The Gospels are not primarily historical documents. They are not intended to be regarded as biographies of Jesus. They are in fact the preaching material of the early church . . . They are attempts to show the mind and heart and the character of Jesus, and they make this attempt, not simply as a matter of interest, and not simply as a contribution to history, but so that those who read may see the mind of God in Jesus. The Gospels are not simply descriptions of Jesus -- they are invitations to believe in him as the Son of God.
WILLIAM BARCLAY: Introducing the Bible