Why are there discrepancies in the account of the Gospel books? For example, the account of the call of Peter by Jesus to discipleship is rendered differently by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Please enlighten me.

ANSWER: After studying God’s Word for 39 years I have learned that what might seem like a discrepancy in some accounts in the four Gospels is either a further confirmation of the truth, or a “different way” of looking at the same account, or an altogether “different account.” To illustrate this, I found that the accounts of the call of Peter by Jesus in Matthew 4:18-22 and Mark 1:16-20 were nearly identical. In both narratives Jesus found Simon and Andrew and said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” and they immediately forsook their nets and followed Him. In Luke’s version in Luke 5:1-11, a miracle was performed by Jesus before the same call was made to follow Him. In John 1:40-42 there was no call to follow Him in SERVICE; instead we see Andrew leading his brother Simon to Christ for SALVATION. It is obvious then that the account of Simon’s conversion in John’s gospel occurred first, followed by a call to serve the Lord in evangelism in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

I believe it would be good to ask these questions, “Why are there four Gospels? Why didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire ONE MAN to give us ONE ACCOUNT of the birth, life, service, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ?” The answer to these questions may very well answer many other questions that we have when reading what may seem like inconsistent accounts of the same story.

I believe the Spirit of God inspired “four men” to give us “four Gospels” because each Gospel writer wrote with a “different theme” in mind. Perhaps you have heard that Matthew’s emphasis is on Jesus as the true KING OF ISRAEL; Mark dwells especially on Jesus as the true SERVANT; Luke wrote of Jesus as the true MAN; and John was inspired to focus on Jesus as the SON OF GOD. Many have wondered why each Gospel writer started their Gospel with such different accounts, but it’s beautiful to see these “four views” at the beginning of each Gospel, thus setting the stage for the line of truth they were led to write about. In Matthew 1:1 we read, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew zeros in on Jesus as “the son of David,” so he gives us, in verses 2-17, Jesus’ lineage to prove He was in the Royal Line as Israel’s Messiah. In Mark 1 there is no record of Jesus’ lineage or His birth, but rather an account of His baptism and His entering into public service as God’s “perfect Servant.” In Luke chapters 1-3 we have a detailed account of Jesus’ birth and a genealogy dating back to the first man Adam, for Luke was inspired to speak of the Lord Jesus as the “Son of Man.” And then in John 1:1 we see the truth of Jesus as the eternal Word, the Son of God, for it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” As you read these four Gospels and keep these “themes” in mind, your will see that the same story may have a different focus, because each Gospel writer wrote with their particular theme in mind. (165.7) (DO)