Papias (120 AD) as quoted by Eusebius
But concerning Matthew he writes as follows: “So then Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”
(Eusebius Church History 3.39.16)
Papias (120AD) as quoted by Eusebius
“Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” (Eusebius Church History 3.39.15)
“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” (Against Heresies 3.1.1)
“For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them…” (there follows the institution of the Lord’s Supper) (1st Apology 66).
Below Justin Martyr quotes from the Gospel of Mark and indicates it is from the “memoirs of Peter.”
“And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder…”
Clement of Alexandria
As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.
“Concerning the four Gospels which alone are uncontroverted in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the Gospel according to Matthew, who was at one time a publican and afterwards an Apostle of Jesus Christ, was written first and that he composed it in the Hebrew tongue and published it for the converts from Judaism. The second written was that according to Mark, who wrote it according to the instruction of Peter, who, in his General Epistle, acknowledged him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is in Babylon, elect together with you, salutes you and so does Mark my son.’ And third, was that according to Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, which he composed for the converts from the Gentiles. Last of all, that according to John“. (Commentary on Matthew 1)
“The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage. I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew whilst that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul. And it may well seem that the works which disciples publish belong to their masters.”
(Against Marcion 4.5)
“We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors, to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel… Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfill the law and the prophets.
(Against Marcion 4.2)
Barnabus, written in the 1st century, Quotes from the Gospels:
“Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when ye reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” (Epistle of Barnabus 4)
The Didache written in the 1st century Quotes from the Gospels:
The writer of the Didache quotes from Matt.6:5, and 6:9-13.
“And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us to-day our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever.”
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘
All four gospels are quoted in the Diatessaron. The following are examples of the each gospel being quoted in it.
Diatessaron 1:1-5 quotes Jn.1:1-5
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God is the Word. This was in the beginning with God. Everything was by his hand, and without him not even one existing thing was made. In him was life, and the life is the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not.”
Diatessaron 2:1-8 quotes Matt.1:18-25a
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah was on this wise: In the time when his mother was given in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband was a just man and did not wish to expose her, and he purposed to put her away secretly. But when he thought of this, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, and said unto him, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. She shall bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, and he shall save s his people from their sins. And all this was that the saying from the Lord by the prophet might be fulfilled:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which is, being interpreted, With us is our God. And when Joseph arose from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife; and knew her not until she brought forth her firstborn son.”
Diatessaron 2:9-28 quotes Lu.2:1-20
“ And in those days there went forth a decree from Augustus Caesar that all the people of his dominion should be enrolled. This first enrolment was while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And every man went to be enrolled in his city. And Joseph went up also from Nazareth, a city of Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem (for he was of the house of David and of his tribe), with Mary his betrothed, she being with child, to be enrolled there. And while she was there the days for her being delivered were accomplished. And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them where they were staying.
And there were in that region shepherds abiding, keeping their flock in the watch of the night. And behold, the angel of God came unto them, and the glory of the Lord shone upon them; and they were greatly terrified. And the angel said unto them, Be not terrified; for I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to the whole world; there is born to you this day a Savior, which is the Lord the Messiah, in the city of David. And this is a sign for you: ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. And there appeared with the angels suddenly many heavenly forces praising God and saying, Praise be to God in the highest, And on the earth peace, and good hope to men.
And when the angels departed from them to heaven, the shepherds spoke to one another and said, We will go to Bethlehem and see this word which hath been, as the Lord made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe laid in a manger. And when they saw, they reported the word which was spoken to them about the child. And all that heard wondered at the description which the shepherds described to them. But Mary kept these sayings and discriminated them in her heart. And those shepherds returned, magnifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard, according as it was described unto them.”
Diatessaron 7:9 quotes Mk.2:14
“And when he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting among the tax-gatherers; and he said unto him, Follow me: and he rose and followed him.”
“James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)…
-Quotes from Luke’s Gospel
“For in the memoirs which I say were drawn up by His apostles and those who followed them, [it is recorded] that His sweat fell down like drops of blood while He was praying, and saying, `If it be possible, let this cup pass…”
From Luke 22:44
“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
For when Christ was giving up His spirit on the cross, He said, `Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit, as I have learned also from the memoirs.
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”
“On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.” (1st Apology 67)
– Quotes from Matthew’s Gospel
“For I have showed already that Christ is called both Jacob and Israel; and I have proved that it is not in the blessing of Joseph and Judah alone that what relates to Him was proclaimed mysteriously, but also in the Gospel it is written that He said: `All things are delivered unto me by My Father; ‘and, `No man knows the Father but the Son; nor the Son but the Father, and they to whom the Son will reveal Him.’”
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Hence, also, among His words He said, when He was discoursing about His future sufferings: `The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the Pharisees and Scribes, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’”
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Irenaeus on Why There Are Four Gospels:
It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the “pillar and ground” of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. As also David says, when entreating His manifestation, “Thou that sittest between the cherubim, shine forth.” For the cherubim, too, were four-faced, and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God. For, [as the Scripture] says, “The first living creature was like a lion,” symbolizing His effectual working, His leadership, and royal power; the second [living creature] was like a calf, signifying [His] sacrificial and sacerdotal order; but “the third had, as it were, the face as of a man,”-an evident description of His advent as a human being; “the fourth was like a flying eagle,” pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering with His wings over the Church. And therefore the Gospels are in accord with these things, among which Christ Jesus is seated. For that according to John relates His original, effectual, and glorious generation from the Father, thus declaring, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Also, “all things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.” For this reason, too, is that Gospel full of all confidence, for such is His person. But that according to Luke, taking up [His] priestly character, commenced with Zacharias the priest offering sacrifice to God. For now was made ready the fatted calf, about to be immolated for the finding again of the younger son. Matthew, again, relates His generation as a man, saying, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham; ” and also, “The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise.” This, then, is the Gospel of His humanity; for which reason it is, too, that [the character of] a humble and meek man is kept up through the whole Gospel. Mark, on the other hand, commences with [a reference to] the prophetical spirit coming down from on high to men, saying, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Esaias the prophet,”-pointing to the winged aspect of the Gospel; and on this account he made a compendious and cursory narrative, for such is the prophetical character. And the Word of God Himself used to converse with the ante-Mosaic patriarchs, in accordance with His divinity and glory; but for those under the law he instituted a sacerdotal and liturgical service. Afterwards, being made man for us, He sent the gift of the celestial Spirit over all the earth, protecting us with His wings. Such, then, as was the course followed by the Son of God, so was also the form of the living creatures; and such as was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of the Gospel. For the living creatures are quadriform, and the Gospel is quadriform, as is also the course followed by the Lord. For this reason were four principal covenants given to the human race: one, prior to the deluge, under Adam; the second, that after the deluge, under Noah; the third, the giving of the law, under Moses; the fourth, that which renovates man, and sums up all things in itself by means of the Gospel, raising and bearing men upon its wings into heavenly kingdom.