How did the things Jesus said and did when He was alone get recorded in the Gospels?
Question: “How did the things Jesus said and did when He was alone get recorded in the Gospels?”
Answer: There are a number of times in the Gospels when Jesus’ words are quoted or His actions are described during times that He was alone. For example, when Jesus was in the desert for forty days (Matthew 4) or praying in the Garden at Gethsemane (Mark 14), He was by Himself. How did anyone know what He said or did, since there were no eyewitnesses to what happened?
The Gospel narratives were not written at the time the events happened, like some kind of daily journal entry; rather, they were put together later, like most historical narratives, based on memory, research, and compilation. Matthew and John were both eye witnesses to most of the events in their narratives.
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Mark and Luke had access to the eye witnesses. In fact, Luke mentions that he “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” before writing his Gospel (Luke 1:3). Very probably, Mark gleaned information for his Gospel from the apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:13). The other benefit the writers had—and this is a big one—is that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). In fact, Jesus had promised them that the Spirit would bring to their remembrance “everything I have said” (John 14:26).
Still, how did the disciples know what transpired when they were away from Jesus?