Christ?s discourses the version of these already existing in the oral common gospel. There was a common oral basis of true teaching, the ?deposit? ? paraqh>khn ? committed to Timothy ( <540620>1 Timothy 6:20; <550112>2 Timothy 1:12, 14), the same story told many times and getting to be told in the same way. The narratives of Matthew, Mark and Luke are independent versions of this apostolic testimony. First came belief; secondly, oral teaching; thirdly, written gospels. That the original gospel was in Aramaic seems probable from the fact that the Oriental name for ?tares? zawan, ( <401325>Matthew 13:25) has been transliterated into Greek, ziza>nia . Morison, Com. on Matthew, thinks that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew a collection of Sayings of Jesus Christ, which the Nazarenes and Ebionites added to, partly from tradition, and partly from translating his full gospel, till the result was the so called Gospel of the Hebrews; but that Matthew wrote his own gospel in Greek after he had written the Sayings in Hebrew, Professor W. A. Stevens thinks that Papias probably alluded to the original autograph which Matthew wrote in Aramaic, but which he afterwards enlarged and translated into Greek. See Hemphill, Literature of the Second Century, 267.
To the testimony of Papias it is also objected:
(2) that Mark is the most systematic of all evangelists, presenting events as a true annalist, in chronological order. We reply that while, so far as chronological order is concerned, Mark is systematic, so fain as logical order is concerned he is the most unsystematic of the evangelists, showing little of the power of historical grouping which is so discernible in Matthew. Matthew aimed to portray a life, rather than to record a chronology. He groups Jesus? teachings in chapters 5 , 6, and 7; his miracles in chapters 8 and 9; his directions to the apostles in chapter 10; chapters 11 and 12 describe the growing opposition; chapter 13 meets this opposition with his parables; the remainder of the gospel describes our Lord?s preparation for his death, his progress to Jerusalem, the consummation of his work in the Cross and in the resurrection. Here is true system, a philosophical arrangement of material, compared with which the method of Mark is eminently unsystematic. Mark is a Froissart, while Matthew has the spirit of J. R. Green. See Bleek, Introduction to N.T., 1:108, 126; Weiss, Life of Jesus, I:27-39.
(d) The Apostolic Fathers, ? Clement of Rome (died 101), Ignatius of Antioch (martyred 115), and Polycarp (80-166), ? companions and friends of the apostles, have left us in their writings over one hundred quotations from or allusions to the New Testament writings, and among these every book, except four minor epistles (2 Peter, Jude, 2 and 3 John) is represented.
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