The Synoptic Gospels
with Sue Athey
The Gospels of the New Testament are the preeminent source for the saving truth and moral discipline which Christ fulfilled in his life and teaching. The term ‘gospel’ comes from the phrase ‘good tidings’ or ‘good news’ which originally was proclaimed orally by the apostles and first followers of Jesus Christ and demonstrated by their example and the institutions they established. Later, their message of salvation was written down by the apostles and other men associated with the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (CCC 75-76). The word “Gospels” has come to mean the first four books of the New Testament which are the divinely inspired accounts of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity who became man. The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures “because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, Our Savior” (Dei Verbum 18).
The term “Synoptic Gospels” is applied to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are called this because they tell of Jesus’ life and teaching from a similar perspective. The three Gospels have a great amount of material in common amounting to about one-third of their whole narrative of Christ’s words and deeds. They also follow roughly the same order in recounting Christ’s life. The fourth Gospel, The Gospel According to John, varies greatly in content, style, etc., and is therefore not included in the category of Synoptic Gospels.
While there is much material in common in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there are also stories, parables and teachings of Jesus that are unique to each them. In addition, the style and intended audience differs for each of the Synoptic Gospels. The “synoptic problem” is the name given by biblical scholars to the apparent relation between these three Gospels and how to account for their differences and similarities.
This course begins with an overview of different methods of Scripture study found in the Christian scholarship today as well as a look at the Early Church Fathers and what we learn from them regarding the authenticity, audience, and intent of each of the Gospel writers. We will then look at the life of Christ and his teachings as presented in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke from the perspective of seeing the three accounts together presenting a more complete picture of Christ’s life and message of eternal salvation.
- Examine key themes of each of the Synoptic Gospels, the author's audience, and intent
- Comparison of early Church exegesis and the Living Tradition of the Church with the modern techniques and basis of Historical Critical Methods and a way forward. Discuss the "synoptic problem" and "Q"
- Gain an understanding and appreciation for the life and teachings of Christ as presented in the Synoptic Gospels with the intent to deepen understanding of and faith in Christ, the Son of God, and enrich our life of prayer
Come and explore the depth and mystery of our Saviour in this 8-week program.
The instructor for this course is Sue Athey, MA Theology. Sue recently taught this course to our diocese's diaconate candidates!
Mar 2 - Apr 27th, 2020
Mon for 8 weeks from 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Holy Apostles Catholic Church
4925 N Carefree Cir
Colorado Springs, CO 80917 Get directions