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The Q Document essay
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The Q Document. Custom The Q Document Essay Writing Service || The Q Document Essay samples, help

Q source is a material believed to have been used by both Mathew and Luke to write their Gospels. It is the hypothetical source of both the Gospel of Luke and Gospel of Mathew. Q is a short form of German word Quelle which mean source. Q is also sometimes referred as Q source or Q document. It is believed that this ancient document or text contain the original logia or quotations from Jesus the Christ during his period of teaching. This particular text was used by both Luke and Mathew, but it has been found out that Mark did not use it to write his Gospel. It is also believed that both Mathew and Luke also used the Gospel of Mark to write their Gospels. (Kloppenborg, 1988)

            The Q source was identified, together with the Markan priority, by 1900. It is believed to be one of the main foundations of the modern Gospel scholarship. A widely accepted view of Q document was formulated by B.H. Streeter. The view claimed that Q was a written document. It was written in Greek and was not an oral tradition. The view claimed that almost all the Q’s comment appears in the Gospels of Luke, and Mathew, or in both of them. It also claimed that the Gospel of Luke preserves more often the original text order of the document compared to Mathew. However, some scholars believed that Q is actually a number of sources for the Gospels that were in both written and oral form. Other scholars have even gone ahead to try to establish the stages on which Q document was composed. Some scholars have, however, challenged the existence of the Q source. (Brown, 1997) They believed that a highly treasured dominical document would not have gone unmentioned in the early Church catalogs. They claimed that it was not possible for such a book to go unmentioned by all the father of the early Church and thus it may have not existed.

Why the idea of Q developed

            The idea of Q was developed by scholar after several years of research showed a lot of similarity on the quoted words of Jesus on the Gospel of Mathew and Luke. It was noticed that it would have been hard to have exact words quoted in the two books with Mathew and Luke without them to behaving have used a common source. They also found that neither Luke nor Mathew is dependent on the other; however, verbal agreement between some parts of the gospels is so close that the only reasonable explanation for such great agreement is dependence on a common source that must have been in written form. Several factors also lead to the development of the Q source idea. The basic one is the striking exactness of wording between some parts of the Gospels like Mathew 6:24 and Luke 16:13 (with 27 and 28 wording respectively in Greek) and Luke 11:9-10 and Mathew 7:7-8 (each 24 Greek words). Secondly there is sometimes commonality in the ordering of the two Gospels. An example is the Sermon is the Mount/the Sermon on the plain.

            Another thing that leads to the development of the Q source idea is the presence of doublets. The gospels of Mathew and Luke sometimes give two versions of a similar saying. Only one of the versions appears in Mark, but the source of the other is unknown. This means that there must have been another source the Gospel writer used. The source must have been the Q. the last arguments are that Luke mentioned that he knew of other written sources of Jesus Christ’s life. He also says that he had investigated in order to have the most information on Jesus’ life. These were the main ideas that saw the Development of the Q source.

Synoptic Gospels

            These are the three Gospel books of Mathew, Luke and Mark. The Gospels have many similar stories usually in the same sequence or order and even sometimes in strikingly exact wording. It is believed that such a degree of parallelism in narrative arrangements, content, sentence structure and language could only mean literary interdependence. The Gospels also share the same point of view on Jesus and His teachings and are clearly linked to each other. The term synoptic was used to describe this similarity. Synoptic is from Greek words syn and optic meaning “together” and “seen” respectively. Of the three Gospels, it is generally believed that Mark was the first to be written. Mathew and Luke then later used it as a source to write their gospels. They also used a hypothetical document known as Q to add more information to their Gospels. Mathew and Luke also contain unique material believed to be from different sources usually called M and L. the primary source of information on life and work or Jesus Christ is contained in the synoptic gospels. The Gospel of John differs greatly from Synoptic gospels and is called the Apocryphal H


Synoptic Gospels that use Q

            There are only two gospels among the three synoptic gospels that used Q source. These gospels are the gospel of Mathew and the Gospel of Luke. These gospels believed to have been written later after Mark, have a lot of similarity in wording that the Gospel of Mark do not have. Some of their verses are known to be of both the same order and language. The gospels also used the Gospel of Mark as their source.

Thesis sentence

            The Q source appears in both the Gospel of Mathew and the Gospel of Luke which are part of the synoptic gospels, and presents a distinct portrait of Jesus as a wisdom teacher as well as a positive attitude toward the Jewish Law and an urgent eschatological message.

Section 2

Where Q appear in Luke

            The gospel of Luke has several accounts of information from Q document that only exist in them and not in any other synoptic gospel. Some of the accounts are discussed below and their relevant verses in the Bible given.

            Disputed inheritance and rich farmer accounted on Luke 12: 13-21, has information that is believed, by scholar, to have been derived from the Q source. The rich farmer is documented to plead to Jesus to help him divide the inheritance between him and his brother. However, Jesus is documented to have distanced himself from such a case by asking him who made Him the judge or the divider of them. Jesus goes ahead and warns his disciples to be aware of covetousness. He argues that a man’s life is not made of the abundances of his worldly possessions but his possession in heart. This particular account only exists in the book of Luke and is found in neither the Gospels of Mathew nor Mark. It is strongly believed to be sourced from Q due to be wording and structure.

            Eschatological discourse accounted in Luke 17:20b-21 is believed by scholars to be from the Q source or document. This verse is about Jesus’ answer on the kingdom of God. The Pharisees had asked him when the kingdom of God was coming. He gave them an answer that did not go by the common belief and that surprised the Pharisees. He told the Pharisees that the coming of the kingdom of God will not come with signs that will be observed. One will not be able to say it is here or there. He further told them that the kingdom of God was there among them. This was contrary to the belief of everyone at that particular period.

            Accounted Q sources information in the Gospel of Luke is also the woes on Galilean towns. This is on Luke 10:13. It warns Chorazin and Bethsaida of woes that are to face them. It talks of the grave sins that have been done on the towns and yet they have not repented. It acknowledges that towns like Tyre and Sidon would have repented long ago if they were the ones who had committed such sins by sitting in sackcloth and ashes. It also go on to tell that such crimes would be more tolerable in the judgment of Sidon and Tyre than for Chorazin and Bethsaida. Luke 10:15 talks of Caper'na-um that would have been exalted to heaven, but instead would be brought down to Hades.

Where Q appear in Matthew

            The Gospel of Mathew, however, does not, however, have much unique information from Q that does not exist in the Gospel of Luke. However, there are still several accounts of information that is believed to have been sourced from Q. the information here is very similar to those accounted in several parts of Luke in wording, language and systematic sequences. The first account is the Christians most important prayer, Lord’s Prayer. This is found in Mathew 6:9-13. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave them an illustration of how their prayers should be. The prayer started by first acknowledging the holiness of the name of God and its greatness. It also acknowledges the presence of God’s kingdom. The prayer depicts God as the provider of human’s daily food and to whom our daily bread depends.   It teaches the disciples to ask for forgives of the sins they had committed from God also to forgive everyone who has done them wrong. It also teaches them to ask for guidance of God to protect them from temptations. This is accounted also in Luke 11:2-4. In Mathew 7:7-11 Jesus also tells his disciples that if one asks for something it will be given to them; if one seeks something he will find it and if one knocks a door it will be opened for him. In Luke 11:12 similar ideas exist. Luke points out that if a son asks for a fish he will be given a fish and not a serpent.

 Mathew, 13:44, talks about the Kingdom of heaven. It says that it is like a treasure hidden in the field. When someone finds it hell sell all his possessions, in joy goes, and buy the field with treasure hidden on it. This teaching is believed to be from Q source.

            On Mathew 10:26-27 veiled and unveiled is accounted. It is a common knowledge that all that is said is secret always remained secret, but this verse in Mathew changes that. It says that everything that is covered from the public to see will be revealed, and those that were hidden from the public will be known by the public. It also goes on to warn people that all that they have said in the secrecy of darkness and those things that they have whispered in the privacy of their rooms will be proclaimed to all on two of the roof tops. This information that only exist in Mathew and Luke gospels is believed to have been sourced from the Q documented since it is not found in the earlier written Gospel of Mark.

            The account of the spirit under trail in Matthew also in Luke is also believed to be sourced from the Q document. Mathew 10:19 talks about the trial believers will go through. It advices believer that whenever they are brought before the synagogues and authorities and rulers, they should not worry about what and how they are to answer the authorities or what they are to say to them. This is because the Holy Spirit will teach the disciples and believers in the very moment what they should say. This information also exists in Luke 12:12-12.

Similarity in the two evangelists’ use of Q

            There are several similarity on how the two evangelists use Q. they mainly use Q to quote exactly what Jesus said. This is very important as it assist them like in the Lord Prayer, to pass across exact wording of Christ on such teaching without distorting anything. They also use Q to ensure that the teachings of Christ and His works are all pass on to the next generations without losing any of them. This is important as it prevent cases of distorted stories usually passed through oral tradition that gets biased by each passing generation.

            Both Mathew and Luke also use the Q to get more information that did not already exist in the earlier written Mark. Both the writers recognize the importance of such teachings, work of Christ, and makes sure they are passed on. If they had only used Mark as their sources several things like the Lord’s Prayer and teaching on the beatitudes will not have been known by the generations after them.

            The use of Q also enables the evangelist to come up with Gospels that have a similar arrangement and ordering, similar style and wording and language. This helps them to give more chronological information also exact and wide information on Jesus and his teachings.

What is different in their respective uses of Q?

            While Mathew uses Q to get mainly information on the teachings of Jesus Christ especially the parables and the beatitudes, Luke also use the document to supplement the known activities of what Jesus did like avoiding to interfere in how the rich farmer and his brother divided their inheritance. Luke also uses the document to tell people about prophecies such as the prophecy on the woes of the towns of Galilee that the other two gospels did not include.

            He also uses the document to tell peoples about the Pharisees concern on the kingdom of heaven and how they depended on Jesus Christ for teachings. Scenario where they ask about the kingdom of God is not accounted in the other Synoptic gospels.

Transitory Thesis statement

            The two synoptic Gospels in focus when examining the Q source are Matthew and Luke. Both of these Gospels use Q as a source of information, often drawing upon the same passages, quotes and accounts of events. The use of Q is different and similar in each depending on the topic in question. Some of the topics include Jesus role as wisdom teacher, the significance of Jewish law and the strong eschatological message Q emphasizes time and time again.

Wisdom of God

            Wisdom of God is the deep knowledge of God and His laws and Teachings as best portrayed by Jesus Christ. It also involves living according to the word of the Lord. Jesus is the messiah God the Lord sent to earth to be born in the image of man and to teach God’s way to a man. He was also to save mankind from sin by dying on the cross for man’s sin.

Jesus in Q as a wisdom teacher

            In Q as seen in the gospels of Mathew and Likes, Jesus is a wisdom teacher. This is proved by many of his teaching from the Lord’s Prayer that teaches us about forgiveness and holiness of God to the kingdom of God teaching that teaches us that the kingdom of God is already among us. Several people attended his teachings both during the day and at night. (Nickel, 2001) This means they saw wisdom of his teaching. The group of people that confirm this is the Pharisees. Pharisees were the teacher of law, and that meant they were highly educated. However, they still visited Jesus to listen to him also to ask him questions. Verses like beatitudes on Luke 6:20-23/ Matt: 3, 6, 4, 11-12, loving of one’s enemy on Luke 6:27-36/ Matt 5:44 and judging others Luke 6:37-38 /Matt 7:1-2.

Section 4

Jewish Law

            These were the traditional law that all the Jew were expected to follow. They guided the Jews on cultural and religious practices. They ensured that order was maintained, that God was praised and obeyed, and that his festive were upheld. The Q has a positive attitude towards the Jewish laws. Q respects the teaching that already existed in the laws but added some teaching that many people viewed as going against the law. This is because the Q has teaching like the kingdom of heaven being among the people yet traditionally the Jews believed that the kingdom of heaven will come one day and with signs to show it.

Section 5


            Eschatology is part of Christian teachings that are concerned with judgment, death and the destiny of the human soul. It is the biblical study of the end times and prophecies of the last day. An eschatological message is thus a message that contains information on end times usually in the form of a prophecy.

            Q sends the message that people should change like the teaching on woes of Galilean towns because they will be judged Luke 10:13. It also talks about the presence of God’s kingdom among as meaning that everyone should change their ways urgently Luke 17:20b-21. It also tells against judging other since it is only God with the powers to judge humans. These messages are passed in symbolic forms mainly through the parable and indirect teaching like from the teachings on the rich farmer and his inheritance as described in Luke 12: 13-21. The teachings on the beatitudes are also symbolic. (Miller, 1992)

Q portrayed this message since it was the main point why God sent Jesus and because man was already in evil and needed to change. The message was also to ensure that more human souls are rescued from the everlasting fire after judgment day.


            The Q source appears in both the Gospel of Mathew and the Gospel of Luke which are part of the synoptic gospels, and presents a distinct portrait of Jesus as a wisdom teacher as well as a positive attitude toward the Jewish Law and an urgent eschatological message. The Q source is a very important source because it helps to reveal more information on Jesus Christ that Mark did not have.

            The two synoptic Gospels of Matthew and Luke both use Q as a source of information, often drawing upon the same passages, quotes and accounts of events. The use of Q is different and similar in each depending on the topic in question. The difference is mainly on Luke using it to tell more on Jesus’ life while Mathew uses it to pass only the teachings. Some of the topics include Jesus’ role as wisdom teacher, the significance of Jewish law and the strong eschatological message Q emphasizes time and time again.

            In Q, Jesus is a wisdom teacher. This is proved by many of his teaching from the Lord’s Prayer that teaches us about forgiveness and holiness of God to the kingdom of God teaching that teaches us that the kingdom of God is already among us. Many people attended his teachings both during the day and at night. This means they saw wisdom oh his teaching. The group of people that confirm this is the Pharisees

            Q also obeyed the teaching that already existed in the Jews laws but added some that were very new to the Jews. This was critical as Jesus brought a new way to view at things and the end was near.

The main messages in the Q are about end times, judgment the final destiny of the crucial human soul. It points the need for man to change his ways. This is important since Jesus came to save man and his teaching should be on that particular area.

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