Book Notice: FOUR PORTRAITS, ONE JESUS (2nd Edition), by Mark L. Strauss

Published on March 23, 2020 by Benjamin J. Montoya

Zondervan Academic, 2020 | 656 pages

A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance


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 him admit the vast influence of his life. For anyone interested in knowing more about Jesus, study of the four biblical Gospels is essential.

The second edition of Four Portraits, One Jesus has been updated throughout to meet the needs to today’s students. It is a thorough yet accessible introduction to the four biblical Gospels 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, Mark Strauss illuminates these four books addressing the following important areas:

  • First he addresses the nature, origin, methods for study, and historical, religious, and cultural backgrounds of the Gospels.
  • He then moves on to closer study of each narrative and its contribution to our understanding of Jesus, investigating things 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.

This textbook together with its workbook, video lectures, and laminated sheet gives students everything they need for a thorough and enriching study of Jesus and the Gospels.


About the Author:

Mark L. Strauss (PhD, Aberdeen) is university professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary, where he has served since 1993. His books include Four Portraits, One JesusHow to Read the Bible in Changing TimesThe Essential Bible Companion; and commentaries on Mark and Luke. He also serves as vice chair of the Committee on Bible Translation for the New International Version translation.



“Hands down, the best textbook I’ve found for my Life of Jesus classes. It is superbly organized and very student-friendly … My students routinely comment on how well-written, interesting and accessible it is. The additional features and updated information contained in this latest edition simply enhance an already stellar book. I heartily recommend it for undergraduate or graduate level students alike.”

—Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary

“This textbook for studying the Gospels and the historical Jesus presents various views evenhandedly and consistently comes to careful and balanced conclusions. It introduces both older and newer approaches and treats all the major topics. Now augmented and improved!”

—Jeannine Graham, George Fox University

“I have used Mark Strauss’ delightful Four Portraits, One Jesus as my main textbook for many years. It is a favorite of mine and my students. I’m thrilled to see this new edition and highly recommend it!”

—Jonathan Pennington, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This is the best textbook available for a course on Jesus and the Gospels, and now Professor Strauss has made it even better, updated with new material and a fresh look. Rarely do both the instructor and the students rave about a textbook.”

—E. Randolph Richards, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Buy the books

FOUR PORTRAITS, ONE JESUS (2nd Edition), by Mark L. Strauss

Zondervan Academic, 2020 | 656 pages

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