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Article 61 - N.T. Survey: Gospels

Survey of the New Testament
The Gospels

Jon Gary Williams


I. Facts about Matthew

A. Written by Matthew (a "publican") (9:9; 10:3)

B. Written probably between 62-68 A. D. 

C. Contains 1071 verses divided into 28 chapters 

D. Is the most Jewish of the gospels ("A book written by a Jew, for Jews, about a Jew") 

1. Traces Jesus' genealogy:
a) Through his "father" Joseph - 1:16; b) The Abraham (1 - 2)
2. Jewish arrangement of genealogy (in sections of 14) (1:17)
3. Jewish phrases used for the temple: "temple of God" (21:12); "the holy place" (24:15)

4. Jewish phrases used for Jerusalem: "city of the great king" (5:35); "holy city" (4:5; 
5. Other Jewish phrases: "binding and losing" (16:19; 18:18); "gnashing of teeth" (8:12; 

E. Keeps the Old Testament before its readers, showing that in Jesus is to be found the 
fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies (1:22,23; 2:5,6,15,17,23; 3:3; 4:6,7)

F. Stresses the "kingdom" more than the other gospels (3:2; 4:17,23; 5:3,10,19,20; 6:33; 
7:21; 9:35; 10:7; 11:11; 18:1,3,4,23; 19:14,23,24)

G. Attention given to Jesus' discourses 

1. Sermon on the mount (5 - 7)
2. Instructions to the twelve (10)
3. Parables of the kingdom (13) 

4. Reproof of scribes and Pharisees (23) 

5. The final judgment - (13; 24:35 - 25:46)

H. Things peculiar to Matthew

1. The only gospel using the phrase "kingdom of heaven" - 29 times 

2. The only gospel to use the word "church" (16:18; 18:17)

II. Outline of Matthew 

A. The early years of Jesus

1. Birth of Jesus (1:1 - 2:23)
2. Ministry of John (3:1-17)
3. Temptations of Jesus (4:1-11)

B. The ministry of Jesus

1. Beginning in Galilee (4:12-25)
2. Sermon on the mount (5:1 - 7:29)

3. Ten miracles (8:1 - 9:34)

4. Mission of the twelve (9:35 - 10:42)
5. Unbelieving cities (11:1-30; 18:17)
6. Conflict with the Pharisees (12:1-50)
7. Parables of the kingdom (13:1-52)

C. Ministry in areas outside Galilee 

1. Healings and controversies (13:53 - 16:12)
2. Messiahship and suffering (16:13-28)

3. The mountain and the valley (17:1-27)

4. Life in the kingdom (18:1-35) 
5. The ministry in Perea (19:1 - 20:34)

D. The last days 

1. Jesus in Jerusalem (21:1 - 22:46)

2. Denunciation of the scribes and pharisees (23:1-39)

3. Prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world (24:1 - 25:46)
4. The suffering and death of Jesus (26:1 - 27:66)
5. The resurrection (28:1-20)


Facts about Mark 

A. Written by Mark

1. Called "John" (Acts 12:12,25; 15:37) and "Marcus" (Col. 4:10; Phile. 23; I Pet. 5:13)
2. Nephew of Barnabas ("cousin" ADV) (Col. 4:10)

B. Probably written about 65-68 A. D. 

C. Contains 678 verses divided into 16 chapters 

D. Written to those with a Roman background 

1. Omits the birth and genealogy of Jesus which would not be of concern to Romans 

2. Contains terms adapted to Romans - "executioner" (or "soldier of the guard" ASV) (3:27); 
"vessels" (7:4); "Praetorium" (15:16)
3. Explains Jewish customs which would not be necessary if addressed to Jews (7:2-4; 12:42; 
14:12; 15:42) 

4. Explains Jewish words which would not be necessary if addressed to Jews (3:17; 5:41; 
7:34; 14:36)

E. Is the shortest of the gospel accounts with less attention given to strict history and genealogy 
which would not be that important to the Romans 

F. Its rapid nature is seen in the use of "euthus," often translated "immediately" and 
"straightway," found over 40 times. 

G. Though it contains fewer accounts, many are more vivid that in the other gospels

1. Stilling the storm (4:35-41)
2. Other examples (14:12-16; 14:51,52)

H. Shows Jesus as a servant or worker which would impress the Roman mind (Sometimes called 
"The gospel of Jesus' deeds." 

I. Begins with his baptism - his identity as the Son of God and his work in preaching (1:9,14)

J. Reveals Jesus as a doer of impressive works which show him ti be the "Son of God" (1:1)

1. Statements showing amazement - "what thing is this?" (1:17); "We never saw it on this fashion" (2:12); "What manner of man is this?" (4:41)
2. Records eighteen of Jesus' miracles including many instances of casting out demons (1:23-27; 32-34; 3:11; 22-27; 5:1-20; 7:25-30; 19:17-29)

K. Other things peculiar to Mark

1. More than one third deals with the last eight days of Christ's life (11:1 - 16:20)
2. Records only four parables 


Facts about Luke

A. Written by Luke 

1. Called "Lucas" (Phile. 24)
2. Identified as a physician (Col. 4:14)
3. Was with Paul during much of his preaching journeys, on his voyage to Rome and 
during his imprisonment (Acts 27:1; 28:2; II Tim. 4:11)
4. Was probably a Greek (Gentile) - spoken of separate from "the circumcision" (Jew) (Col. 

B. Written probably between 61 and 64 A. D. 

C. Contains 1101 verses divided into 24 chapters, making it the largest of the gospels 

D. Luke is closely connected with Acts

1. Both Luke and Acts are addressed to the same person, Theophilus (Lk. 1:3; Acts 1:1)
2. Luke is called "the former treatise" (Acts 1:1)

3. Acts is actually a continuation of Luke 

E. Written to those with a Greek background 

1. In Luke Jesus' genealogy begins with Jesus and works back, whereas Matthew begins with 
Abraham and works forward (Lk. 3:23-38; Matt. 1:1-16)
2. In Luke Jesus' genealogy is traced through Mary's line, whereas Matthew traces it through 
Joseph's line (Lk. 3:23; Matt. 1:16)
3. Mentions two emperors of the Roman empire (2:1; 3:1) (Note: Two others are also 
mentioned by Luke (Acts 11:28; 25:10,11)

F. Attention given to detail - "that thou mightest know the certainty..." (1:4)

G. Shows Jesus as a man - the perfect, ideal man who would appeal to the Greek mind 

1. His genealogy is traced back to the first man, Adam, the father of all humanity (3:23-38)
2. His genealogy is traced through his fleshly mother, Mary, instead of Joseph as recorded by Matthew (both eventually come together through David) (Lk. 3:23-31)

H. Shows the mercy of Jesus for the sinful and that he is Savior of all

1. A sinful woman (7:36-50)

2. A sinful son (16:11-24)

3. A detested tax collector (19:1-10)
4. A thief (23:39-43)

I. Discusses Samaritans (non-Jews) in a favorable light

1. The Samaritan on the Jericho road (10:25-37)
2. The one Samaritan who returned to thank Jesus (19:11-19; Matt. 1:6-16)

J. Other things peculiar to Luke - contains six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospel 


Facts about John 

A. Written by the apostle John 

1. Was a son of Zebedee and brother of James (Mk. 1:19) (He and James were called the 
"sons of thunder" (Mk. 3:17)

2. Is thought to be the disciple Jesus "loved" (13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20)
3. Was probably a disciple of John the baptist (1:35-40)
4. Was eyewitness of recorded events (1:14; 19:35; 21:24) 

5. Was first to the tomb of Christ (20:3,4) 

6. Wrote four other books of the New Testament: I John, II John, III John and Revelation

B. Written sometime prior to 70 A. D. 

C. Contains 869 verses divided into 21 chapters 

D. Written not to any particular group, but to all men (does not begin with Jesus' birth; does 
not concern itself with genealogy)

E. Goes back into eternity revealing Jesus to be part of the Godhead - 1:1

1. Shows Christ's close association with the Father (10:30; 14:9)
2. Shows Jesus referring to the Father 126 times, 32 of which he spoke of "my Father"

F. Shows Jesus to be both God and fleshly man (1;1,14)

1. Note: Some taught that human flesh was inherently sinful, therefore God would not come in the flesh 

2. They concluded that since Jesus was in the flesh he could not be God (Deity)

G. Overall purpose of the book is clearly stated (20:30,31)

H. Points out the volume of Christ's mighty works (21:25)

I. Discusses the fact that God also sent John the baptist and that he was the herald of Christ (1:6-8; 19-23; 26,27)

J. Almost one half of John covers the last few days in the story of Jesus (13 - 21)

K. Emphasizes the "I am's" of Christ (5:43; 6:35,41,48; 6:51; 8:12,18,23,58; 9:5; 10:7,9,11, 
36; 11:25; 12:46; 14:1,5; 17:14,16; 18:37)

L. Emphasizes the theme of "love" 22 times (3:16) (also found 38 times in I, II, III John)

M. Emphasizes Christ's personal discussions: Nicodemas (3:1ff); Samaritan woman (4:6); 
Scribes and Pharisees (8:3-11); Blind man (9:35-38); Mary (11:19-28)

N. Things peculiar to John 

1. Records no parables 
2. Records no healings of lepers or casting out of demons

3. John alone mentions: Jesus' first miracle at the wedding at Cana (chp. 3); His talk with 
Nicodemas (chp. 4); His talks with the woman at the well (chp. 4); His raising of Lazarus (chp. 11); His long prayer in Gethsemane (chp. 17)