The New Testament opens with four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four books tell the "good news" - that's what the word "gospel" means - of Jesus. They are biographies of Jesus that proclaim a message about Him, a message the authors want you to believe.
From its earliest days, the church recognized the four gospels as the earliest and best witnesses to Jesus and the gospel message. In fact, early church father Justin Martyr as the "memoirs of the apostles."
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are often called "synoptic gospels." That's because they tell the story of Jesus similarly ... they see it the same way.
John tells the story with a different focus and approach, spending more time on Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem.
Together, they all help us get to know Jesus so we can follow Him.
Jesus' life and ministry took place in Israel
between the years 4 B.C. and A.D 30
Map courtesy of conforfingtojesus.com
Rome ruled the Mediterranean world during this time, so Israel was a country under foreign occupation. This brought both blessings and curses, and deeply affected the world Jesus lived in.
The Roman capital in the region was Caesarea but Jerusalem was the religious capital for the Jews. And the Jerusalem temple dominated the skyline and the Jewish heart.
Model of first century Jerusalem and the Temple.
Intro to the Gospels
The recordings in this section introduce you to what the gospels are, the backstory to the gospels, and the world of Jesus and the gospels.
All of this is aimed at helping you read them well.
For more information on the background to the gospels: