The first thing I did when I started thinking about this blog post was text a group of my twenty-something-year-old friends a question. I asked, “If you were deciding the next Bible study for a group at your church, would you choose one on a specific topic, one on the Gospels, or one on a different book of the Bible? Why?” I was not shocked with the answers I received. Most of them said they’d choose a book of the Bible they hadn’t studied much or a topic they wanted to delve deeper into. None of them said they’d choose the Gospels.
Maybe you agree; you feel that you’ve studied the Gospels enough and you’d like to focus someplace else. Maybe you feel like you already hear about Jesus’ life from the perspective of the four Gospel writers enough during a Sunday sermon. Or maybe you’re on the opposite side and feel indignant that anyone could think that way about specific parts of the Word. Whatever camp you’re currently in, we all can benefit from studying the Gospels more precisely.
A Complete Picture of Christ
I think we sometimes forget that studying the Gospels means that you’re studying from four separate books. We tend to lump them together in a timeline, and then we don’t separate them into different accounts of the same event. How many of us know which accounts go to what book? Which details are where? What’s the significance of those details? These details and cultural insights give us a complete picture of Jesus and why His ministry on our planet was radical, earth-shattering, and yet still relevant.
The Entirety of Scripture
Studying the Gospels does not mean that we are ignoring other books of the Bible. In fact, quite the opposite, since studying the Gospels launches us into other books in both the Old and New Testaments. When we focus on the Gospels, we are focusing on what everything in the Bible is about. When we delve deeply into Jesus’ saving mission on earth, we must look at the prophecies He fulfills and how the truths He proclaims get repeated throughout all of Scripture.
Deep Theological Truths
Where do we find our basis for beliefs on the Sacraments? Why do we baptize? Why do we receive the Lord’s Supper? Why do we forgive? How do we pray? Why is it important for us to serve others? The answers to these questions are found within the Gospels.
By studying the intricacies of what Jesus truly said and did during His actual life on earth, we dig into the theology behind many of our church’s customs and practices. When we look at the example Jesus set for us, a perfect and blameless example, we can see how we should live our lives. Since theology is the study of the nature of God, we see His salvation plan in action through accounts of His teaching, His miracles, the cross, His death, and His resurrection.
So study the Gospels—all four of them. Read them side by side and study each account. Look at the differences and learn about the meaning. See what they teach us about Jesus. Together the Gospel writers create a portrait of Christ, and it is in our best interest to study it deeply.