|THE DIVERSITY OF THE FOUR GOSPELS. Appendix 96 To The Companion Bible.|
We have already seen from the Structure on page 1304, and notes there, in The Companion Bible, that each of the Four Gospels has its own special character and design.
These are not to be determined by human ingenuity or on modern lines, but to be gathered from the Structure.
This shows that they may be regarded as being the completion of the Old Testament, rather than the beginning of the New. In any case they have nothing whatever to do with the founding of "the Church", or with the beginning of "Christianity" (see Appendix 113, notes (in The Companion Bible) on the Structure of the Acts as a whole, and Romans 15:8).
They are four distinct presentations of the Messiah, and together form one perfect whole.
The twofold subject of the Lord's fourfold ministry (Appendix 119) shows this very clearly; and excludes all modern hypotheses.
This being so, only those events, miracles, and discourses of our Lord are selected which are needed for the presentation of our Lord and His ministry, and which bear upon, illustrate, and thus emphasize the special object of each Gospel.
This is why certain words and works are peculiar to one Gospel, and are omitted from another; and why certain utterances of the Lord are repeated on other occasions, and with varying words. Also why we have "the kingdom of heaven" only in Matthew, and "the kingdom of God" in the other Gospels (see Appendix 114).
It has been too generally assumed that events and discourses which are similar are identical also. But this is not the case, as may be seen from Appendix 116, Appendix 152, Appendix 153, Appendix 155, Appendix 156, Appendix 157, Appendix 158, Appendix 163, Appendix 164.
By failing to distinguish or to "try the things that differ" (Philippians 1:10), and to rightly divide "the word of truth" (2Timothy 2:15) as to its times, events separated by great landmarks of time are brought together and treated as though they were one and the same, whereby difficulties are created which baffle all the attempts of those who would fain remove them.
The special object of each of the Four Gospels may be seen from the Structure on page 1304, in The Companion Bible.