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The New Testament History Books of the Gospels and the Acts
A Helpful and Concise Answer By Dr Terry W. Preslar
Copyright (C) 2010. Terry W . Preslar All rights reserved. Terry W . Preslar – PO Box 388 – Mineral Springs, NC 28108 (704)843-3858
“...when thou comest, bring with thee...the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Tim. 4:13) Psalms 107:2 S É S Romans 12:1-2
P.O. Box 388 Mineral Springs, N.C. 28108 1(704)843-3858
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the end result of each individual effort is truly unique. the physician (Col. a publican or tax-gatherer of taxes. The Gospel of Mark bares the name of Mark (John Mark). the youngest of the disciples in the days of Christ’s earthly ministry.Why Are There Four Gospels. He was a contemporary of Peter and Paul and his authorship has no serious objectors. 1st. they four had the face of a man. Athanasius. was a clear and undoubted author of the first Gospel. Mark. a Gentile. The noble Matthew (Levi). Four Gospels with One Story Written by Four Writers (As for the likeness of their faces. is believed to have written both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.” Ezek. 1:10) The life of our Lord Jesus Christ has been wonderfully recorded for us in the words of four Gospel writers: Matthew. and the face of a lion. the events central to our Faith... These historians have served us with the most accurate information that can be found on the era of the Bible days and the Early Church. 4:14). Luke. for posterity. they four also had the face of an eagle. Jerome) regarded the four living Cherubim united in one -1- .? The New Testament History Books of the Gospels and the Acts The History Division of the New Testament The History Division of the New Testament Canon is made up of five books written by four earthly authors. The four Gospels can be generally categorized in this way: The Gospel’s Author Matthew Mark Luke John The Primary Audience The Jewish Nation The Romans The Greeks The Church The Theme Christ the Sovereign (The Lion) Christ the Servant (The Oxen) Christ the Savior (The Man) Christ the Son of God (The Eagle) Thus We Have a Fourfold Gospel The early church fathers (Irenaeus. 2nd and 3rd John and the Revelation). and John. who penned a total of five of the New Testament (The Gospel of John. on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side. The Gospel of John was written by the Apostle John. dues and customs at Capernaum. Luke. Although each of these men wrote with the same general purpose to record.
” (Christopher Wordsworth. 99:1. and supplying what they omitted.” as the others are “after the flesh. abruptly carries us at once into Christ’s ministry of unceasing toil (Mark 1). Matthew traces His line of succession to the throne from “David the king. for whom Matthew writes. the differences are significant. gives us a complete picture of the life and ministry of our Lord. the prodigal son. 9:9-10). 2). behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures.. Wordsworth said: “Mutual inter-texture is characteristic of Scripture. joined by a spiritual not a mechanical unity. Zaccheus.” Psa. an illustration of its energetic tone. Thomas. let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims.” (Num. and childhood. It is only when we blend the contents of all four Gospels that we can achieve anything close to a real appreciation for who the Lord is. recorded in Matthew alone (Matt. Seven parables illustrate the true nature of the kingdom. for the Jews. the lingering glory on His countenance. say the fathers.The “eagle” signifies high soaring heavenliness.. Minute details are peculiar to his vivid style: “Jesus was with the wild beasts” (Mark 1:13). and what He accomplished. Each of the four. English bishop and man of letters).. In the prologue and elsewhere Christ’s characteristic aspect is His Divine glory breaking forth the brighter amidst the darkness of the Jews’ opposition. and the four combine in one harmonious whole.” “anon. and Judas.A “Man’s Face” refers to human sympathy. The second and third evangelists warranted the genuineness of each former Gospel with all the authority of the latter. 1. birth. the common father of all men. discerning the thoughts.” accounting for the charge of the false witnesses unexplained in Matt. while recognizing the Lord’s other aspects. unmentioned by the others. the grateful Samaritan leper. “Zebedee with the hired servants” (Mark 1:20). also supplemental matter (John 2:19). 4) is Satan’s offer of the kingdom.The “Lion” denotes Christ’s kingship. Thus We Have a Complete Picture Not one of the Gospels. the publican’s prayer. They (the four Gospels) are the chariot of God bearing Him into all lands (“The LORD reigneth. let the earth be moved.” (Rev. intertwined with wheels in wheels of coincidences and variations. The Sermon on the Mount has the epigrammatic tone of an authoritative king. with his four faces. looked for Messiah’s kingdom. 28:18-20).” “by and by” (eutheoos occurs 27 times. Mark’s representation of Christ corresponds. Jesus’ gestures (Mr 3:5). place. The word variously translated “straightway. minutely graphic.a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel. though in Matthew but eight times.” “immediately. marks Him Son and Heir of the kingdom. it traces Him up to Adam.. 3. John authenticates the foregoing ones not by adopting but by omitting what they had related.” Ezek 1:15). earnest. by quoting its words. The climax of the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness (Matt. 17:24).. John’s Gospel. It is clear that each writer was inspired to select information based on his audience and theme. It presents the best picture of Jesus’ daily outward life.The “Ox” or “calf” typifies Christ’s patient toil (1 Cor. homely. While there is a great deal of overlap in the Gospel accounts. suited to the Roman practical character.” “as soon as. what He taught. full of action rather than discourse. the good Samaritan. For example.as representing the fourfold gospel (“Now as I beheld the living creatures. Luke’s Gospel presents the lowly humanity of the Son of man’s conception. is “the Gospel after the Spirit. and the people’s amazement (Mark 9:15).. 26:61. as “. Nathanael. Philip. His claim of exemption from tribute. the raising of the Nain widow’s son. 2.” John supplies details of Andrew. “destroy this temple. The four “faces” in their spiritual ideal reveal the Saviour under a fourfold aspect. full of eyes. 1807-1885. Matthew closes with His universal dominion (Matt.. and numbers. also details of time. according to Balaam’s prophecy of the “. it. His successive acts in curing the deaf (Mark 7:33-34). in Luke twice. guided by the Spirit. 4. 19:4).” “forthwith. The parables and miracles unique to Luke exhibit Christ’s human tenderness. 5:5). Thus they became joint vouchers for the genuine Gospels and joint opposers of the spurious.. Boanerges (Mark 3:17).the lion of the tribe of Juda.” The wise men (Matt. taken by itself. has one view prominent. only John -2- . 24:17).
000 souls into the new church.000 were converted. 5. The sermons reported are selected to illustrate the preaching style of that early period (there were many sermons that could have been reported – sometimes they preached daily. The History of the Early Church continues until this day with chapters added daily. occupying most of the book. God is still moving through the message of the New Testament. (Acts 2:14-41..000 more were converted) and Paul preached to instruct the church as well as evangelize the lost. There were two featured preachers. the historian’s account of the earliest period of Church history. The Acts of the Apostles – The Story of the Early Church The Book of Acts finishes the History Division of the New Testament. 3:12-4:4. but mainly the transition from the dispensation of “Law” to “Grace” – from the activity of the flesh unto the work of the Holy Ghost). (See Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship. Peter preached the two sermons that swept as many as 8. These five books give a clear testimony of Christ’s message of the Gospel and contain the information for a proper foundation for any study of New Testament History. Even though several characters are mentioned. the extension of the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles. the first use of the word “Christian”. No book could have recorded “everything” that took place in the early church period. and a few reports of the major events of Early Church History. the Apostle Paul is the main personage.recorded the miracle performed at the wedding in Cana. 3. The book of Acts contains a few sermons. a few biographies. Conclusion The New Testament’s History is a matter that continues until this day. while all four writers recorded the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. -3- . Luke.”). The events that occurred were selectively reported in order to fix the major developmental phases of the Church’s progress (The Pentecost event that marked the coming of the Holy Spirit. but represents a very pure style of..
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