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Common Theological Themes in the Synoptic Gospels

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Common themes in the synoptic Gospels are the "kingdom of God," and a shift from the "old covenant" to the "new covenant." The ultimate question Jesus asks is will we choose to be a part of his kingdom?


Common Theological Themes in the Synoptic Gospels


1. Overview of two important approaches for studying the theological themes of the Gospels.

a. Study the themes that Matthew, Mark and Luke (synoptics) have in common

b. Study the distinctive themes in the synoptics and in the Gospel of John.

2. Common theological themes that are characteristic of the synoptic Gospels

a. The "kingdom of God," also referred to as the "kingdom of heaven."

1. The kingdom of God has arrived and also remains future

a. John the Baptist

b. Jesus' message of the kingdom of God

b. The God of the kingdom

c. Jesus uses parables to illustrate that the mystery of the kingdom is that it has arrived but not without irresistible force.

d. Some parables describe an emphasis on forgiveness and grace.

e. Shift in the dominant thinking about uncleanness vs. holiness

f. Cost of discipleship

h. Final judgment

3. Shift from the old covenant to the new covenant

a. In the OT, 5 dominant features of God's role as the king of the universeion

b. Jesus' distinctives in the synoptic Gospels

c. Calling 12 apostles

d. "New" or "renewed" Israel

e. Claims of Jesus' teachings being anti-Semitic are baseless

f. Relationship between the "kingdom" and the "Church"

g. Jesus' ethical teaching requires a gathered community extending into time

2. George Ladd's concluding 5 points

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