David Holford

The Priority of the Gospels

It is important to read all of the Scriptures. They contain God’s message to us. As Paul told his protégé Timothy,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Old Testament anticipates the coming of Christ. We see Him foreshadowed in the character and actions of various individuals. We also see the inability of God’s chosen people to stay true to Him. Some of the Old Testament’s greatest individuals demonstrate some of the greatest flaws and the need of everyone for a Redeemer.

We learn the good and the bad about Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha and other major characters. If we read it closely enough we also learn about other fascinating people who don’t generate the same number of column inches.

There is also timeless wisdom, encouragement and inspired words of worship in writings like the Psalms and Proverbs. God’s compassion and jealousy toward His own are revealed though the Prophets.

In the Epistles of the New Testament we learn a lot about Jesus. We also learn about how we should behave as Christians. The apostolic letter writers are addressing churches and individuals concerning how they need to get their faith into shape, or lead others to do so. They need to avoid slipping back into old ways that aren’t compatible with Christianity. They need to understand what it means to be the Body of Christ.

In the Church today, we experience and encounter many of the same problems faced by the very early Church. These letters have been preserved for us, so that we might find timeless application in them.

It’s also good to read the book of Acts, to see how the first century Church dealt with practical issues while spreading the Gospel from Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria and across the Roman world, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

However, the Gospel writers bring us into direct contact with Jesus. In the Gospels we stand in His presence and learn from the immediacy of His thoughts, words and actions.

We are there from the Annunciation to His Nativity to His Baptism. We see the revelation of Who He is unfolded to his disciples. We see how Jesus impacts upon those who oppose Him. We see Him with the outcasts of society. We hear God’s words out of God’s mouth in sermons, in parables, and in private teachable moments. We also hear him bidding the sick and dead to rise, commanding demons to flee, and storms to cease.

We learn about the Crucifixion by being at the foot of the cross with His mother and about the Resurrection by being at the tomb with the women who had followed him from Galilee. We walk with Him on the road to Emmaus while His words burn in our hearts.

Read all of Scriptures, but I especially encourage you to spend time in the Gospels. Get to know Jesus face-to-face. As the Gospel stories demonstrate, it is always a life changing experience.

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