Remember how the Hebrew Scriptures were on a set of scrolls? As the teacher would study and teach from various sections of Scripture, he would have to lay the one scroll down, pull another out of the storage rack and roll it open to where he wanted to go. Quite a challenge when comparing Scripture with Scripture!
What a blessing it is today to have the marvelous Bible translations and study references that are available, even in computer-based software that makes access more efficient than ever.
In our study of the person of Christ, we spend most of our time in the four Gospels. One essential study tool you need to keep with you at all times is a “Harmony of the Gospels”. An example of how the Harmony works: When you study the call of the first disciples in Matthew, Mark and Luke, it looks to you like this is their actual call. However, when you use the Harmony, you discover that John actually tells about an earlier “call” that happened.
When you are studying the life of Christ from any of the four Gospels, you benefit greatly by including in your study the observations provided (or not provided!) by all four of the writers. Just think about all the different perspectives these different men developed as they walked along listening to the Master Teacher. The best way to obtain this comparative information is by using a Harmony.
Why did all four of the writers think the feeding of the 5000 was important enough to include, and what unique insights does each provide to the event? Why did only Mark tell us about Jesus healing the man at the pool of Bethesda, what is there about Mark’s perspective that brought us this marvelous account?
The classic work in this area is A.T. Robertson’s Harmony. However, I recommend Thomas & Gundry’s more recent (1978) work, which is based on the New American Standard translation. If you don’t want to run out to buy the book, click on the link for the picture above of Jesus and the Disciples. This PDF Harmony-of-the-Gospels-Table-and-Text is a handy chart that gives you the basic harmony. This is a handy tool that you can print and keep in your Bible. I’m not yet prepared to speak for its accuracy, but it gets you the general benefit.