Gospel harmonies were inevitable. One of the first impulses of someone studying a teaching or an event in Jesus’ life is to seek as many perspectives on that event as possible. Around AD 160 Tatian compiled a single narrative of the four Gospels, reducing the number of verses from 3,780 (four separate Gospels) to 2,769 verses comprising every event and teaching from the life of Jesus. This Harmony of the Gospels builds on a tradition of harmonization begun in the nineteenth century by John A. Broadus and continued by his protégé, A.T. Robertson.
The Harmony of the Gospels contains interpretive and clarifying notes by a number of scholars, some with differing views on the relationship between various Gospel accounts. Beyond the harmony, this volume includes articles designed to address issues that arise when one compares the four Gospels and seeks to give an integrated account of the life and teachings of Jesus. This harmony also contains eight four-color maps that illuminate the life and ministry of Jesus. This resource will be valuable to pastors and lay Bible teachers, and will serve well as a primary textbook in college and seminary courses on the Gospels and on the life and teachings of Jesus.
“The most prominent theme is faith. John used the word for faith 98 times, more than any other writer. He used only its verbal form, ‘believing,’ never the noun ‘faith.’” (Page 12)
“The key difference between a synopsis and a parallel harmony is that the ‘harmony’ only lists a given text once, whereas a ‘synopsis’ may list it several times without the editors making a judgment as to where they think it best fits in the flow of the Gospels.” (Page 3)
“Each of the four Gospels arose because of unique needs in the emerging church. It seems the Holy Spirit inspired four different Gospels for at least four reasons.” (Page 9)
“Mark is the least Jewish and most Roman in perspective. This is evidenced by the specifically Roman characteristics of the book. Mark’s presentation includes the relationship Jesus had to authority: He is both under authority and in authority. It includes short, quick events as the core of the book. The action orientation fits the Roman mentality well. Mark begins with Jesus as an adult and ready for ministry. The Roman world had little place for genealogy. Mark translates some Aramaic phrases, presumably because they are foreign to the readers, and he alone includes Latin phrases.” (Page 11)
“Another kind of divergence we find in the Gospels can be attributed to each evangelist’s theological intent.” (Page 4)
Steven L. Cox is associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He was educated at Anderson College, Central Wesleyan College, and Erskine Theological Seminary, and he received his PhD from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Cox is the author of A History and Critique of Scholarship concerning the Markan Endings and Essentials of New Testament Greek: A Student’s Guide. He has extensive pastoral experience and is currently pastor of Big Creek Baptist Church, Millington, Tennessee.
Kendell H. Easley is professor of Christian studies and program director for the Master of Christian Studies, Union University. Easley has authored numerous books, including 52 Words Every Christian Should Know, Quick Source Guide to Understanding the Bible, Holman Illustrated Guide to Biblical History, and the volume on Revelation in the Holman New Testament Commentary (12 vols.). He holds degrees from John Brown University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.