Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies

Materials available for professors by request only


3. The Gospel and the Four Gospels

Discussion Questions

  1. When we say “the whole gospel,” what do we mean?
  2. What did Luke want to accomplish in his account of the gospel?
  3. What caused a loss of confidence in the Gospels as biography?
  4. Why was it necessary to have a written rather than an oral account of the gospel?

Assignment Ideas / Class Activities

  1. Students could compile a list of the frequent objections or challenges to the Gospels reliability from resources such as popular magazines (Time, Newsweek, etc) or channels such as the History Channel, Discovery Channel, etc. They can list the objections/issues in what they regard as order of importance. This could also form a multi-stage project for the semester whereby they begin by compiling the list of questions and then work on answering 1–3 (or however many the professor indicates) objections based on their study and reflection on this chapter and perhaps other sources provided by the professor.
  2. This assignment would work for each chapter on the gospels: have students perform a gospel comparison highlighting exercise by selecting a pericope in all four gospels and using the following highlighting template. After highlighting the similarities and differences have the students make summary comments on what they have observed:
    Agreement between Matthew, Mark, and Luke = Blue Underline
    Agreement between Matthew and Mark = Yellow Underline
    Agreement between Matthew and Luke = Red Underline
    Agreement between Mark and Luke = Green Underline
    Agreement between Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John = Purple Highlight
  3. Break the class up into small groups and have each group take a section of the Gospels and list references to everything Jesus said.
  4. Make a chart on the overhead projector showing the highlights of Jesus’s life in each of the four Gospels.