The New Testament which we have on hand today contains four gospel accounts of the life of Jesus and his ministry here on earth. Many people have asked the question, why four gospels? Isn’t one enough? On the surface, it seems like one gospel should be enough, because each one of the gospels include information that can be found in the other gospels. To the people who claim that there should only be one gospel, we should look at the advantages of having four gospels.
Each one of the four gospels was written by individuals who were eyewitnesses to the situations they record. Although they sometimes repeat information, all four are needed. Each one of the writers came from different backgrounds and had different personalities and therefore each of these men would take a different focus when writing down the accounts of the gospel. For instance, Luke, as a physician, seems to place a great emphasis upon the healings of Jesus during his ministry. Also affecting the things included within each gospel was the audience to whom these authors were writing. Matthew was a Jew who wrote his gospel to a Jewish audience, so it is only natural that his focus was on the proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah for whom the Jews were waiting. The ultimate advantage of having four gospels as opposed to one is the fact that each of these gospels work together to give us a big picture of the life and ministry of Jesus. This ultimately leads to one of the things that has been brought against the need for four gospels: contradictions. On the surface, it does indeed look as if there are errors and contradictions between the four gospels. It does seem that the gospels do sometime contradict each other, but when truly searching the gospels and their backgrounds, it is obvious that they do not contradict but rather complement each other to give us the complete picture of the life and ministry of Jesus. Each of the writers is giving their own firsthand account of the things that happened in the life and ministry of Jesus. As a way of getting a picture of what is happening here with the variances in the gospels we can take a present-day example. If there was a wreck and four different people witnessed it, although they all saw the same accident, would have their own account of it. Their background would most likely make them see the wreck differently. A doctor or nurse may look at the wreck from a medical perspective, while a lawyer or mechanic would see it in a different light. This fact doesn’t make one of the accounts false and one true, but rather gives us several different perspectives of the same events.
If a person were to bring up a concern for the differences between the early church beliefs and the words of Jesus recorded in the gospel, one must side with the words of Jesus rather than the traditions of the Church. The words and actions of Jesus have been preserved over the last 2000 years with remarkable accuracy, as one could see from the numerous copies of manuscripts that were written within several years of the time these things happened in the life of Jesus which we still have to this day. The words recorded in the Bible are more accurate than any other literary work known to mankind and has been preserved with great attention to detail.