The Early Date of Mark’s Gospel

In seminary we had to study modern Biblical scholarship, and one of my great blessings was that at Bob Jones I learned to be skeptical of the fundamentalists, but at Oxford I learned to be skeptical of the modernists.

Both groups seemed to me to be like two madmen strapped back to back. Both the fundamentalists with their total rejection of modern scholarship and the modernists who seemed to scorn every traditional understanding of the Scriptures on principle, were unreasonable.

One of the most commonly held conclusions from modern New Testament scholarship is that the gospels of Mark is the earliest gospel to have been written and that Luke and Matthew draw on Mark (and an earlier supposed document named ‘Q’) for their source material. ┬áIf you check out Wiki you will see an article that says most scholars believe Mark to have been written in the second half of the first century by an unknown Christian.

However what very few people realize is that this comparatively late date for Mark’s gospel is suggested almost entirely by the foundational assumption that Jesus could not have prophesied the future. It works like this: in the gospel Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was indeed destroyed in 70 AD. The scholars read the prediction of the temple being destroyed and assume that it indicates knowledge of the destruction of the temple which took place in 70 AD therefore the document in question could not have been written before 70 AD.

The problem with this is that it assumes that Jesus could not have predicted the future. Read more.

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