Asked in New Testament
New Testament

Which gospel was the first to be written and where was it written?


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Mark's gospel was written first, although it is traditionally listed second in the Bible. The generally accepted date it was written is approximately the year 70 - between 68 and 73 CE. Matthew and Luke were undoubtedly written second and third, because scholars have demonstrated that they were actually based on Mark's Gospel. John's Gospel is almost universally accepted as the last New Testament gospel to be written and is dated to early in the second century.

A widely held tradition is that Mark's Gospel was probably written in Rome, probably because of the two traditions that Mark was related to Peter and that Peter travelled to Rome to lead the Christians there. However, the Gospel was originally anonymous and was only attributed to thae apostle Mark around 130 CE.

Had Mark's Gospel been written in Rome for gentiles, the first choice of language would certainly have been Latin, and there is evidence in Mark's Gospel that its author knew Latin. In fact, it can be assumed that even members of the Jewish community living in Rome would have been able to speak Latin. Mark's Gospel was written in neither Latin nor classical Greek, but in Greek Koine, the lingua franca of the Hellenistic Near East. This alone points to the Gospel being written in the east, from Asia Minor to Mesopotamia, perhaps the gentile communities of Palestine, or Egypt.