Biblical gospels provide the historical records of the life of Jesus Christ on the earth. But they are not just records, they are inspired scriptures, designed by the Holy Spirit and the authors to provide unique perspectives into his life. There are four gospels in the bible written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Gospels of the bible presenting Jesus Christ enriches us to know what he did (Gospel of Mark), what he said(Gospel of Matthew – fitting from Jews perspective and Gospel of Luke – fitting for Gentiles) and who he was (Gospel of John). Synoptics Gospels(Matthew, Mark, Luke) looks to Jesus from outside and John is looking from inside. So there is variety yet unity in the gospels when differences are carefully resolved. The gospels align with the old testament and big plan of god, therefore they cover in detail the Death and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In this article of the gospels of the bible we will cover the details about the authors of the gospels and their unique design, and then finally the synopsis of the gospels with harmony of them and the timeline of Jesus life in them.
Design of the 4 Gospels
|Gospels Design by||Matthew||Mark||Luke||John|
|Jesus presented as||King of Jews||Faithful Servant||Saviour of the World||Son of God|
|Gospel Written to||Jews||Romans||Gentiles||Disciples|
|First Miracle||Leper Cleansed||Demon Expelled||Demon Expelled||Water to Wine|
|Ends with||Resurrection||Ascension||Promise of Spirit||Promise of Return|
|Camping||East Judah||West Ephraim||South Reuben||North Dan|
|Lev Offering||Trespass (Sin)||Sin offering||Peace offering||Burnt offering|
Intro videos of the Gospel
Authors of the Gospel books
(influenced by Apostle Peter)
|Other books||Acts||1,2,3 John & Revelation|
|Gospel Intention||Said in ref to OT||snapshot of the works||said to the people||things in heart/spirit|
|Authors calling||Matt 9:9-13, 10:3||Acts 12:1-19;|
Mark 10:17-22, 14:51-52?
|related to||Spiritual son of Peter;|
Companion of Paul & Barnabas
Companion of Paul in Acts
|Most beloved of Jesus;|
Disciple of John the Baptist
- Matthew: Matthew was a tax collector by profession at Capernaum and therefore had the skill of shorthand writing and as he was well versed in the OT scriptures, he provided many scripture references which were fulfilled by Jesus, and as was revealed by the Holy Spirit (‘Out of egypt have i called my son’). His gospel proved to the Jews that Jesus was innocent and has not blasphemed against god, unlike the leaders claiming so about him. And he did it all to fulfill the scriptures.
- Mark: Mark is not directly mentioned in the Gospels but Acts 12 includes a reference to him and is therefore John Mark was a rich man. Using that scholars make a further reference to him in Mark 10:17-22, 14:51-52 (only Mark includes this story). By this we understand that he was like the Son who initially says no to work but does finally (Matt 21:28-32), which can be further confirmed in Acts when he accompanies Paul in some journeys but not in others (Acts 12-15) and then again gets along with Paul – 2 Tim 4:11. Peter calls him as “his son” in 1 Pet 5:13 which means Peter must have lead him to the Lord. Therefore Peter could be the main influencer of the Gospel of Mark and this Gospel is mainly what Peter was preaching and he has written it in his way. The style of Gospel of Mark is of historical records but written in Present tense as though they are happening now (Jesus comes, says, heals… all in present tense).
- Luke: Luke was a doctor by profession and companion of Paul. He was the only Gentile writer. He reached out to the eyewitness and disciples of Jesus to know more about Jesus. He was from Antioch where believers were first called Christians.
- John: Initially John was the disciple of John the Baptist and the first to follow Jesus. Also known as ‘Sons of Thunder’. Personally Jesus loved him the most. He was the only disciple to die a natural death, rest of the Apostles were martyred.
When were the Gospels written? The date when the gospels were written is absolutely unknown for any of them, all the dates presented are various speculations. Some credit post the destruction of Jerusalem while some credit them before as the gospels did not mention the destruction (though they had no compulsion to do so). Only thing that looks valid is that if Acts was written during the time period of Acts then Gospels must have been written earlier as Acts is the the next continuation letter written by Luke post the Gospel of Luke. Now as for Gospels, many scholars conclude that Mark was the first written gospel but the Gospel of Matthew in presented as first in bible even though it was written after mark because for a reader it provides continuity from the old testament as it involves lots of old testament scripture references.
Disclaimer: The word of God and the revelation hidden in it is unlimited. Therefore these overviews provided are generic overviews and we do not limit either you or the holy spirit in your life to have other and even further revelations. This is a helpful quick start guide to get basic understanding which is common for all.
Distinctions and Uniqueness in the Gospels
Uniqueness of the Gospel of Matthew
- Matthew is best suited for new believers and it clearly states the new ways of ‘How to live in the Kingdom of heaven on earth’ for the new citizens of this Kingdom, grouped into sections (words and practical deeds).
- Gospel of Matthew even from the beginning birth story establishes the fact about the right of Jesus to be the King of Jews – a promised king who would save them from their enemies, by the circumstances, and the words and the deeds of Jesus.
- Jewish scholars were thinking that he would save them from Romans like Moses saved them from oppression of Egypt king. But Jesus came to save from the greatest oppressor’s who were the Satan and the bondage of Sin. They missed the minute detail that Messiah would be cut off for a little while – Daniel.
- Note that in Matthew the reference to YHWH God is replaced with the word ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ as Jews don’t pronounce the name of God and scriptures are read aloud.
- Matthew 23 includes the woes (curse words) of Jesus against the Scribes, Pharisees, Hypocrites and Jerusalem for their deeds.
- Matthew is the only Gospel to include the word Church. Once for the Universal Church which christ will build and once for a local community where a brother can take complaints about another.
Uniqueness of the Gospel of Mark
- Mark is best suited for an unbeliever to quickly gauge at the works of Jesus as to what he did. It gives them taste about his power, his works and his words, thereby adding thirst to further know his story using Luke.
- Some say that the last chapter had manual writings by others, not Mark. And text was added. So what? Psalms is also so. The ending Chapter text additions does fits anyway with the the theme of the Gospels and also what was happening during first century Church and which was accepted. Finally God had let it to be so., so let is be so. Anyways mathematically it is seems to be by design of God – refer Chuck’s Youtube video or Articles about Sevens of each Gospel.
Uniqueness of the Gospel of Luke
- Luke was the only Gentile writer. Based on Luke and Acts it is understood that he was writing to a Roman Authority Person Theophilus, titled as Most Excellent presenting that neither Jesus who brought forth faith, nor Paul who preached the faith has done anything against the rulership of Romans. At this Paul was released from prison (later again arrested & killed though). Little did Luke knew that these record’s would become part of the scriptures.
- Luke did the original research and got it from individuals (ex Mary about conception and Jesus Age 12 story) and eye witnesses.
- The Gospel of Luke has depth and also minute details that can help if there be confusion in reading gospels. (ex: Jesus praying after coming up from water baptism).
- Luke’s gospel touches the human/people side of all the events and their context. Matthew is different in this, that he groups these as standards of God like the Torah. Both of these are essential to have an clear and perfect understanding.
- Luke gospel helps us on how to behave when Jesus is in front of us and Matthew on how to behave when he is in Heavens.
- It’s the gospel to which every human can find instances where he could say that’s me. It’s full of Joy for a believing one.
- Unique Material: Birth, Boyhood, Genealogy, teaching, parables, incidents and Ascension.
- Various People: Samaritans, Gentiles, Outcasts, Women, Poor, Sinners.
- Supernatural Dimension: Angels, Prayers, Holy Spirit, Worship and the coming of the Lord.
Uniqueness of the Gospel of John
- Apostle John was the closest to Jesus in the inner circle. When they sat together, he was the nearest to his bosom and had the option to whisper to Jesus and get insights into many things. He knew the mind of Jesus and expanded/interpreted his teachings to bring full meaning (ex John 3).
- The Gospel of John is different from other 3 gospels as its focus is about what is going inside the heart or spirit of Jesus. The other 3 gospels are looking at Jesus whereas John is looking inside Jesus.
- Omissions: John’s gospel omits Conception, Baptism, Temptations, demons, transfiguration, the Last supper, Struggle before death and Ascension.
- Additions: Of 7 miracles 5 are new and he calls them Signs (Signs are pointers). Most of the stories are one on one sessions.
- There are 7 witnesses, Works and I AM’s in the Gospel of John, revealing who he was.
- Synoptics Gospels cover his ministry in the north but John covers mostly his visits to the south during festivals.
- There are big debates and conversations in the Gospel of John between Jesus and various Scholars in south.
- Besides dealing with times (age to come) in the gospels, John also covers the worlds (ex comes from Above), heaven and earth.
- Jesus was fully human and fully divine (just like we have full soul and full spirit, both co-existing). He reveals god to us and reconciles us to god. (Jesus prayed, wept, was thirsty and hungry) (He was the word, he was God, I and My father are one).
- Gospel of John clearly instances differences we living in the life of : Life/Death, Light/(moral)Darkness, truth(real)/lie, freedom/slavery, god’s love/wrath.
outline: synopsis of the Gospels
Valuable insights from the flow of the Gospels
- Jesus makes the Gospel about him to flow slowly and progressively, without letting everyone to know about him at once. He does not let demons speak, he does not let his big miracles to be revealed in beginning(raising from dead). He goes to open fully after 2.5 years when Peter confesses he was Christ and then first time Jesus speaks about Church and his death.
- Major focus of all the Gospels is the Cross and death of Jesus.
- Jesus’s initial and main ministry was not in Jerusalem but in Galilee. In between he used to go there for important events when people are ready. (Generally sophisticated people have a defined & dedicated time for god – human behavior psychology).
- We can understand the conflicts between Jesus and Jewish leaders because they thought that Messiah would come and overthrow all natural government and laws, making Israel and the Israelites greatest. Neither they thought nor they observed that God who is Just and Righteous will provide opportunity for Gentiles too to be saved. Thus Christ established a kingdom that co-exists with the kingdom of satan in this world.
Outline of the Gospel of Matthew
|Matt 1-3||Genealogy of Jesus, Birth of Jesus, Baptism of Jesus|
|Matt 4||Temptation of Jesus. [gap] Quick overview of Jesus’s Galilean public ministry and official calling of disciples|
|Matt 5-7||Sermon on the mount: how believers are to live, now that they are in this new kingdom|
|Matt 8-9||Healing ministry of Jesus: multiple stories of Healings|
|Matt 10||Sermon: The mission of the Kingdom: Announce the Kingdom, acts to do and how to handle offenders|
|Matt 11-12||Responses of various people to and about Jesus, testing his teachings and ways.|
|Matt 13||Sermon: The growth of the Kingdom: how to spread the gospel and grow this Kingdom|
|Matt 14-15||Jesus continues to heal and miraculously feeds his followers. And staying in the limit of calling.|
|Matt 16||Understanding the things and plans of God to Time the things of the Kingdom|
|Matt 17||Seeing glory of God and having faith in Jesus and in his provision|
|Matt 18||Sermon: The community of the Kingdom, how to behave with the other citizens of the Kingdom|
|Matt 19-20||maintain of earthly relationships created by god, the reward for the sacrifices made and faithful servant|
|Matt 21-23||Jesus goes to Jerusalem and preaches about his father’s work and woes to the Pharisees|
|Matt 24-25||Sermon on mount of Olives: The future of this Kingdom, the second coming of christ post Rapture|
|Matt 26-27||Jesus prepares for his death, passover meal and the death of Jesus|
|Matt 28||Stories around The Resurrection of Jesus and final Jesus’s command to teach the nations and he will be with them even unto the End of the World.|