Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote their gospels for different audiences in mind. In order to understand the Christmas story a little better, a brief look to whom and for what purpose each gospel was written will enrich our lives a little, too. Valuing ancient thought and learning, my views differ from modern speculation on unfounded Q documents. Therefore, my research directs me back to ancient literature for understanding.
Initially, Matthew wrote his gospel in the Hebrew Aramaic for the Jewish people with the focus on Jesus Christ being King and Messiah. Loaded with Jewish idioms and culture, the gospel was later translated into Greek, the language for literary writings. Therefore, Matthew’s intention is to explain to his fellow Jews the fulfillment of prophecy.
Mark, writing in Rome, condensed the gospel story for the Roman world with the focus on Jesus Christ being the Servant of God and Son of God. Although written in Greek, this gospel keeps to a Semitic syntax, and yet uses many Latin words and idioms. Therefore, Mark’s intention is to explain to the common culture the story of Christ in a pragmatic manner.
Luke, the beloved physician, wrote his gospel with the focus on Jesus Christ being the Son of Man and the perfect God-Man. Written in Greek, the literary language of the day, the gospel has Greek overtones. Therefore, Luke’s intention is to explain by Greek expression the human story of Christ in a historical genre.
John wrote his gospel in Greek. His focus is on Jesus Christ being the Son of God and the Revealed Word. John’s gospel is spiritually oriented, and speaks to the heart, whether Jew or Gentile. Therefore, John’s intention is to explain Christ in spiritual terms.
Thus, each Gospel writer had a special mission in presenting Jesus Christ to the world.
Copyright by Beth Piepenburg, 2013. All rights reserved.
- [Papias, 70-155 AD] (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.vii.ii.vi.html)
- [Irenaeus, 175-185 AD] (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book3.html)
- [Origen, 210 AD] (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.xi.xxv.html)
- [Origen, 203-250 AD] (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101601.htm)
- [Eusebius, 315 AD] (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxiv.html)
- [Jerome, 347-420 AD]