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. THE GOSPEL OF PAUL AND THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM Simon Gathercole
Introduction The New Testament authors were united in their understanding of the gospel both in their preaching ministries and in their literary legacy (i.e. the New Testament documents). The first four books of the New Testament were not merely regarded as ‘The Four Gospels’, but as works attesting to the one gospel, that according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.1 These Gospels are, furthermore, not independent of one another; rather, Mark’s Gospel was the basis of Matthew and Luke. Luke perhaps used Matthew’s Gospel,2
. Hengel makes a number of important points on this matter. He notes the prevalence of references to ‘the gospel’ in the second century, even when the Gospel accounts are meant (see his p. for some of the papyrological evidence, and p. for literary indications). He notes that, to his knowledge, the plural euangelia occurs only twice prior to Irenaeus (p. ). . For the best recent defence of this proposal, and concomitant opposition
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and John may well have presumed the circulation of Mark’s Gospel.3 Nor did the process of the formation of the Gospels take place in isolation from that of the epistles. The linguistic and theological commonalities between the Johannine epistles and the Gospel of John have been widely recognized. There is a very strong probability that Paul was the mentor of Luke, the author of Luke-Acts.4 Less certain, but still quite plausible, is the case that has perennially been made for Mark’s Gospel as a product of the Pauline school.5 So not only do some of the Gospels build on others, but some of them also emerged from the same circles that also produced the epistles as well – another reason why we should not be surprised to find theological harmony.6 The concern in this chapter is with the extent to which Paul’s gospel is the same as, or represents a radical departure from, that of the Gospel writers and the other apostles. Relevant here is one of the most striking pieces of evidence for the harmony within the apostolic preaching, a very brief comment by Paul after his own summary of the gospel and list of the witnesses to the resurrection in Corinthians : But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed ( Cor. :–, my italics).
So Paul affirms that all the people he has just mentioned as witnesses of the risen Jesus – he himself, Peter, the rest of the Twelve, and James the brother of the Lord – are all in exactly the
to the Q hypothesis, see Goodacre . . See R. J. Bauckham, ‘John for Readers of Mark’, in Bauckham :–. . On the issues here see Thornton . . Most recently, Joel Marcus has evaluated some of the most important proponents and opponents of this hypothesis in the twentieth century (Marcus ). . Pet. :– also refers to ‘all’ the letters of Paul.
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same evangelistic boat: they have all believed the same gospel and preach that same gospel.7 One of the main challenges to this view came in the nineteenth century from the Tübingen school, and still persists into the present. The argument goes – drawing on Galatians in particular – that Paul was in fact extremely isolated in advocating a Law-free gospel and a radical integration of Jew and