The Q Gospel – What is it? If there was a Q Gospel would that make the Synoptic Gospels less valid?
The Q Gospel, from the German word quelle, meaning "source," is a hypothetical book used by Matthew and Luke as a source for the unique material found in these two Gospels that are not found in Mark. While there is no actual Q Gospel that has been discovered, many have contended for a "lost" book that provided some of the information in these two Gospels.
First, it is clear that no such Q Gospel has been discovered so far. It is a merely hypothetical document.
Second, even if there were a discovery or proof of a prior Q Gospel, this would not be a problem for the current Gospels. The Gospel writers certainly used several sources. Luke, for example, begins his Gospel by noting the use of several witnesses and the fact that many accounts existed at that time, saying, "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught" (Luke 1:1-4).
Third, there are other alternative compelling explanations for the common material in Matthew and Luke. One option may be the use of common oral sources who had informed both writers of their information.
Another possibility is that both Matthew and the eyewitnesses used by Luke were apostles who directly learned the common material in their Gospels. In other words, instead of a Q document, perhaps this common material was information the apostles learned directly from Jesus.
Of course, it is also possible that this common material is a combination of written and oral tradition. There is not necessarily a reason some of the shared material could not be partly from a written source and partly from an oral source, with at least some of this oral tradition directly from Jesus to the apostles.
Unfortunately, many scholars who suggest a written Q source do not accept that the New Testament is inspired by God. As such, there is a bias toward human sources and explanations for the accounts of Scripture that may bias one's research. However, it is not the use of a Q source that would be a problem. The Bible is inspired, regardless of sources used. Second Timothy 3:16-17 states, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
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