What are the Gospels, and Who Wrote Them?

The Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – hold a special place within the New Testament canon. 

Each one tells the story of Jesus Christ's life, death, and resurrection from a unique perspective, providing us with a rich and multifaceted picture of His mission and ministry. 

But what exactly are the Gospels, and who were the authors behind them? Let us delve deeper into these foundational books of the New Testament.

Understanding the Gospels

The term "Gospel" originates from the Old English term "god-spell," meaning "good news." This reflects the Greek term "euangelion," used in the New Testament, which also translates to "good news." 

So, the Gospels are essentially four accounts of the good news about Jesus Christ – His life, teachings, miracles, death, resurrection, and the implications of these events for humanity. 

Although they share many common narratives, each Gospel is unique in its style, structure, and emphasis, with the aim of conveying specific themes to its intended audience.

The Authors of the Gospels

The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provide unique, yet harmonious accounts of Jesus' life and teachings. 

These works, grounded in historical realities and written by individuals close to the events or close to those that were associated with the events, serve as a guiding light for humanity.

Matthew

Traditionally, the author of the first Gospel is recognized as Matthew, also known as Levi, a tax collector turned disciple of Jesus (Matthew 9:9). 

Matthew's Gospel, written primarily for a Jewish audience, portrays Jesus as the promised Messiah, fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. 

Matthew often references the Old Testament to demonstrate Jesus' role as the continuation and fulfillment of God's plan of salvation (Matthew 1:22-23, 2:15, 4:14-16).

Mark

The Gospel of Mark is traditionally attributed to John Mark, an associate of Peter and Paul (Acts 12:12, 15:37). 

It is often suggested that Mark's Gospel represents the memoirs of Peter, though Mark himself was not an eyewitness to the events he describes. 

Mark's Gospel, likely the earliest written, is characterized by its brevity and immediacy, with a particular focus on Jesus' actions and miracles, showcasing Him as the suffering servant (Mark 10:45).

Luke

Luke, the only known Gentile author in the New Testament, was a physician and a companion of Paul (Colossians 4:14, Philemon 1:24). 

His Gospel and the book of Acts form a two-volume work, often referred to as "Luke-Acts." Luke's Gospel, written to a broad Gentile audience, emphasizes Jesus' compassion towards the marginalized and presents Him as the Savior for all people (Luke 19:10).

John

The fourth Gospel is attributed to John, one of Jesus' twelve apostles, also referred to as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, 21:24). 

John's Gospel is distinct from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), both stylistically and thematically. 

John deeply explores the divine nature of Jesus, depicting Him as the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1-14).

Conclusion

The Gospels are vital for our understanding of Jesus, His mission, and His message. They reveal His identity as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and provide us with His teachings and commandments. 

Furthermore, they present the climax of God's salvation plan in the death and resurrection of Jesus, affirming the hope we have in Him.

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