ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Comparison of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Updated on March 17, 2019
revmjm profile image

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

There are four gospels in the New Testament written by four different writers to four different audiences. It is interesting to know how they are similar and how they are different. Even so, Jesus is the central character in all of the gospels.

People often wonder why there are four gospels if they basically reported some of the same things. The answer is quite simple.

There are four gospels because there are four different perspectives of Jesus' life, ministry, death and resurrection in the distinct ways each writer presented those things to their own audience. There are some things about each gospel as indicated below.

The gospels are not arranged in the Bible according to the date they were written.

Matthew is listed first of the gospels in the Bible to make the transition from the Old Testament. That part of the Bible ends with the minor prophet Malachi. God was silent for 400 years during the Intertestamental Period. Some call that period the silent years. However, God was not silent. He just did not speak to any prophet during those years.

Then John the Baptist appeared on the scene. He is known as the transitional prophet who shows up in the Gospel of Matthew. That's why Matthew is listed before Mark that was written first.

Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew | Source

Gospel of Matthew

Readers can understand the Gospel of Matthew better when they know the following characteristics of the book containing 28 chapters.

  • The Gospel of Matthew was written by a Jew to the Jews about Jesus Christ who was a Jew. Therefore, there will be a lot of Jewish customs.
  • Jesus is referred to as the "King of the Jews."
  • There are over 60 Old Testament references in Matthew.
  • "It is written..." refers to what is in the Old Testament.
  • Matthew doesn't say, "Kingdom of God." He only says, "Kingdom of Heaven."
  • The genealogy goes back to Abraham through Mary's ancestry.
  • Jesus is the Son of Man through the genealogy of David.
  • Matthew starts with the birth of Jesus.
  • Matthew is sometimes called the teaching manual.
  • The gospel has long sermons.
  • The gospel has more parables than the other gospels.
  • Matthew contains the Sermon on the Mount.
  • The gospel has the Lord's Prayer.
  • The gospel has the Beatitudes.
  • This is the only gospel that has the Golden Rule.
  • Matthew is the only gospel that has the Great Commission.
  • Jesus says, "I say unto you..."
  • The suicide of Judas is found only in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Matthew has a fondness for numbers. After all, he was a tax collector.
  • This gospel is the only one that mentions the church.

Gospel of Mark
Gospel of Mark | Source

Gospel of Mark

Readers can understand the Gospel of Mark much better when they know the following characteristics of the book containing 16 chapters.

  • Mark was the first gospel written even though it is not the first listed in the Bible.
  • Mark is the shortest gospel because the writer didn't take the time to write about genealogy or the birth of Jesus.
  • Mark starts with the baptism of Jesus when he was 30 years old.
  • Mark is the fast-paced gospel, and the writer uses words such as "immediately," "suddenly," "straightway," and "quickly."
  • The Gospel of Mark contains words of emotions such as fear and trembling.

Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke | Source

Gospel of Luke

Readers can understand the Gospel of Luke much better when they know the following characteristics of the book containing 24 chapters. Luke is the longest of the gospel that continues in The Book of Acts of the Apostles.

Luke was not one of Jesus' disciples or a witness to Jesus' life and ministry. He is the only Gentile writer of the entire Bible. He gathered information from the other gospel writers to write his own book to a Gentile audience.

It would be helpful for readers to know some other information about Luke and his gospel.

  • Luke is the slow-paced gospel.
  • He uses the expression, "And it came to pass."
  • Since Luke was a physician, he used medical terms.
  • Key people are women, widows, the sick, and the downtrodden.
  • Over half of Luke's gospel is dedicated to Passion Week.
  • The genealogy goes as far back as Adam.
  • A doctor would be interested in Jesus' birth.
  • Jesus left behind at the temple when He was 12 is only in Luke.
  • The Parable of the Prodigal Son is only in Luke.
  • The Parable of the Good Samaritan is only in Luke.

Gospel of John
Gospel of John | Source

Gospel of John

Readers can understand the Gospel of John much better when they know the following characteristics of the book containing 21 chapters.

John is the only gospel that is not a synoptic gospel. The other three gospels are called the synoptic gospels because they record the deeds of Jesus while John records more about the person of Jesus.

  • John records Jesus giving seven "I Am" statements about Himself.
  • John portrays Jesus as the Word that became flesh.
  • The keyword "love" is recorded 45 times.
  • John wrote to no particular audience.
  • The focus is on being born again and eternal life.
  • Jesus' first miracle is found only in John's gospel.
  • The little boy's lunch is available at the feeding of the five thousand only in the Gospel of John.
  • Jesus' three-part prayer is found only in John.
  • Jesus' disciples were called in all the gospels except in John.
  • The raising of Lazarus from the dead is only in John's gospel.
  • Jesus met with the Samaritan woman and Nicodemus one on one.

None specific
How Jesus Is Identified
King of Kings
Jesus is Servant
Son of Man
Son of God
Key Word and Themes
Kingdom of Heaven, 60 Old Testament references
Immediately, straightway, suddenly, then
"And it came to pass" recorded 50 times
In the beginning, the Word, Holy Spirit
Long sermons, parables,
Miracles and only 4 parables
Concerns for women, widows, sick, downtrodden
Metaphors and symbols, seven "I am" statements

Identify the Gospel

view quiz statistics


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      11 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Larry, thanks a lot for reading and commenting on my article about the four gospels.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      11 months ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for sharing Ms. Margaret! Really enjoyed!

    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      11 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Martha, for your kind remark. As long as you keep reading, I'll keep writing and teaching.

    • profile image

      Martha Rogers 

      11 months ago

      Love this. I am getting so smart, thanks to you.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)