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Philosophy of Love

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Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospels
Chapter 1: What are the Gospels? | Four Gospels, One Jesus | What are the four Gospels? | * Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each paint a unique portrait of Jesus Christ | | * The Gospels exhibit both unity and diversity, bearing witness to the same Jesus | | (unity) but viewing them from unique perspectives (diversity) | What are the four unique portraits | * Matthew presents Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, the fulfillment of the Old | each Gospel paints of Jesus Christ? | Testament hopes | | * Mark portrays Jesus as the suffering Son of God, who offers himself as a | | sacrifice for sins | | * Luke portrays Jesus as the Savior for all people, who brings salvation to all | | nations and people groups | | * John portrays Jesus as the eternal son of God, the self-revelation of God the | | Father | | * Christology refers to Jesus’ person and work | What is the difference between the | * Mark is more dramatic, it is a powerful and vivid story; Matthew is the most | four Gospels? | structured of the Gospels; Luke is the most thematic, like God’s love for the lost, | | the role of the Spirit, and Jerusalem’s role in God’s plan resurfacing repeatedly; | | John is the most theological of the four, with more explicit statements | | concerning Jesus’ identity and purpose. | What are synoptic Gospels? | * Synoptic Gospels (from the Greek word synopsis, meaning “viewed together”) | | are Gospels that present the ministry of Jesus from a similar perspective; they | | share the same general outline, and have a great deal of common material. | | * The Synoptic Gospels are Matthew, Mark, and Luke | | * The term genre refers to type of literature | | * The genre of the Gospels are examined under three headings: history, narrative, | | and theology | How are the Gospels historical? | * The Gospels are historical in the following ways: (1) they have a history of | | composition; (2) they are set in a specific historical context; (3) and they are | | meant to convey accurate historical information | How are the Gospels narratives? | * The Gospels have the same features as other narratives such as a plot, characters, | | a setting. | How are the Gospels theological? | * The Gospels are written to instruct and encourage believers and to convince | | unbelieves of the truth of their message | | * Writers of the Gospel are referred to as Evangelists (from the word euangelisō | | meaning “to announce good news”); they proclaim the good news about | | Jesus Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God | Why were the Gospels written? | * The Gospels are classified as historical narratives motivated by theological | | concerns | | * Historical: the need for a faithful and authoritative record of the | | words and deeds of Jesus | | |

| * Catechetical: the need to instruct converts in the Christian faith | | * Liturgical: The need for worship material in the church | | * Exhortatory: To encourage and assure believers in their faith | | * Theological: The need to settle internal disputes | | * Apologetic: The need to respond to external attacks on the church | | * Evangelistic: The need to call people to faith in Jesus | To whom were the Gospels written? | * Each Gospel is believed to be written to a specific Christian church to address | | the needs of the community OR The Gospels were written to a more general | | audience—truth lies somewhere in-between these two extremes | Why are there four Gospels if | * The church chose to preserve the four distinct Gospels, recognizing each as a | they tell the same story? | unique literary account and as an inspired and authoritative work of the Holy | | Spirit | | * The most famous attempt to synthesize the four Gospels into one is the | | Diatessaron (“through four”), compiled by church father Tatian around AD 170 | | * harmony of the Gospels, to synthesize the Gospels into a single story | Are there other Gospels? | * There are other accounts of Jesus’ life, other Gospels such as the Gospel of | | Peter, the Gospel of Thomas, and other infancy gospels. | Why aren’t these Gospels included? | * These apocryphal gospels are argued to be unreliable late compositions, | | pseudepigraphic (falsely written under an assumed name), and dependent on | | the canonical Gospels | What does “reading vertically” | * Reading vertically, following the story from top to bottom, is the preferred way | mean? | of reading the Gospel; any synthesizing might obscure each Gospel’s inspired | | and unique presentation | What does “reading horizontally” | * In reading horizontally, we are comparing the Gospels to discern each | mean? | Evangelist’s unique theological perspective |

Summary: 1. The four Gospels were written to provide four unique portraits of Jesus Christ 2. The synoptic Gospels have many stories in common and share similar language. The Gospel of John is written in a different style and provides unique material and more theological presentation 3. The Gospel genre may be defined as “historical narrative motivated by theological concerns.” Each writer has a certain purpose in mind and certain themes to develop 4. The Gospels were written in reference to the needs and concerns of certain communities within the church with regard to their wider distribution among all the first-century churches 5. The Gospels are best read “vertically” because the Holy spirit inspired four distinct Gospels with unique themes and purposes 6. Reading the gospels “horizontally” enables the reader to see each Gospel’s theme and theology

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