Antioch in 44/45 but more probably in Rome between 62 and 66) added what are now verses 16: 9 – 20. Many copies of his Gospel however were already in use and the churches which owned these copies often refused to accept the addition.* 16
As a Gospel for ex-pagans, however, St. Mark’s work was not fully adequate. It was only a stop-gap. Quite apart from its abrupt ending, it was too brief on our Lord’s teachings, crude in its Greek and full of Hebraisms and even Latinisms. It also took familiarity with Palestinian conditions too much for granted. It was in Antioch that the solution for this problem was quickly found. In 43 Saul was sought out in Tarsus by St. Barnabas and brought to Antioch. There they worked ‘for a whole year’ teaching this city’s rapidly expanding congregations of ex-pagan Christians. It was during this period (43 and 44) that St. Paul and the Antiochene church were confronted by the whole problem of the liturgical and teaching needs of ex-pagan Christians. How was our Lord’s Life and Gospel to be taught to people who knew nothing about Israel, its long history and expectations of a Saviour? Part of the answer, completed by late 44, was the Gospel according to St. Luke. 17
In 44, when he was compiling his Gospel in preparation for St. Paul’s first Mission to the Gentiles, St. Luke used St. Mark’s work as the source for the bulk of his material. The translator of St. Matthew’s Gospel into Greek, too, was working at this time, probably in Jerusalem, among the elders attending St. James. He too seems to have done his translation using St. Mark’s Remembrances. Certainly St. Luke knew of other work besides that of St. Mark, and that ‘many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events which have taken place among us…’ He knew of St. Matthew’s Gospel but did not use it as it had not yet been translated from the Hebrew. 18
Thus by 45 was completed St. Luke, the last of the three synoptic Gospels. While St. Matthew had written for the Jews on how Jesus was their Messiah, and St. Mark had written a summary of St. Peter’s teaching at Caesarea on Jesus as the all-powerful Son of God, St. Luke presented the Jesus of history whom St. Paul was preparing to preach to the Gentiles as the Saviour of all mankind. 19
After the sudden death of King Herod Agrippa I at Caesarea in the spring of 44, Judaea came once again under the rule of a Roman Procurator. Later in that year therefore St. Peter was able to return from Rome to Jerusalem. (The need for a more suitable Gospel for his church in Rome too must have been on his mind. This then seems the most likely occasion for his commissioning of the translation of St. Matthew’s Gospel into Greek.) Here, late in 44, with St. John and St. James the Lesser, he was visited by Saul and St. Barnabas.* 20
Saul and St. Barnabas had come with money collected from the church in Antioch for the Christian poor in Jerusalem. The famine foretold by the Christian prophet Agabus had begun. The crops of 44 had failed (as they were again to fail in 45, 46 and 47). Money was desperately needed in order
Published on Nov 29, 2011
This survey of how the New Testament came to be written is also a chronicle of the first 40 years of the history of the Christian Church. It...