Ask the Pastor 57

What about the differences in the parallel accounts of the Gospels?

Critics have blasted the record of the Gospels that they do not agree in the telling of the same events. Part of the problem is that the Western mode of thinking is linear and we expect recorded events to follow in chronological order. The writers of the Bible are more apt to follow an Eastern mode of thinking where events are recorded in order of their importance or according to their subject. For example, Mark tends to group events according to all parables, all miracles etc. Another factor that applies is that the authors all wrote from a different perspective; the gospel of Matthew – that the Lord Jesus is king; Mark - that the Lord Jesus is the perfect servant; Luke – that the Lord Jesus is the perfect son of man; and John – that the Lord Jesus is the perfect son of God. Inasmuch as each follows their theme, they will emphasize certain events and sayings accordingly. Matthew, Mark and Luke are all similar and called the synoptic gospels or seeing together; the Gospel of John tends to fill in with more details to help us understand the subject as a whole. John summarized things well when he stated (by divine inspiration) “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:21). Any seeming discrepancy never changes the message of the gospel, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and have everlasting life. There is no difference that changes or negates the truth or message of the text.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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