Email Tips: Gospel Harmonies

This "tip" was originally delivered on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 .

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John cover the same time period of the Lord’s ministry to Israel.

Many of the same events are repeated.

When people do not understand or respect the differences in these books they try to combine them into a single telling.

After all, why read something four times when you can read through it only once in a single gospel harmony.

This type of gospel harmony has multiple problems.

1. Some events happened more than once and harmonizations often confuse them as the same event.

2. The four books give a different perspective to similar events, you miss these dimensions when you combine them into one.

3. John is not a narrative, but a proof that Jesus is the Son of God (John 20:31). Harmonization will always change the function of John.

4. Each book has a tone/purpose/theme and these are destroyed when they are all smushed together.

5. God inspired four different books, not just one.

Gospel harmonies are a popular and subtle way to change the Bible. They are interesting as novelty, but not useful for Bible study. Too much is missing, or just doesn’t make sense.

When you get the urge to “harmonize” these four books and mutilate your Bible, remember the whispered words of wisdom from English theologian Sir McCartney and “let it be“.

Do not combine what God has kept separate.

For His glory,

Justin “let it be” Johnson

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This "tip" was originally published in the weekly Grace Ambassadors Update sent free to subscribers.