Asked in New Testament
New Testament

Was Paul or any of the authors of the four gospels an eyewitness to Jesus' miracles?


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It is undisputed that Paul was not an eyewitness to the miracles that are recorded in the four gospels.

Christian tradition hold that the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and John were written by disciples of that name, who were eyewitnesses to some of the miracles that they reported. Since Christian tradition hold that Luke's Gospel was written by a young companion of Paul, then the author of this gospel was clearly not an eyewitness of the miracles.

Matthew's Gospel was written in Greek and clearly used Mark's Gospel as its main source for the life of Jesus, as did Luke's Gospel. This can be shown because whenever Matthew and Luke agree with Mark, the Greek words are almost identical, something that could not have occurred if Matthew was relying on personal memory. Whenever Matthew and Luke agree on sayings of Jesus, that are not in Mark's Gospel, they use identical words for the sayings, but place them in different contexts and even different times of the ministry of Jesus. Scholars say they must have used as their sources a common document of sayings attributed to Jesus, a document now known as the Q Document, and created plausible contexts in which Jesus could have spoken those sayings. The fact that Matthew, as well as Luke, relied so heavily on Mark and the Q Document means that this author could not have been an eye-witness to the miracles.

John's Gospel was also written in Greek and shows evidence of borrowing much of its material from Luke's Gospel. Once again, this author could not have been an eye-witness to the miracles.

Only the author of Mark's Gospel could have been an eye-witness to the miracles, but much evidence internal to this gospel indicates that he was really writing a second-hand account.

In summary, none of these authors was an eye-witness to the miracles.