4 gospels are not only the first 4 books in the New Testament, but also the direct sources of the life of Jesus Christ. Christians and non-Christians read them to learn about Jesus more than 2000 years ago. As a Christian, do you ever wonder why God gives us 4 gospels instead of one? Can you clearly tell other people the differences and consistency of these 4 gospels? If you are not very familiar with these questions, continue reading and let’s explore together.
First of all, we need to figure out the meaning of the word “gospel”. The English word gospel comes from the Old English godspell, translated from the Greek noun euangelion.
Euangelion means “good tidings” or “good news,” and it eventually became a term for the good news about Jesus Christ.
The 4 gospels should not be regarded as a separate narrative of Jesus’ life and teaching. Instead, 4 authors wrote to specific and distinct audiences to address defined issues. In order to achieve their aim, each writer selected factual elements of Jesus’life.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1).
The book of Matthew was written to Jews. One of its main purposes was to show the audience Jesus’ genealogy and fulfillment of the prophecies and hopes of the Old Testament that He was the Messiah Hebrew expected for a long time. For this reason, they should believe in Him. Matthew put a lot of effort to emphasize that Jesis was the Son of David, who would be the king of Jews and sit upon the throne of Israel.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1).
Mark is a cousin of Barnabas and a friend of the apostle Peter, with whom he witnessed life events of Jesus Christ. This gospel was written to Gentiles. Therefore some important things for Jewish readers were not included in this book, such as genealogies of Christ and controversies between Jewish leaders and Jesus Christ. Christ is the suffering servant who came not to be served but to serve others and sacrifice His life for the chosen people.
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. (Luke 1:1-2)
Luke was a physician, historian and evangelist. He accompanied the apostle Paul and wrote two important books in the Bible – the gospel of Luke and the Acts of the apostles. Additionally, Luke is the only Gentile author of the New Testament. His books were widely used as genealogical and historical references and studies. He intended to record Jesus’ life in an orderly account based on what was eyewitnessed. Moreover, as we can see from the book, Luke wrote to Theophilus, evidently a Gentile. He organized the content of the book for the Gentiles to show that Christian faith is reliable based on historical events. Christ was called often as the Son of Man in this book and he shared many details which readers cannot find in other gospels.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.(John 1:1)
The gospel of John, written by John the apostle. This book is distinct from the other three Gospels. It has much theological content of Christ. The books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the “Synoptic Gospels” because of their similar styles and content, and they give a synopsis of Jesus’ life. The gospel of John doesn’t begin with Jesus’ birth or baptism but with the characteristics of the Son of God. The book emphasizes on the deity of Christ and Jesus also affirms his deity with “I am”statements, especially in chapter 8, Jesus stated “before Abraham was, I am”. Furthermore, Jesus’ humanity and teachings were highlighted.
As all the books in the Bible are written by the Holy Spirit, human authors with different backgrounds accomplished what was inspired by God. Each of the gospel authors had a specific purpose and wrote to a particular audience behind their book. Each book of gospel focused on different aspects of the person, the teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Having different stories of the same person can be seen as reliable evidence. With so many facts of stories and earthly ministry of Jesus Christ enables people to have proof to believe that Jesus Christ has come and done on the Earth.
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