7-3 Purposes and Approaches of the Four Gospels


Because the testimonies of these four witnesses are extremely important in shaping our understanding of the Savior, detailed examination is often necessary. The results are enlightening and rewarding, even though challenges and difficulties often persist. Differences and even inconsistencies between the four Gospels beckon the best of minds to ponder and to reflect on their meaning. Can these differences be constructively understood and explained?

As seen in chart 7-2, where one begins, in any literary work, often determines where the work will also end, for it fundamentally influences the author’s outlook, perspective, selection of episodes for inclusion, wording, and the resultant overall character of the work. With respect to the four Gospels, these consequences are demonstrated in chart 7-3, which illustrates how the overall purpose of each Gospel writer is manifested and carried out through several salient particulars in each Gospel.


Robert C. Patch, “The Gospel in the Gospels,” Ensign, September 1974, 38-41.