John the Apostle



Mary Magdalene


Three Gospels

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.

Sermon on the Mount Part 2

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 13:24-30, 36-43 Parable of the weeds and its explanation
  • Matthew 13:33 Parable of the yeast
  • Matthew 13:44-53 Parables of the hidden treasure, pearl, net, and house owner
  • Matthew 14:28-31 Peter walking on the water
  • Matthew 16:17-19 Jesus giving Peter the keys to the kingdom
  • Matthew 17:20 Faith as small as a mustard seed
  • Matthew 17:24-27 Payment of the Temple tax
  • Matthew 18:12-35 Parable of lost sheep, forgiveness of sinning brother
  • Matthew 20:1-16 Parable of landowner’s payments to his workers

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.

Matthew & Paul
Primary Scriptures:
Matthew 13-20
Story Summary:
Miscellaneous chapters in Matthew
Kingdom of Judea (Israel)
Circa 30 AD