FAQ :: What are the Synoptic Gospels?

The four writers of the Gospels are considered “evangelists,” from a Greek word meaning “bringer of good tidings.” The first three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are called the “Synoptic Gospels” because unlike John, they give a synopsis of the life of Christ. The word synopsis is derived from the two Greek words meaning, “a view together; a collective view.”

The Synoptic Gospels are amazing in their similarities. They are equally striking in their differences. The Synoptic Gospels narrate the Lord’s miracles, parables and messages given to the multitudes. John expresses the Lord’s deeper and more abstract discourses, His conversations and prayers. The first three Gospels give the account of Christ primarily in action; John shows Him also in meditation and communion. Each Gospel presents a different aspect of Christ’s life on earth. Together the four gospels give us a complete picture of His life–although there is no account of His life from between the ages of twelve and thirty anywhere in the Bible. The Gospels combined present the Personality of Christ, not a connected story of His life.

In Matthew Christ is presented as King, as Servant in Mark, the Son of Man in Luke and the Son of God in John. Each Gospel has many similarities, each portray Christ’s earthly ministry, His death and resurrection, His teachings and miracles, although each Gospel has some differences. Each of the writers gave a different picture of our one Lord and Savior. For example, Matthew adds to his account what Mark leaves out.