Four Portraits, One Jesus

Four Portraits, One Jesus

Taught by Mark L. Strauss

The Gospels record the "greatest story ever told," the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. To study the Gospels is to study the foundation of Christianity, and in this Four Portraits, One Jesus course, author and professor Mark Strauss provides an expert yet understandable introduction to these first four books of the New Testament.

Course Details

  • 20 Units

  • Self-paced

  • 6 hours of video

  • Beginner

  • Four Portraits, One Jesus

12 Month Access
$229.99 USD

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 Take this course via The BibleMesh Institute to get transfer credit for degree programs at select institutions.

Course Description

To Christians worldwide, the man Jesus of Nazareth is the centerpiece of history, the object of faith, hope, and worship. Even those who do not follow Jesus admit the vast influence of his life. For anyone interested in knowing more about Jesus, study of the four biblical Gospels is essential.

The Four Portraits, One Jesus course, taught by Mark L. Strauss, is a thorough yet accessible introduction to these documents and their subject, the life and person of Jesus. Like different artists rendering the same subject using different styles and points of view, the Gospels paint four highly distinctive portraits of the same remarkable Jesus.

With clarity and insight, Strauss illuminates these four books, first addressing their nature, origin, methods for study, and historical, religious, and cultural backgrounds. He then moves into a closer study of each narrative and its contribution to our understanding of Jesus, investigating elements such as plot, characters, and theme. Finally, he pulls it all together with a detailed examination of what the Gospels teach about Jesus’ ministry, message, death, and resurrection, with excursions into the quest for the historical Jesus and the historical reliability of the Gospels.

By completing this course, you’ll gain

  • Knowledge of the historical, religious, social, and cultural contexts in which Jesus lived and the Gospels were written
  • Insight into the individual portraits of Jesus presented within each Gospel, the ways in which those portraits differ, and the reasons why
  • An introduction to the modern “search for the historical Jesus” and the historical reliability of the Gospels
  • A unifying overview, drawn from all four gospels, of Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles, message, and death and resurrection
  • A deeper understanding of the genre and function of the four biblical Gospels
  • Confidence in your growing knowledge through personalized review sessions and unit assessments

Meet Your Instructors

Mark L. Strauss

Ph.D., University of Aberdeen

Mark Strauss is professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego. He has written The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts, Distorting Scripture?: The Challenge of Bible Translation and Gender Accuracy, Luke in the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentary series, and Mark in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.

Course Outline

  • What Are the Gospels?

  • Exploring the Origin and Nature of the Gospels: Historical-Critical Methods of Gospel Research

  • Reading and Hearing the Gospel Stories: Literary-Critical Methods of Gospel Research

  • The Historical and Geographical Setting of the Gospels

  • The Religious Setting: First-Century Judaism

  • The Social and Cultural Setting of the Gospels

  • Mark: The Gospel of the Suffering Son of God

  • Matthew: The Gospel of the Messiah

  • Luke: The Gospel of the Savior for All People

  • John: The Gospel of the Son Who Reveals the Father


  • Searching for the Real Jesus

  • The Historical Reliability of the Gospels

  • The Contours and Chronology of Jesus’ Ministry

  • Jesus’ Birth and Childhood

  • The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry

  • The Message of Jesus

  • The Miracles of Jesus

  • The Messianic Words and Actions of Jesus

  • The Death of Jesus

  • The Resurrection of Jesus



BibleMesh is now offering an integrated reading experience for our new book-based courses. As before, students will be guided through their reading with book excerpts embedded within the course. This allows for an improved reading experience within the course. Students will also be able to pop out the book reader into a full-screen, fully-featured web-based reading platform where they will be able to see the wider context of each excerpt and access the complete book.

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