My dad has recently started reading the Bible. He is not a Christian. I have been saved for 20 years. He doesn't understand why all the accounts are different in the New Testament. Please give me some advice as to what to say to him. Thanks and God Bless!
I can only hope to skim the surface on the topic of similarities and differences among the four Gospels. Bible scholars now know that Mark—the shortest—was the first to be written. Matthew and Luke followed soon after, drawing their source material both from Mark and from a collection of sayings of Jesus which is now lost to us. They are called the synoptic Gospels because their information is closely interwoven. This does not mean, however, that there are no differences. It's important to keep in mind that no one was trying to write an objective history of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Such a concept would have been totally foreign to these authors. Books were written, not to present facts, but to make a point. The Gospel of Mark comes closest to simply telling the story, but it goes to great lengths to emphasize the importance of Peter, since it came out of the Church in Rome of which he was bishop. Matthew is writing primarily for a Jewish readership; his Gospel is filled with references to, and quotations from, Jewish Scripture to emphasize his argument that Jesus was, in fact, the Jewish Messiah. Luke, on the other hand, was not himself Jewish. His emphasis is on Jesus as a spiritual leader for all people. It's in Luke that we read about the Good Samaritan, for example, and in which Jesus shares his teachings with Greeks, Romans and other non-Jews. As for the Gospel of John, it comes from a different understanding of Jesus Christ altogether. In the years immediately following Jesus' earthly ministry, there was no one, focused belief about his message and meaning. The synoptic Gospels were part of the Peter/Paul path that became the Christian Church. The Gospel of John is less concerned with the details of Jesus' life than with the meaning of his Christ Presence and his demonstration of divine power that was not limited to he alone, but was intended as a demonstration of our own spiritual potential. The emphasis is less on belonging to a church, and more on a personal relationship to the Christ, and to the divinity it affirms. Blessings!