By using this website, I acknowledge that I am 16 years of age or older, and I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
Under 16? Accept
Back
Videos
Podcasts
Reading Plan Downloads Classroom Beta Give
More
Aspect Ratio GIF
BibleProject Podcast
BibleProject Podcast
How To Read the Bible • Episode 40
The Obvious & Extravagant Claim of the Gospel
52m • September 30, 2019
All four gospels are pointing toward the same simple yet profound claim. As we read the gospels, how should we understand discrepancies and variations to see the point of it all?
Listen Here
See Series
Untitled
close
Play Episode
Share
Download

Listen On:

Key Takeaways:

  • All the gospels are essentially saying the same thing. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and his life, death, and resurrection fulfills the Hebrew Scriptures.
  • All four gospels climax with a detailed recounting of Jesus' death and resurrection. While this may seem like an obvious point to modern readers, this is not necessarily true for ancient readers when the Scriptures were formed.
  • Modern readers of the gospels should make an effort to familiarize themselves with how ancient Greco-Roman biography and literature worked. The four gospels are not modern texts; therefore, readers should be sympathetic and strive to view them not through a modern lens, but in light of their historic context.

Quotes:

“The main mode that many Christians, especially Protestants, read the Bible in is the ‘lessons for my life’ approach to the Bible. The deeply held assumption is, ‘the Bible is a moral handbook and each story is giving me a life application lesson that I can apply to my life.’ And I don’t think that’s what the Gospel authors are trying to do.”

"(The gospels are) tying in Jesus’ story as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scripture storyline which is the story of Israel and all humanity. And then all of them are saying the story leads up to the moment of a Jewish wonder-worker’s execution. It’s a simple point. But that is their main point."

Shownotes

In part 1 (0-11:30), Tim and Jon briefly recap the series so far. They discuss the earlier tips for reading the gospels more effectively and deeply. Tim says readers should always remember that the gospels are meant to be stories about Jesus, but they have been specifically selected to be persuasive stories about Jesus. The Gospel authors want the reader to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Sometimes they make this intent obvious and explicit, but other times, they make the claims indirectly. Tim says this method of indirect communication and indirect claims about Jesus is the primary way that Gospel authors design their portraits of Jesus.

In part 2 (11:30-22:00), Tim notes that many of the stories about Jesus, including the stories of miracles, sound unbelievable to many modern Western audiences. Whereas in other cultures, healings and miracles and those who performed them were considered an integral part of life and evidence of God or the gods’ work. Tim shares a helpful resource called The Lost Letters of Pergamum, which is a short historical novel set in ancient Roman culture during the early days of Christianity. The novel helps readers more accurately picture what the original claims of the gospel would have meant to the first followers of Christ.

Tim then says most Western Protestants read these accounts through asking, “What’s the application of this gospel story to my life and how will it improve my life?” Tim says he doesn’t think this is the best way to read the gospels. Instead, readers should learn to read the gospels as intricate and complete portraits of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that are claiming that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah.

In part 3 (22:00-32:00), Tim notes that every Gospel climaxes with Jesus’ death and resurrection. Tim then contrasts this with the Gospel of Thomas, which does not include Jesus’ death and resurrection narrative. To the gnostics who used the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus was a wise, divine teacher who dispensed knowledge to humanity to help them learn to be wise.

Tim then says that a good example of the gospels climaxing with Jesus’ death and resurrection would be the Gospel of Mark. Most of the book highlights the final week of Jesus’ life and does a fast fly-by of Jesus’ earlier life leading up to the week of the Passover and crucifixion.

Most stories, Tim observes, end with the good guy defeating the bad guy, thereby using force and violence to triumph. The Jesus story claims that Jesus triumphed by allowing himself to be killed by his enemies. He then was raised from the dead and gives his enemies an opportunity to enter into new life by believing in him.

In part 5 (32:00-end), Tim and Jon discuss the differences between the gospels. Tim says that some of the variances between the stories in the gospels used to bother him. Why couldn’t all the stories be the same? Aren’t the discrepancies evidence that these stories and authors might be unreliable?

However, Tim continues by sharing that over time, his perspective has changed. Now, he realizes that the Gospel authors are advancing a claim about Jesus, not recounting security camera footage of his life. The authors want the reader to understand that Jesus had a totally different way of seeing the world, so they highlight this in their own style. Tim says he would actually be highly suspicious if all the gospels’ stories are exactly identical. That would imply that the Jesus story was not authentic. It also should be taken into consideration that what many modern Christians may perceive to be untruths or discrepancies in the Bible were much more accepted by early Christians. Modern readers should attempt to understand the context and culture of how the gospels were formed instead of importing our own modern view of a biography onto an ancient text.

Show Music:

“Defender” instrumental by Tents “Nostalgic” by junior state “lacuna” by leavv “Beautiful Eulogy” by Beautiful Eulogy Show Resources:

The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World by Bruce Longenecker

Show Produced by:

Dan Gummel

Powered and distributed by Simplecast

What is the Bible E1  –  1hr 3m
The Bible as Divine Literary Art
1hr 3m
What is the Bible E2  –  1hr 10m
What's in your Bible?
1hr 10m
What is the Bible E3  –  59m
What is the Story of the Bible?
59m
Reading the Bible Aloud in Community E1  –  59m
Ancient vs. Modern Ways of Reading Scripture
59m
Reading the Bible Aloud in Community E2  –  48m
Is Reading The Bible Together Just a Form of Group Think?
48m
Literary Styles of the Bible E1  –  1hr 1m
Literary Genres & the Stories We Tell Ourselves
1hr 1m
Literary Styles in the Bible E2  –  45m
Poetry, Narrative & Prose Discourse
45m
Literary Styles in the Bible E3  –  44m
Why isn't there more detail in Bible stories?
44m
Biblical Narrative E1  –  51m
Plot in Biblical Narrative
51m
Biblical Narrative E2  –  49m
Character in Biblical Narrative
49m
Biblical Narrative E3  –  35m
Setting in Biblical Narrative
35m
Design Patterns E1  –  1hr 16m
Live from Milpitas! Part 1
1hr 16m
Design Patterns E2  –  1hr 18m
Live from Milpitas! Part 2
1hr 18m
Design Patterns E3  –  51m
Crossing the Chaotic Waters
51m
Design Patterns E4  –  1hr 2m
Chaotic Waters & Baptism
1hr 2m
Poetry and Metaphor E1  –  1hr 18m
The Thunder of God
1hr 18m
Poetry and Metaphor E2  –  44m
God Speaks in Poetry
44m
Poetry and Metaphor E3  –  59m
Metaphor & Our Imagination
59m
Poetry and Metaphor E4  –  46m
The Mountain Garden & the Human Ideal
46m
Poetry and Metaphor E5  –  1hr 11m
Chaotic Waters
1hr 11m
Poetry and Metaphor E6  –  48m
Poetry Q&R
48m
Prophecy E1  –  58m
What Prophecy is For
58m
Prophecy E2  –  56m
Prophets as Provokers
56m
Law E1  –  1hr 13m
The Purpose of The Law
1hr 13m
1hr 13m
Law E3  –  1hr 2m
The Law as a Revolution
1hr 2m
Law E4  –  51m
God's Wisdom in the Law
51m
Law E5  –  48m
Jesus Fulfills the Law
48m
Law E6  –  56m
Law Q&R
56m
Wisdom E1  –  46m
The Quest for Wisdom
46m
1hr
45m
1hr 4m
1hr 5m
Wisdom E7  –  1hr 12m
Wisdom Q&R
1hr 12m
Gospel E1  –  1hr 11m
What Does the Word "Gospel" Mean?
1hr 11m
55m
1hr 8m
How can I help you?
Support Bot Said,
For advanced bible reading tools:
Login  or  Join