A coherent structure: the many links between the logia sayings

"Matthew made an orderly arrangement of the logia"
Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, quoted by Eusebius


Each of the four tables shown below represents a major section. Also each major section appears to have been divided into two subsections, indicated by a blank line in the middle of its table. Lk 9:28 hints at the eight subsections. [1] 
The internal links between adjacent sayings are indicated in the last column of the tables. The vast majority of the sayings have links to at least one adjacent saying. These links, together with the 36 links shown in the last table on this page, provide very strong evidence for the posited order of the sayings.
Parentheses around a Markan text indicate that the Markan version is sufficiently different from that of Matthew/Luke that its common origin as a single saying attributed to Jesus is not immediately obvious. For this reason any such saying would not have been eligible for membership of a doublet.

In the columns headed "Matthew" and "Luke", the only version of the saying referenced is the version which appears to have been derived directly from the logia. Versions dependent on Mark, such as those in the 'triple tradition' in Matthew or Luke, do not contribute to our understanding of the text of the logia and so are not listed.

A: Entering the Kingdom

Mark Matthew Luke id Saying internal links
----- 5:3-8,11-12 6:20-23 A1 Beatitudes the earth
9:50a 5:13bc 14:34-35 A2 Salt the earth; influencing others
4:21 5:15 11:33 A3 Lighting a lamp influencing others
13:31 5:18 16:17 A4 Law God's law persists
----- 5:25-26 12:58-59 A5 Your accuser God's law persists
9:43,47 5:30,29 ----- A6 Hand & eye separation
10:11 5:32 16:18 A7 Divorce separation
----- 5:39b-48 6:27-30,32-36 A8 Love your enemies -
----- 15:14 6:39 A9 Blind guide guidance
----- 10:24-25 6:40 A10 Teacher/disciple guidance
10:15 18:3 ----- A11 Be like a child entering the k of G
10:25 ----- ----- A12 Eye of needle entering the k of G; hyperbole
----- 7:3-5 6:41-42 A13 Speck/log criticizing others; hyperbole
4:24 7:1-2 6:37-8 A14 Judge/measure criticizing others; do not...
----- 7:6 ----- A15 Pearls to pigs do not...
----- 7:13-14 13:24 A16 Two gates -
----- 7:15-20 6:43-44 A17 Good tree good & evil
----- 12:34-35 6:45 A18 Good treasure good & evil
11:24 7:7-11 11:9-13 A19 Ask/receive good & evil
----- 7:12 6:31 A20 Golden rule do
----- 7:21-23 6:46;13:26-27 A21 Disowned do; everyone
----- 7:24-27 6:47-49 A22 Rock or sand do; everyone

B: The Mission of the Kingdom

Mark Matthew Luke id Saying internal links
(1:16-20) 8:19-22 9:57-60 B1 Following Jesus discipleship
9:41 10:42 ----- B2 Cup of water discipleship
(4:26-29) 9:37-38 10:2 B3 Harvest framed with B14; send out; worker
1:15b; 6:8-11 10:5b-15 10:4-12 B4 Mission instructions framed with B7; send out; worker; sheep
----- 10:16 10:3 B5 Lambs among wolves send out; sheep
13:13 10:22 ----- B6 Hated/endure all
(13:10) 10:23 ----- B7 Through all Israel all; When ..... for
13:9,11 10:19-20 12:11-12 B8 Formal defence When ..... for; don't worry
4:22; 8:38 10:26-33 12:2-9 B9 Bold confession don't be afraid
13:12 10:34-35 12:51,53 B10 Peace or a sword family
8:34 10:37-38 14:26-27 B11 My disciple? Whoever ...; family
8:35 10:39 17:33 B12 Find or lose Whoever
9:37b 10:40 10:16 B13 Welcome Whoever; me
9:40 12:30 11:23 B14 For or against Whoever; me

C: The coming Kingdom

Mark Matthew Luke id Saying internal links
11:25 6:7,9-13 11:2-4 C1 Kingdom come! "many" is not enough
----- 22:14 ----- C2 Called or chosen "many" is not enough
----- 6:22-23 11:34-35 C3 Eye as lamp -
12:17 ----- ----- C4 Caesar or God ruler
8:12 12:38-42 11:16,29-32 C5 Request for a sign ruler(s) & prophet(s)
----- 13:16-17 10:23-24 C6 What you see ruler(s) & prophet(s); blessed; hear
(3:31-35) ----- 11:27-28 C7 Womb blessed; hear
----- 18:15,21-22 17:3-4 C8 Forgiveness wronging a disciple
9:42 18:6-7 17:1-2 C9 Millstone wronging a disciple
9:35b;10:42b-44 23:11 ----- C10 Ruler/servant high/low status
----- 23:12 14:11; 18:14b C11 Humble exalted high/low status
9:1 ----- ----- C12 Some standing ... sky to earth
----- ----- 12:54-56 C13 Weather signs earth & sky
4:30-32 13:31-33 13:18-21 C14 Mustard & yeast earth to sky; man&woman
----- 18:12-13 15:4-5a,7-9 C15 Sheep & coin numbers; one; man&woman
----- 6:24 16:13 C16 Two masters numbers; one
11:23 17:20 17:6 C17 Mulberry tree -
(10:17-22) 6:19-21 12:33-34 C18 Treasure in heaven possessions
----- 6:25-33 12:22-31 C19 Life's necessities possessions; will be given
4:25 25:29 12:48b C20 More given will be given
(10:29-30) 19:28 22:28-29,30b C21 Thrones rewards at the coming
10:31 20:16 13:30 C22 Last or first rewards at the coming

D: The Hindrances to the Kingdom

Mark Matthew Luke id Saying internal links
----- 23:13 11:52 D1 Hinder entrance woe to Pharisees
----- 23:25-26 11:39-41 D2 Clean cup woe to Pharisees; blind
----- 23:23-24 11:42 D3 Tithe mint woe to Pharisees; blind
12:38-39 23:6-7 11:43 D4 Best seats woe to Pharisees
----- 23:27 11:44 D5 Whitewashed tombs woe to Pharisees
----- 23:4 11:46 D6 Burdens woe to Pharisees
----- 23:29-36 11:47-51 D7 Memorials woe to Pharisees; prophets
13:22 24:11 ----- D8 False prophets prophets
13:21 24:26 17:23 D9 Hearsay "they" refers back to D8
----- 24:27 17:24 D10 Lightning visible from afar
----- 24:28 17:37 D11 Vultures visible from afar
----- 24:37-39 17:26-27,30 D12 In the days of Noah sudden coming
----- 24:40-41 17:34-35 D13 Taken or left sudden coming
13:33,35,37 24:42-44 12:39-40 D14 Keep awake sudden coming

The two subsections of each major section

The gap in the middle of each displayed section is to highlight the fact that each appears to be subdivided into two equal halves, though the divisions are not equally apparent in all the sections. The first half of A opens with a saying about the poor; the second half opens with a saying about the rich. (The author of Mathew's gospel may have recognized this division, for sayings from the first half of A only appear in what we know as chapter 5, and sayings from the second half of A only appear separately in what we know as chapter 7.) The first half of C opens with an expression of hope for the coming kingdom; the second half opens with a confident prediction of its coming. The first half of B comes to a climax in 'Through all Israel'. But it is in section D where the division is clearest: the first half being woes, and the second half looking forward to the coming of the Son of Man.

"After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs ....."
Lk 10:1 (JB)

id saying link id saying
A1 Beatitudes kingdom (of God) C1 Kingdom come!
A2 Salt rejection C2 Called or chosen
A3 Lighting a lamp lamp; light C3 Eye as lamp
A4 Law primacy of divine law C4 Caesar or God
A5 Your accuser judgement C5 Request for a sign
A6 Hand & eye eye(s) C6 What you see
A7 Divorce woman C7 Womb
A8 Love your enemies concern for others C8 Forgiveness
A9 Blind guide bad guidance C9 Millstone
A10 Teacher/disciple master/underling C10 Ruler/servant
A11 Be like a child humility C11 Humble exalted
A12 Eye of needle kingdom of God C12 Bystanders
A13 Speck/log perception; hypocrite(s) C13 Weather signs
A14 Judge/measure measure C14 Mustard & yeast
A15 Pearls to pigs animal & valuable C15 Sheep & coin
A16 Two gates two C16 Two masters
A17 Good tree tree C17 Mulberry tree
A18 Good treasure treasure C18 Treasure in heaven
A19 Ask/receive depending on your Father C19 Life's necessities
A20 Golden rule ethical summary C20 More given
A21 Disowned contrasting status; kingdom C21 Thrones
A22 Rock or sand contrasting fates C22 Last or first
B1 Following Jesus kingdom of God D1 Hinder entrance
B2 Cup of water cup D2 Clean cup
B3 Harvest crops D3 Tithe mint
B4 Mission instructions greeting(s) D4 Best seats
B5 Lambs among wolves danger D5 Whitewashed tombs
B6 Hated/endure endurance D6 Burdens
B7 Through all Israel towns; 'through' Israel D7 Memorials
B8 Formal defence speaking D8 False prophets
B9 Bold confession not hidden; inner rooms D9 Hearsay
B10 Peace or a sword a dramatic coming D10 Lightning
B11 My disciple? omens of death D11 Vultures
B12 Find or lose loss D12 In the days of Noah
B13 Welcome reception D13 Taken or left
B14 For or against no taking it easy D14 Keep awake

Treatment by the later synoptic writers

Matthew's rearrangement of the sayings.

Matthew has kept the sayings, except for those in section C, in substantially the same order.
Matthew retained the logia's four sections. A became the Sermon on the Mount, B became the discourse on mission (9:36-10:42), C was developed into the parables of the kingdom (13:1-52), D became the discourse on judgement (23-25). To mirror the five books of Moses, Matthew added a fifth discourse (Mt 17:24-18:35) concerning the Church (18:17, c.f. 16:18).
Matthew wanted to keep the positions of section A's opening and closing pericopes, so when he enlarged this section to make his Sermon, he did it partly by taking five sayings from C and placing them all in the middle, which came to be known as chapter 6.

Luke's rearrangement of the sayings.

Luke has rearranged the sayings more extensively, c.f. the hint about order in Lk 1:3.
The only logia sayings in the Sermon on the Plain are from section A. With regard to the seven woes, Luke displaced the first (Lk 11:52) so that the dinner scene (Lk 11:37f.) would start with the more appropriate saying about cups and dishes.


1. Lk 9:28, in which Luke altered Mark's "six days" to "about eight days", is placed immediately after Luke's version of saying C12. In the logia, C12 is the opening saying in the sixth of the eight subsections! The unnecessary editorial addition of μετα τους λογους τουτους ("after these sayings") confirms that Luke had the logia in mind here. Independent evidence that Luke knew about the subsections can be found in Luke's different placements of the two halves of section D, c.f. also his placement of the two halves of section B.