» Temperaments and the Gospels


Many of us have a favorite Gospel writer—wouldn’t it be interesting if that Gospel is the one that relates most closely to our own temperament? In fact, many Christian writers have speculated about the temperaments of the Gospel writers, as each seem to reflect a unique–and slightly different–perspective. To the extent that each of the Gospels offers a slightly different perspective on the Paschal mystery, it may be possible to characterize each one’s “temperament.”

The 4 Gospel WritersSt. Matthew demonstrates definitively that Christ is the Messiah, the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Old Testament and emphasizes the Kingdom of God. St. Luke highlights Jesus’ relationship with the Father, especially through prayer, as well as the poor, women (especially Blessed Mother), the lowly and the suppressed. Mark is the least “scholarly” and tells a straightforward fast-paced story; he shows Christ’s urgency and his conquering action. John is the most mystical, poetic, and theoretical of all the four. To hazard a guess, we would propose that St. Matthew is choleric, St. Luke the relationship-oriented sanguine, St. Mark the straight story, simple and unadorned (phlegmatic), and St. John ( the truth will set you free; the only Gospel where Christ carries the cross alone, the most poetic and mystical of all four gospels) –idealistic, melancholic.