Aside from the literary prologue of Luke, are there any instances where any of the four Gospel writers refer to themselves by the personal pronoun I?

It seems, for example, that in the case of the Gospel according to John, he goes out of his way to refer to himself as the "Apostle that Jesus loved"---and not I.

  • Matthew refers to himself in Matthew 9:9 but not with the personal pronoun.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 22 at 7:19
  • @NigelJ Yes, thank you, but I am inquiring after such references in the first person. Does not John refer to himself many times in a similar way?
    – DDS
    Apr 22 at 13:56
  • FYI, several non-canonical gospels use "I" in the way mentioned. e.g. Gospel of Peter v 7 "I with my companions was grieved..." Apr 22 at 14:06
  • also, since you refer to Gospel writers and not Gospels, then if one thinks that the author of Revelation and the Letters of John are written by the person who wrote the Gospel, he uses the first person singular to refer to himself many times, but not in the Gospel itself. Apr 22 at 14:09
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    @DanFefferman non-canonical "gospels" are not Gospels; besides, the question specifies "the four Gospel writers.''
    – DDS
    Apr 22 at 14:42

3 Answers 3


In the last verse of the Gospel of St John (21:25) we read:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Here the evangelist appears to be using the word I, though in the Greek "I suppose" is all one word οἶμαι.


I have seen the speculation (I think it was in "Who moved the stone?", by Frank Morison), that Mark himself was the young man who escaped capture in Mark ch14 vv51-52. The argument was "Why otherwise mention the incident?"

  • . . . . and that none of the other evangelists would have reported an incident which had been already forgiven and pardoned by the Lord. And that it is in keeping with Mark's going back from the work. For this reason, say some, we see a young man, clothed for service, in the tomb - recovery after resurrection. Up-voted +1
    – Nigel J
    Apr 22 at 7:17
  • Where is the pronoun I used?
    – DDS
    Apr 22 at 13:54
  • Also, it's just conjecture that Mark is referring to himself; in any case, I am inquiring after self-references by the Gospel writers in the first person. i.e. I.
    – DDS
    Apr 22 at 13:59
  • @ProsperdesGarets Questions of this kind can be answered with diverse gems of information, all of which are edifying and useful.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 22 at 14:20

The Acts of the Apostles, while not included in the gospel accounts, introduces itself as a continuation of Luke's gospel written by Luke and addressed to the same named recipient:

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. - Luke 1:1-4

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: - Acts 1:1-2

At Acts chapter 16:10 when Luke joins Paul in his journeys many of the pronouns which had been in the third person (they) switch over to the first person (we) and continue that way for the rest of the Acts:

And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. - Acts 16:10

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    @ProsperdesGarets You understand that "we" includes "I"? If you are interested in where the gospel writers refer to themselves then that certainly counts. If you are just interested in the use of a specific pronoun word for some reason then a word search of the relevant books is going to answer you much better than a question here. Apr 22 at 14:10
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    @DJClayworth "We" is not the same as "I". The question states, specifically, "I"---only one of the three answers addresses that.
    – DDS
    Apr 22 at 14:37
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    OK. So you are asking about specific word use, not places where the Gospel writers reference themselves. What are you trying to learn from this? Apr 22 at 16:27
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    @ProsperdesGarets we is just the plural of I. If that's not acceptable, what about me? That's just the oblique case of I
    – PC Luddite
    Apr 22 at 19:22
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    @ProsperdesGarets I think that, if this answer fails to meet the question, it is because Acts is not considered a Gospel not because the self-reference qualifier is not met. If you would like, I will delete it. Apr 22 at 21:29

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