Most people will recommend you read the book of John first. I’d like to offer you a choice. I think where you start might depend on your personality. I do believe that you should start with one of the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. These four books are called The Gospels, which means Good News! So, yes – start with the Good News! All four books basically give the same information, but in different ways, by different authors, for different audiences, and for different reasons. You know your own personality, so choose the one that appeals to you. I would like to suggest that you read all four, in whatever order makes sense to you, but read them all. Over and over. And then read them again. In fact, I recommend that you spend the rest of your life reading them. I promise, it will never get old or boring. Never.
Matthew and John were Disciples who spent a lot of time with Jesus. They experienced what they wrote first hand. Mark followed the disciple Peter around and heard him tell the stories as he experienced them. Luke was a scholar and a physician. He did a thorough job of interviewing those who were there and wrote their stories in a letter to a man named Theophilus, which means “one who loves God.” Matthew wrote to the Jews who knew what we call Old Testament Scriptures and wrote down many of the words that Jesus spoke.
- Matthew wrote about the TEACHINGS of Jesus
- Mark wrote about the ACTIONS of Jesus
- Luke wrote about the MIRACLES of Jesus
- John wrote about the MEANINGS and the SIGNIFICANCE of Jesus
Matthew, Mark, and Luke concentrate on what happened, John explains it. If you want to hear the words of Jesus, then read Matthew first. If you just want ‘just-the-facts, ma’am,’ read Mark first. Want a detailed record? Read Luke first. John is the place to start if you want to bask in the Glory of Jesus as Savior, Redeemer, life-changer. But remember, you really need to read all four and don’t worry if they are a little different. Four people tell the story in their own way and for different reasons. If you ask four people to describe anything, you will get four different responses. They all tell us about Jesus, and they all tell us the Good News.