What Are the Written Accounts of the Life of Jesus?

The life of Jesus Christ is a topic that has fascinated millions of people around the world. His teachings, miracles, and ultimate sacrifice have had a profound impact on Christianity and the world as a whole. While many people are familiar with the basic story of his life, there are numerous written accounts that provide more detailed information about his time on earth.

The Gospels

The most well-known written accounts of Jesus’ life are found in the Bible’s four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These books were written by different authors at different times, but they all tell essentially the same story. Each Gospel provides its own unique perspective on Jesus’ life and teachings.

Matthew: Matthew was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and his Gospel is focused on proving that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah promised in Jewish scriptures. It covers Jesus’ birth, baptism, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection.

Mark: Mark’s Gospel is believed to be the earliest written account of Jesus’ life. It emphasizes Jesus’ actions rather than his teachings and includes many vivid descriptions of his miracles.

Luke: Luke was a physician who wrote his Gospel for a Gentile audience. It includes many stories about Jesus’ interactions with women and other marginalized groups.

John: John’s Gospel is highly theological and emphasizes the spiritual significance of Jesus’ life. It includes many speeches in which Jesus explains his relationship with God.

The Apocrypha

In addition to the four Gospels, there are numerous other written accounts of Jesus’ life that were not included in the Bible’s official canon. These texts are known as apocryphal or non-canonical gospels.

Gospel of Thomas: The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of sayings attributed to Jesus that were discovered in Egypt in the 1940s. It is not a narrative account of Jesus’ life, but rather a collection of his teachings.

Gospel of Judas: The Gospel of Judas is a gnostic text that portrays Judas Iscariot as a hero who was chosen by Jesus to betray him. It was discovered in Egypt in the 1970s.

Gospel of Mary Magdalene: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene portrays Mary as a prominent disciple who received secret teachings from Jesus. It was discovered in Egypt in the late 19th century.

The Letters of Paul

While not strictly narratives of Jesus’ life, the letters written by the Apostle Paul provide valuable information about early Christian beliefs and practices. Paul never met Jesus during his lifetime, but he became one of Christianity’s most important figures after experiencing a vision on the road to Damascus.

  • 1 Corinthians: This letter provides insights into early Christian worship practices and addresses issues such as marriage and resurrection.
  • Romans: Romans is considered by many to be Paul’s most important letter. It outlines his understanding of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Galatians: Galatians emphasizes the importance of faith over adherence to Jewish law.


The written accounts of Jesus’ life are numerous and varied. While the four Gospels provide the most widely accepted version of his story, other texts such as the Apocrypha and Paul’s letters offer unique perspectives on early Christian beliefs and practices. Whether read for historical or religious purposes, these texts continue to inspire and inform people around the world today.