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Most modern critical scholars consider that the extant citations suggest at least two and probably three distinct works, at least one of which (possibly two) closely parallels the Gospel of Matthew.

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although Mark 16:7, in which the young man discovered in the tomb instructs the women to tell "the disciples and Peter" that Jesus will see them again in Galilee, hints that the author may have known of the tradition.

Luke, while following Mark's plot more faithfully than does Matthew, has expanded on the source, corrected Mark's grammar and syntax, and eliminating some passages entirely, notably most of chapters 6 and 7, which he apparently felt reflected poorly on the disciples and painted Jesus too much like a magician.

He states that he offers no sign as proof (Mark) or only the sign of Jonah (Matthew and Luke).

Jesus preaches in Jerusalem, launching his ministry with the cleansing of the temple.

[because copyists] either neglect to check over what they have transcribed, or, in the process of checking, they make additions or deletions as they please." For these reasons modern scholars are cautious of relying on the gospels uncritically, but nevertheless they do provide a good idea of the public career of Jesus, and critical study can attempt to distinguish the original ideas of Jesus from those of the later authors.