Characteristics of the Gospels


Question: What are the chacteristics of the Gospels?



The joy of the Lord be in your heart.

C. Martini wrote a suggestive article relating the Gospels to the distinct stages of Christian faith. He related each gospel to an aspect of the believers' spiritual growth. I give you a resume. As you know the material of the Gospels before being written down was preached over and over in a culture of oral transmission so that the passages had been defined long before.

Initiation (Mark)

This gospel presents a new revelation of God in the life and death of Jesus. His power is made evident. Apparently we have material for a first instruction. There is a text structure of the life of Jesus very common as you find it in the Apostles' preaching in Acts. There is a call to conversion (of the heart Mc 7: 21-23) Mc 10, 47: Son of David, have mercy… seems to be a baptismal invocation. Passion and death are real signs that He is the Son of God, Mk 15, 39.

Life in the community (Mt)

Continuity and exercising how to live God's salvation according the Lord's will manifest in the history of Israel. One preferred theme: the community. Mt has a series of parenetic sentences that introduce into the obligations of the community. We have 5 discourses. It's about explaining thoroughly the dimensions of God's kingdom and the difficulties that will present themselves. (Chapters 5-7. 10. 13.19.25). It's the gospel of catechists and completes the information regarding the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is present in the community. The experience of the community is the experience of God (chapter 18: forgiving, the last, mutual acceptance).


Testifying (Luke - Acts)

It's about the insertion into the missionary, evangelic action as part of the providence of God who wants to save all men. Extends the narration of the preaching and testimony of Jesus. He sent the disciples and prepares the baptized in order to preach the gospel and so they begin to understand the history of salvation. Characteristics: Sent to those who are far away (Acts 2, 39); witness (Acts 1, 8); solid foundation of the teaching and God made Him Lord (Acts 2, 36). There is even a cosmic context in Pentecost (Acts 2, 1-21). The history is one solid line of God presence through the persons David (Adam) – Jesus – Peter – Paul – pagans – communities. It's always about a solid experience. This gospel and Acts are a theological reflection about the universal community.

Contemplation (John)

At this stage there is visible the unity of the plan of salvation and the transparency of God's revelation in the reality of the faithful. It’s a profound contemplation of the mysterion for those who want to contemplate the living reality and the unitarian presence and transparency of Christ in the Father and the Church guided by the Holy Ghost.

- Every aspect of the different writings makes its contribution to the foundations of faith. It's a live initiation according to the progress in Christian life the foundations appear ever more solid and the understanding reaches contemplation.

You can find the article in

La Tourelle, R. - O´Collins, G., Problemas y perspectivas de teología fundamental. Salamanca, Sígueme 1982. I'm sure there is a English version.







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