What is the difference between the synoptic gospels and John's Gospel?

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The synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are so named because they are in substantial agreement on the life of Jesus. Mark's Gospel was the original gospel, and is believed to have been written around 70 CE. Whenever Matthew and Luke copy material from Mark's Gospel, they do so with remarkable consistency, even to the use of words in the original Greek language.

John's Gospel, although influenced by Mark's Gospel, is further removed, with its principal source being Luke's Gospel. It is believed that John's Gospel was originally much more Gnostic, but that after the split in the Johannine community, the Gospel was reworked to remove much of its Gnostic flavour.

Whereas the synoptic gospels say that Jesus, although the Son of God, was not truly divine, John's Gospel makes it quite clear that he was considered to be both God and pre-existing.

Much of the material in John is unique to this Gospel, although passages in John can be seen to be adaptations of similar material in Luke. For example, the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, in which he tells the disciples to cast their nets on the other side and thus they catch a multitude of fish, is unique to John. However, a very similar episode occurs in Luke before the crucifixion and resurrection.

In the synoptic gospels, particularly in Mark, Jesus is at pains to keep his true identity secret. He does not 'cleanse' the Temple until towards the end of his mission, and this violent action is the trigger for his arrest and trial. In John's Gospel, the cleansing of the Temple occurs at the very beginning of his ministry and Jesus does not try to hide his true identity. In this Gospel, the trigger for his arrest and trial becomes claims that he committed blasphemy.
Another answer from our community:John differs from the synoptic Gospels because it is not just listing events in the life of Jesus and reporting His teachings. John is more thematic in nature and provides more theological discourse on the person and work of Christ. John also focus' on events in Judea rather than the Galilean ministry. The synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are called such because they contain a brief review, summary or synopsis of Jesus' life and teachings. John is recognized as somewhat different with a lot less detail in terms of coverage of events but a much greater degree of theological detail focused around people's reactions to Jesus work and teachings and ensuing discussions. Thus John's different structure which is more theological and not a summary of all Jesus said and did is classified as non-synoptic.
Another answer
There are four gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Three gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, are called the synoptic gospels because they agree moderately well on the life and teachings of Jesus, although each is a little different from the other two.

John's Gospel is quite a good deal different from the other gospels. Some scholars believe that John was originally written in a Gnostic community and was subsequently edited to remove some of the more clearly Gnostic material, although the gospel still has a Gnostic flavour. John is the only gospel that states Jesus to be God and to have been pre-existing. John also contains a good deal of material that is not in the other gospels, including a much longer account of the appearances of the risen Jesus. Although some say that this gospel is concerned with themes rather than the chronological order of events, it is nevertheless true that events are certainly placed in a different sequence compared to the other gospels.

Scholars have noted that the events in the mission of Jesus, as described by the synoptic gospels, could have taken place in as little as one year, but the events described in John's Gospel would require four years. John appears to differ from the other three gospels in several ways. For example, in John the ministry of Jesus seems to last several years, whereas in the other gospels it appears to be limited to about one year. Also, John give an important role to the un-named "disciple whom Jesus loved", but the other gospels don't even mention such a person. Also, in John, Jesus performs several major miracles that aren't recorded in the other gospels, such as the resurrection of Lazarus and the changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. John depicts Jesus somewhat differently than the other gospels do. Some people have said that this is because John tries to show the spiritual side of Jesus, whereas the other gospels mainly try to show his human side.
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