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Theology of the Four Gospels

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Theology of the Four Gospels The first three gospels are sometimes called the 'synoptic' or same view gospels. This is because they each cover teaching and miracles by Jesus that are also covered in another account. The fourth gospel, John, writing later, recounts Jesus' other words and miracles that have a particular spiritual meaning. All four gospels present Jesus as both the Son of God and son of man. In this paper information will be provided that describes the major theological differences between the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Information will also be provided that describes a theological perspective of the gospel of John. Finally, information in this paper will include how ones understanding of the various theological perspectives presented in the four Gospels can be used as an additional tool to facilitate the proclaiming of the Four Gospels.
Theological Differences between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John
The Gospel According to Matthew The first three books of the New Testament have been identified as the synoptic gospels. These books are Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The first book of the New Testament is identified as the book of Matthew. Matthew was one of the first twelve disciples of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 9:1; 10:1-4 and therefore an eye-witness. Matthew records more of Jesus' teaching concerning God's heavenly kingdom than the other writers, Mark, Luke, or John. In the first four books of Matthew, the miracle story of Jesus’ birth and the events of His early life are revealed. In other chapters of Matthew, an account of Jesus and how He lived on earth as a human man is told as well as His teachings and sermons, such as the entire account of the Sermon on the Mount. The last three chapters of the book of Matthew tells the story that leads up to the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Gospel According to Mark In the first chapter of the book of Mark, the writer immediately identifies Christ as the Messiah. According to Alexander and Alexander, (2009) the authors of Zondervan’s Handbook to the Bible, Mark’s opening sentence that reads, the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, our Son of God packs a real punch. According to the scriptures found in Mark 1: 1-3 which reads as follows; “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; a voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord make straight paths for him (Holy Bible, NIV, 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011).” These scriptures immediately allows the readers to know who Mark identifies as the Messiah, as fore stated. Mark’s scriptures teaches of God’s life as He lived among men as a human. The book of Mark concentrates on Jesus’ actions and achievements. The story of Jesus’s journey tells of how Jesus conquers demos, disease, and death, but mainly Mark presents Jesus as a savior and king.
The Gospel According to Luke The Gospel of Luke is written by Luke to the Gentile Christians who dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. Luke makes it clear that Jesus and his disciples, working under the Holy Spirit, are innocent of any crime against Rome and that their religion is a universal faith intended for all people (Downing, 1980, pg. 31). Although Luke was one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, he never met Jesus, but made the decision to follow Christ. Luke’s writings were based on the things he learned about Christ by following Christ. Even though Luke never met Christ, he decided to write about Jesus based on the accounts of others, those who had met Christ and were eye witnesses to his marvelous works.

According to an article written by James L. Price Jr., (1953) Luke, as the author himself claims, had been in touch with "eyewitnesses and ministers of the word"; he had occasion to become acquainted with the work of predecessors in composing a Gospel; he had been in a position to make personal investigation of "the truth" at Antioch, Caesarea, Rome (pg. 12). The gospel of Luke is quite unique in that it is the only gospel that has a sequel, the book of Acts. Luke as well as Acts include an account of the “Ascension,” which is an event that only Luke described in detail. The book of Luke is the longest of the New Testament gospels as it records a wide range of the miracles performed by Jesus, His teachings and parables.
The Theological Perspective of the Gospel of John The gospel of John presents Jesus as the “Word” as found in John 1:1 that reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Holy Bible, NIV, 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011). Unlike the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the gospel of John was written to show individuals how to find eternal life more so than to prove or convince readers of who God is. In John 20:31 the scriptures teaches individuals that Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God and that by believing one can have life in Jesus’ name. John urges in his writings that one must trust in Jesus in order to have eternal life. Even though John’s gospel tells the story of Jesus just as the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s gospel does not include any parable stories, but gives the reader Jesus’ great “I Am” claims. John gospel speaks of the Jews because most of the events spoken of took place in and around Jerusalem. According to the Zondervan Handbook to the Bible, (2009) the greatest keynote of John’s gospel is love, which is found in the scriptures of John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in Him would have eternal life (pg. 621).
Conclusion
By understanding the various theological perspectives presented in the four Gospels individuals will have a clearer picture of what and why the Old Testament scriptures were written in the order that it was. All of the events and prophesies mentioned in the Old Testament are used to give believers a better understanding of how God proved Himself to be the divine savior of the world during biblical times and today and forever more. References
Alexander, P., & Alexander, D. (2009). Zondervan handbook to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. ISBN-13: 9780310331186
Bailey, J. L. (1985). Perspectives on the Gospel of Mark. Currents in Theology and Mission, 12(1), 15-25:
Downing, F. (1980). Redaction criticism: Josephus' Antiquities and the synoptic gospels, pt. 2. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, (9), 29-48
Holy Bible, NIV. (1973, 1978, 1984, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%201:1-13
Price, J. L. (1953). Gospel according to Luke. Interpretation, 7(2), 195-212.

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