Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospels

Reviewed by:

G. Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospels (Second Edition)


Mark L Strauss


Zondervan Academic (an imprint of Zondervan)

Publication Date:

March 24, 2020 (first edition 2007)




656 pages


What sets the four Gospels apart? What do they tell us about the world Jesus lived in? Can Christians treat them as historically accurate? Bible scholar Mark L. Strauss examines these questions and others in his updated edition of Four Portraits, One Jesus. He starts by considering different way that scholars read the Gospels, then unpacks geographical and cultural facts they show about first-century Palestine. Then Strauss goes through each Gospel individually, and explains the various quests for a historical Jesus. Finally, he considers the major themes and phases of Jesus’ ministry that one sees when reading the Gospels together.

Reading about the Gospels’ reliability and who Jesus really was can feel like walking through a swamp at times. Even many apologetics books that provide good defenses can get bogged down in technical details. Strauss expertly cuts through the weeds, using clear language to consider each point and setting aside speculation from fact. In doing so, he helps readers understand what’s been speculated about the Gospels and what is certain or reasonably certain about them. As it turns out, there are many things that people debate about the Gospels, but there are also excellent reasons to believe they are reliable. Not only that, but they easily give the most accurate picture of who Jesus really was.

A terrific guide to the Gospels which will help students and laymen alike.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

5 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers (particularly students specializing in Biblical scholarship) who want a concise introduction to what the Gospels say about Jesus, and the conversation about their reliability.

Christian Impact

This book makes an excellent case for the reliability of Scripture and will help students and laymen alike understand the Gospels better.

Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospels


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