From Jonathan Pennington Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction (Baker Academic, 2012), 38-49.
- We need to study the Gospels because they have been central to the Church throughout its history.
- We need the Gospels because Paul and the other New Testament writers presuppose and build upon the story and teaching of Jesus.
- We need a healthy diet of the Gospels because although the written form of the Gospels is subsequent to most of the Epistles, the traditions behind them are not; they go back to the time of Jesus himself and the immediately following years, passed down through oral (and eventually written) repetition.
- We need the Gospels because in them we get a more direct sense of the Bible’s great story line.
- We need the Gospels because in them we get a concentrated exposure to the biblical emphasis on the coming kingdom of God.
- We need the Gospels because there are different languages or discourses of truth.
- We need the Gospels because they are in many ways a more comprehensive and paradigmatic type of map.
- We need the Gospels because encountering Jesus in narrative helps us grow in experiential knowledge and helps us realize that reality does not always fit into neat little boxes of “truth.”
- We need the Gospels because in the Gospels alone we get a personal, upfront encounter with Jesus Christ.
You can read for free online the table of contents, the foreword by Richard Bauckham, and the first chapter, “What Are the Gospels? Defining Gospel.”