The Bible contains four separate accounts of the life of Jesus; they are called Gospels. The question is often asked, “Which one should I read first?” That is hard to answer, as each one has its own strengths:
The Gospel written by Matthew does much to connect Jewish history and understanding to the life of Jesus. It is great as a bridge from the old to new testaments of the Bible and for those interested in better seeing the connections between Judaism and Christianity (and the connection is strong and significant).
The Gospel written by Mark is the shortest and most concise. It is a great source to quickly gain an essential understanding of who Jesus is and what he did.
The Gospel written by Dr Luke contains details and information not included by Matthew and Mark, serving to nicely round out and fill in our understanding of Jesus. (The second chapter of Luke contains the familiar Christmas story of Jesus’ birth.
Even if you’ve never read Luke, you have likely heard the Christmas story, as recited by Linus in the popular animated TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”)
Last, but not least, is the Gospel written by John. It contains more unique content than the other three accounts. John was a disciple of Jesus and part of the inner circle, so he was an eyewitness to what he recorded.
His writing is poetic in nature and is great for those who want to mull over and contemplate what he says (and conversely frustrating for readers in a hurry).
Each account has its particular purpose and strength. Pick the one that seems best for you to read first — then read the other three!
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.