Encountering the New Testament, 4th Edition

A Historical and Theological Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


3. The Gospel and the Four Gospels

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Intro Video

  • Explain how the kerygma embodies the gospel message
  • Identify material used to describe the Gospels
  • Give an example of a biographical sermon
  • Discuss the reasons why the Gospels were written
  • List reasons why the Gospels are regarded as trustworthy

Chapter Summary

  1. The essence of the gospel as preached includes God’s offer of salvation; the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; and the call to faith in light of the coming judgment.

  2. The material for the Gospels was first preserved by eyewitnesses.

  3. The earliest Christians collected information about Jesus, which included Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and things that Jesus did and said.

  4. An early description of the Gospels comes from the writings of Justin Martyr in AD 155.

  5. The primary purpose of the Gospels is to call people to faith.

  6. The genre of the Gospels can best be described as biography.

  7. Written Gospels were needed because it was impossible to disseminate the message quickly, widely, and reliably via the spoken word alone.

  8. The Gospels are trustworthy because they were written when those who knew Jesus were still alive, they are directly linked to the apostles, and God guided the authors.

Study Questions

  1. What elements of the life of Jesus were included in the preached gospel message of the early church?

  2. What is the “Gospel form”?

  3. Cite five reasons why the Gospels were written.

  4. Why may the Gospels be trusted?