Why Four Gospels?

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

– Deuteronomy 19:15

When a person first approaches the Bible to read it, he may be surprised to find four different records of the life of Jesus. However, we should not be surprised that the Holy Spirit chose to preserve the details of our Savior in this way. He, the Holy Spirit, is simply being true to the rule God set forth for trial proceedings; a person cannot be convicted on the word of a single witness. At least two witnesses are necessary for a proper verdict to be reached, and three is even better. Not only does the Holy Spirit follow this rule, He exceeds it! We have four witness accounts to the life of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

So, why more than one record? Wouldn’t it be easier just to read one detailed account to learn about Jesus?

These are excellent questions but let us consider why the Lord required at least two witnesses in a trial. If we have the testimony of only one person, who is to say whether or not he is telling the truth? The person could record only the details he desires and put any slant on the story he would like. We see this happen in the news media all the time. But if we have multiple witnesses, we will get several views of the same events from different perspectives and understandings.

Moreover, the fact that each of the writers does not record the exact same events in the same way adds even more credibility. If multiple witnesses were to speak with identical testimonies, then we could rightly suspect they rehearsed a lie together before telling others.

Just like witnesses to a crime see things from their own perspective, the gospel writers view the life of Jesus from their respective points-of-view. Each also has a different initial audience in mind and a varying reasons for writing the account all-together. Yet, each was directed by the Holy Spirit to pen down what they saw. We have, in these four gospels, everything we need to know about the life, ministry, and passion of our Savior.

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