The New Testament starts with the three Gospel books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. These three are known as the Synoptic Gospels. Gospel means “Good News”, and Synoptic refers to the fact that all three give an account of the same general events from the same point of view. The fourth book, John, is distinctly different from the three Synoptic Gospels, and includes much information not in the other three Gospels.
The four gospel books differ in what stories they include and how the stories are told. None of the four Gospels are meant to be a complete, detailed life of Jesus. Rather, as John wrote, “Jesus truly did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that by believing you might have life through his name.” “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should all be written, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
Together, the four Gospels comprise the vast majority of the direct information we have about the life and teachings of Jesus.
As noted in other study guides, the majority of the verses in Matthew are found in Luke and Mark. The primary scriptures for this section are Matthew 13-20. Of those chapters, the main scriptures not found in Luke or Mark are:
Matthew was with Jesus during his ministry, but Mark and Luke were not. Matthew gives us unique information on nine parables, three subjects, and two instances regarding Peter.
You might come to two other conclusions. These are exactly the sorts of stories and information you would expect to hear from an eyewitness. And, the fact that Matthew agrees with Luke and Mark on so many other passages lends credibility to those too.
The parable of the lost sheep is an example of understanding context. Jesus told the parable while explaining the value of a child. Children in the Roman world had little value and no legal standing, so Jesus used them as an example of people who are spiritually helpless and dependent. Also, when he says a man owned a hundred sheep, the crowd would be amazed. Anyone owning that many sheep was incredibly wealthy. The loss of one would be negligible.
Jesus indicates that God, who is immeasurably wealthy, considers every person to be invaluable. So valuable, that God is not willing that any of his spiritual children is lost.
Luke – Troy Powell
John Mark – Wilbur Penn
Paul – Brian Shoop
Matthew – James Hansen Prince
Peter – Francis Fuselier
John the Apostle – John Ferguson
Lazarus – Ricco Fajardo
Philip the Apostle – Jordan Dragonking
Joseph of Arimathea – Gerardo Davila
Mary Magdalene – Trisha Zarate
Thomas – Brandon Potter
Most Thankful Angel – Carleen Huber