Have you ever read the New Testament and wondered why the first three books repeat themselves a lot? If so, you observed correctly. The Bible has various genres of literature, such as Gospels and epistles in the New Testament. The Gospels are basically historical biographies about Jesus written either by eyewitnesses or those who interviewed the eyewitnesses. The epistles are basically letters written by early Christian leaders to help instruct and direct the first few generations of Christians.
There are four Gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The first three are often referred to as synoptic Gospels. They share roughly 60% of the same content with different audiences in mind: Matthew is largely written to teach Jewish people about Jesus; Mark is written largely to teach Roman people about Jesus; and Luke is written to teach Gentile people about Jesus. Each tells the same story of Jesus birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection with a different emphasis for each audience. In this way, the synoptic Gospels are kind of like three local news channels that each night cover most of the same stories with different angles and details.
John, however, is very unique. In fact 90% of John is not found in the other Gospels. This is not surprising since John is Jesus’ best friend and knows Jesus more intimately and personally than the other Gospel writers. Furthermore, John likely wrote his Gospel last and wanted to ensure that certain details that had not been recorded by the other authors would not be lost, therefore he included them in his account. In this way, if the synoptic Gospels are like three local nightly newscasts, John is like one of the non-network national news channels covering very different events than the local news.
Have you ever read the entire Gospel of John? If so, when was the last time? Can you set aside roughly 20 minutes a day this week to read all of John’s Gospel?
I will spend roughly an entire year preaching verse-by-verse through the entire Gospel of John, and those sermons can be found for free each week after they are preached at MarkDriscoll.org.