Which is http://hillsborofumc.com/
While I was there I clicked on the Bible Study link, because that’s what we’re doing on this site. The current subject was The Gospels, a general overall look at the books as a group. It was a fine post for that level of reader, but, here, I want to stay on the “deeper, core understanding” side of things. I’m simply going repost their entry, it belongs to them, I have not altered it. And following is the response I posted in their comments form.
Sorry I missed last week. Short week and I was out of town but here is the latest offering.
Let’s move out of the Old Testament into the new. Let’s look at the four Gospels as a whole. The four are Matthew, Mark< Luke and John. What are Gospels as opposed to the Epistles? The Gospels are accounts of the Ministry of Jesus. Even with that, they are almost as wide in their scope as any four books could be if you consider they are retelling the ministry and the death and resurrection of God Himself.
There are other books that claim to be Gospels like the Gospel of Thomas and others. However, the church felt that these were the be canonized. The cannon means that there are certain measurements that have to be met to be included in and a part of the Scriptures. The four Gospels met the data to qualify.
Later, as we go back through the books more in depth, we will get into the authorship, date and particular passages. For now, we will only take them up as a collection.
Of the four Gospels, Mark is perhaps the oldest and most original. Without getting into the details, Matthew and Like borrow from Mark but Mark doesn’t seem to us others. So if Matthew and Luke uses Mark but Mark doesn’t use them, then they know and probably read Mark.
John’s Gospel stands alone.
Matthew and Luke include the Birth narrative but the Mark and John do not. Even with that, Luke was probably wrote his narrative later depending not on first hand knowledge or eye witnessing. He seems to have collected stories of Jesus and wrote his Gospel.
Mark is the shortest of the books. It is because for him the most important thing was the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
John on the other hand wrote independently and uses the language of the Greeks or Romans. His is a book with soaring language and includes some influence of other worldly theology. His of the best written source that enables us to soar.
The Gospels were written after the writers realized that Christ would come again but His return was still some time away. They wanted to create a story that could be read by people all over the world and learn and become indeed Christians. For the first 20 to 50 or so years the church depended on oral traditions. It became evident that in order for the stories to be told consistently and over a wide spread area, they needed to be written.
I suggest that a good Gospel to read to get a foundation, Mark is your guy. His is focus on the ministry of Christ and gets you quickly to the days before the Cross but then he slows down the story to a crawl. Notice how often he uses the work “immediately” until the last few chapters. If helps us to realize that even the miracles, parables, etc were not as important as the events of the last week.
That is true but let’s remember that it is in the richness of the other parts in the other Gospels that makes the soul soar and the stories we love so. After all, who want to miss out on the Birth Narratives?
Peace and Peace. Reed.
And my reply:
Well, praise the Lord!
I read this entry, enjoyed this entry, and recognize the generality of the passage. I say this so you won’t take this as negative toward your post. It’s simply another point or perspective on the Gospels.
Have you ever watched a line of sharp dressed marines during some rifle drills. Every toe is in line, every crease in the clothing is exactly the same and every rifle turns and spins in perfect unison. Even outside this special drill team the military members are just as dedicated to their other duties; being punctual, knowing and doing whats required without question and, probably most relative here, doing it with a diligent consistency you can count on. All of this is defined as military discipline and it’s laid out in manuals, training and experience. Discipline, in Websters, is the orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.
And that is what I want to express to people about the Gospels, as a group. Yes, they contain “Good News” and they certainly recount the ministry and teachings of Jesus. However, it is acting on those teachings that is vitally important. You see, discipline is a verb, an action! It comes from the word disciple. The disciples had training from Jesus, experience from walking with Him and they wrote the manual. The Gospels are more than good news, they are the Discipline Manual we should live by.
Next subject: I am making an attempt at a new blog and it just so happens this subject will be one of topics for a later date. In the mean time I would like all interested parties to stop by and give their feedback on the inaugural post. Please pass this on to your pastor as I am specifically looking for comments from leadership levels, but want them from everyone.
May the Lord bless you, thank you.