I've decided to read a chapter of the New Testament every day this year. But I don't understand why there are four separate accounts of Jesus' life instead of just one. They all seem to say the same thing. Can you help?


First, let me commend you for doing this, and I hope you’ll make it your priority every day. The Bible is God’s Word, and God wants to use it to change our lives and draw us closer to Himself. Job said, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12).

The Bible contains four accounts of Jesus’ life because one would not have been enough to give us a complete picture of Jesus. Each of the four Gospels is like a separate portrait of Jesus — showing us the same person, and yet giving us different insights into His life and work. While the Gospels may seem very similar, in reality each writer selected incidents from Jesus’ life that emphasize certain truths about His person and work.

Matthew, for example, pictures Jesus as the promised Messiah, the King who fulfills all our hopes and needs. (This is why Matthew quotes the Old Testament’s prophecies about the coming Messiah so frequently.) Mark presents Jesus as the Servant of God who has come to do God’s will. Luke portrays Jesus as the Son of Man who identifies with us in our sufferings and sorrows. John stresses that Jesus was God in human flesh — the divine Son of God, sent from heaven to save us from our sins.

If you read a chapter every day, you’ll complete the whole New Testament in only 260 days. I suggest you turn then to the Old Testament (perhaps Psalms or Proverbs), and begin discovering its riches also.