Our written gospels, then, are the result of a long process of historical development. They describe the person of Jesus, his words and deeds, his passion, death, and resurrection. But the gospels are not histories or biographies in the modern sense of these terms. They are a proclamation of the salvific acts of God in Jesus with a view to evoking and strengthening faith. The gospels are not a simple, factual record of the past for its own sake; but they record the past in order to proclaim and interpret it for the benefit of the Church, to show the Church the ground of its faith and practice. Our written gospels are documents of the faith of the early Church and they are intended to be in the service of Christian faith everywhere and at all times.
The Holy Spirit was at work in the entire process of the formation of the gospels. The Spirit was active in the Church’s formation of authentic traditions concerning Jesus and in faithfully transmitting them. Above all, the Spirit was active in the sacred authors who compiled, edited, and interpreted the traditions in the composition of the gospels, especially his activity in the sacred writers, is known as inspiration. It is the inspiring presence and activity of the Holy Spirit that enabled the evangelists to be faithful to Jesus and his message in their gospels and also to be faithful; to the particular communities which they served as ministers of God’s Word. It is the same Spirit who guided the Church to acknowledge the Gospels as authentic Word of God.