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Why merge the four Gospels? It is important to preserve each of the four individual accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, because each contains unique sayings, events and stories that are not found within the others.
Yes, that is true, and the world will always have the four Gospels as they now appear in all of the versions of the New Testament of the Holy Bible. However, because there is overlap and duplication among so much similarity, the benefits of producing a single, concise account has long been recognized, and the first attempt at a merger of the content of the four Gospels into a single storyline may have been Tatian’s Diatessaron of 160 CE.
Because there are differences in the details that each account records, no single instance of a parallel saying or event could by itself be considered complete or accurate if it lacked a detail that is mentioned in the text of one or more of the other Gospel accounts. For this reason, the only way to know the full detail of all of the things that Jesus Christ said and did and taught, is to read all four of the Gospel accounts. As to why these particular four Gospel accounts have been preserved together, in lieu of any and all others, see The Synoptic Gospel – Note 5.1: Why Are There Four Gospels?
At 83,680 words (NASB version – each English translation will vary), reading all four of the Gospel accounts back-to-back is time-consuming, and the apparent differences in their details, and the chronological sequencing of their stories, can be confusing. For the sake of efficiency, and to eliminate confusion, it is both logical and desirable to merge and harmonize the words of the four New Testament Gospel accounts into a single and complete storyline, containing the full detail from every saying and event that each of the four Gospels recount. Why read four overlapping yet differing versions of the same event, when you really want to see everything that happened all together, and in a logical order?
As the intent of The Synoptic Gospel is to focus the full picture of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, all four of the New Testament Gospels were used to produce a complete and unified account that is 22% shorter in length, which is much faster to read, and easier to understand.
* Note: This text is reproduced from The Synoptic Gospel – Article 1 – Why Merge the Gospels? Copyright 2014 by Smart Publishing Ltd.