The Q source is a theory concerning the source of the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have many similarities, so many say they must have copied from one another or from another source. The name that has been given to this possible other source is the “Q source.”
What Is the Q Source?
The theory concerning the Q source is this:
- There are many similarities between Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so there must have been some kind of copying between them.
- Since Mark is the shortest Gospel, Matthew and Luke probably copied from Mark.
- Since Matthew and Luke have many similarities between them that are not in Mark, they must have used another source.
- This other source that Matthew and Luke used is the Q source.
Is the Q Source Theory Legitimate?
It is certainly possible that the Q hypothesis, as it is stated above, is legitimate. However, there are several things to consider regarding the Q source:
- There is currently no evidence that has been found related to this supposed source.
- Many people who promote this theory add on additional factors that orthodox Christians cannot accept. For example, many people who promote this theory do not believe the Gospels were written by the apostles or people close to the apostles. Also, they believe the Gospels were written after the time of the apostles.
There are other theories that can help explain the similarities between the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke that do not involve this supposed source.
For example, it is very possible that Matthew, Mark, and Luke copied from each other without the use of another source.
Alternatively, there may have already been several writings that had been circulating, and Matthew, Mark, and Luke utilized these other writings.
In any case, there can be a reasonable explanation for why the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke have so many similarities between them without compromising the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.