The Four Gospels in a Single Complete Narrative
Loraine Boettner was following in his tradition when, in the early 1900s, he created his own diatessaron for classroom use at Pikeville College, Kentucky, where he was a professor. This book used the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), which Boettner preferred over the King James, and was published by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing as A Harmony of the Gospels.
The Gospel of Jesus: The Four Gospels in a Single Complete Narrative by Loraine Boettner.
In the mid-100s, Tatian the Syrian arranged the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John into a single narrative and called it the Diatessaron, a Greek term meaning “Out of Four.” His innovation proved inspiring to others through the centuries. Reformed theologian and author Loraine Boettner was following in his tradition when, in the early 1900s, he created his own diatessaron for classroom use at Pikeville College, Kentucky, where he was a professor. This book used the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV), which Boettner preferred over the King James, and was published by Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing as A Harmony of the Gospels.
This new edition of Boettner’s diatessaron differs in several ways from the original, yet the bones are the same. Although the ASV has much to commend it, we have used the Christian Standard Bible for its clear, familiar vocabulary and ease of reading. We have updated, revised, and added to Boettner’s headings and adjusted dates he provided to better reflect contemporary scholarly consensus.1
In formatting the new edition, we have walked a careful line between providing as much information as possible and promoting a user-friendly reading experience. Full Scripture references for all the New Testament texts are given in the margins, where the eye can easily find or look past them as desired. In cases where more than one gospel writer recorded the same event or teaching, we have printed the account that gives it most fully and have inserted additional distinct material from parallel gospel accounts in [brackets] at the appropriate places; some punctuation and paragraph breaks have also been inserted as clarity required. Bolded text indicates a quotation from, or reference to, an Old Testament passage, and an index on page 213 provides further details. Italicized text indicates a non-English word or, when applied to English text, an editorial insertion or substitution. Scripture references are marked with asterisks (*) when they are for passages that do not appear in all the earliest manuscripts of Scripture. (Not all these passages are included in this book.) The abbreviations found in the margins signify the following New Testament books:
1 Cor 1 Corinthians
This book is no substitute for a Bible. It is no substitute for reading the gospels individually: each gospel is inspired and offers a distinct perspective on Christ. And yet we hope you will find The Gospel of Jesus to be a helpful resource for Bible study. This harmony is not intended to flatten out the distinctive voices of the gospel writers but to direct you back to their individual gospels with fresh understanding and appreciation.
- For the timeline that guided our adjustments, see CSB Study Bible (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 1494–95, 1662–63.
Here is an example of the Temptation narrative:
WILDERNESS OF JUDEA
Lk 4:1-2 Then Jesus left the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in
the wilderness for forty days to be tempted by the devil.
Mk 1:13 He was with the wild animals.
Mt 4:2-11 After he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Then the
tempter approached him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these
stones to become bread.”
He answered, “It is written: “Man must not live on bread alone but on every
word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Lk 4:9 Then the devil took him to the holy city [Jerusalem], had him stand on the
pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw
yourself down. For it is written:
Lk 4:10 “He will give his angels orders concerning you, [to protect you,]
and they will support you with their hand so that you will not strike your foot
against a stone.”
Jesus told him, “It is also written: ”Do not test the Lord your God.”
Lk 4:5 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the
kingdoms of the world [in a moment of time] and their splendor.
And he said to him, “I will give you all these
Lk 4:6-7 things if you will fall down and worship me [because it has been given
over to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. If you, then, will worship me, all
will be yours].”
Then Jesus told him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your
God, and serve only him.”
Lk 4:13 Then the devil left him [for a time], and angels came and began to serve him.