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Reading the Gospels as Christian Scripture

A Literary, Canonical, and Theological Introduction

series: Reading Christian Scripture

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This survey textbook offers an accessible introduction to the four Gospels in their literary, canonical, and theological contexts.

In part 1, respected New Testament scholar Joshua Jipp focuses on these two questions: What are the Gospels? How did we get four canonical Gospels? In part 2, Jipp explores the role that history, narrative, and theology play in our reading of the Gospels. Part 3 examines each of the four canonical Gospels from the perspectives of history, narrative, and theology, particularly emphasizing the role the Gospels play in discipleship.

This is the third volume in a series of survey textbooks that will cover the Old and New Testaments. Beautifully designed in full color with maps, sidebars, images, and illustrations to hold interest and aid learning, Reading the Gospels as Christian Scripture offers a faith-friendly introduction to students of the Gospels. Additional resources for instructors are available through Textbook eSources.

Part 1: From Jesus of Nazareth to the Fourfold Gospel: History, Literature, Theology
1. What Are the Gospels?
2. Where Did the Gospels Come From?
3. What Are the Relationships between the Four Canonical Gospels?
4. Why Only These Four Gospels?
Part 2: How Should We Read the Gospels?
5. Reading the Gospels in Their First-Century Historical Context
6. Reading the Gospels as Narratives
7. Reading the Gospels for Transformative Discipleship
Part 3: Reading the Gospels
8. Matthew and History
9. Matthew and Narrative (1)
10. Matthew and Narrative (2)
11. Matthew and Discipleship
12. Mark and History
13. Mark and Narrative (1)
14. Mark and Narrative (2)
15. Mark and Discipleship
16. Luke and History
17. Luke and Narrative (1)
18. Luke and Narrative (2)
19. Luke and Discipleship
20. John and History
21. John and Narrative (1)
22. John and Narrative (2)
23. John and Discipleship


"This wide-ranging treatment of the Gospels does not suffer from bland generalities. Instead, Jipp both reiterates established teaching and offers fresh insights. An untrained reader acquires an introduction to the central issues and even complicated debates with a clear presentation of what really matters. The scholar is equipped with a pedagogical resource that makes connections to art, literature, and culture. Reading the Gospels as Christian Scripture comforts the common anxieties inherent in Gospels studies as well as sparks passion to read, understand, and live these texts. I look forward to sharing this in my parish and my classroom."

Amy Peeler, Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College

"Intertwining literary, historical, and theological inquiry, Jipp introduces the complexities and possibilities Christians face when reading the Fourfold Gospel. He draws on a diverse panoply of scholars and poets, theologians and activists to illuminate how these stories have transformed the world by challenging and inspiring followers of Jesus. Both accessible and challenging, this book is an ideal teaching tool for the classroom and a helpful companion for anyone looking to learn anew the shape of the gospel."

Eric D. Barreto, Weyerhaeuser Associate Professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary

"I can hardly wait to share Jipp's Reading the Gospels as Christian Scripture with students in my Introduction to the New Testament course. Undergraduate and masters-level students will find this book highly instructive and accessible. Jipp offers clear yet nuanced explanations of major scholarly questions and debates in Gospels studies, along with helpful comparative charts and summaries of key points that emphasize their practical implications. The best contribution of Jipp's book is the way it guides us to actually read each of the Gospels in light of their key historical, literary, and theological themes. Readers will gain 'wise sensibilities' and principles for engaging the Gospels as disciples for the purpose of being transformed."

Janette H. Ok, associate professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Joshua Jipp pursues the questions of what the Gospels are, where they come from, what they say, and, most important of all, why they still matter. Jipp provides a historically informed and theologically sensitive reading of the Gospels that is full of great quotes and amazing insights. He shows with wisdom and erudition that the Gospels are among the most transformative books in the Christian canon."

Michael F. Bird, deputy principal, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

The Author

  1. Joshua W. Jipp

    Joshua W. Jipp

    Joshua W. Jipp (PhD, Emory University) is professor of New Testament and director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His recent publications include Pauline Theology as a Way...

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