Let the Word Speak!

Gospels and Acts

The four gospels tell the story of the earthly life of Jesus in their own ways, based on when they were written and to whom they were written. Understanding the original purpose and audience for these books will help us better experience the messages they carry.

The gospel of Mark was written first. Tradition tells us that Mark was a younger believer, particularly close to Simon Peter, frantically gathering up the stories of the Apostles and early disciples who lived with Jesus before these old saints died and their memories were lost.

The gospel of Matthew borrowed from the gospel of Mark, and was written to affirm the faith of the converted Hebrews. Starting with the geneology of Jesus, Matthew is intent on proving to faithful Jews that Jesus is the fulfillment of their beliefs, not a heresy to their beliefs.

The gospel of Luke, and it’s “part two”, the Acts of the Apostles (which I’m also including under this web page section), was written with the central theme of showing the spread of the good news into all the world. Luke’s gospel also borrowed from the account of Mark.

The gospel of John is often the “odd man out” of the four gospels, in part because the original target audience was Gentile. John’s gospel appeals to Greek philosophy and reasoning, starting from the opening identification of God as the true essence of the ideal of logos—the true Word —which is the basis of our word and philosophy of “logic”. John did not appear to have Mark’s stories as a resource, so many of the events recorded differ from the other three gospels.

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