Introduction to the Four Gospels

GOS  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The four Gospels are coincident testimonies to the Lord Jesus Christ, and valuable as such. But we are not to read them as merely explanatory or supplemental. We get a complete view of our Lord Jesus Christ only by discerning their distinctness in character and purpose.
Even in the histories of men we may perceive this. One biographer may give us the man in his domestic, another in his political, life; but in order to our being fully acquainted with him, we must see him in both of these, and perhaps in many other connections. And one of such biographers will not only select particular facts, but notice distinct circumstances in the same facts. The same thing we see in the four Gospels. And if we know, if not the necessity, at least the desirability, of this, when a mere man is the theme, how much more may we expect to find it so when we have rehearsed to us the ways of One Who fills such a blessed variety of relationships, both to God and man, as the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit, who spoke by the prophets and other ancient and holy penmen of Scripture, had done this before the times of the evangelists. In the First Book of Chronicles, for instance, we see David in a light different from that in which we see him in the Books of Samuel. In the Books of Samuel we get his history generally; but in the First Book of Chronicles we see him not in all the events of his life, as in Samuel, but in those scenes and actions which constituted him a type of the Lord who is David’s Son. And so, in the Second Book of Chronicles, as to Solomon. We do not get his full history there, as in the First Book of Kings. All his sins are passed by. For it was not as his historian that the Spirit of God was employing the pen of the scribe, while tracing Solomon in the Chronicles. He was rather setting him forth as the type of that greater Son of David, and King of Israel, in his full beauty, the boast of his own people, and the object of the whole earth’s desire.
All this is only fullness and variety, and not incongruity; and we should have grace to admire the perfection of the wisdom of God, in His holy oracles, in this. And as to the ways of the blessed Lord which are, in this variety, given to us, I need not say that all is perfection. Whether it be this path or that which He takes before us—whatever relationship He sustains—whatever affection fills His soul—though different, all is perfect. He may pass before us in the conscious elevation of the Son of God, or in the sympathies of the Son of Man; we may see Him in Jewish connection, in Matthew; or more widely abroad, as among men, in Luke; as the Servant of the varied need of sinners, in Mark; or as the solitary Stranger from heaven, in John; still, all is perfection. And to discern and trace this, is at once the disciple’s profit and delight. “Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore doth my soul keep them.”