General Terms and Conditions

Reports and musings from a seminarian at General Theological Seminary, New York City.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Reading the Gospels

I have several interesting classes this semester, but I think I am most enjoying New Testament, where we are studying the three synoptic gospels - Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are called "synoptic" because they share so much of the same information. Like most readers of the gospels, I have never thought much about the differences between these three books. Sure, I knew that the Wisemen appeared only in Matthew, and the Shepherds only in Luke, and that Mark didn't even mention Jesus' birth. But I never realized how very different these books really are.

I have been amazed to learn of the writers' different perspectives. Today we discussed Luke, and how he is focused on the journey to Jerusalem. Last week it was about Matthew's idea that we find God in high places. It is fascinating to see how ideas like these (and many, many more) are borne out in the narratives. And, without a doubt, these ideas help bring the text alive! How exciting (and what a privilege) to study these things.

Of course, it can also be stressful. We have a midterm on Wednesday - we need to be able to identify which gospel key passages come from, and also answer short essay questions about major themes, etc. I have a lot of studying to do before I am ready to tackle that test - but there is time. Deep breaths...


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