How to Skillfully Cover the Topic of Four Gospels in an Essay

Reading time
10 minutes
Originally published Nov 20, 2018, updated Apr 20, 2021
How to Skillfully Cover the Topic of Four Gospels in an Essay

Christians and those fascinated by the Christian religion to grasp and understand the life of Jesus Christ have analyzed and discussed the importance of understanding the Four Gospels in the Bible.

The Four Gospels are books that are recorded by, as the name suggests, four gospel writers to narrate the life of Jesus Christ using the Hebrew-Aramaic language.

Even now, the continuous study and interpretations of the books can be sourced from many places all over the world. Various articles and essays are written to provide knowledge and to try to understand the Gospels, just like what you’re trying to do. In order to satisfactorily cover the topic of the Gospels in your essay, you need first to gain sufficient knowledge about them.

An Overview of the Four Gospels - What You Need to Know

The Gospels are the books of the New Testament. They are biblical narratives that account of the life and death of the historical Jesus Christ figure. These four books are named and known as:

  • The Gospel of Matthew
  • The Gospel of Mark
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • The Gospel of John

Each scripture is written for the benefit of different sets of people. The Gospel of Matthew was written for the Jews, the Gospel of Mark for the Romans, the Gospel of Luke for Greek people, while the Gospel of John was written for all. These gospels also cover almost all the same periods in the life of Jesus:

1. The Birth of Jesus

This section of the book focuses on the birth of Christ, His genealogy, early years, baptismal with John the Baptist, and the start of His sojourn in various places.

2. The Ministry of Jesus in Different Places

The ministry of Jesus Christ covers a massive portion of the total text for each Gospel. It focuses on how He started to preach and revealed His twelve disciples who were with Him as He taught in places like Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, and Perea that gave birth to Jewish Christians afterward.

3. The Miracles Made by Jesus

It is also with great emphasis that the gospels are written to share with the readers all the good things and miracles He has done for the people. The four gospels narrate how people came to Jesus seeking healing, and He took care of them with humility.

4. The Passion Week

This section is probably the most well-known event in Jesus Christ’s life. It is where controversies, with people like Pharisees, about Him, started. This is where Jesus was arrested, made to suffer, and trialed, only to be crucified on the cross, leading to His death.

5. His Resurrection and Arising

The last part of all four gospels. When Jesus resurrected and came back to life to judge humankind. Also, in these last sections, it is where He commissioned His remaining disciples to make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and educate the people to obey all His teachings.

On the Topic of the Four Gospels in Detail

The Four Gospels can be read in the first parts of the New Testament and make up almost half of the entire text. They are written to remember the traditions of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ and what He went through for humanity. They are used as living words that guide many Christian communities nowadays.

The Gospel of Matthew

The first of the four gospels is the one by Matthew. It’s one of the three “Synoptic Gospels,” along with Mark’s and Luke’s, that has a common narrative of the life and death of Jesus.

Written by St. Matthew, this gospel is primarily for the Jewish people or the people who know and are familiar with the Old Testament. This book makes the most reference to the Old Testament among the other three gospels.

In this first gospel, Jesus is portrayed as the Messiah of the Israels, the King of the Jews. He teaches people the meaning of being a part of His kingdom, the “Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus Christ is also betrayed and crucified in this scripture to rise again and commission His disciples to spread the good news to other people.

The structure of the Gospel of Matthew can be divided into eight major parts:

I. Christ’s Birth and His Early Years

II. The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry

III. The Ministry of Jesus Christ in Galilee

IV. Withdrawals of Jesus from Galilee

V. The Last Ministry of Jesus in Galilee

VI. The Ministry in Judea and Perea of Jesus Christ

VII. The Passion Week

VIII. The Resurrection of Christ

The Gospel of Matthew emphasized Jesus in His role of being the Messiah:

  • He is the Son of God – Jesus is formed in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit, and God endorses Him as His Son, who is reincarnated to live among men.
  • Jesus is the King – It is emphasized that He is the son of King David. He also told many parables about the kingdom of heaven, and the mention of this kingdom is more prevalent in this gospel compared to the others.
  • Jesus Christ is the Promised Savior - He is the son of Abraham, to whom God promised to bless all nations of the earth. This gospel emphasizes the Old Testament’s prophecies - which Jesus fulfills, from His birth, through His ministry, and up to His death and resurrection. He was teaching how to be righteous and died on the cross for the sake of men so they could be with the Lord.

The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark and Matthew has the same gist of content and flow of the story of Jesus. St. Mark also wrote about the birth of Jesus Christ, teachings, life, death, and resurrection. The only major difference is that Mark’s gospel concentrated on the actions of Jesus - more on what He did rather than what He said. St. Mark narrated in his own style and purpose. The Gospel of Mark is also the shortest gospel out of the four, with only 18 chapters.

The outline of this gospel, like that of Matthew, goes as follows:

I. The Start of the Ministry of Jesus

II. His Ministry in Galilee

III. The Withdrawal of Jesus from Galilee

IV. The Final Ministry of Jesus Christ in Galilee

V. His Ministry in Judea and Perea

VI. The Passion of Christ

VII. The Resurrection of Jesus

It is the first written gospel and has been set as a pattern or model for later gospel traditions. In addition to that, Matthew and Luke actually used Mark’s Gospel as a source for their own compositions. The Gospel of Mark focuses on:

  • The authority of Jesus as the Son of God.
  • His compassion in helping and teaching the people, particularly His miracles.
  • Jesus as the suffering servant.

The Gospel of Luke

The Gospel of Luke is the longest gospel out of the four and is written by the physician St. Luke. With his great knowledge of the Hebrew Bible, Luke has written 24 very extensive detailed chapters. He even mentioned Mary’s home village in Nazareth. It is also the last of the Synoptic Gospels.

Like the previous two gospels, Luke follows the same sequence and order of events. However, Luke’s is more distinctive. The gospel of Luke represents Jesus Christ as the savior of all nations, and it was written to appeal to Jews, the Greeks, and Gentiles. The book’s focus is to stress and emphasize the events in Jesus’ life that make Him human -- portraying Him as a perfect man.

The Gospel of Luke is a rich story of the life of Jesus in a wider perspective while considering God’s overall historical purpose and the church’s place within it. Almost like the gospels before it, the outline of this gospel consists of:

I. The Preface

II. Jesus Christ’s and John’s Birth

III. The Preparation of Jesus for His Public Ministry

IV. Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee

V. The Withdrawal of Jesus to Regions around Galilee

VI. His Ministry in Judea

VII. The Ministry of Jesus in and around Perea

VIII. The Last Days of Jesus Christ: His Sacrifice and Triumph

Luke’s focus is to give the readers and believers an accurate and chronological order of the life of Jesus by speaking with the eyewitnesses and recording everything - all the things He said and the things He did.

The Gospel of John

Like the gospels mentioned before, the Gospel of John follows the same sequence and order of the events in the life of Christ. It is written by one of the evangelists, St. John.

John’s Gospel shows and highlights the miracles of Jesus Christ to make the reader a believer of Him and trust the promise of eternal life. The gospel is written in the manner of revealing Christ. In John’s gospel, the events of Christ’s life are presented to show the Lord’s nature and character.

It is a story of someone divine who became flesh, lived among people, and died for the forgiveness of their sins. The central theme of this gospel can be summarized with: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” from Chapter 3 verse 16.

John’s purpose in writing the gospel is for people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, He is the Son of God, and when they believe in Him, they’ll have life in His name.

It is a very detailed story of how Jesus lived, died, and rose again. Starting with a prologue and epilogue like how a novel would. The outline of the gospel goes as follows:

I. Prologue: The Word Became Flesh

II. The Start of Jesus’ Ministry

III. The Public Ministry of Jesus: Signs and Discourses

IV. The Passion Week

V. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

VI. The Statement of the Gospel’s Purpose

VII. Epilogue: The Recommissioning of the Disciples by Jesus

It can be noted that in this gospel, Jesus often presented Himself as the human embodiment of God’s words and presence. Using phrases with “I am” throughout the book, such as:

  • I am [God]. (John 8:58)
  • I am the bread of life. (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
  • I am the Light of the World. (John 8:12; 9:5)
  • I am the Son of God. (John 10:36)
  • I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
  • I am the good shepherd. (John 10:11, 14)
  • I am the vine. (John 15:1, 5)

John himself is also an interesting persona since he has many roles in the Bible. The church has traditionally associated him with the three New Testament Letters: the First, Second, and Third John, and the prophetic book of Revelation. John focused on narrating who Jesus Christ was and not just what He said or did.

Tips on Creating a Brilliant Essay on the Four Gospels of the New Testament

Writing an essay may sound easy. But if you want to create an excellent piece, you must include only the most valuable information. Having the Four Gospels as your topic is an interesting and delicate subject because these writings are sacred, especially in Christianity, and respected by many nations. You should write with caution and respect.

Each of the four gospels has certain characteristics that differentiate them from each other. That should be the focus of your essay - how different the gospels are from one another based on various aspects.

Here are more tips on how to write a brilliant essay about the gospels:

1. Learn and Understand Your Topic

It is important that you know and truly understand what you’re writing about so that you can express your thoughts better and write without hesitation. This way, you will not confuse your readers. Learning what each gospel accounts for will help you avoid mistakes in your paper.

2. Start with a Draft and an Outline

Write a draft of how you want the flow of your essay to go. Start with the general topic - the Four Gospels as a whole. Outline all the important things you want to discuss in this part. Next, for each gospel, explain what events in the life of Jesus they focused on and in what manner.

3. Fill in Important and Unique Details

Take into account the different perspectives of the writer for each gospel. Point out who the writers are aiming for as their audience or readers. For instance, the Gospel of Matthew is meant for the Jewish people, as they perceive Jesus as Messiah.

4. Check All Religious Facts

You’re writing about religious and sacred scriptures. Write with respect. Determine if all the information you included in your essay is factual and not misleading. Do your research carefully, and make sure to verify your references.

5. Re-read Your Essay

The best way to determine if you have written an excellent piece is to re-read it. This way, you can check for any mistakes and fix them. Make sure the information you talked about is correct too. Also, if you feel like you can’t judge your own writing, have someone else read it so they can offer you comments and recommendations. It’s best to ask for help from someone knowledgeable about the Bible, the New Testament, and the Four Gospels.

Summary

When creating your essay about the Four Gospels, remember your objective in writing the essay and understand why the gospels are written: to inspire belief to whoever reads it. Take note of all the important details.

Narrate and discuss what each gospel focuses on and write efficiently by studying the topic. Discuss all the important information you’ve gathered and check your work.

Max Malak
Academic and Business Consultant

You can find me reading Hemingway in the far south of Spain. Fueled by caffeine.