The Gospel of the Lord – Out in March 2014

I’m glad to say that in March 2014, Eerdmans will be releasing my book, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. Available for pre-order on 425pp. The title is inspired by John Cassian: “Hear the Gospel of the Lord, or rather hear the Lord Himself saying of Himself: ‘This,’ says He, ‘is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.’ You heard above that the Word of God was sent to heal mankind: here you are told that He who was sent is Jesus Christ.” Here’s the blurb:

In this book Michael Bird describes how the canonical Gospels originated from a process of oral tradition, literary composition, textual development, and reception in the early church with a view to showing what makes them among the most important writings in the New Testament. Bird explores how the Christian movement shaped the Gospels and, conversely, how these writings shaped the early church. He develops a distinctive evangelical-and-critical approach to the Gospels, deals with the Synoptic problem head-on, and explains the significance of the fourfold Gospel canon. The book includes a number of helpful excursuses on related topics. All in all, Bird’s Gospel of the Lord clarifies the often-confusing debates over the origins of the Gospels and offers informed and soundly argued explanations that account for the content of the Gospels in the context of the wider Graeco-Roman world.

Here is the TOC:

1/ Introduction: From Jesus to Gospels

Excursus: From Oral gospel to Written Gospel.

2/ The Purpose and Preservation of the Jesus Tradition

Excursus: An Evangelical and Critical Approach to the Gospels

3/ The Formation of the Jesus Tradition

Excursus: The Failure of Form Criticism

4/ The Literary Genetics of the Gospels: The Synoptic Problem and Johannine Question

Excursus: Patristic Quotations on the Order of the Gospels

5/ The Genre and Goal of the Gospels: What is a Gospel and Why Write One?

Excursus: What About the “Other” Gospels?

6/ The Fourfold Gospel of Jesus Christ

Excursus: TheText of the Gospels in the Second Century

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • John Walker

    So stoked for this. I’m especially interested in your excursus Evangelical-Critical approach, it seems a much needed proposal.

  • Michael Barber


    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to get my hands on this.

  • MDM

    Dr. Bird,

    If I only have time to read one book on the origin of the Gospels, and I’m deciding between this and Bauckham’s ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses,’ what should tip the scales in one direction or the other? Or do the two books have substantially different aims?


  • The Gospel time. Watch this video. Hope you like it.