#1 Authorship of the gospels
The four gospels basically tell the same story, but a few discrepancies occur. For example, the genealogies for Jesus given in Matthew and Luke are not exactly the same. It turns out that this can be explained. Sometimes sequences of events are different – this is not a major problem since people’s memories of real events can vary. The focal point for each gospel may be different so the emphasis is different.
Two of the gospels were written by apostles: the Gospel of Matthew was written by the apostle Matthew also known as Levi the tax collector. This tax collector was called by Jesus for a reason; apart from keeping records, he was also quite a good writer.
The Gospel of John was written by the apostle John, who with his brother James were known as the ‘sons of thunder’. Three short letters in the New Testament are also written by John. John culminated his great literary and theological feat by writing the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Both the Gospel of John and Revelation are full of imagery and symbolic meaning; both soar to the heights of inspiration as if to touch the heavenly realm.
In disputed sequences of events I am going to go with the gospels of Matthew and John as eye-witness accounts.
The Gospel of Mark was written by a friend of the apostle Peter and based on Peter’s sermons. His actual name was John Mark. This account is contemporary, but slightly removed from events giving the gospel more simple clarity. It is the most straight forward of the gospels.
The Gospel of Luke was written by the doctor Luke, a friend of Paul. It is addressed to Theophilus who must have been a Greek with a name like that. Paul’s co-worker Titus was also a Greek. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Gentiles means non-Jews.
Luke gathered stories from all sorts of witnesses to Jesus’ life and wrote the most beautiful gospel with exclamations called ‘songs’ and anecdotes recounted by many people concerning Jesus’ extraordinary life. The gospel is a compilation of eye-witness accounts. One of the informants must have been Mary herself concerning the birth of Jesus.
The four gospels are, in my opinion, reliable sources of information as to the life of Jesus Christ as they are based on sources that come directly from first-hand accounts of the events.