E.H. Askwith on the Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel (Public Domain Ebook)

Photo via www.honesttogod.net

Here’s your chance to read a free (online pdf form) commentary book on the historicity of the Johannine Gospel (Gospel of John) and its relation to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). This book was written at the turn of the century.

Click here to access book in pdf format – http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk Go to bottom of page and click on Complete book as one file [5.6MB]  316 pages

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1910. pp.316.
This book is now in the Public Domain

From the Introduction:

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The writer of these pages sets himself the task of showing on internal grounds that the Fourth Gospel is a historical and not merely, as some present-day critics affirm, a theological document. In speaking, however, of the Gospel as historical we do not mean that the aim of the writer of it was primarily a historical one. His interest may well have been theological, as indeed he expressly states it to have been (xx. 31). But our contention will here be that the writer did not invent his story to teach theological truth. We believe that the things which the Evangelist records as having happened are real events, that they did take place. In saying this we are setting ourselves in opposition to much of the criticism of our day, which denies to this Gospel serious historical value, regarding it as irreconcilable with the Synoptic tradition of the life of Jesus Christ.

For the opposition to the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is based chiefly on internal grounds. Its external credentials might be accepted by adverse critics were it not for what they consider to be overwhelming objections against its apostolic authorship on the ground of in- ternal evidence. But, as it is, the external evidence is explained away because it is thought that the story of the life of Jesus in this Gospel cannot be brought into agreement with wnat is acknowledged to be the earlier story in point of time, that, namely, which we have in the pages of the Synoptists. Critics opposed to the Johannine authorship of the Gospel contend that having happened are real events, that they did take place. In saying this we are setting ourselves in opposition to much of the criticism of our day, which denies to this Gospel serious historical value, regarding it as irreconcilable with the Synoptic tradition of the life of Jesus Christ.

For the opposition to the Johannine authorship of the Fourth Gospel is based chiefly on internal grounds. Its external credentials might be accepted by adverse critics were it not for what they consider to be overwhelming objections against its apostolic authorship on the ground of internal evidence. But, as it is, the external evidence is explained away because it is thought that the story of the life of Jesus in this Gospel cannot be brought into agreement with what is acknowledged to be the earlier story in point of time, that, namely, which we have in the pages of the Synoptists. Critics opposed to the Johannine authorship of the Gospel contend that both stories of the life of Jesus-that of the Synoptists and that of the Fourth Gospel-cannot be alike historical. A choice, then, has to be made between the two, and preference is shown for the Synoptic story. For it is argued that the Fourth Gospel is obviously a theological document, and its writer’s interests are theologically deter- mined, so that its genesis is explicable on theological grounds. While, then, the Fourth Gospel may be an interesting psychological study its contents are not history and are not to be so interpreted.

It is because the opposition to the historical character of the Fourth Gospel is based principally on its contents, and because the external credentials of the apostolic authorship of the book are explained away, not for the reason that they are trivial, but because they cannot outweigh the internal evidence, that we shall in these pages confine our attention to this internal evidence, and discuss the historical probability of the events which this Gospel records. (Pages 1-6)

1 Introductory
2 The Ministry of the Baptist
3 The Betrayal
4 The Trial of Jesus
5 The Crucifxion
6 The Resurrection (I)
7 The Resurrection (II)
8 The Cleansing of the Temple, The Feeding of the Five T|housand, and the Walking on the Sea
9 The Triumphal Entry, and the Last Supper
10 The Probability of a Ministry in Jerusalem
11 The Ministry of Jesus According to the Fourth Evangelist
12 Objections to the Historicity of the Fourth Gospel Considered

Here is Barnes & Noble author’s page for E. H. Askwith with several free downloads if you own Barnes & Nobles’ Nook Reader – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/e.-h.-askwith

Also, http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk is a fantastic website that collects Christian journals and articles from older periodicals and journals on Biblical topics. It’s worth subscribing to their updates, and browsing through their impressive collections.

Click here to read the entire book – The Historical Value of the Fourth Gospel

The Parables of Jesus Christ

Here is a handy list of all the parables that are actually named ‘Parables’ in the New testament by the Gospel writer. photo via http://thechurchsite.net/ For a complete list of Jesus’s 46 parables see list at the bottom of the article.

Mark 4:33-34

With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Jesus often taught in parables, an ancient Eastern literary genre. The prophet Ezekiel, for example, wrote in parables, such as the eagles and the vine (17:1-24) and the parable of the pot (24:1-14). The word parable in Hebrew מָשָׁל is present in both vignettes (17:2 and 24:3). A parable is a story that presents comparisons to teach an important moral lesson. The root meaning of the word parable means a placing side by side for the sake of comparison. A parable envisions the whole narrative to generate the spiritual message, whereas a proverb, metaphor, simile, or figure of speech focuses generally on a word, phrase or sentence. The Gospel writer identifies a narrative with a spiritual meaning by specifically calling the lesson a παραβολή (parable). At times the Gospel writer begins the story with the term like, as „The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard” (Matthew 20:1).

The Parables are recorded in the Synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Some parables are common to all three Synoptic Gospels, such as the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:2-20, and Luke 8:4-15). Matthew relates ten Parables on the Kingdom of Heaven, seven of which occur in Chapter 13 and are central to his Gospel. Examples of parables unique to each Gospel are the Weeds Among the Wheat (Matthew 13:24-30), the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16); the Growing Seed (Mark 4:26-29); the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37); the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32); Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31); and the Pharisee and the Publican (Luke 18:9-14) .

The word parable does not appear in the Gospel of John. The related word παροιμιαν (figure of speech) appears in 10:6 and refers to the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-18). Jesus, by calling himself the Good Shepherd, recalls the imagery of Psalm 23, „The Lord is my Shepherd,” and the Prophets (Isaiah 40:1-11, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 34). By doing so, he fulfills Old Testament prophecy as he identifies himself as the Messiah. The word παροιμίαν also appears in John 16:25 and provides insight into the message of Jesus: „I have spoken to you in figures of speech; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures of speech, but tell you plainly of the Father.”

The following chart lists the important parables of Jesus Christ.
This list primarily includes those parables specifically named as such by a Gospel writer. (Via source JesusChristSavior.net)

THE PARABLES OF JESUS
PARABLE MATTHEW MARK LUKE
The Speck and The Log 7:1-5 6:37-42
New Cloth on Old Garment 9:16-17 2:21-22 5:36-39
The Divided Kingdom 12:24-30 3:23-27 11:14-23
The Sower 13:1-23 4:1-20 8:4-15
The Growing Seed 4:26-29
The Rich Fool 12:16-21
The Barren Fig Tree 13:6-9
The Weeds Among the Wheat 13:24-30
The Mustard Seed 13:31-32 4:30-34 13:18-19
The Leaven 13:33-34 13:20-21
Hidden Treasure 13:44
Pearl of Great Price 13:45-46
The Net 13:47-50
The Good Samaritan 10:29-37
The Invited Guests 14:7-24
The Heart of Man 15:1-20 7:1-23
The Lost Sheep 18:10-14 15:1-7
The Prodigal Son 15:11-32
The Rich Man and Lazarus 16:19-31
The Persistent Widow 18:1-8
The Pharisee and The Publican 18:9-14
Laborers in the Vineyard 20:1-16
The Tenants 21:33-45 12:1-12 20:9-19
The Wedding Feast 22:1-14 14:15-24
The Fig Tree 24:32-44 13:28-37 21:29-33
The Faithful or Wicked Servant 24:45-51 12:35-48
The Ten Virgins 25:1-13
Ten Talents or Gold Coins 25:14-30 19:11-27

source JesusChristSavior.net photo below via parables.png

and here is the complete list

  • The Sower and the Seeds (Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8)
  • The Grain of Wheat (John 12:24)
  • The Weeds in the Grain or the Tares (Matt 13:24-30)
  • The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
  • The Seed Growing Secretly (Spontaneously) or The Patient Husbandman (Mark 4:26-29)
  • The Mustard Seed (Matt13:31f.;Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18 f.)
  • The Leaven (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20 f.)
  • The Budding Fig Tree (Matt 24:32 f.; Mark 13:28 f.; Luke 21:19-31)
  • The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
  • The Birds of Heaven (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24)
  • The Flowers of the Field (Matt 6:28-30; Luke 12:27f.)
  • The Vultures & the Carcass (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37)
  • The Tree and its Fruits (Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:43-49)
  • The Weather Signs (Luke 12:54-56; cf. Matthew 26:2 f.; Mark 8:11-13)
  • The Closed Door (Luke 13:24-30)
  • The Doorkeeper (Mark 13:33-37; cf. Matt 24:42)
  • The Thief in the Night and the Faithful Servants (Matthew 24:42-51.; Luke 12:32-48.)
  • The Strong Man Bound (Matt.12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21 f.)
  • The Divided Realm (Mark 3:24-26; Luke 11:17-20)
  • The Unoccupied House or The Demon’s Invasion (Matthew 12:43-45; Luke 11:24-26)
  • The Importunate Neighbor (Luke 11:5-8)
  • The Son’s Request (Matthew 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13)
  • The Unjust Judge or The Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1-8)
  • Master and Servant (Luke 17:7-10)
  • The Servant Entrusted with Authority or The Faithful and Unfaithful Servants (Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-46)
  • The Waiting Servants (Luke 12:35-38; Mark 13:33-37)
  • The Laborers in the Vineyard or The Generous Employer (Matt.20:1-16)
  • The Money in Trust or The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27)
  • The Lamp (Matt 5:14-16; Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16, 11:31) and The City Set on a Hill (Matt. 5:14b)
  • The Body’s Lamp (Matthew 6:22 f.; Luke 11:34-36)
  • The Discarded Salt (Matt 5:13; Mark 9:50; Luke 14:34 f.)
  • The Patch and the Wineskins (Matt. 9:16 f.; Mark 2:21 f.; Luke 5:36-39)
  • The Householder’s Treasure (Matthew 13:52)
  • The Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12) Revised!
  • The Defendant (Luke 12:58 f.; Matthew 5:25 f.)
  • The Unforgiving Official or The Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-35)
  • The Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21)
  • The Wicked Vinedressers (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16)
  • The Two Builders (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49)
  • The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41-43)
  • The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)
  • The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45 f.)
  • The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
  • The Prodigal Son or The Loving Father (Luke 15:11-32)
  • The Two Sons, The Apprentice Son, and The Slave and Son (Matthew 21:28-32; John 5:19-20a; John 3:35)
  • The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
  • The Lost Sheep (Matthew 28:12-14; Luke 15:4-7)
  • The Shepherd, the Thief, and the Doorkeeper (John 10:1-18)
  • The Doctor and the Sick (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5: 31 f.)
  • The Sulking Children or The Children in the Marketplace (Matthew 11:16-19; Luke 7:31-35)
  • The Arrogant Guest (Luke 14:7-11)
  • The Bridegroom’s Friend (John 3:28)
  • The Bridegroom’s Attendants (Matt.9:15a; Mark 2:18 f.; Luke 5:34)
  • The Bride’s Girlfriends or Ten Virgins (Matt25:1-13)
  • The Tower Builder and The Warring King (Luke 14:28-32)
  • The Wedding Feast or The Unwilling Guests (Matt 22:1-10; Luke 14:16-24)
  • The Wedding Garment (Matthew 22:11-14)
  • The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
  • The Sower and the Seeds (Mark 4:3-9; Matt 13:3-9; Luke 8:5-8)
  • The Grain of Wheat (John 12:24)
  • The Weeds in the Grain or the Tares (Matt 13:24-30)
  • The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)
  • The Seed Growing Secretly (Spontaneously) or The Patient Husbandman (Mark 4:26-29)
  • The Mustard Seed (Matt13:31f.;Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18 f.)
  • The Leaven (Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20 f.)
  • The Budding Fig Tree (Matt 24:32 f.; Mark 13:28 f.; Luke 21:19-31)
  • The Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
  • The Birds of Heaven (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:24)
  • The Flowers of the Field (Matt 6:28-30; Luke 12:27f.)
  • The Vultures & the Carcass (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37)
  • The Tree and its Fruits (Matthew 7:16; Luke 6:43-49)
  • The Weather Signs (Luke 12:54-56; cf. Matthew 26:2 f.; Mark 8:11-13)

John Piper – How Are the Synoptics “Without Error”?

via desiringGod.org

Article One of Bethel’s “Affirmation of Faith” reads: “The Bible is. . . without errorin the original manuscripts.” There is a wide diversity of opinions about the meaning of “error” in such an affirmation. This is especially the case when the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) are being considered.

I will suggest two definitions of “error,” the first of which I consider proper for judging the reliability of any literature including the Synoptics, and the second of which I consider improper. According to the first I believe the synoptics are “without error.”

  1. A writer is in error when the basic intention in his statements and admonitions, properly understood in their nearer and wider context, is not true. (In reference to the indicative statements, “true” means that obedience of these admonitions is in harmony with reality, i.e., it accords with the will of God.)
  2. A writer is in error if any of his individual statements is not literally true.

The difference between these two definitions and my own understanding of the truth of the synoptic gospels may be clarified by several illustrations from the texts.

First Illustration

Jesus says in Mark 4:31 that the Kingdom of God “is like a grain of mustard seed which when sown upon the ground is the smallest of all the seeds of the earth. . .”

According to definition #2 above, Jesus erred here because the mustard seed is not the smallest seed on earth. But according to the first definition, he did not err because his basic intention was not in the least botanical. The point is the great contrast between the smallness of the seed and the largeness of the full-grown shrub. Jesus capitalized on the proverbial smallness of the mustard seed to make a perfect, inerrant point about the Kingdom of God.

Second Illustration

If we used definition #2 above, the Gospel writers would have to be accused of error in their chronology of the events of Jesus’ life. Just one illustration: The story of the healing of the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26), the call of Levi (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32), and the question about fasting (Matthew 9:14-17; Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39) follow back to back in all three synoptics and so refer to the same events. Again, the stilling of the storm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25) and the Gesarene demoniac (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) follow back to back in all three synoptics so that with the verbal parallels one can see that the same sequence of events is being referred to in each Gospel. But Matthew has these last two events before the three cited above, while Mark and Luke have them after these three events. It cannot be both ways.

But the synoptics are not in error here according to the first definition above, because it was not their basic intention to give a rigid chronology of Jesus’ ministry (which Papias said already in the second century, cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, 39,14ff). Their intention was rather to give a faithful representation of the essential features of Jesus’ teaching and deeds. In this particular instance, Matthew probably felt he could best do this by including the storm stilling and Gesarene demoniac scenes in his composition of chapters 8 and 9, where he has gathered ten miracle stories. This presentation of Jesus’ miracle working is then bracketed together with the Sermon of the Mount with the identical summary statements in 4:23 and 9:35. Thus we have a literary unit which beautifully and inerrantly sets forth the essential features of our Lord’s ministry.

The Long-Proved Tradition

These two illustrations could be multiplied and other kinds of problems could be discussed (like changes in Jesus’ words from one synoptic to another). But these may suffice at least for an introduction to my understanding of how the synoptics are “without error”.

I thus gladly align myself with the long-proved tradition: perfectio respectu finis (perfection with respect to purpose). I know no better statement of my own position on this matter than that of the Second Baptist Confession of 1677: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. . .”

But I think just as important as agreeing with Affirmation 1 in detail is my deep commitment to the spirit of it. From history and from my own experience, I can say that it is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of the Bible. We humans are incapable of finding out what we need so much to know: how to overcome sin, to escape the wrath of God, to become new creatures, to walk pleasing to the Lord. God must reveal this to us or we perish. This he has done and continues to do by means of a written Word, the Bible. When a man has understood the Bible he has understood the revelation of God infallibly, inerrantly and verbally.

© Desiring God

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