Category Archives: Gospels

Fascinating Story Order in the Gospels

Sometimes the Gospels have stories that are ordered in such a way that it just blows my mind. Because these connections span multiple stories it can be easy to miss because we often study one unit of the text at a time rather than looking at the whole or at least big chunks to see what threads run through the stories. Here are a few I find interesting.

  1. Mark 5 – We get two healings, one of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years and the second a resurrection of a 12 year old girl. She was born the same year as the woman started bleeding. These stories are interwoven in Matthew’s account as Jesus is approached about going to heal the sick girl, on his way we get the story of the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years (who is unclean) and then Jesus arriving at the house and raising the little girl (who is an unclean corpse at that point) from the dead.
  2. The initial chapters of Matthew’s Gospels follows the story of the Exodus: Jesus goes down into Egypt because of the killing of the baby boys by Herod (Matt 2). Moses was born in Egypt at a time Pharaoh was killing baby boys (Exo 2). The Hebrews escaped Egypt through the water. Jesus then starts his ministry through the water (Matt 3). Jesus then goes out into the wilderness in Matthew 4 just like the Hebrews went from the red sea to the wilderness. Then Jesus preaches from a mountain in Matthew 5 where he discusses several things related to the 10 commandments. Moses received the Law on Mt. Sinai.
  3. In Mark 8 Jesus heals a blind man but it takes two tries for him to really see. Just before that Jesus taught about the yeast of the Pharisees but the disciples didn’t get it. So Jesus chastised them for their lack of seeing what he was talking about. The blind man is healed twice, only seeing partially after the first healing, then is healed a second time now being able to fully see. Right after that is the great confession where Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ but Peter still doesn’t see things clearly because when Jesus then tells him what that means Peter rebukes Jesus. Peter needs the second healing because he only sees things fuzzily like the blind man after the first healing.
  4. In John 1, the chapter ends with Jesus referencing himself as Bethel (which literally means “house of God” where angels ascended and descended in Jacob/Israel’s ladder). He also calls Nathanael a “true Israelite” (Jacob guy) in the same story. In the next chapter Jesus furthers this idea, that Jesus is the house of God when he likens himself to the temple that will be torn down and built back up in three days.
  5. Some believe the Gospel of Matthew as a whole was purposefully patterned after the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy = 5 books of Moses):
    1. 7:28 – concludes the sermon on the mount
    2. 11:1 – concludes teaching his disciples
    3. 13:53 – concludes a section of parables
    4. 19:1 – concluding a chapter of parables/teachings
    5. 26:1 – concluding a section of teachings from 23-25 but also seems to serve as the close of the final section “when Jesus had finished all these words…”
    6. The first four sections end with “When Jesus finished” saying or teaching these things…the final one says “when Jesus had finished all these words.”
  6. Luke 18-19 has a series of stories that have similar characters in them and centers in on having a true faith that really sees things for what they are. Read more on that one here.
  7. And last but not least, this one that Craig Blomberg picked up on just has to be included. He noticed this pattern in Luke-Acts (which were written as a 2 volume work by Luke) that is fascinating to me.


John the Baptist Preparing the Way of the Lord

In Matthew 11:11 Jesus made a shocking claim about John, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” I may have guessed Abraham or Moses but Jesus picks John. It is puzzling until you read the rest of the verse, “yet whoever is leastContinue Reading

Losing Our Way in Churches of Christ and Finding the Answer in the Gospels

I intend to spend a lot more time in the Gospels this year and I would like to tell you why. In 2015 I tackled N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I started it while on jury duty via my kindle app and when I first downloaded the book it told me IContinue Reading

Jesus in Context – One of the Most Helpful Biblical Background Books Around

I recently came across the most helpful resources on the historical backgrounds to the Gospels that I have ever seen. It is called Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study by Darrell Bock. This book works through the synoptics and John and pulls just about any relevant extra-biblical text in full quotation to help you seeContinue Reading

New Free Study Uploaded – Parables and the Kingdom of God

I just uploaded a new 13 lesson series on the parables of Jesus entitled “Parables and the Kingdom of God” Here are the stats on free curriculum on this blog: 937 total lessons 2996 total pages 75 lesson series 20 contributors 60,000+ pdf downloads!

Launching Missional Communities – Thinking UP, IN, OUT

In their book Launching Missional Communities, Breen and Absalom point out that Jesus had three great loves and thus three distinct dimensions to his life. UP: deep and connected relationship to his Father and attentiveness to the leading of the Holy Spirit IN: constant investment in the relationships with those around him (his disciples) OUT:Continue Reading

If You Had Three Years to Change the World…

If you had three years to change the world, would you spend as much time away alone with God as Jesus did? If I knew I had three years to change the world I know I would be tempted to never slow down and solitude would be pretty far down on the priority list. NotContinue Reading

Summaries of the New Testament Books

To follow up on this post summarizing the books of the Old Testament, here is the list for the New Testament. Here is this list in pdf. These are just quick helps to help people get a feel for these books and see how they connect with each other. Bible Study Helps – New TestamentContinue Reading

The Crucifixion of Christ

We don’t like to leave Christ on the cross for very long. Our theology often gets in a rush to the resurrection. But the resurrection lacks its own possibility if you exclude the crucifixion of Christ. Anyone who has watched the movie The Passion of the Christ was moved by the brutality of what JesusContinue Reading

Ten Reflections on the Importance of Scripture

I really do love the Bible. It has meant so much to me in both the peaks and the valleys of life. It is like a long standing relationship that just gets better and better with age. I have had the times when the Bible fell open to just the right text at just theContinue Reading


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