What Are the Gospels, and Why Are There Four of Them?

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When people talk about “the gospel,” there’s only one thing they mean: the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four books of the Bible that record almost everything we know about Jesus. If we want to learn about the things Jesus said and did, we have to turn to these ancient texts, believed to have been written by eyewitnesses or people who spoke with them during the first century.

So why are there four separate versions of the story of Jesus? Find out with this short video.


why four Gospels why do we have four Gospels in our New Testament there's both theological reasons and historical reasons theologically we could say the Holy Spirit wanted to give us four unique perspectives on Jesus we get a more full picture of who he was and what he came to accomplish by getting four different perspectives they're not only theological reasons though there's historical reasons the Gospels arose in different Christian communities and were written to address the needs and concerns of particular communities within the church this issue of the different communities to whom the Gospels are written raises a related question of the gospel audiences to whom specifically where the Gospels written almost all scholars agree that the Gospels are written primarily to Christian audiences even though of course the Gospel writers wanted their Gospels to be read by unbelievers they're primarily writing to address the needs and concerns of believers there's been a tendency over the last century to view each of the Gospels is written to a specific Christian community specific Church or groups of churches to address their needs for example Mark's Gospels commonly viewed as written to the church at Rome the suffering and persecuted church at Rome to encourage them in that persecution this idea very specific gospel audience has been challenged in recent years by Richard Baulkham and some others these individuals have claimed that the Gospels were not written to isolated Christian communities but rather were intended from the beginning for a much broader Christian audience baulkham points to the evidence of the pauline letters for example to show this he the pauline letters show a great deal of communication and travel among the Christian communities this this wonderful network among the believers so baulkham suggests the Gospels like Paul's letters were likely intended from the beginning to be copied and passed on to be used by the broader Christian audience this broader audience is also suggested by the literary interdependence of the Gospels we'll talk about this later but if mark was very early known and the source for Matthew and Luke it must have had a fairly wide distribution almost from the beginning at least soon after was so did the Gospel writers have one audience in mind or were they expecting their Gospels to be read by Christians around the world the truth is slightly somewhere between these two extremes the Gospel writers were almost certainly part of individual churches and wrote to address the needs of those communities Matthew is almost certainly written to a group of Jewish Christians marked to a persecuted body of believers but it's also likely these communities were connected to the larger network of churches and the Gospel writers even as they wrote had their larger this larger audience in mind

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