The Place of the Gospels in the Bible

Text: 2 Timothy 2:15

The Bible contains two basic divisions – the Old and New Testaments. Where do the Gospels belong (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)? Do they belong in the New Testament where they are listed? Or are they part of the Old Testament? Or are they to be regarded as more important than the rest of the New Testament?

Some Believe the Gospels Are Part of the Old Testament

  • They say the new law did not start until Pentecost (Acts 2) – therefore, since the gospels were before this, they believe they must be part of the OT
  • However, there was a break between the OT (Law & Prophets) & NT (Luke 16:16)
  • It is true that the new covenant was not in force during the time recorded in the gospels (Hebrews 9:15-17) – the old law was in force during the days of Jesus on earth (Matthew 8:1-4; 19:16-19; 23:1-3); but this does not mean that the teachings in the gospels are part of the OT
  • Jesus was the spokesman for a new dispensation (Hebrews 1:1-2)
  • Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35) – Which kingdom? … one that is not of this world (John 18:36)
  • In fulfilling the Great Commission, the apostles were to teach what Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19-20) – this was the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 24:14); they would teach the same kingdom as Christ
  • Jesus introduced the new law during the final days of the old law

Some Believe the Gospels Are Greater Than the Rest of the New Testament

  • They believe that the gospels are of primary importance & the rest of the NT is just secondary – Why? … the gospels contain the life & words of Jesus; the rest of the NT just contains church doctrine (which they believe can change)
  • This idea is often used to defend things like homosexuality – clear case to be made elsewhere (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10), but not addressed in the Gospels
  • Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth (John 16:13) – their words carried the same weight as Jesus’ words (1 Corinthians 14:37; 1 Thessalonians 4:2; 2 Peter 3:1-2)
  • Not all of Jesus’ words were recorded (John 21:25) – the apostles would be reminded of what He said (John 14:26); they would then teach this to others (John 15:26-27)
  • We must hold to what the apostles taught (2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:15) – we are not to change it (Galatians 1:8-9)

How We Should View the Gospels

  • The Gospels contain the record of the earthly life of Jesus – particularly the time of His public ministry
  • They prove that He is the Christ, the Son of God (John 10:24-25; 11:41-48)
  • They show us how He fulfilled the Law & the Prophets (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44)
  • They tell of His sacrifice which makes our salvation possible (Luke 24:46-47)
  • They introduce us to the kingdom of Christ (Matthew 3:2; 4:17, 23; 16:18-19, 28)
  • All Scripture is important (2 Timothy 3:16-17) – we should not judge various parts of the Bible by their importance, but by their purpose

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