Lecture 3: Matthew and Luke
Login to download lecture and curriculum
Discussion of the extensive similarities between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, including the likely existence of a "Q" document.
III. The Relationship between Matthew and Luke
A. The Relationship of Matthew and Luke
B. Location of Q Material
1. Sayings of Jesus in Matthew
2. Q Material in Luke
3. Development of Sayings in Matthew and Luke
Course: New Testament Survey - Gospels
Lecture: Matthew and Luke
Father, we rejoice again at your love for us this day. We give you thanks for the gospels which we possess. We continue to pray for insight that will enable us to be good interpreters of your word for we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
We looked at the similarities between Matthew, Mark and Luke, and we argued that there must me some sort of a literary relationship between them. Now, we demonstrated, hopefully, at least – I'm arguing that there is a literary relationship because of various evidence – the similarities in order and wording, parenthetical material, the quotations of scripture and so forth – and then we look at that literary relationship, we argued for the priority of Mark. It's the shortest. It's easier to understand. People adding to it – we see theological difficulties in Mark that Matthew and Luke tend to eliminate or explain, which is more easily understandable that reverse. We find that sometimes Mark and Matthew agree against Luke, and Luke and Mark agree against Matthew, and other arguments of that sort.
Now, we argued, therefore, that there is an – a relationship in which Mark was probably the first gospel that was written and that Matthew and Luke used it. Now, we want to deal with other – the next step, and that is to observe certain material found in the gospels of Matthew and Luke that are very similar, and, needless to say, if it's not in Mark, they didn't get it from Mark. Let's look at some of that material.
Turn with me in your synopsis to page 58. We want to look at Matthew 6:24 and then compare it to its parallel in Luke 16:13 – Matthew 6:24 – now, I will read to Luke. You follow the Mark in parallel. "No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and man." Very close, isn't it? There's only one difference is it? Second word – "no one" or "no servant". Other than that, they're identical word for word.
Turn to chapter 7, the next page, page 61, Matthew 7:7 to 11. Again, I will read to you Luke. You follow in Matthew. "And I tell you, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be open to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be open.'" Now, if you – coloring this, you don't have much broken lines here do you? It's a – just – you have a one solid red line. They're identical.
Then you go on, "Which father among you if his son asks for a fish, well, instead of a fish, give him a serpent, or if he asks for an egg, will he give him a scorpion?" Now, there some differ – d – differences there. "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him," and you have, "We will have good things to those who ask him." We will note that this reveals something of the theological emphasis of Luke by pointing out the "goodest thing", quote unquote, that you could ask God for is the Spirit.
Turn with me now to Matthew 11:25 to 27. That would be page 108. Let's look at Matthew 11:27 and following. Reading Luke, "And if I cast out demons by Beelzabub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges, but if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Again, very, very close. Solid red lines for the most part in all those.
One more example of Matthew 23, Verses 37 to 39 – that would be 200 and – 253 – 253. Here we have a saying concerning Jerusalem. Follow Matthew as I read to you Luke – 253. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you. How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you would not." That's identical so far, isn't it? "Behold, your house is forsaken, and I tell you, you will not see me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the day of the Lord." Very, very close agreements on this material.
Now, where did this come from? If we argued that Mark, Matthew and Luke in the common triple tradition, when you have a lot of blue that you have solid lines, that this agreement is such that it makes you think there must be some sort of a written agreements. What about this material, which has been called Q material? Uh, it's a written source. Well, if we say there's so much of this, they must have had some source in common. The easiest explanation of why Matthew and Luke look alike here – the easiest by far is to say, “Well, maybe Luke used Matthew and Matthew used Luke.” Well, you say, “Well, wha – Well, what about Q?" There's no need for Q. The simplest explanation is Matthew used Luke or Luke used Matthew. Unless – unless, this should reason for concluding Luke did not use Matthew. Matthew did not use Luke. Then, you have to say, "Well, then there must have been something else out there" – some other source – and a lot of this work was done in the nine, uh – 1700s and the 1800s by German scholars, and the word for source in German is quelle, beginning with a Q. So, this source – this Q must have existed out there.
The British came back and said, "No, we named the source Q because one writer earlier had written that Matthew and Luke have a source P, for Peter – Mark – Mark the gospel, which supposedly goes back to Peter – and there was another source – and the next letter after P was Q – so we coined the Q." I don't care who coined it. Uh, we're using the designation Q. I'll define Q for you. Pay attention. Q represents the material in common between Matthew and Luke that's not in Mark. That's all I mean by Q so far. They may want to describe it a little more, but for us, the definition of Q – the material in Matthew and Luke that they have in common not in Mark, okay? Is it written? Is it oral? Is it a one? That's a different question. For us, Q simply represents the common material in Matthew and Luke not found in Mark. Okay.
A lot of the people who deal with these theories don't have any Doctrine of Inspiration, so it’s not a problem one way or the other. For the Evangelical Christian, it is, and the question we have to wrestle with, is there any reason why using other written sources would conflict with the Doctrine of Inspiration? If you think of inspiration in the form of a dictation, yes. Unless y – y – Luke and Matthew are writing and as Matthew gets to a certain point, the voice from heaven says, "At this point, turn to source Q and copy," but most of us have to develop an understanding of inspiration that fits with the biblical text, and the clearest [09:00] biblical text we have is the prologue of Luke. We'll look at that shortly. Not today but another day – where Luke says, "Others have written. These things were passed on by word of mouth orally by the eye witnesses and ministers of the Word. I've looked and examined them from the beginning, so that I could write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus."
So, those who have read Luke are more open to the view that, yeah, Luke talks about early sources that he's looked at, but I don't think there's anything that is diametrically opposed to God guiding the writers through inspiration with the view that God also guided them in their looking through materials of the past. The Old Testament refers to the writers using the Book of Jasher and some others, which have accounts of these things in them. So, I – I – I don't see any conflict between this. For some people's view of inspiration, which is a kind mechanistic dictation, yes, it would be a problem, but not for the one who wrestles [10:00] with Luke 1:1 to 1:4.
If you talk about the copy that Matthew and Luke used of Mark, it's very unlikely it was the exact same manuscript. Now, if they used two different copies of Mark, it's very unlikely that those two copies would have been identical without a single scribal mistake. Just think for a minute, if I asked any two of you to use say an RSV – copy of Mark – and I gave to you that same RSV copy and I say, "Copy this by hand all the way through." Do you think they would be identically perfect? Identical – no – no spelling difference, no word missed out? Not likely. So, probably they're not going to be identical. On the other hand, that they would be so wildly different, as this is very, very unlikely. So, there would be huge sections of Q that you could find that original copy of Mark and so forth and so on. So, not perfectly identical, and that might explain for some little changes which we'll talk about what we call the Matthew Luke Agreements Against Mark, but nothing that would have all this Q material in it.
All right, now, again, there's no need for a Q if Matthew and Luke – one knew the other – I don't mean personally, but Matthew knew the gospel of Luke and from – he had it or Luke vice versa. Very seldom is it Matthew having used Luke. It's usually Luke having used Matthew partly because of the fact that he refers to other written sources where Matthew doesn't.
All right, now, one of the things that argues against Matthew and Luke knowing each other is the fact that when we have an M edition to Luke – an M edition to Matthew or an L edition to Luke, we’re not – it's not found in the other gospel. Now, let me explain that. When you have Matthew, Mark and Luke – a triple account – forget double traditions where it's only Matthew and – and M – and Luke, think of Matthew, Mark and Luke – when you have those three together, if we have something in Matthew that's not found in Mark, that's called an M edition to the Markan narrative. All right, you're following Mark. Matthew adds something. All right, that's an M edition to Mark. Have Mark – and you have something in Luke – an L edition. Okay? When you find an M edition in Matthew, it never shows up in Luke. If you have an L edition, it doesn't show up i – in Matthew.
There are one or two exceptions w – which we have to talk about at another time, but let's look at the general practice. Let's look at some of these passages. Turn with me to page 102. Here you have the story beginning on the preceding page, uh – Plucking Gain on the Sabbath. Now, turn, uh – in page 102, to line 15 – I'll just break in the middle of the sentence there – "Which it i – was not lawful for any but the priest to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him." You find that in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but notice Matthew has, at this point – line 18 – "Or have not you read in the law how on the Sabbath the priest in the Temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless. I tell you that someone greater than the temple is here, and if you had known what this means, I desire mercy and not sacrifice. You would not have condemned the guiltless." An M edition to the Markan narrative, okay? It's not in Luke. It's not in Luke.
Turn to page 103. You find here in Verse 11, on the story of the man with the withered hand, Matthew has, "But he said to them, 'What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it up." That edition to the narrative, lines 11 through 14 – an M edition – Matthew edition to the Markan narrative – it doesn't show up in Luke in that account. It may show up elsewhere but it's not in the account. So, whenever you compare the triple edition accounts, if Matthew has something, Mark – that Mark doesn't, Luke doesn't have it.
Turn to page 158, Matthew 18:3 and 4. Here's the teachings about greatness, and reading the Markan account in line 13, "And he took a child and put it in the midst of them, and taking them into his arms, he said to them." Now, Matthew has an M edition beginning at Verse, uh – line 17, "Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." That M material is not found in Luke.
Uh, turn with me to page 76, Matthew 8:17. Here you have a summary of Jesus healing in the evening, and Mark ends, line 10, "And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him," and then Matthew has, "This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah. He took our offenses and bore our diseases." M edition – not in – not in Luke.
Page 115 – 115 – Matthew 13:14 through 16. Here you have Jesus' teachings concerning why he taught in parables, and then if you look at line 21, "With them it indeed fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says, ‘You will indeed hear but never understand. You will indeed see but never perceive, for this, uh – people's heart has grown dull. They're ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes, they have closed, thus, they should perceive with their eyes,’" and let’s see – next page – "hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and turn for – turn for me to heal them." M edition not in Luke, and one last one we can look at – I wanna show you there are a lot of these – page 150, Matthew 16, Verses 17 through 19 – on page 150, if you look at line 22 – remember the line numbers are on the left or the right columns – you have the famous rock saying, and Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has r – not reveal this to you but my father was in heaven. I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" – an M edition to the Markan narrative. It's not in Luke. It's not in Luke.
Now, if Luke had Mark in front o – Matthew in front of him – excuse me. If Luke knew Matthew, it is strange that never does he take any of this material in the tradition that's found only in Matthew and include it. You say, "Well, maybe he didn't like Matthew at much as Mark," but the material that he would have to have gotten from Matthew – that Q material – he copies that even more exactly. So, he doesn't have a denigrating, low attitude towards Matthew if he's getting this material from him, but he has a very high attitude towards him. Well – well, maybe then, uh – maybe, Matthew used Luke then. Well, that doesn't seem to square either.
Let's look at a couple pages. Turn with me to page 40, Luke 5:17. Luke begins, "On one of those days, as he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the laws sitting by they would come from every village of Galilee and J – Judea and from Jerusalem, and the power of the Lord was with him to heal." An L edition to the Mark material – Mark has something there but it's not anywhere the same. Luke has added this and it's not in Matthew.
Turn to page 43, 5:39 in Luke, after the saying about "No one puts new wine into old wine skins" and so forth, in line 34, Luke alone has, "But noone after drinking old wine desires new for he says the old is good" – L tradition – Matthew doesn't have it.
Page 153 – no, turn to page 133 first. Let's go consecutively here. (Luke 9:9) After this saying about opinions concerning Jesus, Luke adds in line 9 and following, "Herod said, 'John, I beheaded, but who is this from whom I hear all these things,' and he sought to see him." A little comment there but not a – a – great one. Uh, it's not as important to him, but, again, that addition in lines 10, 11 and 12 are lacking in Matthew.
Uh, turn to page 153. To expedite time, just look at the material in lines 13 through 19 – found in Luke, not found in M – Matthew – and then go to 156. Look at lines 32, 33, "And he healed him – healed the boy, gave him back to his father." You don't find that in the parallel in Matthew. What we have is this then, sometimes we have material that Matthew has added to Mark. None of that ever shows up in Luke.
Now, if you look to Matthew, you would think once sometimes something would show up like this. It doesn't show up. If you look at Luke, and he – when he adds something to the Markan narrative, that never shows up in Matthew. That doesn't look like Matthew was using Luke. So, here you now have – say, if you explain the Q material as Matthew using Luke, as Luke – Matt – using Matthew, why is it that never in the triple tradition when Matthew adds something to the narrative, Luke just doesn’t have it. When Luke adds something, Matthew just never has it. It doesn't look like they knew each other.
All right, let me focus on a couple other arguments. Uh, one of the things too, if you look at this Q material and note where it's located, it is not found in the same place that Matthew has this Q material. In other words, if Matthew used – if Luke used Matthew, you would expect to find some of this material located in the same place where Matthew has it located. It never is.
Turn with me to the back of your synopsis to page 343. Here you have a ordering of the different stories. I want you to compare with me where – what – that Q material found in the Sermon on the Mount is found in Matthew, and note where it's found in Luke. All right, we begin top of page 343 with the Beatitudes, number 51 on the left. Matthew has it. The Beatitudes are in Luke, chapter 6. The next saying about the salt of the earth is found in Luke 14. The saying on the light of the world is found in chapter 8. The saying on the law and the prophets is found in chapter 16. The saying about murder and wrath, found in 12. On adultery and divorce, 16. On retaliation, chapter 6. Love of one's enemies, chapter 6. Alms giving on prayer, not found at all in Luke. The Lord's Prayer, chapter 11. On fasting, not found in Luke. On treasures, chapter 12. On the sound eye, chapter 11. Serving two masters, chapter 16. On anxiety, chapter 12. On judging, chapter 6. Profaning the Holy, not there. God's answering of prayer, chapter 11. The Golden Rule, chapter 6. The Two Ways, chapter 13. By Their Fruit, chapter 6. The Lord's Saying, chapter 6. House building on the rock, chapter 6, and so forth.
Now, if Matthew was the first when written and Luke was supposedly using Matthew, Luke, almost every time he came across these saying of Jesus, had to say, "I had to put it in a different place. I don't want to follow Matthew," or something like that. It doesn’t look like these are coming out of the Sermon on the Mount because they're so separate in so many ways. There are a couple of them that apparently were already in the oral period associated together, but these sayings in Matthew are just scattered throughout all of Luke this way, and you can follow of the Q sayings in Matthew, and you'll notice they just are located in different places.
Another thing to note is that in Matthew and in Luke, the sayings occur in a very different location. In Matthew, this material is found in chapters 5 to 7, 10, 13, 18 and 23 to 25. If you look at the sayings of the Jesus, the red parts of a red-letter edition of Matthew, these are where you will find most of the red sayings – 5 to 7, 10, 13, 18, 23, 25 – these are sayings chapters, okay?
Now, if you look at how they end these chapters, it's very interesting. Let's look at how the first sayings chapter section ends. Turn with me to chapter 7, Verse 28. That would be page, um, 64. This is the first sayings section, and I want you to keep your finger there. After the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew ends, "And when Jesus finished these things," – all right – a conclusion to these teachings of Jesus.
Turn with me now to page 97. Chapter 10 is the next sayings chapter, and notice how here, we also have the ending. Matthew 11:1, towards the bottom of the page, "And when Jesus had finished instructing his disciples" – "When Jesus had finished instructing his disciples" – chapter 13 – the ending of chapter 13 is found on page – let's see – Matthew – 127 – okay, turn to chapter 127. Bottom of the page – (Matthew 13:53) "And when Jesus had finished these parables" – okay – chapter 18 ends in 19:1. You have another set of sayings. Page 215 – top of the page – "Now, when Jesus had finished these sayings" – and the final ending is chapter 26, Verse 1. That would be page 276. Each – you have a collection of sayings and they all end – now, look at 26:1 ends. "When Jesus had finished all these sayings" – let me read them real quickly to you. The first one, "And when Jesus finished these sayings" – the second one, "And when Jesus had finished instructing his 12 disciples" – the third one, "And when Jesus had to finish these parables" – the fourth one, "Now, when Jesus had finished these sayings" – and the last one, "When Jesus had finished all these sayings" –All right? Matthew arranges his gospel very artistically.
Chapters 1 to 4, stories about Jesus – section on teaching, which ends when Jesus had finished these teachings – eight – nine – stories about Jesus – ten – teachings [inaudible] when Jesus had finished instructing his disciples – 12 – 11 and 12 – stories about Jesus – 13 – parables ends, "When Jesus had finished these parables" – 14, 15, 16, 17 – stories about Jesus – chapter on teachings, which ends, "When Jesus had finished these teachings" – chapter 19, 20, 21, 22 – stories about Jesus – teachings about the end times, which end, "Now, when Jesus had finished all these teachings" – then 26, 27, 28 – stories about Jesus. Very artistically arranged.
If you want to look and find the Q material in – in the gospel of Luke, they're in two sections. The first, 6:20 to 8:3, and the second one, 9:51 to 18:14 – very, very different locations – if Luke used Matthew, he had a gospel in which this – these – this Q material was arranged very well. Artistically done – very nicely done – and he decided to break it all down and lump it together in that form. Not – not extremely likely, and the reverse is more likely but of all the ones Luke is the most likely to be owing to other written sources than Matthew. It doesn't look like Matthew got this material from Luke or Luke from Matthew.
Another area which I think is to me the most weighty is the fact that sometimes, if you look at the same saying in Matthew and Luke, it is more "primitive" – quote unquote – I'll explain that in a minute – than it is in the other, and sometimes it’s more primitive in the other than in – in – in this comparison. So, sometimes, the Q material is more primitive in Matthew. Sometimes it's more primitive in Luke. What do we mean by that? We don't mean crude. Primitive here means less theologically developed. You might say probably closer to the original words of Jesus – less theologically interpreted in one way or the other.
The best way to look at that is by looking at some examples. Uh, turn to page 55 for a minute. Page 55 – look at Matthew 5:44, which seems to be less developed – probably more primitive as such – and again, primitive is not negative – it means just less developed theologically in the – Matthew has, "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Luke has, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you." You have four parallel lines in Luke, which is interesting because Luke likes to have fours in various ways.
If you go to the next page, 57, look at 6:12. Here you have Matthew saying, "And forgiving us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors." Luke has, "And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us." Now, in the Old Testament, debts is a metaphor for sins. Perfectly understandable – "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have offended us," but maybe Theophilus would not be that familiar with that metaphor, and Luke changes debts to sins to help this Greek he's writing to, Theophilus, to understand it better. Matthew is more primitive here.
Uh, turn to page 61. Notice Matthew 7:11, "If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him." That is not as developed theologically as Luke's. "If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" All right? Here Matthew is more primitive and you say, "Well, what exactly did Jesus say?" Probably, he said something more like Matthew has, but Luke is inspired of God to say, "You know what the goodest thing you can ask God for, and that is for the presence of His spirit." There's not contradiction here. It's just a development of helping his reader understand what the best of the good things that God can give you in your life.
Page 77, uh, Matthew 8:22, Matthew has, "But Jesus said to him, 'Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead.'" Luke has, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Luke is here more developed – less primitive.
Now, sometimes, however, the reverse is found. Turn to 66 – page 66 – here in Luke 6:20, the first of the Beatitudes, Luke has, "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew has, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Luke is probably more primitive – closer to what Jesus said. Matthew is helping his reader in his NIV translation through the thought-for-thought version. He means poor in spirit. If you go to the next line, "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied," that looks more primitive than Matthew. "Blessed are those who thirst – hunger and thirst for righteousness."
Page 67, Luke 6:31, "As you wish that men would do to you, do also to them." Matthew adds, "For this is the law and the prophets." That looks like a Matthean development. It fits very well his understanding of Jesus' the fulfillment of the law.
Turn to page 57 – back you have to go – look at the opening of the Lord's prayer on the upper right-hand page of 57, "And He, Jesus, said to them, 'When you pray, say, 'Father, hallowed by thy name thy kingdom come.'" It looks more primitive than, "Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name they kingdom come," and then page 173, here you have Luke 11:20. Luke here is more primitive, and if Luke knew Matthew, it is incredible that he would have changed Matthew because Luke has, "But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Matthew has, "But if it is by the spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
Now, Luke has a tremendous emphasis, as we will see shortly – not today but in coming days – on the emphasis of the Holy Spirit in Luke. If Luke had Matthew in front of him, it is impossible for me to ever think that he would have changed Matthew's, "if by the spirit of God" to "the finger of God". Now, if this is – as we argue – if you had one gospel using the other, you would expect that almost always the gospel being used would be the more primitive one. The one using it, would be the more developed one whether it was Luke or Matthew, but we don't find that. We find that sometimes one – sometimes another. It doesn't look like Matthew and Luke knew each other or they got this common material with one another.