1. Now that you have read all three Synoptic Gospels, what did you find that was unique in each Gospel (specific details and/or broad themes/focus [e.g., focus on miracles or teachings])? Did you notice anything that seemed to be “missing” from these Gospels? If you had to give a nickname to each of the three Gospels based on a prominent theme in the Gospel, what nickname would you give to each of the Synoptic Gospels and why? (E.g., sometimes Luke’s Gospel is called the “Gospel of Women” because of how often women are featured in it compared to the other Gospels [note: you may not use this nickname for Luke’s Gospel].)
After reading the information about Pontius Pilate found in the writings of Philo and Josephus, which Gospel – Matthew or Luke – do you think has a more accurate portrayal of Pilate (if either) and why?
2. What are some of the major theological themes unique to John’s Gospel that are not found (or not as prominent) in the other Gospels? How would you characterize John’s Gospel in comparison to the Synoptic Gospels? What are some of the major differences, both with regard to specific details as well as overall themes? Which part of John’s Gospel do you think is the most similar to comparable narratives in the Synoptic Gospels? Why do you think the early Church Fathers chose to include three Gospels that are all very similar and one that is noticeably different?
3. What themes, images, or phrases in the Johannine Letters have connections to the Gospel of John? Are there any major differences that you notice, either between the letters and the Gospel or between the letters themselves? Do some letters seem more connected to the Gospel than others?
For each of the letters, write one sentence in which you indicate what you think the main theme or topic of that letter is (e.g., if a friend asked you what the letter was primarily about, how would you summarize it in one normal-sized sentence?). Which letter did you like the best and why? Is there a particular verse that was your favorite or that you found most interesting?
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1. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the three. In all probability, it served as the main source for Matthew and Luke. The Gospel of Mark is a very matter of fact type of a text, it focuses on the biographical details of Jesus' ministry. In comparison to other two, Mark omits altogether the Nativity story, and includes a lot less parables.
Gospel of Mathew contains more parables than any other Gospel. It places en emphasis on the role of Jesus as the true King of Israel, and on the restoration of the Kingdom. Matthew traces the lineage of Jesus back to King David.
Luke is noted for his special attention to the disadvantaged and poor in his time and society. For instance, he emphasizes the role of women (see his Nativity story), and poor shepherds (and not Magi) greet baby Jesus according to his version. Along the line of the story Jesus laments over Jerusalem, convinces Zacchaeus to give his money out to the needy, and the thief on the cross repents and is saved...
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