The Watchtower on "How Reliable Are the Gospels?"

by opusdei1972 2 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • opusdei1972

    There is a Watchtower article entitled "How Reliable Are the Gospels?" (w08 10/1 pp. 12-14 ), which states the following:

    Do the similarities between the synoptic Gospels indeed prove that the writers simply copied from one another? No. Why not? For one thing, Jesus promised his disciples that the holy spirit would ‘bring back to their minds all the things he had told them.’ (John 14:26) ....some of the Bible writers may have read and referred to the work of other Bible writers, but such a practice would suggest careful research, not plagiarism.....Obviously, Matthew, an apostle and eyewitness, did not need to plagiarize the writings of Mark, who was not an eyewitness.

    The Watchtower simply ignores the facts. Let's prove how Matthew copied from Mark and even misrepresented him. Let's read a portion of Mark chapter 6, according to the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE):

    The Mission of the Twelve

    7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10 And he said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

    The Death of John the Baptist

    14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

    Feeding the Five Thousand

    30 The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31 And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32 And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33 Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34 As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

    So, Jesus sent the twelve to preach empowered with miracles (verses 7-13). Note that there is a flasback (in red letters) between verses 14 and 29, in which Mark narrates the death of John the Baptist. Then, Mark returned to the story in verse 30, so now the disciples of Jesus "told him all that they had done" in their preaching tour. Accordingly, Jesus and the twelve went to a lonely place to rest a while. However, the author of the Gospel of Matthew told this story by misunderstanding Mark's flashback:

    12 And his disciples [of John] came and took the body [of John] and buried it; and they went and told Jesus. 13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. (Mark 14:12-13)

    Matthew misunderstood the succession of the events in Mark. Matthew failed to remember that it was a "retrospect," makes a smooth transition to the narrative which follows: John's disciples inform Jesus; and "when Jesus heard. . ." (Mt. 14:12-13). Therefore, the author of the Gospel of Matthew could not be the apostle Matthew, because an eyewitness could not misrepresent the account of a non-eyewitness. Thus, it is most plausible to see Mark's order as original and prior to both Matthew and Luke. So, The Gospel of Matthew is another forgery of dishonest christians.

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    It's pure circular reasoning by the WTS to use the Gospels to prove the Gospels.

    And it's a pure assumption, based solely on the tradition of the Church Fathers whom the WTS says were apostate, to say that each Gospel was written by the name that is attributed to it.


  • opusdei1972

    I think that these issues like the priority of Mark, the Documentary Hypothesis and forgeries in the Bible, should be taught in schools in order to educate children to avoid fundamentalist thoughts.

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