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The Four Gospels In The Bible

Do The Gospel Accounts Clash

The Four Gospels: a Quick Overview | Whiteboard Bible Study

Unbelievers are constantly hawking the tired refrain that the Gospel accounts contradict one another and thus cannot be viewed as inspired history. The fact of the matter is, those making such charges are either unaware of what constitutes a genuine contradiction or else they simply are unwilling to give the Bible a fair hearing.

Of course the Gospel documents display some differences, even when describing the same events. Actually, this is evidence of literary independence it demonstrates a lack of collusion. This circumstance most certainly does not demand historical unreliability.

But let us consider an alleged contradiction in the Gospel records. The accounts of the resurrection of Christ are supposed to provide evidence of several discrepancies. Two of these alleged disagreements will be examined here.

The apostle John states: On the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb . Mark declares: Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome, brought spices, that they might anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the sun was risen .

The critic sees two problems here. First, it is argued that John records that only Mary Magdalene came to the tomb, whereas Mark mentions other women as well. Second, John says it was dark when Mary arrived, yet Mark states that the sun had risen. What are the facts?

Each Gospel Provides A Unique Perspective On Jesus

Although the gospels have many similarities, each of them was written to provide a unique perspective on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Each of the writers had a different theme he wanted to emphasize as their readers were not necessarily the same group of people.

  • Matthew wrote mainly for Jews and wanted to emphasize that Jesus, the Son of David, was the Messiah whom the Jews were waiting for. Therefore the Gospel of Matthew starts with a genealogy and contains many references to Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
  • The gospel of Luke was written primarily for a gentile, Theophilus . Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man and Savior for all people, not just Jews. He stresses the historical reliability of his account.
  • John presents Jesus as the Son of God, who is completely divine. In chapter 1 of John, he begins by pointing out that Jesus was the creator of the world, and became a man to provide eternal life to all who believe in him. John focuses on how Jesus reveals the Father, describing seven signs of Jesus true identity, several interviews and debates, and metaphors with deep theological significance.

God gave us four unique accounts of Jesus life and ministry so that we have a multifaceted source of information. They are like spotlights, each highlighting one aspect of the same truth.

Context For Any Chapter Of The Gospels

The Bible divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament . The Old Testament promises and sets the stage for Gods Messiah. The New Testament describes how those promises were fulfilled.

The New Testament divided into four gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and 22 epistles the last of which is the book of Revelation.

The Four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Think of four witnesses, each standing on the four corners of an intersection, describing from their individual perspectives an auto accident in which the driver is killedand survives. The four accounts are going to be similar but not identical, because each corner provides a different perspective on what happened.

The Gospel According to Matthew Matthew was one of the original twelve apostles. Hed previously been a tax collector an even more despised occupation in 1st century Israel than it is in modern times. Matthews gospel reads like an expanded version of Marks gospel, but seemingly written for a Jewish audience . Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and begins with a genealogy which ties it immediately to the Old Testament by reference to so many well-known Old Testament names.

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How To Read The Gospels

The gospels, like the other books of the Bible, were intended to be read in one sitting. That doesnt mean every time you read from John you need to read the whole thing. But it does mean that if you want to know one of them better, you should set aside an hour or so to read the whole gospel in one go.

This gives you a feel for the general flow of the gospels narrative. Youll notice different recurring motifs. Youll see how the tone shifts in different movements.

As you read the gospels, ask these questions:

  • What does Jesus say about himself?
  • Whom is Jesus talking to?
  • What does Jesus say about God?
  • How does Jesus react to different situations? What pleases him? What upsets him?
  • What does Jesus tell people to do?

Why are there so many different gospel accounts? Ill write a whole post on why this is the case soon, but in the meantime you may want to check out Dr. Mark Strausss video course on how these four different perspectives describe Jesus.

Comparison Of The Four Gospels In The Bible

Comparison of the Four Gospels

HARMONY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS CHART Comparisons of the Four Gospels of Jesus Christ in the Bible. All Four Gospels in the Bible that tell the story of Jesus Christ Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John stand alone, emphasizing a unique aspect of Jesus life. But when these are blended into one complete account, or Harmonized, we gain new insights about the life of Christ. This Harmony combines the Four Gospels into a single chronological account of Christs life on earth. It includes every Chapter and Verse of each Gospel, leaving nothing out. The Harmony is divided into 250 events.

QUOTE FROM SO4J-TVS PASTOR: JOHN MACARTHUR on the FOUR GOSPELS: The Holy Spirit gave us four gospels and, specifically, three of them are synoptic so that the truth concerning our Lord and Savior might be established on the basis of two or three witnesses . Because each writer emphasized different themes from His life, the four historical testimonies provide a powerful and profound composite picture of the Son of God and Son of Man.

targeted a Gentile audience, especially a Roman one. Mark is the gospel of action the frequent use of immediately and then keeps his narrative moving rapidly along. Jesus appears in Mark as the Servant who came to suffer for the sins of many. Marks fast-paced approach would especially appeal to the practical, action-oriented Romans.

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The Methods & Problems Of The Gospel Writers

The followers of Jesus were Jews. âChristianityâ as an independent religion did not exist in the 1st century CE. This period of Jewish history was characterized by the formation of different Jewish sects. They agreed on the basics such as Abraham and the Law of Moses, but they disagreed over how to maintain a distinct Jewish identity in the new cosmopolitan world of the Roman Empire. The followers of Jesus became one of these sects, although we refer to them as Christians for convenience, and by the time Mark wrote , Gentiles may have outnumbered Jewish believers.

The one fact concerning Jesus of Nazareth that all scholars agree upon is the manner of his death. Without being able to absolutely claim which traditions about this event are historical, we accept the crucifixion because it was a problem for the earliest believers. Paul acknowledged this “scandal of the cross” as a “stumbling block” for both Jews and Gentiles because crucifixion was the Roman punishment for treason. As the tradition of how he died was attested very early, the gospel writers had to explain and rationalize it. Another problem was the perception that Jesus was a failed prophet. Despite his urgings that the kingdom of God was imminent, it had not come by the end of the 1st century CE.

It Takes More Than One Mans Record To Capture The Glory Of The Infinite Savior

Interestingly, the great B.B. Warfield set out to answer this question in a short article titled Why Four Gospels? which he wrote for the 1887 edition of The Westminster Teacher. Using the imagery of painters observing a beautiful scene in nature and composers writing different parts of one magnificent composition, Warfield concluded the following:

It is for this reason that the first three Gospel records are often called the Synoptics. The word synoptic simply means to see through. We are meant to put the lens of Matthew over the lens of Luke and Mark and to focus in on what is before us. As we do so, we find that each writer is giving us a different angle shot. As we simultaneously look through the lens of Johns Gospel, we see Jesus in 3D. Warfield concluded:

That a full and proper use may be made of them, we must begin by knowing each separately in its individuality and point of view, that we may end by knowing the Jesus of all alike to be the one divine Savior of the world.

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Are The Gospels Ancient Biographies

Theres a consensus growing among scholars today that while the gospels are unique, they also have a lot in common with Greco-Roman works, especially the genre known as biographies , or lives. These works were written to preserve the memory and celebrate the virtues, teachings, or exploits of famous philosophers, statesmen, or rulers. Examples of this genre are Plutarchs Parallel Lives, Suetoniuss Lives of the Caesars, and Jewish philosopher Philos Life of Moses. Since the gospels arose in the Greco-Roman world of the first century, it helps to compare them with other writings of this era to identify common literary features and narrative techniques.

At the same time, we have to remember that the gospels are unique. They arose in the context of the needs and concerns of the early Christian communities. And they werent written to memorialize the teachings of a great leader. The gospels were written to proclaim the good news of salvation and to call people to faith in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and Savior.

Textual History And Canonisation

When Were the Four Gospels in the New Testament Written?

The oldest gospel text known is ð52, a fragment of John dating from the first half of the 2nd century. The creation of a Christian canon was probably a response to the career of the heretic , who established a canon of his own with just one gospel, the Gospel of Marcion, similar to the Gospel of Luke. The Muratorian canon, the earliest surviving list of books considered to form Christian scripture, included Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Irenaeus of Lyons went further, stating that there must be four gospels and only four because there were four corners of the Earth and thus the Church should have four pillars.

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The Four Gospels And The Bible That Jesus Read

420 Days

This plan is broken up into 7 sections. 4 New Testament sections beginning with a different gospel, and 3 Old Testament sections, composed of one of the sections of the TaNaK. Each OT section ends by pointing forward to the Messiah to come and then is followed by a gospel of the One who came.

An Overview Of The Four Gospels

The Gospels are the books of the New Testament. They are biblical narratives that account of the life and death of the historical Jesus Christ figure. These four books are named and known as:

  • The Gospel of Matthew
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • The Gospel of John

Each scripture is written for the benefit of different sets of people. The Gospel of Matthew was written for the Jews, the Gospel of Mark for the Romans, the Gospel of Luke for Greek people, while the Gospel of John was written for all. These gospels also cover almost all the same periods in the life of Jesus:

1. The Birth of Jesus

This section of the book focuses on the birth of Christ, His genealogy, early years, baptismal with John the Baptist, and the start of His sojourn in various places.

2. The Ministry of Jesus in Different Places

The ministry of Jesus Christ covers a massive portion of the total text for each Gospel. It focuses on how He started to preach and revealed His twelve disciples who were with Him as He taught in places like Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, and Perea that gave birth to Jewish Christians afterward.

3. The Miracles Made by Jesus

It is also with great emphasis that the gospels are written to share with the readers all the good things and miracles He has done for the people. The four gospels narrate how people came to Jesus seeking healing, and He took care of them with humility.

4. The Passion Week

5. His Resurrection and Arising

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The Gospels Are Theological Literature

The gospels have an agenda. They record historical events, but theyre also theological documents. Through the narrative of Jesus ministry, the gospels instruct and encourage believers, and attempt to convince unbelievers. This is why we call the gospel writers evangelists . They are proclaimers of the good news about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God.

Notice Johns statement of intent in John 20:3031:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The recognition that the gospel writers are theologians in their own right is one of the most important contributions of recent gospel research. Each evangelist has a story to tell and a perspective to emphasize. Each brings out unique aspects of Jesus identity. See how each gospel introduces his work:

Matthew 1:1
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham. The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

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Four people “agreed” on write about the life of a man that went on to be possibly the most important person in history: Jesus. These four people, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, wrote the Four Gospels, probably among the most influential books in the Bible. Do you teach religion at school? Perhaps this template can be useful for you, with simple layouts and some backgrounds that feature clouds and sunrays.

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Examining The Four Gospels

When one opens the New Testament, he is introduced to four narratives which are concerned with the activity and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. These records are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Why are there four accounts that cover so much of the same material? Are the records harmonious or do they conflict?

When Jesus was crucified, a superscription was placed above his head proclaiming, This is Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. It was written in three tonguesHebrew, Latin, and Greek. These languages represented the three dominate cultures of the Mediterranean world when the New Testament was produced.

It is not without significance that there is a Gospel record designed for each of these societal elements. Matthew was directed to the Hebrews, Mark was written for the Romans, and Luke was designed to address the Greeks. Johns narrative, however, was cosmopolitan in its thrust. Each of these works deserves careful reflection.

Overview Of The Four Gospels

The four Gospels record the eternal being, human ancestry, birth, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Christ, Son of God, and Son of Man. They record also a selection from the incidents of His life, and from His words and works. Taken together, they set forth, not a biography, but a Personality.

These two facts, that we have in the four Gospels a complete Personality, but not a complete biography, indicate the spirit and intent in which we should approach them. What is important is that through these narratives we should come to see and know Him whom they reveal. It is of relatively small importance that we should be able to piece together out of these confessedly incomplete records a connected story of His life. For some adequate reason — perhaps lest we should be too much occupied with “Christ after the flesh”– it did not please God to cause to be written a biography of His Son. The twenty-nine formative years are passed over in a silence which is broken but once, and that in but twelve brief verses of Luke’s Gospel. It may be well to respect the divine reticencies.

This is the essential respect in which these narratives differ from mere biography or portraiture. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The student in whom dwells an ungrieved Spirit finds here the living Christ.

  • Especial emphasis rests upon that to which all four Gospels bear a united testimony. That united testimony is sevenfold:
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    When Four Narrations Of The Life Of Jesus Were Written By His Apostles Or By Close Friends Of The Apostles It Also Made Sense To Call These Four Documents Gospels’

    The four Gospels taught the life of Jesus from four vantage points to four unique audiences. Because of their similar narrative order, as well as some shared content, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are considered the Synoptic Gospels . Johns Gospel is not considered a Synoptic Gospel because of its significant number of unparalleled information from the other three Gospels. Even so, each Gospel has its own unique fingerprint.

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