In the New Testament world, this term accompanied announcements about victory in battle, or the enthronement of a Roman ruler. Euangelion soon became a technical term for the good news about Jesus Christ. Eventually, euangelion was used to describe the written versions of the good news about Jesus Christ. The church eventually came to call all four of these accounts gospels. The gospels were meant to be proclaimed. They have a history of composition. The authors drew on traditions and sources available to them to compile their works.
Each of the four gospels take place in first-century Palestine during the Roman occupation. They are meant to convey historically-accurate information.
The details included in the gospels, the way the writers organize them, and the similarities in composition implies a conscious effort to include the correct information. John and and Luke explicitly state their intentions, and Luke leaves no doubt that he intends to write history:. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. Luke claimed to be writing accurate history.
We could question whether he was a reliable historian , or whether his sources were reliable, but the point is that his intentions were historical. Whether or not these events actually happened confirms or denies the truth of Christianity. Christianity rises or falls on the historical accuracy of key gospel events:.
The gospels are not merely collections of reports or sayings of Jesus. While all four gospels are concerned with the same historical events—the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—they present different versions of these events. They portray characters from different perspectives, sometimes using the same event to highlight something different about Jesus. They develop plot in different ways, occasionally rearranging the order of events. They emphasize different settings, including accounts not recorded by the other writers. The gospels have an agenda. They are proclaimers of the good news about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
What Are the Gospels, and Why Are There Four of Them?
The recognition that the gospel writers are theologians in their own right is one of the most important contributions of recent gospel research. Each evangelist has a story to tell and a perspective to emphasize. See how each gospel introduces his work:. Mark emphasizes Jesus as the Christ and Son of God. Luke tells us he wants to write an accurate historical account. John introduces Jesus as the pre-existent divine Word, the self-revelation of God. Seeing the gospel writers as theologians has important implications for the way we read their accounts.
We ought to read each gospel seeking to discern these theological themes. Since the gospels arose in the Greco-Roman world of the first century, it helps to compare them with other writings of this era to identify common literary features and narrative techniques.
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At the same time, we have to remember that the gospels are unique. They arose in the context of the needs and concerns of the early Christian communities. The gospels were written to proclaim the good news of salvation and to call people to faith in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord and Savior.
The gospels are historical narrative motivated by theological concerns. Their intention is to convey accurate historical material about Jesus and also explain and interpret these salvation-bringing events. It was accepted for liturgical purposes for as much as two centuries in Syria , but eventually developed a reputation as being heretical and was suppressed. Subsequent harmonies were written with the more limited aim of being study guides or explanatory texts.
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They still use all the words and only the words of the four gospels, but the possibility of editorial error, and the loss of the individual viewpoints of the separate gospels, keeps the harmony from being canonical. Quotations related to Gospel at Wikiquote. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the written accounts of the life of Jesus. For the message of Christianity, the "Good News", see the gospel. For other uses, see Gospel disambiguation. Matthew Mark Luke John. Main articles: Matthew , Mark , Luke , and John.
Main article: Development of the New Testament canon. Main article: New Testament apocrypha. Further information: Gnostic gospels. Christianity portal.
Why Are There Four Gospels?
Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar. The five gospels. Palo Alto: Mayfield. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. Kirkbride Bible Co. Cross, F. The Lost Christianities. See also Metzger at ; Gamble at 30— Books of the Bible. Catholic Orthodox. Letter of Baruch Psalms — Category Portal WikiProject Book. History of Christianity.
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