Overview of the Gospels

Overview of the Gospels

I recently sat down and typed up some of my handwritten notes, dating back several years, which contained many hidden gems and buried treasure, proving conclusively how sinners are saved by real remorse and simple heartfelt faith in the finished work of Christ.

Continuing on as I journey through my collection of notes, I wish to focus primarily on the four gospels and share more bullet points and hopefully other areas of interest to serious students of Scripture.

Although some of these notes below may appear somewhat primitive, I do hope and pray that they will be of help and assistance to those that love the Lord and wish to develop a deeper understanding of Him and His word.     


3:1 – John the Baptist called sinners to repent, meaning turn towards God in true faith (which only the Lord initially sees), then he baptized those that came forward (which man later sees), and finally they confessed their sins to God (which God and man see).

(No newborn child is capable of repenting or confessing their sins to God, so clearly, repentance is only for those of age. I have also taken the time to show how justification works, harmonising Romans 4, which is justification between God and man, whereas James 2 is justification between a saved man and mankind in general).

3:11 – John only offered a water baptism to repentant sinners; Jesus’ baptism is by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), and this is a one-off baptism (Eph. 4:4-6).

5:17 – Christ is the end of the law to those that believe on Him, otherwise it remains in place to bring sinners to repentance (1 Tim. 1:8-11).

5:18 – The Law remains in place for the unsaved, until the end of the millennium.

6:33 – In order to be saved man must seek the kingdom of God and Christ’s [imputed] righteousness, forgiveness of sins. The saint already has both.

11:13 – The civil and ceremonial part of the Mosaic Law finished with John. During the inter-testimonial period (the book of Acts) God raised up a tiny number of prophets to validate the apostles’ teachings and ministries. Once the New Testament had been written and widely circulated, these prophets and apostles died out. Now one lives by faith alone and is guided by the written word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

12:50 – Those that do the will of God (believe on Jesus) are His family (John 6:40).

13:13 – Those that failed to understand the parables of Jesus were normally under judgment for their wilful refusal to believe on Him, foreseen in the Old Testament (Jer. 5:21-31).

13:36 – The disciples ask Jesus to clarify parable, which He does for them. Today the Holy Spirit does this for the Christian, through the word of God (John 16:13).

14:33 – All the disciples affirm Jesus is the Son of God.

15:4 – Jesus states how God gave The Ten Commandments to Moses.

15:1-6 – Jesus rebukes the unbelieving Jews for their man-made traditions, a picture of Catholics and other false religions too.

15:19 – Jesus condemns evil thoughts of murders, adultery and fornication. How much more will He condemn the actual acts?

(Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of the sins of the flesh, just the main ones that lead to other more heinous and depraved ones).

16:13 – Jesus asked each of the disciples who the people thought He was.

16:15 – He now asks each of them what they think of Him.

16:22-23 – Peter is rebuked by Jesus. Clearly not ‘infallible’ on areas of doctrine and faith, like the popes claim to be (Gal. 2:11-14).

20:17 – Jesus tells His disciples that death awaits Him in Jerusalem.

21:41 – Jesus is the chief cornerstone (vs. 44), which Peter affirms (Acts 4:11-12).

26:21 – All the disciples are told of His soon betrayal, Peter and His mother weren’t privy to this.

26:34 – Jesus informs Peter and all the disciples how he will betray Him.

26:35 – Peter, along with the others, offers to die for Jesus.

26:37 – Peter and the sons of thunder are chosen to suffer with Him.

26:40 – Jesus rebukes Peter and the sons of thunder for sleeping and not staying awake with Him.

26:74 – Peter curses and swears.

27:56 – Mary Magdalene is listed before Jesus’ mother. Mary’s other two sons, James and Joses are only listed. Perhaps her other children had either died by then (like Joseph) or forsaken Israel altogether?

28:1 – Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (James and John’s mother) are the first to visit the tomb, with Mary Magdalene being the first to see risen the Christ.

28:7 – The Angel of the Lord (possibly the Holy Spirit) commissions both Mary’s to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection to His disciples.

(Women, like men, can share the gospel, but unlike men, they are not permitted to be pastors or elders, 1 Tim. 2:11-15).

28:19 – Jesus gives the Great Commission to all His disciples.

(Peter, although nearly always listed in first place, never enjoyed advanced briefings or special ‘papal’ knowledge. He was given a new name, which normally meant a position of power and authority, but so too were James and John. As he was probably the oldest and I believe the weakest disciple, Jesus used this to raise him up to be one of the pillars of the early church, but no more than that Gal. 2:9).

For a much longer and more in-depth study on Matthew’s Gospel, please click here for James’ complete verse-by-verse Bible study.


1:4-6 – John the Baptist’s baptism only prepared people for Jesus’ arrival (Acts 19:1-5).When Jesus arrived and the people believed on Him, they were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (Eph. 4:4-5).

1:16-17 – Jesus calls Simon and Andrew and makes them joint fishers of men.

1:19 – James and John also called and given the same commission.

3:16 – Simon surnamed Peter.

3:17 – James and John also given a new surname, ‘sons of thunder.’

(John, like Peter is given a new name, which in antiquity meant one now enjoyed extra privileges and responsibilities from their master.  As Jesus was Mary’s firstborn and with Joseph almost certainly being dead by 30 AD it was Jesus’ responsibility to look after His mother, this He later entrusts John to do, upon His death, John 19:27).

3:31 – Jesus’ brothers and sisters listed before His mother.

8:33 – Mark records Peter’s outburst, but not his confession of faith in Jesus.

(Mark was Peter’s disciple and scribe and so it is intriguing that when he wrote his gospel, with Peter still being alive, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he omits Matthew’s fuller account, where Jesus praises Peter for publicly affirming, how Jesus was the Son of God. Clearly, Matthew’s fuller account wasn’t that important to the Holy Spirit and the early church, for only one gospel records it).

14:19 – Peter along with the other disciples had no idea about who would betray Jesus. He wasn’t privy to this information.

16:7 – The Angel of the Lord tells Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that Jesus has been raised from the dead, and then Peter.  (Peter and Jesus’ mother were not privy to this information).

16:9 – Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, not Peter or His mother. Again, both are claimed to be at the pinnacle of some imaginary hierarchy in the church of Rome, and yet neither are privy to the greatest event in history.

16:16 – People are damned because they will not believe the gospel.

(Free will is found here, not Calvinists robotic ‘Total Depravity’).


1:1-2 – Other written accounts could be Matthew, Mark, John and the epistles.

1:20 – Zacharias was punished by the angel because he was older and a priest, so he was more accountable to God.

1:34 – Mary, like Zacharias, also questions her angelic messenger, but due to her age and sex, she isn’t chastised.

1:48 – Mary humbly calls herself a handmaiden, not ‘the queen of heaven.’

1:49 – Mary calls God holy, not herself.

2:25-35 – Simeon is one of the first people to recognise Jesus as the Messiah.

2:33 – Mary appears surprised by Simeon’s words about Jesus.

2:36-38 – Anna also affirms Simeon’s words about Jesus as Messiah.

2:48 – Mary is bewildered with the young Jesus.

2:51 – Jesus is a perfect Child, but Mary seems unsure about Him.

(These verses show that while Mary was a wonderful young lady, she wasn’t sinless and nor was she fully briefed about Jesus’ human and divine natures).

3:16 – John the Baptist makes it clear that there are two baptisms and Jesus’ is superior.   (Water only puts you into the water, whereas the Spirit puts you into the Spirit, meaning the body of Christ).

6:12-16 – Jesus spends all night in prayer before He chose His 12 Apostles.

9:54-56 – Jesus rebukes the sons of thunder for their merciless hearts. No ‘infallibility’ here, even with their new name.

22:8 – Peter and John both sent out to prepare for the final Passover.

22:23 – Nobody knew who would betray Jesus, Peter and His mother weren’t privy either.

22:31 – Jesus calls Peter “Simon,” “Simon” not Cephas.

24:9 – The women are the first to inform the 12 Apostles and 70 Disciples that Jesus has been raised from the dead.

24:51 – Jesus is carried up (raptured) into Heaven by angels.

(Luke follows Matthew, Mark and John’s account of Mary Magdalene being the first person at the tomb, and while she had a group of ladies with her, she is also the first to see the risen Christ and commune with Him. Yet Catholics seek to airbrush this out and elevate Mary, the mother of Jesus instead, along with Peter too).


1:29 – John the Baptist affirms Jesus is the Lamb of God.

1:33 – John only sent to baptize with water. Jesus’ baptism is by the Holy Spirit.

1:34 – He proclaims Jesus as the Son of God.

1:40 – Andrew is the first disciple to believe in Jesus.

1:42 – Peter called Cephas (meaning a stone).

1:45 – Philip calls Jesus the Messiah (meaning anointed of God.)

1:49 – Nathanael calls Jesus the Son of God and King of Israel.

2:19-21 – Some Jews misunderstood Him about His body being the Temple. He doesn’t correct their ignorance (Jer. 5:21-31).

3:15 – Sinners are solely saved by faith in Christ alone.

3:17 – Jesus not sent to condemn the world but to save it.

3:18 – Unbelievers are already condemned by God.

3:31 – John said Jesus is from Heaven and is above all.

3:36 – One is forever saved when believing on Jesus. To not believe will see one eternally damned.

4:10 – Jesus speaks of the gift of God which is eternal. Paul said it’s free and unspeakable (2 Cor. 9:15).

4:14-15 – The woman at the well misunderstood Jesus about His water is a type of everlasting life. He doesn’t correct her ignorance, yet she (vs. 29) and her village (vs. 42), later get saved.

5:23 – Those that reject God the Son reject God the Father too, for Scripture says they are one (10:30).

5:24 – Faith in His word/gospel message and in His Father saves the sinner. Once a party believes, they pass from death unto life. No confession, baptism or church attendance cited.

6:2 – Large crowds always followed Him for either free food or healings, not always because of His message of repentance. The same is true today, especially in seeker-friendly and signs and wonder churches.

6:15 – He departs from their carnal desire to make Him their king. Again, people were often wrong about Him and His message, and He rarely corrected them.

6:26-27 – He rebukes them for having the wrong motives and ideas about His ministry.

6:29 – The will of God/works of God is to truly believe on Him (Matt. 7:21-23).

6:31 – The people incorrectly think He is speaking about literal bread like Moses offered their forefathers. Due to the vast majority of them not really wanting to hear and believe on Him, He deliberately speaks to them in parables and highly figurative language. The gospel message is simple, yet Satan and wicked men subvert and deny its simplicity (2 Cor. 11:3).

6:33 – Jesus, as the bread of life, descended from Heaven.

6:34 – They still foolishly think He means literal bread.

6:35 – He rebukes this and makes it clear how He is The Bread of Life.

6:40 – All that see and believe in Him are saved.

6:41 – They murmur because they now realise that He is speaking about being personally identified with Him, i.e., real faith in Him and His deity.

6:42 – They try to reduce Him to that of being only Joseph and Mary’s Son, much like the Muslims attempt to.

6:43 – Jesus corrects them, i.e., stop your murmurings right now.

6:44-46 – Many present refused to come to Him to be saved.

6:48 – Again He states His deity.

6:49 – Jews in the wilderness had literal food and still died, so believe on Me and you will live forever (vs. 50).

6:51 – To eat His flesh and drink His blood means faith in His substitutionary death, i.e., His literal bloody death in place of sinners.

6:52-58 – Clear unequivocal language: eat and drink Me to be saved.

(The Jews were sustained in the wilderness [the world] by literal bread [a type of Christ], with Moses as their leader [a type of Christ], yet they all died, with only a few entering the Promised Land. Jesus will sustain those that come to Him forever, if they believe on Him and be identified with a crucified Messiah. Something which for some Jews then and today is a stumbling block, 1 Cor. 1:23).

6:61 – Once again He rebukes them, like vs. 43.

6:64 – He blames their hardness of heart and unbelief in Him. He always knew who would believe on Him and who wouldn’t.

7:12 – They continue to murmur about Who He is.

7:37-38 – He uses more figurative language about drinking His blood.

8:34 – Whosoever commits sin is a servant of sin. Out go the [free]masons.

10:16 – Only one fold/one Church (Eph. 4:4-5).

10:28-30 – Eternal security for true believers.

10:41- John the Baptist never performed miracles, yet scores of people were baptized and many later got saved because of his love of God.

11:27 – Martha believes Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God.

15:23 – Those that hate Jesus and reject Him also hate and reject His Father.

16:13 – The Holy Spirit guided the Apostles into all truth, which enabled them to write down everything that He wanted them to. Once the New Testament was completed, the Church is infallibly equipped, until the return of Christ (1 Cor. 1:5-8).

20:17 – Jesus informs Mary Magdalene to tell His brethren that He has been resurrected. Peter and His mother were not selected for this.

(This article was first written in 2013 and slightly updated in 2021).