Bible readers and scholars down through the centuries who have written on the
life of Christ and who have produced their own parallel Gospels or Gospel harmonies.
There are five main differences that set this
work apart from others that have preceded it. (1) It uses the text of the
World English Bible. (2) It is in the public domain, not copyrighted. (3) To
preserve the flow of the Gospel message, it does not break up the material into
pericopes or numbered selections. (4) It includes a Study Guide to facilitate
personal study and group discussion. (5) It places in parallel, not only the
events and sermons that Gospel harmonies usually group together, but also, in a
few places, the sermons and events that bear a very close resemblance to each
other although they appear to be different events. I have placed these inside
brackets [like this].
For example, Luke tells of a meal at the home
of a Pharisee, during which Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites!” and Matthew records the same words in a sermon Jesus gave to a
large audience in Jerusalem. (Luke 11:44 and Matt. 23:27) I have placed these
accounts on pages 140 and 196 in what appears to be their proper places chronologically,
but have also placed the similar words in parallel columns, with the
out-of-sequence passage inside brackets.
During the course of his earthly ministry,
Jesus visited many towns and cities in Galilee, Judea, Samaria and the surrounding area, so it is reasonable
to assume he repeated the same thoughts and even the same sermons to different
audiences. What, then, about the Sermon on the Mount? Matthew presents it as
a single unified discourse (Matt. 5:1-7:29), whereas Luke records many of the
same words as sayings of Jesus scattered throughout chapters 6, 11, 12, 14 and
16. For example, Matthew and Luke both present the Lord’s Prayer (Matt.
6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4), Matthew as part of the Sermon on the Mount, and Luke
“when he finished praying in a certain place” and the disciples asked Jesus to
teach them how to pray. (Luke 11:1) Does Luke actually quote from the Sermon
on the Mount here and in his other examples of Jesus’ sayings? Or, does his
Gospel refer to other occasions when Jesus spoke the same words to different
audiences? We can’t really know for sure. Unless the context dictates
otherwise, I have placed these passages in parallel to aid comparison. And
when the context does point to clearly different occasions when Jesus used the
same words, I have again kept them in their context, but also repeated them in
brackets [like this] next to the parallel passage.
Where selected notes from the World English
Bible are included, they are at the bottom of the column of text they pertain
to. My own comments appear as headings at the top of each page and as
explanatory notes at the bottom of certain pages, beneath the table of parallel
columns. However, notes and comments are kept to a minimum, to avoid distracting
from the Gospel message itself.
Rather than copyright this book, I have chosen
to follow the example of the creators of the World English Bible by placing Parallel
Gospels in Harmony: with Study Guide in the public domain, so that anyone
who wishes may freely copy it, reproduce it, reprint it or translate it,
without any obligation to pay royalties or even to ask permission. –
David A. Reed, April 2009
the World English Bible
The side-by-side Gospel passages in this book
are from the World English Bible.
According to its creators’ website at
http://www.eBible.org, “The World English Bible (WEB) is a Public Domain (no
copyright) Modern English translation of the Holy Bible. That means that you
may freely copy it in any form, including electronic and print formats. The
World English Bible is based on the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible
first published in 1901, the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensa Old Testament, and
the Greek Majority Text New Testament.”
This book uses the HTML version of the WEB at eBible.org
David A. Reed served for a decade as a contributing
editor of Dr. Walter Martin’s Christian Research Journal. He has authored
more than a dozen books on Bible topics, including the popular Jehovah’s
Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse and Mormons Answered Verse by Verse
(Baker Book House).