Have you ever noticed that when you read the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that they are incredibly similar but very different? Why didn’t God just give us one Gospel?
In Some Ways, All Four Gospels Are The Same
They all demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth was God-in-the-flesh, fully human and fully God. All of the gospels tell of His perfect life, His teaching, His miracles, His love for humanity, His reason for living and His reason for dying. They all describe the super-human strength that He displayed as He courageously absorbed the wrath of God that we deserved for our sins. He died for us on the cross. And each gospel declares that Jesus conquered death by miraculously rising from the dead, declaring that He is the the Almighty God, the risen Savior, the One who gives eternal life to all who put their trust in Him.
But All Four Gospels Are Different
The beauty of the Scriptures is that each of the four Gospels describes Jesus in different ways. Here is how author Philip Comfort describes the differences in his book Encountering the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography & Textual Criticism:
Each of the Gospel writers used different literary techniques to give a portrayal of Jesus Christ. Matthew used prophetic fulfillment to move his narrative along; Mark used high-paced, dramatic action; Luke employed historical details to frame the narrative; and John specialized in eyewitness accounts and monologue.
Did you catch what He said?
- Matthew placed an emphasis on prophetic fulfillment
- Mark used high-paced, dramatic action
- Luke included many historical references to frame the gospel narrative
- John emphasized eyewitness accounts and monologues
These are some of the big differences in the styles and emphases of the Gospels. So as you read them, you are getting four portrayals about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The four Gospels are the same but different as they tell the amazing story of God’s love to us by sending us His Son.
John 3:16 (HCSB)
16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
God Speaks Through His Word
The incredible thing about these four accounts is that the Holy Spirit inspired EVERY WORD of each of the Gospel accounts. God carefully chose these four men to write down the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. He whispered in their mind and heart every word to be written down. And when we read each of the Gospels, we see dimensions of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that are breath-taking.
Every time you read the Gospels – and the entire Bible, for that matter – you are hearing God speaking directly to you. Read it, soak it in, and let God’s Word change your life!