Before You Ask the Other Guys

Four different guys with different pasts, personalities, and pursuits experience the same situations, encounter the same people, hear the same conversations, and see the same stuff. They live to write about it.

Their names? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

My tip of the day: When you’re studying one of the four Gospels, don’t compare them all . . . yet.

Here’s why.

When I’m studying Mark {hypothetically speaking}, I want to know who Mark is, what is going on in Mark’s head, and why Mark “chooses” to tell what he does. In order to do that, I need to study Mark.

If I compare all four Gospels immediately, they all run together. But once I’ve studied Mark and know him well, I can look at what the other guys have to say, notice the differences, and maintain the distinctions.

With all four Gospels in their proper perspective, we begin to understand the complete Story entrusted to us.

Plus, it’s fascinating and just plain fun . . .


A man in the crowd brings his demon-possessed son to the disciples. They are not able to cast out the demon, and they ask Jesus why it’s not working.

According to Mark, Jesus said:

This kind cannot be drive out by anything but prayer. 9:29

According to Matthew, Jesus said:

Because of your little faith. 17:20

Um. Were you guys even in the same conversation?


Jesus tells his disciples about his coming death and resurrection {for like the third time}.

According to Mark:

They did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. 9:32

According to Luke:

The saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said. 18:34

Why didn’t you tell us it was hidden from them, Mark? No wonder they didn’t understand!


Yes, in general, I’d say Mark leaves out a lot of information.

For example, read Mark 6:7-13. Seven verses – compared to Matthew and Luke’s lengthy chapters on the matter (Matt 10 & Luke 10). I mean, I know Mark is always in a hurry, but wow.

Or, in 9:9-13, Mark talks about Elijah. Elijah this, Elijah that. Then Matthew tells us this “Elijah” is really John the Baptist (17:13). Good to know. Thanks a lot, Mark.


So, yes, maybe it’s just a Mark thing. He leaves you with all these questions, and the other guys come along to give you some answers. But, trust me, even though Mark is rather to-the-point and seems to forget some important information at times, it’s still fun to hang out with him for awhile. Almost makes you feel like you know the guy. And seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ through his eyes is something truly special.

Try it out! Soak in one Gospel for several months {or years, as goes Mark in my life at the moment}. After you’re super-duper familiar with a passage or scenario, see what the other guys have to say about it . . . **mind blown**

And the best part is – it’s all true.

 [image credit: unsplash.com]


11 thoughts on “Before You Ask the Other Guys

    1. Oh yeah! It’s so great! It’s crazy how much the narrator’s personality shows. I’ve only studied Mark in this way {and a bit of Luke}, and I’m only just now getting to the second half of the book. I can tell you one thing – Mark is always in a hurry. His stories are short, he uses the word “immediately” a ridiculous number of times, and then he’s off to the next thing. The other guys are nothing like that. It’s so fun!

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  1. I find reading them one at a time helpful too – each writer organized the material in a way that worked best for the emphasis they wanted to make, just like you or I might write differently about the same event depending on our differing personalities. When it comes time to compare, a parallel gospel can help by lining up stories side by side. Thanks for linking with #SmallWonder.

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  2. I’ve never thought of it this way, but reading just one gospel from beginning to end at a time makes great sense. Each author was coming from a different perspective and was speaking to a different audience, so we don’t have to compare every little thing from one to the other. Thanks, Lydia!

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  3. Never considered it like this. I have never read the bible fully and had no idea, these four chapters were about the same events. It has intrigued me.
    It’s a bit like four different authors each writing a book about a modern day event or celebrity. They will all have a different perspective.

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  4. As a young girl and reading the Bible for the first time (my self) Mom always read to us every morning. – – – I often wondered about the remark – – if all the wonderful things that Jesus did, I suppose the books would fill the world. Then why didn’t they tell of some of the other things? Oh well, enough was told for us to learn how Jesus thinks and how we should live. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  5. As someone else said this is a cool perspective. After all, they were different people and would have seen things from their perspectives. I think I will try your suggestion of staying with one for awhile until I get to know him better, then do the same for the others. Each of them contributing what’s important to them does help to bring us a more complete story as we compare their notes. Thanks for sharing at #LMMLinkup!

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