I recently heard the story of a layman’s interpretation of the Gospels. It apparently happened sometime in the middle of the 20th century, when a man with little formal training decided to read the Bible. In doing so, he built his own interpretation of the book, something that isn’t unique but his interpretation was at least not self-serving or contradictory. Rather, it was … different.
Reading the Bible from the beginning he quickly concluded that it was in chronological order starting with the creation of the Earth and going forwards. The Old Testament followed this pattern so obviously when he started on the New Testament, reading the Gospel of Matthew, this fit perfectly: Jesus was born, lived, died, resurrected and ascended to Heaven.
Then the problem arose. The Gospel of Mark then told the story of the life, death, resurrection and ascension again, only slightly differently from the Gospel of Matthew. But when the Gospel of Luke started with the birth of Jesus the man knew what was happening:
The Bible is told in chronological order from the viewpoint of the divine and Jesus travelled back in time after his ascension, 3 times, each time to live his life on Earth slightly differently.