Mark Some stories were eventually written down. The first written texts were most likely an account of Jesus' death and a collection of sayings ascribed to him. Then, about the year 70, Mark, an evangelist, published the first "gospel"—the words signify "good news" about Jesus.
Paul, the other main evangelist, began his work around 33-36 C.E., after Jesus' death and resurrection. Like Mark, he too started with Jesus' death and then went on to tell about his life after that point.
The gospels contain much more than just facts about Jesus' life and teachings. Each one was written for particular audiences at specific times for political or religious reasons. Thus, they can be used as sources of information about those groups or individuals, but not as biographies of Jesus himself.
Mark Mark was the first gospel to be written, most likely immediately after the battle between Rome and Judea that destroyed the Temple. And Mark depicts one sort of Jesus through a specific story in which Jesus begins in Galilee and concludes in Jerusalem. So, Mark is the earliest gospel.
John When the two spent so much time together, Mark's Gospel, the oldest account of Jesus' life, may have been recounted to him by Peter. Mark's Gospel is commonly acknowledged as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark penned the Gospel of Mark, a brief, action-packed narrative of Jesus' life and ministry. The book does not present itself as a biography but rather as a "story about Jesus." The author chose to focus on certain events in his life and weave them together into a coherent whole. He also included some of Jesus' teachings and parables.
Some scholars believe that John the Apostle wrote both the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Mark. They argue that since both books share similar ideas and style, they must have been written by the same author. Others believe that there were actually three authors who worked on different chapters of each book: John alone wrote the Fourth Gospel while another author wrote the Book of Acts and the remaining chapters of both books were written by yet another author. Still others suggest that Mark could have been written by someone other than John when he was traveling with Peter. This idea comes from the fact that Mark includes stories about Jesus' previous appearances to other people besides Peter--such as Thomas and Andrew--which would be impossible if he had not yet met Peter. Some scholars believe that Paul might have written one or both of the gospels because they contain many similarities with his letters.
Mark Mark is often regarded as the first gospel; it draws on a range of sources, including battle stories (Mark 2:1-3:6), apocalyptic discourse (4:1-35), and sayings collections, albeit not the sayings gospel known as the Gospel of Thomas and most likely not the Q source used by Matthew and Luke.
The earliest evidence for the existence of any part of the New Testament other than the four Gospels comes from Papias, who was a bishop around A.D. 130. In his work, "The Exposition of the Oracles of God," he refers to "a book called The Gospel of Mark," which indicates that at least one other gospel had been written before him. However, because this reference is only indirect, it cannot be taken as proof that all five books we know as the New Testament were actually written at that time. For example, some later writers may have referred to these earlier writings when they wanted to include information about events or people but did not want to cite their sources directly.
The earliest complete copy we know of date from A.D. 350-400 and is called the Muratorian Canon. It contains all five New Testament books excepting John, which does not appear until around A.D. 400. Thus, they must have been available for at least 200 years after they were supposedly written.