Take the time and read each gospel account when you are studying the gospels. It is doing small things such as this that will help you to gain
a greater knowledge of the Word of God.
The New Testament begins with four books called gospels. The gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each of these books tells the story of Jesus’ life and ministry. In some cases the material in one gospel may be unique to that particular gospel.
For example, Luke is the only gospel that tells us about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s struggle to have a child and how John the Baptist came to be born (Luke 1). Another example can be found in John’s gospel; he is the only gospel writer that records Jesus’ miracle of changing the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2).
However, when you read through the gospels you will also find that there are a lot of similarities in them as well. You will see that there are some experiences or teachings in the life of Jesus that are recorded in more than one gospel.
This is frequently true with the material found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (though John also contains some similar material). You can locate the parallel passages in the gospels in a number of ways.
Some Bibles contain cross references; if you have a Bible that has them it will be easier for you to find these passages. Study Bibles and biblical commentaries are also good places to find help in locating parallel passages.
Why am I telling you this? I am telling you this because the gospel accounts, the parallel accounts, are not exact copies of each another.
If you compare the parallel passages you may well find details in one gospel that are not contained in another. When you check all of the accounts you will get a better understanding of the text.
For example, Jesus’ miracle of multiplying the loaves and fish, that we frequently call the feeding of the 5,000, is recorded in all four gospels. However, only one of them, John’s gospel, tells us where the disciples got the five loaves and two fish; they got them from a boy. If you read only Matthew, Mark, or Luke’s account you would not know that.
Here is another example. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, someone cut off one of the ears of a servant of the high priest. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all have an account of this incident. However, only in John’s gospel do we learn that it was Peter who did this. John also tells us the name of the servant who had his ear cut off, his name was, Malchus (John 18:10).
Thankfully Jesus healed the man! Take the time and read each gospel account when you are studying the gospels. It is doing small things such as this that will help you to gain a greater knowledge of the Word of God. May God grant you a fuller revelation of Himself as you take the time to apply yourself to studying the Scriptures.
John P. Lathrop - United States
John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.