What Is The Purpose Of The Four Gospels

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Not only are the Gospels unique in their portraits of Jesus, they are also unique in their presentations. Mark is the most dramatic of the four, a powerful and vivid story which grips the reader from beginning to end. Matthew is the most structured of the Gospels, crafted around five carefully ordered teaching sections. Luke is the most thematic, with themes like God’s love for the lost, the role of the Spirit, and Jerusalem’s role in God’s plan resurfacing again and again. John’s is the most theological of the four, with more explicit statements concerning Jesus’ identity and purpose. We should add that all of the Gospels are all of these things—dramatic, structured, thematic, and theological—but there are important differences in emphasis.
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The first three—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—are known as the Synoptic Gospels (from the Greek synopsis, meaning “viewed together”) because they view the life and ministry of Jesus from a similar perspective, follow the same general outline, and record a great deal of common material. The Gospel of John presents a strikingly different perspective. The author of the Fourth Gospel omits much material found in the Synoptics and includes much unique material. John also writes with a different style and dwells more on the theological significance of Jesus’ words and deeds. Scholars debate whether the author knew the Synoptic Gospels and supplemented them or was writing independently of them. We will discuss this issue in more detail in our introduction to the Fourth
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