The Rich Young Man in Matthew -- By: Robert L. Thomas
GTJ 3:2 (Fall 82) p. 235
The Rich Young Man in Matthew
An investigation of any gospel passage which is paralleled in one or more of the gospels is heavily influenced by what solution, if any, one adopts for the Synoptic Problem. If no literary dependence is assumed, one’s approach is quite different from those who choose this or that solution to the Synoptic Problem. This last option results in attributing the differing emphases of the gospel writers ultimately to Jesus himself rather than to the individual writers. Matthew chose to retain several of the emphases of Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man which are not retained in Mark and Luke, including the man’s youthfulness, the importance of the works of love, and the future repayment for those who follow Christ. These stem from the historical occasion and are not the products of Matthew’s editorial alteration of the historical incident.
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Study of the life and teaching of Christ is complex today. We have passed into an era which calls forth the deepest of analytical thought regarding the formation of the gospels. Thorough scrutiny of the avalanche of literature that has been and is appearing to treat this subject is impossible. But a student of the New Testament must maintain some familiarity with it to avoid being swept away by the tide of confusion that prevails. In the process of sifting he will hopefully gain a better perspective of how our gospels came to us and what they contain.
The basis of modern study is the findings of Source Criticism. It is a foregone conclusion to most who labor here that some type of literary interrelationship exists among the three Synoptic Gospels. Has this assumption ever been proven? Historical evidence of it is lacking. Literary proof of it depends on an adequate solution to the Synoptic Problem.
It is this problem that we must deal with first in investigating any Synoptic Gospel passage. The most widely held proposal regarding gospel relationships is currently the Two-Source Theory. Since any methodology is only as good as its presuppositions and since most
[text of article continues on p. 244]
GTJ 3:2 (Fall 82) p. 236
GTJ 3:2 (Fall 82) p. 237
GTJ 3:2 (Fall 82) p. 238
GTJ 3:2 (Fall 82) p. 239
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