Those who have done a bit of academic reading about our New Testament gospels have come across the idea of what is most often referred to as the “Q Source.” Over the years I have found that despite lots of discussion about the hypothesis few have in fact sat down and read the material isolated in the format below. It does indeed have a certain flow and impact. This material is believed by many scholars to represent the earliest compilation of the “Teachings of Jesus” and has been studied for insights into the Jesus movement before our Gospels were composed.
The following 50 pericopes represent the standard compilation of the collection of the “Saying” of Jesus that scholars have referred to as the Q source (or “Quelle,” which means “source” in German). It consists of the material Matthew and Luke have in common that is not derived from Mark. This hypothetical source, whether understood as an independent document, or material either Luke or Matthew derived from the other, was first noted by the German scholar Friedrich Schleiemacher in 1832. Subsequently, Christian Hermann Weisse is usually credited with developing the Two-Source Hypothesis–that the Synoptics (Matt, Mark, Luke) are developed from two primary sources–Mark and this Q material, in a two volume work published in 1838-1839.
On the entire issue of the “Q” source, whether it existed as a separate document, how Matthew and Luke came to make use of this material, with all the current views pro- and con- see the wonderful book: https://jamestabor.com/tabor-bookshelf-the-synoptic-problem-four-views/
As you read through ask yourself what is here and not here, content wise. What are the major themes and emphases? How is John the Baptizer presented? How is the figure of Jesus portrayed? Is there a “Christology” reflected? What about the atoning death of Jesus which is central to later forms of Christian faith? What sort of apocalypticism is reflected? What is the view of the future? What would it be like for someone to “Follow” the Teachings of Jesus based on Q?
A PDF document containing this material drawn from Luke in the Revised Standard Version translation at this link: Tabor Q Source Based on Luke.
Prepared by Dr. James D. Tabor
The Fifty Pericopes of the “Gospel of Q” based on Luke (RSV)
The material that Luke and Matthew have in Common that is Not in Mark
The texts in this blue font are not in Matthew but likely part of Luke’s version of Q
3:7-9, 16b-17 [John the Baptist] said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, we have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
3:10-14 And the multitudes asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than is appointed you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”
4:2b-12 He ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.” The devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will, if you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” He took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him ‘If you are the Son of God throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you, and on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
6:20-23 Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
6: 25-26 But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. “Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
6:27-37 But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. As you wish that men would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
6:37-42 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; and give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
6:43-45 For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit, For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
6:47-49 Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and built the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
7:2-3, 6-10 A centurion had a slave who was dear to him who was sick and at the point of death. When he heard of Jesus he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave. Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying to him, Lord do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘come,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it,” when Jesus heard this he marveled at him, and turned and said to the multitude that followed him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave well.
7:18-23 The disciples of John told him all these things. John calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” When the men had come to him, they said, John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, Are you he who is to come or shall we look for another?’ In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. He answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them, and blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
7:24-35 When the messengers of John had gone, he began to speak to the crowds concerning John: What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee. I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. To what shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the market place and calling to one another, We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not weep. John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, He has a demon.’ The Son of man has come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Wisdom is justified by all her children.”
9:57-62 As they were going along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But he said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
10:2-12 He said to them, The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; salute no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. Whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say: ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off against you; nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it shall be more tolerable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
10:13-15 Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
10:16 He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.
10:21-22 He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’
10:23-24 Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
11:2-4 When you pray, say, ‘Father, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.’
11:9-13 Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
11:14-21 Now he was casting out a demon that was dumb; when the demon had gone out, the dumb man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons”; while others, to test him, sought from him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace;
11:24-26 When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, I will return to my house from which I came.’ When he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.
11:29b-32 This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah. As Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of man be to this generation. The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
11:33-36 No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a bush, but on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.
11:39-40, 42-43 You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. to You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? Woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the Market places.
11:46-52 Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; they killed them, and you build their tombs. The Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves and you hindered those who were entering.
12:2-3 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
12:4-5 I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you fear him!
12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
12:8-10 I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. Every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
12:11-12 When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.
12:22-31 Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat nor about your body, what you shall put on. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap. they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.
12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide your selves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
12:39-40 If the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would have been awake and would not have let his house to be broken into, you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
12:42-46 The Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.
12:51-53 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against her mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
12:57-59 Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper.
13:20-21 He said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened.”
13:24 Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
13:25-29 When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from,’ Then you will begin to say, we ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ You will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. Men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God.
13:34-35 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. I tell you, you will not see me until you say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
14:16-23 A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many and at the time of the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come for all is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought a yoke of oxen, I pray you, have me excused,’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame,’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room. The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.
14:26-27 If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
14:34-35 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the land nor for the dunghill; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
15:4-10 What man among you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
16:16 The law and the prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and every one enters it violently.
16:17 It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one dot of the law to become void.
17:1 Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come!
17:3-4 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.
17:5-6 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
17:23-37 And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot – they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all – so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
19:12-13, 15-26 He said to them, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive kingly power and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Trade with these till I come.’ When he returned, having received the kingly power, he commanded these servants to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by trading. The first came before him saying ‘Lord, your pound has made ten pounds more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ The second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds,’ He said to him; ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ Then another came, saying, ‘Lord here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?’ He said to those who stood by, ‘Take the pound from him, and give it to him who has ten pounds.’ They said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’ I tell you, that to every one who has more will be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
22:28-30 You are those who have continued with me in my trials; as my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.