20 Questions You Never Thought to Ask about the Gospels… But Need to

ZA Blog on March 21st, 2016. Tagged under ,,,.

ZA Blog

Books and articles that equip you for deeply biblical thinking and ministry.

20 Questions about the Gospels

Have you ever wondered…

1. Why isn’t there just one account of Jesus in the Bible? Why four?

2. Why not more than four? Other gospels were written, such as the famous Gospel of Thomas. Why aren’t they included in the Bible?

3. Who were the Gospels written for? Not just us. We as twenty-first century readers aren’t the only audience. How did the first readers experience the message?

4. Did Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John really write their Gospels? Some scholars say the Gospels were written by others. Why? And who are the candidates?

5. How did the Gospels move from event, to oral tradition, to written sources, to the Gospels as we find them in our Bible today?

6. Are the Gospels dependent on one another?

7. Why do most scholars think Matthew and Luke copied Mark‘s Gospel? And why did John decide not to?

8. What did the early church think about the Gospels?

9. What is the Q source and why is it so important for understanding the sources of the Gospels? (Or: if Q is so important, then why I have I never heard of it?)

10. Where did the Pharisees and Sadducees come from, and why did they dislike Jesus so much? (And why did they dislike each other?)

11. Who were the Essenes and the Zealots?

12. Synagogues aren’t in the Old Testament, but they’re everywhere in the Gospels—where did they come from?

13. What’s the difference between the temple and a synagogue?

14. What are the differences between priests, high priests, chief priests, Levites, and scribes?

15. Why are there multiple rulers named Herod, and why does it matter?

16. And if Herod is in charge, then why does Pontius Pilate get to make the decision to execute Jesus—especially since, as a Roman, he wouldn’t have cared about religious disagreements?

17. What’s the Sanhedrin, and why did this group get to make such an important decision about Jesus guilt—especially since the Romans held the real authority?

18. Were the Gospel writers biased, and if so, how can we trust what they’ve written?

19. If capital punishment in Jewish tradition was carried out by stoning, then why was Jesus crucified—a Roman form of execution?

20. How do I handle the apparent contradictions between the Gospels? Such as:

  • The withering of the fig tree: in Mark, Jesus curses it, and it withers the next day, but in Matthew, when Jesus curses it, it withers then and there.
  • The different order of temptations of Jesus between Matthew and Luke.
  • There are two demon-possessed men in Matthew 8:28 but only one in Mark 5:2, two blind men in Matthew 20:30 and one in Mark 10:46, two angels at the tomb in Luke 24:4 and one in Mark 16:5.
  • The temple clearing events: in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it happens during the final week before Jesus’ crucifixion, but in John, it happens at the beginning of his ministry.

Get your questions answered

You’ll find answers to these questions in Four Portraits, One Jesus, a brand new online course on Jesus and the Gospels taught by Dr. Mark Strauss. Courses like this normally cost over $1000, but for a limited time you can enroll for only $99. Enroll today!

New courses on the Bible are coming out all the time. To stay current, sign up to get updates.

  • Margaret Barnard 1 year ago

    Is the course reading and video?

    • ZA Blog 1 year ago

      Hi Margaret, the course includes:

      1. video lectures,

      2. the entirety of the Four Portraits, One Jesus textbook (with reflection exercises interspersed throughout the readings),

      3. review materials using adaptive learning technology and questions to help you synthesize key themes from each unit,

      4. assessments, including a quiz in each unit, a midterm, and a final exam.