The Scripture of Prophet Jesus
Prophet Jesus is one of the five great Messengers of God to whom Almighty God had revealed a Scripture. Thus, they had come with a new divine law for people. The Scripture of Jesus was called the ‘Injil’ (Gospel) which means a glad tiding. Almighty God, twice, in the Quran (5:46 & 57:27) has mentioned that “We gave him (Jesus) the Injil”. The name of this Scripture is mentioned 12 times in the Quran always in a singular form.
It seems from the present Bible that Jesus had a Scripture called ‘The Gospel’. Luke in the beginning of Chapter 20 says: “One day as he (Jesus) was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the Gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came up with the elders and said to him…”
This passage is the clear evidence that Jesus had a Scripture which he was preaching in the temples. Luke also narrates that Jesus was asking his disciples to go around from village to village and preach the Gospel. (Luke 9:6)
Christians however do not recognize any written Gospel for Jesus. They claim he did not consign to writing his own teachings and directed his apostles not to write, but to preach the Gospel verbally to their fellow-men. In justification of their belief, they offer a literal interpretation for the abovementioned Biblical quotations. Thus, they assert the term ‘Gospel’ in these passages has a literal meaning, i.e. Glad tiding.
This claim is an attempt to conceal an historical fact about the original Gospel. Unfortunately, the Gospel of Jesus was lost or destroyed by the Jews. Though it is expressed by several historians that divisions between early sects of Christianity also encouraged the destruction of writings of which they did not approve. Subsequently, many people`s hands were employed in the rewriting of the Gospel.
Historically, there have been many narratives connected with Jesus life called ‘Gospel’. Luke in the beginning of his Gospel regarding this says: “Now that many have put their hands to the composition of a narrative regarding the events that have certainly taken place amongst us, transmitted as they were to us by those who were from the first eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word, it seemed fitting for me as well…”
The testimony of Luke indicates that many gospels before and after composition of his Gospel had been compiled. Today Christian scholars acknowledge this in at least some fifty historical gospels such as the Gospel according with the Hebrews, the Gospel according with Barnabas, the Gospel according with Peter, the Gospel according with Philip, etc. The Christians however have only recognized four Gospels, i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
When were, the Gospels written? Our Christian friends commonly preach that the present Gospels were compiled by those whose name they bear - all of which would place them within a short time of Jesus. Several scholars believe that they were compiled between the years 50 to 100 AD, which would make the first assumption impossible.
The truth is that the physical manuscript evidence of the Gospels does not start until early mid-2nd century with the famous P52- a tiny piece of papyrus with fragments of only 7 verses. The full manuscripts of the present four Gospels were completed in the 4th century. There are also many scholarly debates about the authenticity of some chapters and the verses of the present Gospels. For instance, New International Version of the Bible warns the reader:
“The most reliable early manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20", and "The earliest and most reliable manuscripts and other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53-8:11"
Circa 400 AD, Saint Jerome translated the Bible from Greek into Latin. This translation is called the "Vulgate" and is still in use by those still interested in Latin and is used in a revised form as the Roman Catholic Authorized Version. But in what language were the Gospels originally written, in Greek or Hebrew or even Aramaic?
There is an ongoing debate as to whether the earliest Gospels were written in Aramaic or Greek. Some scholars have proposed that they were written in Aramaic. But then again, no one has ever seen an Aramaic Gospel predating the fourth century which had to be translated from Greek to Aramaic.
The present Gospels are supplied with the title the Gospel ‘According with’ Matthew, Mark, etc. Many Biblical scholars have taken it to mean not ‘Written by’, but ‘drawn up according with the conception of Matthew, Mark, etc.
In the same way, the Gospel according with the Hebrew, or the Gospel according with the Egyptians, does not mean that they would have been written by the Hebrews or the Egyptians, but that peculiar from Gospel which either the Hebrews or the Egyptians had accepted.
Therefore, the Gospel of Matthew is no more than a Gospel according with the school of Matthew and his view of Christ whether it is really written by him or not. (An impossibility due to time frame)
The existence of numerous differences between the present four Gospels is a fact which has long been noticed and admitted by Christian scholars. The Gospels differ in many instances from the narration of the genealogy and the birth of Jesus to his so-called crucifixion. I shall refer to some of the differences in due courses.
The first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) which share content, style and order of events and which differ largely from John are called synoptic Gospels. The similarity between the three Gospels has urged the scholars to believe in an original Gospel. Scholars believe there can have been an original source for the Gospels that they call ‘Q’. The name comes from German for ‘Source’ “Quelle”. What has led them to this assumption is that there must be a written source whereby mainly the three synoptic Gospels used in their efforts of writing.