Here’s a valuable concept: The three stages in transmission of gospel material.
- Jesus and the disciples
- The disciples and the early church
- The early church and the evangelists
As I understand it … memories of Jesus –His words, His works, His mission—were kept alive and used as illustrations in preaching in the early church. That material was touched by the faith and experience of the early Christians. Best preserved were those moments of His life that meant the most to a believer. The evangelists drew on this living tradition and organized it to speak to the problems and hopes of later communities of Christians. The power of the Spirit was present from the beginning.