This year I have made it a goal to intensely study at least two books of Scripture alongside my regular devotional reading of the Scriptures. For whatever reason the Gospel of Mark was the first book I choose to do this with this year and it has been wonderful. I feel like an archeologist and each time I work at the text a little harder more and more glorious truth gets unraveled before my eyes. It's been a real joy for me this year. But it has got me thinking about the church traditions I was raised in and the engagement I have previously had with the Gospels.What I have concluded is that my church traditions don't know what to do with the four Gospels and Acts at the beginning of the New Testament, or categorically the narrative portions of the New Testament.
Why is it that most of my upbringing and life in Scripture has been centered around the Epistles of Paul and other Apostles? Is it because they are easier to "preach" because of their sermonic exhortations and style? I happen to think that is a big part of the reason why but I wonder if there is something more to our avoidance of the Gospels. Could it be that we don't have a good handle on how to preach narrative text? Do we not comprehend the writer's (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) purpose or intention in writing the Gospel? Could it be that we are too lazy to do the hard work of singularly working through the text of one book and letting its message stand on its own? Or maybe we don't know what to do with the Person of the Gospels, Jesus? Maybe His life and Words are too much for us to handle and so we try and hide behind the safety of the Apostle Paul or the Psalmist?
I'm not trying to point fingers here or belittle the ecclesiastical traditions I was raised in. Yet if the Person central to our faith is revealed and proclaimed in the Gospels why do we treat them as secondary in our preaching, studies, and worship?