Tag Archives: Gospel

Bible Term: Synoptic Gospels

Three of the four books in the Bible about Jesus‘ life (Gospels) are quite similar, likely based on a common reference source. They are Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

It’s speculated that Matthew and Luke borrowed passages from Mark or perhaps that all three used a common, but unidentified, source. Nevertheless, each provides a valuable contribution to our understanding of Jesus.

Despite their similarities, each of the Gospels was written with a different purpose or audience in mind and with a specific focus or intent. As such, we see many similarities, as well as uniqueness, between these three Gospels.

Bible Term: Gospels

The Bible contains four Gospels, or biographies of Jesus, focusing on his life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

Each of the Gospels was written by a different author, with a different purpose or audience in mind, and with their own individual focus. As such, we see many similarities, as well as uniqueness, between the four accounts. Taken together, they provide a rich narrative, with deep insight, into the life and teachings of Jesus, as well as his death and resurrection. The Gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; each named after it’s author.

There are many parallel passages in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are sometimes called the synoptic gospels because of their similarities. Some speculate that Matthew and Luke borrowed passages from Mark or perhaps that all three used a common, but unidentified fourth source. Nevertheless, each provides a valuable contribution to our understanding of Jesus.

John, is the most different of the four Gospels, containing the fewest similarities and the most unique passages.

John

The Book of John in the BibleThe book of John, named after its author, is one of the four Gospels, biographies that focus on the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

While the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke bear many nearly identical accounts and narratives, John, is the most different of the four Gospels; it contains the fewest similarities and the most unique passages. This is not to suggest the book of John is of lesser value. In fact, its divergence from the other three accounts of the life of Jesus highlight its uniqueness and the value of its contents.

The Gospel of John is respected and revered for its spiritual significance. Therefore, many people recommend John as one of the first books of the Bible for a new follower of Jesus to read, as it lays out profound truths and principles that are not found in the other three books about the life of Jesus.

As you read the book of John, look for the word believe, which occurs upwards of eighty times, depending on the translation.

The author of this book is most likely the disciple John, one of the sons of Zebedee; he is also the generally accepted author of First John, Second John, Third John, and Revelation. Note that this John (the apostle or disciple John) is not John the Baptist, who is mentioned in the opening chapters of this book; they are two different people.

Luke

The Book of the Luke in the BibleThe book of Luke, named after its author, is one of the four Gospels, biographies that focus on the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. There are many parallel passages in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Luke was a medical doctor and the only non-Jewish writer in the New Testament. As such, his words are that of an outsider and may more readily connect with those on the outside, looking in.

The book of Luke contains details and information not included by Matthew, Mark, and John (the other three biographies of Jesus) serving to nicely round out and fill in our understanding of Jesus.

A favorite Gospel among many Christians, Luke writes with straight-forward, yet compelling language. He also includes the familiar and oft-read Christmas account of the birth of Jesus, in chapter 2.

The book of Luke is actually part one of a two-book combination. Acts, also written by Luke, is part two, picking up the story with the early church.

Both Luke and Acts are written to Theophilus who may have commissioned the work.

There are many parallel passages in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but not too many with the Gospel of John.

Mark

The Book of Mark in the bibleThe book of Mark, named after its author, is one of the four Gospels, biographies that focus on the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The book of Mark is the shortest and most concise. It is an ideal source to quickly gain an essential understanding of who Jesus is and what he did.

The gospel of Mark, likely written by John Mark, is considered to be the first gospel written. It is a fast-moving narrative, clearly communicated in dramatic description; it is simultaneously simple yet also equally profound. It’s the shortest of the four books that chronicle the life of Jesus.

There are many parallel passages in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but not too many with the John.

Matthew

The Book of Matthew in the BibleThe book of Matthew, named after its author, is one of the four Gospels, biographies that focus on the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The book of Matthew was written primarily to a Jewish audience and does much to connect Jewish history and understanding to the life of Jesus. It is great as a bridge from the Old to New Testament of the Bible and for those interested in better seeing the connections between Judaism and Christianity – and the connection is strong and significant.

One of the most familiar sections in the book of Matthew is the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 5, 6, and 7; this message is commonly called the “Sermon on the Mount.” (Parts of this passage are also found in Mark and Luke, but the presentation in Matthew is the most appreciated.)

There are many parallel passages in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but not too many with the John.

Which Gospel Should I Read First?

Q: Which Gospel Should I Read First?

Bible FAQsA: The Bible contains four accounts of the life of Jesus, called Gospels; 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 Testament of the Bible and for those interested in better seeing the connections between Judaism and Christianity – and the connections are significant.

The Gospel written by Mark is the shortest. It is an ideal 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 our understanding of Jesus.

The John 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 great for those who want to mull over and contemplate what he says.

Pick the Gospel that seems the best fit for you. Read it first, then consider the other three.

Please email us if you have a question, FAQ, or idea for new content.

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!  Today is the time when we remember — and celebrate — Jesus overcoming death and rising from the dead.

Each account of Jesus in the Bible records this:

Matthew:  The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him’.”  [Matthew 28:5-7]

Mark: “Don’t be alarmed,” [the angel] said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”  [Mark 16:6]

Luke: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!  Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again’.”  [Luke 24:5-6]

John: simply confirms that the tomb where Jesus’ body lay was found to be empty; recording that he then appeared to Mary Magdalene, ten of the disciples, and lastly to Thomas. [John 20]

Have a Happy Easter!

Which Gospel Should I Read?

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 a 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!