Here is a small excerpt from my Gospel Parallel's response to how to understand the Gospel's and what has helped me grow in my understanding of the Gospels.
Understanding the Gospels.
The Gospels are the most uniquely inspired and unequivocally influential pieces of literacy ever written. They contain the account and life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each Gospel has its own distinct characteristics and insights to highlight and explain the life, works, teachings, miracles, and accomplishments of Jesus Christ. Learning the context in which each was written has been significant to properly studying and growing in understanding and knowledge of the Gospels.
The most significant principle I have learned to understand the Gospels is found in the first chapter of each Gospel. Each opening verses of each Gospel identify the major theme.
Matthew’s Gospel is the most genealogical. Matthew 1:1 defines, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is for the expressed intention of identifying Jesus Christ as the Messiah, fulfilling Old Testament promises and prophecy to Israel, and being in the genealogy from Abraham to King David. This sets the stage to understanding the main theme of the Gospel of Matthew. Reading Matthew in this context helps discover the truth and specific points of each episode and chapter relating it all back to Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
Mark’s Gospel is the most christological. Mark 1:1 begins with, “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This identifies Jesus Christ as the Anointed One (christos) and the true Son of God who has come to die for our sins. Mark wastes no time and begins his gospel by declaring Jesus’ true identity. This arranges the purpose of Mark’s gospel (which is the shortest but swiftest gospel narrative) to show that Jesus Christ was the suffering Son of God who gave his life as a sacrifice for sins.
Luke’s Gospel is the most historical. Luke 1:1-3 says, “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account.” This portrays the historicity of Jesus Christ and that he was truly the Person and Savior that he claimed. Luke will go on to prove that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world for all who believe.
John’s Gospel is the most theological. John 1:1 declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This clearly is an introduction and imperative statement to show Jesus Christ is God. John’s Gospel goes on and demonstrates God is Jesus and Jesus is God in the flesh.
After studying and learning about the differences between the Gospels and the specifics among the Gospels, I can see the different portraits of Jesus Christ that are painted in each Gospel account. The beginning of each Gospel helps bring understanding to the authenticity, historicity, clarity, and purpose to what the specific mission of the author was trying to communicate to his audience about the Lord Jesus Christ. They all proves that the Gospels are true, accurate, intentional, and a real account of the Lord Jesus Christ, basing it off of historical, cultural, religious certainty.