If it can be established that the gospels were written early, say before the year A. 70, then we would have good reason for believing that they were written by the disciples of Jesus himself. If we look at Acts 1:1-2 it says, "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen." Most scholars affirm that Acts was written by Luke and that Theophilus (Grk. He was a disciple of Peter and undoubtedly it was Peter who informed Mark of the life of Christ and guided him in writing the Gospel known by his name. Luke was a gentile convert to Christianity who was interested in the facts. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's. But this is understandable since John was not focusing on historical events.
If they were written by the disciples, then their reliability, authenticity, and accuracy are better substantiated. 70 when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple. "lover of God") "may have been Luke's patron who financed the writing of Luke and Acts."2 This means that the gospel of Luke was written before Acts. Therefore Matthew had to be written before he died. "Papias claimed that Mark, the Evangelist, who had never heard Christ, was the interpreter of Peter, and that he carefully gave an account of everything he remembered from the preaching of Peter."7 Generally, Mark is said to be the earliest gospel with an authorship of between A. He obviously had interviewed the eyewitnesses and written the Gospel account as well as Acts. Of important note is the lack of mention of the destruction of the Jewish temple in A. Instead, he focused on the theological aspect of the person of Christ and listed His miracles and words that affirmed Christ's deity.
None of the gospels mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in A. Acts also fails to mention the incredibly significant events of A. 70, which would have been extremely relevant and prophetically important and would require inclusion into Acts had it occurred before Acts was written. If what is said of Acts is true, this would mean that Luke was written at least before A. 63 and possibly before 55 - 59 since Acts is the second in the series of writings by Luke. Therefore, Matthew was in circulation well before Ignatius came on the scene. Since Luke agrees with Matthew, Mark, and John and since there is no contradictory information coming from any of the disciples stating that Luke was inaccurate and since Luke has proven to be a very accurate historian, we can conclude that Luke's account is very accurate.
Remember, Acts is a book of history concerning the Christians and the Jews. We add to this the fact that Acts does not include the accounts of "Nero's persecution of the Christians in A. This means that the gospel of Luke was written within 30 years of Jesus' death. The various dates most widely held as possible writing dates of the Gospel are between A. As far as dating the gospel goes, Luke was written before the book of Acts and Acts does not mention "Nero's persecution of the Christians in A.
However, the results of modern critical studies -- in particular those that stress Matthew's alleged dependence on Mark for a substantial part of his Gospel -- have caused some Biblical scholars to abandon Matthean authorship.
(Considered THE Dean of Textual-Critical studies today [since Aland's death]) Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Southern Methodist University (Dr.
This summary of the Gospel of Matthew provides information about the title, author(s), date of writing, chronology, theme, theology, outline, a brief overview, and the chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.
Also, if they were written early, this would mean that there would not have been enough time for myth to creep into the gospel accounts since it was the eyewitnesses to Christ's life that wrote them. The gold in the temple melted down between the stone walls; and the Romans took the walls apart, stone by stone, to get the gold. Also, if the gospels were fabrications of mythical events, then anything to bolster the Messianic claims--such as the destruction of the temple as Jesus said--would surely have been included. Similarly, this argument is important when we consider the dating of the book of Acts which was written after the gospel of Luke and by Luke himself. For clarity, Q is supposedly one of the source documents used by both Matthew and Luke in writing their gospels. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that Matthew was written before A. Notice how Luke speaks of "them," of those who had personal encounters with Christ. Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.
Furthermore, those who were alive at the time of the events could have countered the gospel accounts; and since we have no contradictory writings to the gospels, their early authorship as well as apostolic authorship becomes even more critical. This is significant because Jesus had prophesied concerning the temple when He said "As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down." (Luke 21:6, see also Matt. Such an obvious fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy most likely would have been recorded as such by the gospel writers who were fond of mentioning fulfillment of prophecy if they had been written after A. But, it was not included suggesting that the gospels (at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke) were written before A. Acts is a history of the Christian church right after Jesus' ascension. If Q actually existed, then that would push the first writings of Christ's words and deeds back even further lessening the available time for myth to creep in and adding to the validity and accuracy of the gospel accounts. Luke is simply recounting the events from the disciples.