Excerpt from A Short Introduction to the Gospels
The chief purpose of this little volume is to place before the student of the gospels those facts concerning the purpose and point of view of each of them which are most necessary for an intelligent reading and study of them. A book of narrative character, containing a record of facts, has a value independent of the point of view and purpose of the author. Yet few books are so wholly objective in character, so devoted to the simple reporting of facts, so devoid of all aim to use these facts to achieve a result, that an insight into the mind of the writer does not contribute to an intelligent reading of them. To us today the highest value of the gospels is in the testimony they bring us concerning the deeds, words, and character of the Lord Jesus. Yet it is by no means idle curiosity that impels us to discover all that we can concerning the specific aim with which the several evangelists wrote. Not only is the discovery of the situation out of which each gospel arose, and of the end which the writer of each sought to accomplish, a contribution to the inner history of the early church, precisely as a knowledge of similar facts concerning an epistle of Paul constitutes such a contribution, but the discovery of the angle of vision from which, and the medium through which, the writer looked at Jesus, assists us to interpret each of the several representations of Jesus, and so to relate these one to another that from them all there may emerge the true historic figure of Jesus the Christ.
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