Bible - General Questions

Why are there four Gospels in the New Testament instead of just one?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Each one presents Christ in a different way, to a different audience.
From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Each of the gospels presents the Lord Jesus Christ in a different way, with the focus on a different audience.


Matthew presents Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews, prophesied in the Old Testament. Eighteen times he uses "that it might be fulfilled" and similar phrases, followed by a quotation from the prophets showing that something Jesus had said, or done, or was done to Him, authenticated Him as the Christ.


Mark presents "Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (1:1) to the Roman world as the Redeemer of Gentile as well as Jew, with the emphasis on Jesus' actions. Mark explains Jewish customs and Hebrew expressions to his readers. The grammatical structure of Mark is the most simple and straightforward of all the gospels.


Luke presents "an orderly account" (1:3) of the person and work of Christ as the perfect God-man, providing the most complete historical record of the four gospels, including the most complete record of His birth; many physical details of His earthly ministry, and numerous parables, for a primarily Greek audience.


John presents Christ as the Word made flesh, God incarnate, one with the Father and the Spirit (1:1). It is thought that John's gospel was the last written, perhaps near the end of his life, and that one of God's purposes for this gospel was to present a clear answer to the growing influence of Gnosticism in the early church. There is an underlying emphasis in John's gospel on the high priestly work of Christ. As the reader moves through the account, he sees Jesus fulfilling the ceremonial requirements and types of the Levitical priesthood, from the washing of the laver pictured in John's baptism, to Christ as the bread of life, to the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God on the cross, to the placing of His blood on the Heavenly mercy seat.


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