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How To Read The Bible – Part 15 – How to Read The Gospel

The word Evangelion or Gospel means Good News and the Bible has four books which are commonly referred to as Gospels. These books were written by different authors but they all tell an exceptional story about an exceptional person named Jesus.

Why are there four Gospels and what do we need to know about them to help us understand why they’re ‘good news’ for the original audience and for us today?

Watch Episode 15 by clicking HERE. Come back after the video to continue reading.

The Gospels were written in a particular style which it is helpful for us to understand as we read them. This style is called Ancient Biography and ancient biographies were not concerned with presenting an ordered account of someone’s life the way that modern biographies do.

Instead, an ancient biography was organized to specifically communicate why someone was exceptional and worth taking notice of. It’s essentially an argument designed to convince the reader that the subject is worthy of admiration or even imitation. As such, recognizing what the authors' arguments for the exceptionality of Jesus are can help us make sense of the gospel accounts we’re reading.

Being aware of the author's intended audience can also help us to recognize the arguments being presented and to know why certain details are given emphasis by one author and little or no emphasis by another.

In addition, understanding the genre of ancient biography helps us to understand why the four gospels are so unique despite being about the same person. It’s because each gospel was written to tell us something different about who Jesus is instead of simply recording the details of his extraordinary life.

When we study a particular passage within one of the gospels, it’s helpful to appreciate where it fits in the larger argument being put forward by the author. This is why I tend to agree with Tim that the gospels have way more to offer when they are read from beginning to end as mentioned in the video.

Stepping back even further, reading the gospels in the broader context of Scripture also helps us to see why these books about Jesus were truly ‘good news’ for the original audiences and for us. Looking back over this series can help to highlight some of those reasons:

It’s because Jesus is the ultimate intervention of God into our story (Part 2).

It’s because Jesus is the hero we long for as we read through the Old Testament story (Part 5).

It’s because Jesus is the character that we can and should model our lives on (Part 6).

It’s because Jesus is the one who challenges or exceeds our expectations (Part 7).

It’s because Jesus is the focal point of the tapestry of God’s redemption plan (Part 8).

The gospels are also ‘good news’ because they invite us into the world transforming work of Jesus which he called the Kingdom of God, and I believe the arguments of all four authors are designed, at least in part, to persuade and equip us for participation in advancing that Kingdom.

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