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Scholars have concluded that the authors of the Gospels in the New Testament wrote sometime between thirty and seventy years after the crucifixion (c. A.D. 60–100). The original Gospels have not survived, and we possess no autographs of these documents. There are some early fragments of the Gospels (one from the Gospel of John dating to A.D. 125), but the earliest substantially complete manuscript we possess is dated to A.D. 200.


The Gospel writers compiled their books from a diverse body of oral sources and a series of source documents containing the actions, sayings and teachings of Jesus upon which they relied heavily. Scholars have postulated a number of documents the Evangelists may have used, including Q (for Quelle, “source” in German); the Little Apocalypse used by Mark; M and L (sources used by Matthew and Luke); a Proto-Mark and Proto-Luke; sources for the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke; an early Aramaic gospel upon which both Mark and John drew; and other documents as well.

Rudolf Bultmann has theorized that the Gospel of John, which differs in many respects from Matthew, Mark, and Luke, may have used three distinct sources for its material: a “Sign Source” for its seven miracles (some of which are not paralleled in the other three Gospels); a “Revelatory Discourse Source” for Jesus’ discourses, which Bultmann says are stylistically similar to Gnostic writings; and possibly a passion narrative that was separate from the material used in the other three Gospels.[1]

Trying to determine precisely what source materials were used is a complex and, to some degree, theoretical venture; scholarly study and debate about just what was used is ongoing. But there is little question that such sources once did exist. “Collections of the sayings [of Jesus] underlie all four of our gospels,” point out biblical scholars Robert M. Grant and David Noel Freedman.[2] This is evidenced by the fact that Matthew, Mark and Luke use much of the same material but arrange it in different sequence.

These three Gospels are so strikingly similar in language, sequence of events, and point of view that they have been called “synoptic,” which means “seen together,” since they are “viewing together” episodes in the life of Jesus Christ. Extensive parallels in content and structure in these three Gospels make it possible to arrange their verses side by side in parallel columns so they can be read together. The Gospel of John, the “spiritual Gospel,” differs markedly from the other three.

It is highly unlikely that the Evangelists used every saying, act, parable, sermon, teaching, etc., available to them from source documents or the oral tradition. There is no reason why the Gospel writers would have felt it necessary to include all of their material; each Gospeler had a particular theological, hence literary, goal in mind which mandated his selection.


Most scholars today agree that the Four Gospels probably were not written by their reputed authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These Gospels were most likely compiled thirty to sixty years after Jesus’ crucifixion. Most scholars believe that the authors of the Gospels edited and at times embellished their works to conform to their own theological viewpoints and to address the needs of the growing church.

The Ascended Master El Morya has revealed that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not personally write down the Gospels that bear their names. They could have been compiled by their students any time in the first century. El Morya says they changed or edited their original sources by some thirty percent. Some of their changes were accurate but some were not.

Four initiations

Each of the four gospels has a different length, a different purpose, a different initiation. The four Gospels embody the teachings of the four types of Christhood. Sanat Kumara has stated,

So then read the four gospels of the four Cosmic Forces and learn the qualifications, all fulfilled in Jesus Christ, of the one who should bear the office of the Son of Man coming in the authority of the Son of God.[3]

For more information

Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Lost Teachings of Jesus: Missing Texts • Karma and Reincarnation, prologue.

See also

Gospel of Thomas

Gnostic Gospels

Secret Gospel of Mark


Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Lost Teachings of Jesus: Missing Texts • Karma and Reincarnation, prologue.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet with Erin L. Prophet, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianty, p. 121.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, June 18, 1976.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, July 11, 1979.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet, April 10, 1993.

  1. See Rudolf Bultmann, The Gospel of John: A Commentary, trans. G. R. Beasley-Murray, R. W. N. Hoare, and J. K. Riches (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971).
  2. Robert M. Grant with David Noel Freedman, The Secret Sayings of Jesus (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Company, 1960), p. 25.
  3. Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Opening of the Seventh Seal: Sanat Kumara on the Path of the Ruby Ray, pp. 80–81.