Matthew, Mark and Luke. The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are so similar in form and content that it is convenient to view them together. The three are often printed in parallel columns; such a book is called a synopsis. With the aid of a synopsis, the synoptic gospels can be studied synoptically, that is, studied by comparing the similarities and differences between them. The gospel of John is so unlike the synoptic gospels that there is limited value in trying to view it "synoptically" with the other three gospels.