Who Wrote the Gospels and When Did They Write Them?

by Craig Dunkley

The main historical sources we have regarding Jesus’ life and ministry are the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the Book of Acts, the fifth book of the New Testament.  As we’ll cover in this and other posts, these sources

1. Were written shortly after Jesus’ ministry, not hundreds of years later, as some have argued

2. Are basically reliable from a historical standpoint

3. Largely contain first- and second-hand accounts, and are not the products of centuries of legend, as some have argued

4. Have come down to us reliably over the centuries, with their original meanings intact and without significant modification

For today, we’ll focus on the fact that these books were written shortly after Jesus’ ministry and that they contain first- and second-hand testimony.  They are not legendary books created by people hundreds of years after Jesus’ walked the earth.

One thing to remember, the gospels and Acts are separate books, written by different people at different times.  As such, they represent different—and typically corroborating—sources.  For someone who is not a Christian, it is easy to think of these as all parts of one book, because they are all found in the New Testament.  That would an error…

Who Wrote the Gospels and When Did They Write Them?