This is Post #3 in my series called “Getting To Know Jesus.”
This post is called, “Basic Facts About The Gospels.”
We can trust the information that we have in the New Testament about the life of Jesus. For one to know who Jesus is, they must turn to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, commonly referred to as the four gospels.
I. Some Basic Facts about the Gospels
- Let’s first begin with some basic facts about Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
- These four books provide us with details of the life of Jesus. For example, read Matthew 1:1. Who does Matthew say this book is about?
- Four different men wrote these four books. Two of them, Matthew and John, were apostles, Matthew 10:1-2. Luke and Mark could be described as prophets. Like the apostles, they were guided by the Holy Spirit with what they would write, Ephesians 3:3-5.
- Luke was a close companion of the apostle Paul. It was Luke who penned the book of Acts.
- Mark was also a close companion of the apostles, Acts 12:12, 15:36-41; 1 Peter 5:13.
- Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often referred to as the Synoptic Gospels.Their accounts of Jesus are similar or parallel with one another. The book of John does not contradict the other three, but it does present the life of Jesus from a different perspective. All four books were written before the end of the first century. Paul in the first century referenced the writings of Luke, 1 Timothy 5:18.
- The ultimate purpose of the gospels is to help people to believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
- In John 20:30-31, the apostle said, “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name.”
- In Luke’s gospel he reminds us that what he wrote was so we can know the exact truth concerning Jesus. In Luke 1:1-4 he says, “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”
- They provide us with some of the details of His life and ministry. Not every single fact about His life is given. But what we have recorded is sufficient for us to believe. For example, read the account from Luke regarding the birth of Jesus and His early years.
- Luke 2:1-7. We get details of the birth of Jesus.
- Luke 2:21. We get details when Jesus was 8 days old.
- Luke 2:41-42. We get details when Jesus was 12 years old.
- Luke 3:23. We get details when Jesus was 30 years old.
- While there are differences in the gospels, there are no contradictions. The scriptures are inspired by God, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. A good rule to remember is when reading an event in one gospel, check the other gospels for more information.
II. Why Are the Gospels in Story Form?
The Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and prophets as they wrote about the life of Jesus, John 16:12-13. Story form is a great way for people to remember things. This is how Jesus often taught. Having merely some facts about Jesus would seem to be not enough.
Years ago, when I was in Pharmaceutical sales, I had a conversation with a patient in one of the waiting rooms. We began to discuss Jesus (I can’t remember how the conversation began). He didn’t believe in Jesus. Eventually, I asked him if he had ever read of the gospels. He said no. I encouraged him to read one of them. I would encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already.
Take care and God Bless.
I CAN DO…SO CAN YOU.