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What could be the reason for Jesus not telling His disciples to write down whatever He was teaching them?

He knew His mission here was to bring the Kingdom of God and He knew that the teaching He was imparting to the masses was extraordinary and unparalleled in the history of the world. Recently one member of this site mentioned and it could be true, that in a day whatever He was teaching His followers, would fit into one whole New Testament. However, we find no record anywhere of Jesus telling His followers to record all that He was teaching them. He however said that when Holy Spirit comes He would teach them everything. Was His plan already in place?

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If the words were important, Jesus would have written a book. The words that were written after Christ's ministry are there to help the Holy Spirit teach us what we need to know. The words that were written were sufficient to guide the organization of churches. – Gilbert Le Blanc Sep 17 '12 at 15:54
You could expound on the same topic endlessly for a lifetime but ultimately the core message is pretty short. – kurosch Sep 17 '12 at 18:48
or how come he didn't write them down himself? – Greg McNulty Sep 18 '12 at 23:09
Furthermore, He could have done far more to ensure that the Message was clear and free from contradiction. Heck, He could have made Johannes Gutenberg an apostle to make sure that the Word travelled far and lasted for all eternity. – Jim G. Sep 21 '12 at 3:06
There are no such contradictions in Gospels, as to change the core message taught in Gospels on Jesus. The message of Jesus in different Gospels is as it should be; otherwise, it would not be so. The understanding of each verses would be as different as many numbers of people reading it. That is why we had Schism. Sometimes it is out of ignorance of the message in Gospels, based on hearsay, someone put forth contradictory stories, and that is why we had Crusades. – JoaoRodrigues Sep 22 '12 at 8:57
up vote 6 down vote accepted

1) Don't assume that Jesus neglected to instruct his disciples on this matter. There are many things Jesus said and did that are not recorded in Scripture. (The vast majority in fact.)

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. -John 21:25

2) God's plan was for them to hear the words of Jesus, and then later be reminded of them by the Spirit, who would inspire them to write.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. -John 14:26

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Okay..if I don’t assume it then John 21.25 says it clearly. – JoaoRodrigues Sep 18 '12 at 8:11
@Jas3.1, Regarding point number 2, what's the reason for such an indirect way of doing things? – Pacerier Jun 11 '15 at 8:31
@Pacerier He wanted His disciples to do their ministry by the Spirit like He did. – Jas 3.1 Jun 28 '15 at 2:38

I offer this answer to complement Jas3.1's excellent answer.

I think this is an interesting question because there is a precendent for Jesus telling one of His disciples to write things down; specifically John in the book of Revelation. He is told to the write words of Jesus to the seven churches, in Revelation 2 and 3. And this command to write is repeated in Revelation 21:5:

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

So why did Jesus not also say this for the message of the four Gospels? (I suspect that we know that He didn't because if He did the Gospels would have been completed soon after the Resurrection. However, we understand that it was decades before they were all written.) Here are some possible answers:

  1. Jews had a strong tradition of writing the words of God. Since they clearly believed Jesus was God, it would have been natural to write down His words, as natural as worshipping Him.
  2. The Spirit reminded them of Jesus' words and inspired God's followers throughout history to write the Bible. Perhaps Jesus simply knew this was The Holy Spirit's role, not His. And related to that, I think it was more humble of Him. To me it would seem out of character for Jesus to say, "You guys are taking this all down, aren't you?"
  3. Finally, if He had instructed them to write down the events of His earthly life, we would likely have had one book authored soon after the Resurrection by all the disciples. To me, having four separate but complamentary accounts makes their testimony far more believable.
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Nice answer with extra reasoning. Jas3.1 was also precise and to quote @Wikis both these answers in a way makes a inclusive answer. – JoaoRodrigues Sep 18 '12 at 8:10
@JimG.: I don't think he did leave it to chance. Point 2 of my answer says that He left it to The Holy Spirit. – Wikis Sep 23 '12 at 14:07
+1: Upon further review, you're right. Your links in bullet point #2 quote Scripture. Thanks. – Jim G. Sep 23 '12 at 14:58
@JimG. thanks for the bounty! :) – Wikis Sep 24 '12 at 8:39

Mark 1:44 (NAB)

Then he said to him, "See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them."

Mark 7:36 (NAB)

He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.

Mark 8:29-30 (NAB)

And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said to him in reply, "You are the Messiah." Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

Is it just me, or does Jesus not even want anyone to know who He is? Well, at least not until the "Son of Man is lifted up". So, how much worse would it be if His disciples not only disobeyed Jesus by telling everyone the things He said to keep quiet, but also were caught with the evidence of Jesus' acts?

In any event, I think we'd have a perfectly sane and undeniably Christian Church if the Gospels were never written and only handed down through word of mouth. Of course, then we'd be playing telephone for the last 1800 years and would wind up holding on to every shred that actually was written down. The epistles were certainly necessary for creating a cohesive and orthodox Church and one would have a hard time keeping Revelation straight if it weren't written down, but I think that most everything Jesus did or said could live through word of mouth alone, as it did for probably no more than 30 years after Christ's death and resurrection.

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Verses quoted by Turner, points to the concern of Jesus of not becoming known to the masses before Son of Man is lifted up. If they had written all His teaching portraying who He was during the currency of their happening, then that would have made Him known much faster than the word of mouth. The first reason that comes to mind is, if people and especially the powers at the helm of affairs, were to get convinced as to who He was then it would have been difficult to fulfil God’s plan of sacrificing His life for the sinners. Jesus was killed because they were not knowing what they were doing. – JoaoRodrigues Sep 22 '12 at 9:24
On the contrary, we find Him on record saying not to make the things public when He is with them, for His plan is obvious in verse of John 14.26 quoted by Jas3.1, making it pointless in writing of His teaching when He was in this world. – JoaoRodrigues Sep 22 '12 at 9:24
Of course, then we'd be playing telephone for the last 1800 years and would wind up holding on to every shred that actually was written down. - In my opinion, we're doing exactly this. – Jim G. Sep 23 '12 at 13:44

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