18 May 2022


Difference between the Gospels

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Academic level: College

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The four gospels in the Bible have come out as having the same contextual development as all revolve around the life and ministry of Jesus. There are a lot of similarities in this books, but the differences are also equally vast (Jackson, 2017). Of the four gospels, John’s is seen to have a much different approach from the rest thus the categorization. Mathew, Mark, and Luke are referred to as the synoptic gospels. Bible scholars from around the world have for a long while now studied this holy books with the aim of underlining the difference in this identical contexts. This paper looks at some of the similarities and differences in these four gospels as a way to expound the understanding of each. 


The first and major similarity of the four books is that they explain the story of Jesus Christ (Arlandson, 2008). Important events revolving around the life of Jesus like his birth are covered in all these books. His ministry during his stay on earth is also deeply focussed on in these books as well as his death and resurrection. These events are developed through a narrative form as they are given in the form of stories (O’Neal, 2017a). 

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Also, both John and the Synoptic Gospels are developed in a similar method in telling the story of Jesus. Events leading to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in all the four books seem to follow the same order despite them being different accounts of the writers. Significantly, all the gospels recognize the divine connection that existed between John the Baptist and Jesus, especially in their ministry. 

Further, the Gospels’ narrative of Jesus story remains to be consistent in all of them. Events like the feeding of the five thousand, and Jesus walking on water are covered all through. The conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of the time are covered in all four gospels. His teachings on repentance and salvation also form a core base in the gospels.


The major difference between John and the Synoptic Gospels is that the book of John puts more emphasis and focuses on Jesus as God (Stetzer, 2012). John further details this book especially in the outlining of events and the way they occurred. The explanation of certain events that are also found in the Synoptic Gospels is much detailed in John. In Mathew, Mark, and Luke a lot of focus is not centered on Jesus as being a deity but rather as human (O’Neal, 2017b). Luke, for instance, primarily depicts Jesus as a real person by engaging a reader in narratives of how He faced real time problems similar to those of man. Mark, on the other hand, focuses on Jesus as a servant of the people. The book has a list of many events where Jesus was offering himself as an individual who would lay down his life for them. Mathew looks at Jesus as a king: the prophesied Messiah. The book looks back to prophecies made about the coming of the Messiah linking them to the coming of Jesus. 

Another difference between them occurs in the organization of events. Mathew, Mark, and Luke follow a similar string of events contrary to John (Stetzer, 2012). The events in John, though similar to those in the Synoptic Gospels, do not each other successively as experienced in the three. Again, the life of John the Baptist and his role in preparing for the coming of the Messiah is largely attributed in the Gospel of John. These differences make John become an entirely unique gospel from the rest given its difference in content recorded.


Arlandson, J. (2008). 13 similarities among John’s Gospel and the Synoptic Gospels. Bible . Retrieved on 3 March 2017 from https://bible.org/seriespage/13-similarities-among-johns-gospel-and-synoptic-gospels.

Jackson, W. (2017). Examining the four gospels. Christian Courier . Retrieved on 3 March 2017 from https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/273-examining-the-four-gospels.

O’Neal, S. (2017a). Comparing John and the Synoptic Gospels. ThoughtCo . Retrieved on 3 March 2017 from https://www.thoughtco.com/comparing-john-and-the-synoptic-gospels-363395.

O’Neal, S. (2017b). Explaining the differences between John and the Synoptic Gospels. ThoughtCo . Retrieved on 3 March 2017 from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-differences-between-john-and-the-synoptic-gospels-363396.

Stetzer, E. (2012). Differences in the Gospels, a closer look. Christianity Today . Retrieved on 3 March 2017 from http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/march/differences-in-gospels-closer-look.html.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Difference between the Gospels.


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