2. Paul’s response to a crisis resolved (1:12-7:15)
  3. The matter of the collection (8:1-9-15)
  4. Paul responds to a new crisis. (10:1-13:14).




                  Galatians was a protest against corruption of the Gospel of Christ. Paul defends the essential truth of justification of faith which has obscured by Jewish- Christians. It summarizes the heart of the Gospel which he preached among the Gentiles.


  1. Introduction: (1:1-10)
  2. Paul’s Apostleship (1:11-2:21)
  3. Paul’s gospel (3:1-4:31)
  4. Paul’s commands (5:1-6:10)
  5. Epilogue (6:11-18)


6.4. Eschatological Epistles


6.4.1. Authorship


Thessalonain Letters:

                  Traditionally these epistles are ascribed to Paul. Both are addressed to the “church of Thessalonians”. In both the epistles we see the names of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy. Since they are named together we can infer that they might be “joint-authors”[60] of the Thessalonian letters. So we may probably say that both Timothy and Silvanus might have contributed their part in both the letters. Now the question is- are they really acquainted with Paul? If so, when and how they are related in Paul’s affairs?

Internal evidence:

                         We see Timothy joining Paul after Paul’s missionary journey to Syria and Cilicia. In Acts 16:1, Timothy joins Paul at Derbe. In Acts 17:10, Silas accompanies both Paul and Timothy. Timothy was Paul’s “aide-de-camp.”[61] Silus was not Paul’s convert but he was one of the “leading men among the brethren” Acts 15:22. So, in all likelihood, we can infer both Silus and Timothy were joint authors of the letters to Thessalonica.

External Evidence:

                         These epistles were included in Marcion’s canon. It was also mentioned in Muratorian fragment. It was quoted by Irenaeus. There are some disagreements on the authorship of 2 Thessalonians. As there is a apocalyptism in the 2 Thess. scholars argue that it was not written by Paul or by his joint-authors but was written by late Pauline diciple. Though we may not decisively say the author was Paul or his joint-authors but with the attestation of early church fathers and evaluating internal evidence, we can positively incline to the Pauline authorship.


6.4.2. Date and Place of Composition


                   Traditionally, it is dated between A.D. 50 and A.D. 51. The mention of Emperor Gaius attempt to set up his statue in Jerusalem in 2 Thess. 2:4 dates it A.D. 40 which was supported by “Hugo Grotius”[62]. This is somewhat plausible. Historically a great Judean famine was recorded by the date A. D. 46 which was mentioned in 1 Thess. 2:16 as “wrath”. Buck and Tylor identify the “wrath” of 1 Tess. 2:16 with the Judean famine of A. D. 46”[63]. Other argues that it might have been written between A. D. 60-67.

But this may not be the probable date as we do not see any explanation of Gnostics which was a later development. The best probable date could be A. D. 40-50. Both the letter may have been written in Athens.

6.4.3. Purpose

  • To appreciate the Thessalonians faith.
  • To give details about his own ministry.
  • To instruct the church how to live a life pleasing to God.
  • To explain the death of the believers.
  • To explain the eschatological issue in the church.

6.4.5. Readers


                  The readers are Thessalonians church.

6.4.6. Central message


                  As Paul and his co-authors extended their “thanksgiving” for Thessalonians’ faith, they emphasized on how to live a life pleasing to God, and explained more explicitly about the “the day of the Lord”.

1 Thessalonains outline


1:1                   Opening greeting

1:2 – 10           Opening thanksgiving

2:1 – 16           The behaviour of the missionaries in Thessalonica

2:17 – 3:13      Paul’s continuing concern for the church

4:1 – 12           Encouragement to ethical progress

4:13 – 5:11      Instruction and encouragement about the second coming of Jesus

5:12 – 24         Instruction for life in the church

5:25 – 28       Closing requests and greetings


2 Thessalonians outline

1:1 – 2                  Opening greeting

1:3 – 12      Opening thanksgiving

2:1 – 17      Instruction about the day of the Lord

3:1 – 16      Instruction for life in the church

3:17 – 18    closing greeting








6.5. Romans

6.5.1. Authorship



Traditionally it is well-accepted as an epistle of Paul. The Pauline authorship is generally accepted by NT scholars.

Internal evidence:

          Paul reveals himself as the writer of this Gospel Rom 1:1. We can see his conversion and the call and his consequent preaching in 1:1; 5; 12-17; 15; 15-24. He describes himself as a Jew or Israelite 11:1 and also as an apostle to the Gentiles 11:13. However, some scholars raised doubts regarding the interpretation of Ch. 16. Romans actually ends in Ch. 15 but has one more Chapter. But all the arguments are not conclusive. There are two letters that were circulated that time one is up to Ch. 15 and is added with Ch. 16 and circulated. The close affinity with 1 & 2 Corinthians, Pastoral Epistles in the literary, style and vocabulary points out to Paul as the author of this Gospel.

6.5.2. Date and Place of Composition

According to Acts 20:6, we can say that this Epistle may have been written in Corinth where Paul spent in his friend’s house Gaius who was a convert. The most probable date is somewhere in the winter between A. D. 54- 59.

6.5.3. Purpose


  • To present his missionary purpose to the Gentiles.
  • For an apologetic purpose.
  • To exhort the church in Rome.
  • To let people know about his itinerant visits.


6.5.4. Readers


                                      The intended readers are both the Jews and Gentiles Christians in Romans.

6.5.5. Central message


                      It is difficult to single out the whole theme of Romans as it speaks of different topics like justification by faith, God’s faithfulness etc.


  1. The letter opening (1:1 – 17)
  2. The gospel and the righteousness of God by faith (1:18 – 4:25)
  3. The gospel and the power of God for salvation (5:1 – 8:39)
  4. The gospel and Israel (9:1 – 11:36)
  5. The gospel and the transformation of life (12:1 – 15:13)
  6. The letter closing (15:14 – 16:27)


6.6. Hebrews

6.6.1. Authorship

This is placed and regarded as one of the Pauline corpus. It is difficult to ascribe the authorship of this epistle to Paul as the internal and external evidences do not coordinate mostly. We do not see Paul introducing himself in this epistle. We cannot say conclusively to whom this epistle was addressed. But traditionally this was well-accepted by Clement of Alexandria Origen but not without recognizing the difficulties attached to the view. The most probable authors, apart from Paul are Luke, Barnabas, Clemet of Rome and Apollos. Now regarding the affinity between this epistle and the Luke- Acts, we can probably say that it may have been translated or edited from Hebrew to Greek by Luke or Clement of Rome. The Greek of Hebrew is more polished than that of Paul where as Paul’s Greek is very rough which we do not see in the book of Hebrew. Based on the above views we cannot for certain be sure who wrote this epistle.

6.6.2. Date and Place of Composition


As there are some quotations of the book of Hebrew in 1 Clement, we can say this epistle was written by 1 Clement which is precisely A. D. 70. So, it must be before A.D. 70. Internally there are some verses that indicate persecution, if they are taken literally then it should be dated around A.D. 60. Most probable date is 60-70 A.D. it must have been written in somewhere out of Jerusalem.

6.6.3. Purpose


  • To present the Superiority of the Christ.
  • To warn the readers from the dangers of discarding their faith.
  • To exhort the Christian walk of faith.
  • To present Christ both as king and priest.
  • To present the new covenant.
  • To define the faith of the Patriarchs.
  • To exhort to practice Christ’s endurance.
  • To exhort love in the social and religious realms.


6.6.4. Readers

              We do not have enough evidences to conclude where this epistle was written.



6.6.5. Central message

Christ is sovereign and superior to all the prophets, priests, kings, and angels who replaced the old covenant by his sacrificial redemption. The church is obligated to the implications of his sacrifice by the endurance of faith and exercising love in both social and religious realms.


Introduction Gods final word (1:1-4)

 The son and the angels (1:5-2:18)

 Jesus as a merciful and faith full high priest (3:1-5:10)

 Jesus the perfected high priest n the order of Melchizedek and source of(5:11-10:39)

Faith and endurance (11:1-12:13)

Appeals for a god- honouring life-style (12:14-13:25)


7. James

7.1. Authorship


              Traditionally this epistle was ascribed to James, the brother of Jesus, son of Joseph and Mary (Mk 6:3; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19). But there were men who bear the same name like James, the son of Zebedee, James, the son Alphaeus, James, the younger, son of Mary, James, the father of Judas. Among these, James, the son of Zebedee and James, the brother of the Lord are most probable. Though we many not conclusively say that it was James, the Lord’s brother but it is more likely that he had written.

7.2. Date and place of composition


              Traditional view of dating this epistle is A. D. 40-60. Though some scholars argue on much late date as A.D. 150, while considering this epistle as pseudonymous. One can observe social environment, we can infer a date before destruction of the temple. There are no elements of 2nd century heresies. A.D. 40-60 is most applicable.


7.3. Purpose



  • To exhort all the Jews who were scattered.
  • To guide the Jews in faith in times of test and temptations.
  • To give a proper understanding on hoe to relate with wealthy and poor.


7.4. Readers


     The readers of this epistle were most probably Jewish- Christians.


7.5. Central message


                  A strong faith in testing times and temptations and implication of faith and the assurance of Christ’s return is the theme of the this epistle.


Greetings: – (1:1)

Opening words (1:2-27)

Testing through generosity (2:1-26)

Testing through the tongue (3:1-4:12)

Testing through wealth (4:13-5:6)

Conclusion: – (5:7-20)



8.1 Peter

8.1. Authorship


                In the beginning of this epistle, author claims himself to be “peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ” (1:1). We can also see that the author says he was a “witness of Christ’s suffering” (5:1). But the question remains. Merely looking internally we can decisively conclude Petrine authorship. The Petrine authorship is long been disputed because of , the good Greek style and vocabulary, some scholars doubt “Peter” as a Pseudonym, Its use of Lxx, it is not mentioned in the Muratorian canon. The good Greek style and vocabulary has made many scholars to doubt Petrine authorship as we know the author was “illiterate” and “unable to write”. The word that has been used is “agrammatos” has a wider meaning in Greek which means uneducated and perhaps lacking expertise concerning the law in a Jewish context. We can infer that the author, as he was a Gentile, may be uneducated concerning the things of the law and therefore he was “unlearned” as mentioned in Acts 4:13. Most of the Gentiles during the period were familiar with the Greek, and mostly the Gentile converts used to refer LXX mostly. We cannot simply deny the Petrine authorship on more basis of not including in Muratorian canon. The other possibility of the good Greek is because of Silavanus of whom Peter states that he wrote epistle “with the help of Silas, a faithful brother” (5:12). This Silvanus is undoubtedly a reference to “Silas” of Acts 15:22 and 1 Thess. 1:1. As we know Silas is the colabourer of Paul and Timothy, there is every possibility of being influenced b them. It is most probable that Peter took the help of Silvanus while writing this epistle.  


8.2. Date and Place of Composition


                 There are different views to suggest a date and place of composition of this epistle. If we accept the Petrine authorship and on the basis of Paul’s departure from Rome in A.D. 62 (cf. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus), it is more likely that this epistle might have been written between 62 and 63 A.D. in Rome or Galatia. Traditionally also, taking into consideration 1 Pet. 2:1-17. It may be dated before A.D. 64.



8.3. Purpose


  • To encourage the readers to grow in their trust and faith in God.
  • To point out the reader to the work done by God in Christ.
  • To make readers to realize the obligations of God’s work.
  • To exhort readers to trust in God in their suffering.

8.4. Readers


                             The readers are mixed group of Jewish and Gentile Christians in the Roman province.

8.5. Central message


                     Faith, obedience and patience in social life in relation to God and in suffering for the cause of Christ’s sacrifice which makes a believer to be obligated to lead a holy life.


  1. The writer greets his readers (1:1-2)
  2. God’s plan of salvation was mad known to us.(1:3-9)
  3. How our salvation was made know to us (1:10-12)
  4. What our salvation involves in everyday living (1:13-5:7)
  5. Such salvation attracts opposition, but faith guarantees the victory (5:8-11)
  6. Personal greetings (5:12-14)



9. 2 Peter

9.2.1. Authorship


                   It is very difficult to ascribe the authorship of this Epistle to Peter as there are differences between 1 & 2 Peter linguistically. Traditionally the authority of this epistle was inconclusive. It is poorly attested by the early church fathers.cwe cannot conclusively say that it was written by Peter, but it is widely accepted throughout the churches. It is not rejected as spurious anywhere in the church. So, it is not possible to conclude or decisively say anything about this epistle.  Though we may not decisively say it was not written by Peter, the epistle still has the apostolic spirit.

9.2. Date and Place of Composition


                 As 2 Pet. 3:15-16 clearly indicates that the second epistle of Peter must have been written after a good number of Pauline letters. Traditional, if Petrine authorship is accepted then it is 60-68 A.D. 2 Peter is used in the Apocalypse of Peter which might have been published shortly by 64-68 A.D. To fix a place is not an easy task, but we presumably say it was written in Rome as it is Peter’s favorite choice.

9.3. Purpose


  • To epitomize the faith of the apostles.
  • To give apologetic for the false teachings.
  • To arouse Christians about the faith in Christ.
  • To exhort about Parusia of Christ.


9.4. Readers


                  It is not clear to whom the epistle was written, most probably the same readers of 1 Peter.




9.5. Central message


                         A Christian show grow in Christ, and there will be dangers of false teaching, and a Christian should overcome them in anticipation of Christ’s return.


The writer greets his readers. (1:1-2)

A cal to spiritual growths (1:3-11)

Reasons for emphasizing these things (1:12-2:22)

A reminder of the coming of the Lord (3:1-16)

A call to be steadfast and grow; peter ascribes the glory to God (3:17-18)


10. Johannine Epistles


10.1. Authorship


As I have already defended the traditional view of the authorship of the John’s Gospel, because of it close affinity with Johannine epistles presumably conveys that these written by the same “beloved disciple”. They were also attested by the early church fathers like Iranaeus, Paolycarp , Ignatius etc. But it does not take away the confusion of the author as there are other John’s living in that same time. There are two possibilities to who we can attribute authorship of these epistles. 1) John, the elder, 2) John, the evangelist. Traditionally, “the elder” in the early church is considered as an apostle. In Papias reference in interpretation of the oracles of the Lord, he refers two Johns- one among the 12 disciples and other as “presbyter”. A number of scholars have said that the reason why Papias mentions two John’s is because as John was alive out of all disciples, he had to be listed in the disciples and also among those who were still alive. But still these views are inadequate to conclude the authorship of epistles of John, but the evidences we have, are more included to John “the beloved disciple”, “the presbyter and the elder”.


10.2. Date and Place of Composition


1 John might have been written between 90-110 A.D, if we assume the authorship of Gospel of John to this epistle and regarding the place we can only guess it as to be in Syria. 2 & 3 John might have been written at the same time.


10.3. Purpose


 1 John:


  • To warn against heretical teachers who have arisen in the Christian Churches.
  • To defend against Gnosticism and Docetic Christology.
  • To defend against the heresy of Cerinthus, this appeared at the end of the 1st century in Asia Minor.

2 John:

  • To warn the congregation against false teachings who deny the incarnation of Christ.
  • To command the congregation to enter into no kind of relationship with such people.

3 John:


  • To command Gaius to continue his hospitality and not allowing himself to be hindered by Diotrephes.



10.3. Readers



1 & 2 John was written to the Church in Syria. 3 John was written to Gaius.



10.4. Central message


1 John:


               The reality of life revealed through the incarnated “logos”, which also gives to the readers fellowship with God. A person should abide with ethical implications Christological doctrine.


Prologue (1:1-4)

Fellowship with God (1:5-2:6)

The New commandment (2:7-17)

The Christian and the anti Christ (2:18-27)

Children of God (2:28-3:10)

Love one another. (3:11-18)

Confidence (3:19-24)

The spirit of truth and the spirit of false hood (4:1-6)

God is love. (4:7-21)

Faith’s victory (5:1-5)

The witness to the son (5-6-12)

The knowledge of eternal life (5:13-21





2 John:

           The apostle John had seen Truth and Love firsthand- he had been with Jesus. So affected was this disciple that all of his writings, from the Gospel to the book of Revelation, are filled with this theme: Truth and love are vital to the Christian and are inseparable in the Christian life. This letter was written to encourage true Christian love and to warn against deceivers who might deny that Jesus Christ was truly human.


  1. Salutation (1-3)
  2. The command to love (4-6)
  3. Sound doctrine (7-11)
  1. Conclusion (12-13)


3 John:

               The theme of this epistle is hospitality toward brethren.




  1. Salutation-1
  2. Following the truth -2-4
  3. Hospitality- 5-8
  4. Diotrephes and Demetrius- 9-13
  5. Conclusion- 13-15


                                                11. Jude


11.1. Authorship


                 Traditionally, this epistle is ascribed to Jude. He is the “brother of James”. Looking at some of the internal evidences, the literary style of the book Jude, we can infer the author was like a Jewish-Christian, fro he knows Jewish apocalyptic writings. His poor Greek usage rises a doubt whether he is the brother of James or not. So, we can presumably say that Jude, the brother of James is the author.

11.2. Date and Place of Composition

            Jude might have been written at the end of the 1st century as terminus a quo, i.e. 125 A.D.

11.3. Purpose

  • To defend against libertine, Gnostic and false teachers.
  • To admonish the readers to hold fast to the faith which was done for all delivered to t he saints.
  • To defend against Docetic Chrsitology.

11.4. Readers


                              We do not know for certain, but it is written for the Gentiles.


11.5. Central message

             The main theme of Jude is the sin and dooms of Godless men and at the same time a call to preserve one’s faith.


  1. Opening address & greetings (1-2)
  2. Challenge to hold firm to the faith (3-4)
  3. Reminder’s of God’s punishment of past obedience (5-7)
  4. Denunciation of false teachers (8-13)
  5. The relevance of Enoch’s prophesy (14-16)
  6. The Christian antidote (17-23)
  7. Closing commendation and ascription of praise.(24-25).




12. The Apocalypse of John

12.1. Authorship

As I have already mentioned in the Gospel of John that John wrote this book while he was in exile in the Isle of Patmos. He directs the letter as a circular letter to the seven churches in Asia Minor. The plain name “John” points out to a personality known to all. By this we can assume that this John who was a well-known personality in the early church. But there are other views about the authorship of this Gospel. Most of the scholars have set aside the possibility of John, the son of Zebedee as the author of this epistle.

Dionysius pointed put great linguistic and stylistic differences between the Apocalypse, on the other hand, and John and the Johannine epistles on the other hand.

12.2. Date and Place of Composition


This book itself presents the persecution of Christians, so we can infer that it might have been written during Dominitian’s reign between 81-96 A.D.

12.3. Purpose

  • To give a unique picture of Christ.
  • To present Christ as the mighty ruler of the cosmic forces of good.
  • To describe the imminent end-time beginning in his present with materials containing traditional conceptions.

12.4. Readers


                           The seven churches of Asia Minor



12.5. Central message


             The main theme of this epistle is the kingdom of Rome which is metamorphically presented as Satan and how God, through Christ overthrows the Satan and establishes his Kingdom on the earth. On the other hand it also presents the eschatological happenings of the end times.


  1. The prologue (1:1-8)
  2. The call of John to prophesy (1:9-20)
  3. The letters to the seven churches (2:1-3:22)
  4. A vision of heaven (4:1-5:14)
  5. The seven seals (6:1-8:5)
  6. The seven trumpets (8:6-11:19)
  7. The conflict between the church & the power of evil (12:1-14:20)
  8. The seven cups of wrath (15:1-16:21)
  9. The reign and ruin of the city of the antichrist (17:1-19:10)
  10. The revelation of the Christ and of the city of God(19:11-22:5)
  11. The epilogue (22:6-21)
























            Alford ,Henry                                     Greek Testament, Vol.2, 5th ed. London: Reving tons, 1865).


Beare, Francis W                                 “The Epistle to the Ephesians”, The Interpreter’s Bible.V.10. New York: Abingdon Press, Nashville: 1953.


Beasley-Murray, Geoge R                  “John”, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 36.Waco: Texas: Word Books, 1987.


Bruce, F. F.                                         “1 & 2 Thessalonians”, Word Biblical commentary.Vol. 45. Word Book, Publisher, Waco: 1982.


Carson, H. M                                      “The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon”, Tyndale New Testament Commentary. IVP, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, England: Michigan: 1960.


Eusebius                                              Ecclesiastical History 3.39.


Georg Kümmel, Werner                      Introduction To The New Testament. Translated by A.J. Mattil, Jr. New York: Nashville: Abingdon press,1966.


Gilmour , S. Maclean                          “The Gospel according to St. Luke”, The Interpreter Bible. NY: Nashville: Abingdon= Cokesbury Press, 1952.


Hale ,Thomas                                      The Applied New Testament Commentary. East Bourne: Kingsway Publication,1996.


Harnack, Adolph                                Luke the Physician.Translated by J.R. Wilkinson. Crown Theological Library. London:  Williams and Norgate; New York: G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1907.


Harrison,Everett F.                             “The Gospel According to John”. The Wyclff Commentry. Chicago: Moody press,1962.


Iraneus,                                               Adversus Haereses. I I I, i. 2.


Kent ,Homer A                                   “The Gospel according to Matthew”, The Wycliff Bible Commentary, eds, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everette F. Harrison.  Chicago: Moody Press, 1962.


Lampe ,G.W.H                                   “The Gospel of Luke”, Peak’s Commentary on the Bible, eds, Matthew Black, H.H. Rowley. Nairob: Nelson, 1962.


Longenecker ,Richard N                     “Galatians”, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol.41. Word Books, Publisher, Dallas: Texas: 1990.


Mare ,W. Harold                                 “1 Corinthians”, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V.10. Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976.


Morris, Leon                                       “The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians An Introduction and Commentary”. Tyndale New Testament commentaries. IVP, William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, Michigan: 1985.


Nollan, John                                         “Luke 1-9:20,”  Word Biblical Commentary, V. 5A. Texas: Word Book, Publisher, 1989.


O’ Brien,Peter T                                   “Colossians and Philemon”, Word Biblical Commentary, V.44.    Word Books, Publisher, Waco: Texas: 1982.


Robertson, Archbald                              A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. T & T Clark, 1929.


Stann ,Raymond T                              “The Epistle to the Galatians”, The Interpreter’s Bible. Abingdon Press, New York: Nashville: 1953.

[1] Merril C. Tenney, New Testament survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p.149

[2] Ibid.149

[3] Thomas Hale, The Applied New Testament Commentary, (East Bourne: Kingsway Publication,1996), p. 149

[4] Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39 citing in Homer A. Kent, “The Gospel according to Matthew”, The Wycliff Bible Commentary, eds, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everette F. Harrison,  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962) p. 929

[5]Homer A. Kent, “The Gospel according to Matthew”, The Wycliff Bible Commentary, eds, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everette F. Harrison,  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962) p. 929

[6]Merril C. Tenney, New Testament Survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p.150

[7] Ibid.151

[8] Ibid.151

[9] Ibid.150

[10] Doremus A. Hayes, The synoptic Gospels and the Book of Acts, p.105 citing in  Merril C. Tenney, New Testament Survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p.160

[11] Ibid. 160

[12] Eusebius Historica Ecclesiae I I I. 39 citing  in Merril C. Tenney, New Testament survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p. 161

[13] Ibid. 162

[14] Ibid. 162

[15] Robert A. Gulich, “ Mark 1-8:26”, Word Biblical Dictionary, V. 34A, (Dallas: Word Books, Publisher, Texas: 1989), P.xxix

[16] Donald W. Burdic, “The Gospel according to Mark”, The Wycliff Bible Commentary, eds, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everette F. Harrison,  (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), p. 987

[17] Ibid. 987

[18]Merril C. Tenney, New Testament Survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p.173

[19] Ibid.173

[20] Adolph Harnack, Luke the Physician (Translated by J.R. Wilkinson. Crown Theological Library. London:  Williams and Norgate; New York: G.P. Putnam’s sons, 1907) citing in Merril C. Tenney, New Testament Survey, (Grand Rapids: Inter-Varsity Press, 1953), p.177

[21] Ibid.178

[22] Ibid.177

[23] Iraneus, Adversus Haereses. I I I, i. 2 citing in G.W.H. Lampe, “The Gospel of Luke”, Peak’s Commentary on the Bible, eds, Matthew Black, H.H. Rowley, (Nairob: Nelson, 1962), p.820

[24] Ibid.820

[25] John Nollan, “Luke 1-9:20,”  Word Biblical Commentary, V. 5A, (Texas: Word Book, Publisher, 1989), p.xxxvii

[26] Werner Georg Kümmel, Introduction To The New Testament, (Translated by A.J. Mattil, Jr. New York: Nashville: Abingdon press,1966), p.106

[27] John Nollan, “Luke 1-9:20,”  Word Biblical Commentary, V. 5A, (Texas: Word Book, Publisher, 1989), p.179

[28] S. Maclean Gilmour, “The Gospel according to St. Luke”, The Interpreter Bible, (NY: Nashville: Abingdon= Cokesbury Press, 1952), p. 5

[29]Merril C. Tenney, Ibid., 190

[30] Ibid., 190

[31] Geoge R. Beasley-Murray, “John”, Word Biblical Commentry, Volume 36, (Waco: Texas: Word Books, 1987), P. 1xvi

[32] Ibid., 1xvi

[33] Eusebius, H.E. 3.14.7 citing in Ibid., 1xxvii

[34] Merril C. Tenney, Ibid., 190

[35] Everett F. Harrison, “The Gospel According to John”,  The Wyclff Commentry, (Chicago: Moody press,1962), p. 1072

[36] Kummel, Ibid, p. 175

[37] Wilbert F. Howard, “The Gospel According to St. John”, The Interpreter’s Bible, (NY: Abigngdon Press, Nashville: 1952), p.463

[38] Merril C. Tenny, Ibid, p.232

[39] I. Howard Maeshall, Tyndale New Testament Commentries, “The Acts of the Apostles”, (IVP, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, England: Michigan: 1980), p. 44

[40] G. H. C. Macgregor, “The Acts of the Apostle”, The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 1x , (Abingdon= Cokesbery Press, New York: Nashville: 1954), p.5 citing in Against Heresies III; c.f also III.14.1fff

[41] Johannes Munck,  “The Acts of the Apostles”, The Anchor Bible, (Doubleday & Company, Inc., NewYork: 1967), p. LV

[42] I. Howard Marshall, Ibid., p.45

[43] E. E. Ellis, Pastoral Letters”, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, eds, Gerald F. Hawthrone, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid, (Illinios: IVP, 1983), p.659

[44] Ibid., p. 659

[45] Ibid., p.659.

[46] Ibid., p.660.

[47] Merril C. Tenny, Ibid., p. 335.

[48] Ibid. p.333.

[49][49] G. F. Hawthrone, “Philippinan, Letter to the”, Dictionary of Paul and his letters, (IVP, Illinois: England: 1993), p. 709

[50] Ibid., p. 709

[51] Francis Foulkes, “Ephesians”, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries,(IVP: William B. Eerdmans, England: Michigan: 1989), p.46.

[52] Francis W. Beare, “The Epistle to the Ephesians”, The Interpreter’s Bible, V.10, (New York: Abingdon Press, Nashville: 1953), p.597.

[53] Peter T. O’ Brien, “Colossians and Philemon”, Word Biblical Commentary, V.44, (Word Books, Publisher, Waco: Texas: 1982), p.x1i.

[54] H. M. Carson, “The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon”, Tyndale New Testament Commentary, (IVP, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, England: Michigan: 1960), p. 12.

[55] Kummel, ibid., p. 256.

[56] Henry Alford, Greek Testament, Vol.2, 5th ed, (London: Reving tons, 1865), p. 46 citing in W. Harold Mare, “1 Corinthians”, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V.10, (Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), P. 179.

[57] Archbald Robertson and Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the First epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, (T & T Clark, 1929; International Critical Commentary), p. xvi citing in Leon Morris, “The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians An Introduction and Commentary”, Tyndale New Testament commentaries, (IVP, William B. Eerdmans Publishing company, Michigan: 1985), p. 5.

[58] Richard N. Longenecker, “Galatians”, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol.41, (Word Books, Publisher, Dallas: Texas: 1990), pp.1vii-1viii 

[59] Raymond T. Stann, “The Epistle to the Galatians”, The Interpreter’s Bible, (Abingdon Press, New York: Nashville: 1953), p. 442 citing in Banett, N. T. : Its Making And Meaning, p. 21. His earlier book, Pal Becomes a Literary Influence (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1941), is thoroughly documented study of the early tradition and use of Paul’s letters.

[60] F. F. Bruce, “1 & 2 Thessalonians”, Word Biblical commentary, Vol. 45, (Word Book, Publisher, Waco: 1982), p. xxxii

[61] Ibid., p. xxxvii

[62] F. F. Bruce, Ibid., p.xxxiv.

[63] Ibid., xxxiv.