Asking a Catholic What are the Order of the gospels?Posted: October 8, 2008
Question: What are the order of the gospels?
Answer: The present order of the Gospels has the twofold advantage of not separating from one another those Evangelical records (St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke) whose mutual resemblances are obvious and striking, and of placing at the end of the list of the Gospels the narrative (that of St. John) whose relations with the other three is that of dissimilarity rather than of likeness. It thus lends itself well to the classification of the Gospels which is now generally admitted by Biblical scholars. St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke are usually grouped together, and designated under the common name of the Synoptic Gospels. They derive this name from the fact that their narratives may be arranged and harmonized, section by section, so as to allow the eye to realize at a glance the numerous passages which are common to them, and also the portions which are peculiar either to only two, or even to only one, of them. The case stands very differently with regard to our Fourth Gospel. As it narrates but a few incidents in common with the Synoptists, and differs from them in respect to style, language, general plan, etc., its chief parts refuse to be included in a harmony such as may be framed by means of the first three Gospels. While, therefore, the Synoptic narratives are naturally put together into one group, St. John’s record is rightly considered as standing apart and as, so to speak, making up a class by itself (see SYNOPTICS).