Not All Gospels Are The Same

gospels 1

If you read through the 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in the Bible, you will notice that the details sometime differ from one Gospel account to another?  Why is that?

Let’s take a look at one specific part and compare it between the three Gospels it is found in.  The part we will look at is when Satan tempted Jesus right before Jesus started His earthly ministry.

Mark 1:12-13 (NIV)

12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV)

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Luke 4:1-13 (NIV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

 

These are three different accounts of the exact same event.  The first thing that stands out to me is that Mark omits many details that Matthew and Luke include in their accounts of Jesus’ temptation.  Just as various witnesses have individual perspectives on an event, the Gospel writers draw on their own backgrounds and write from their own view points for their particular audience.

Another thing that stands out to me and is of greater concern than the amount of coverage are the apparent discrepancies in the accounts themselves.  For instance, Matthew and Luke seem to rearrange the sequence of these events.  Matthew says that Jesus was tempted 1) to turn stones into bread; 2) to leap from the temple; 3) to worship the devil so all the kingdoms of the world would be given to Him.  Luke changes the order of the second and third temptations.

Ancient cultures did not feel compelled to relate events in chronological sequence.  Some people think that Matthew may have listed the temptations in chronological order while Luke listed them in order of significance.  Though the details vary according to individual Gospel writers, the essence of the information is consistent.  There is no real contradiction between these accounts.

I think it is a really great thing when people read the Bible and come up with questions.  That shows that people have interest in what they are reading.  I would give a word of caution though about reading the Gospels with the sole point of trying to find differences.  It can be very easy to focus on the small details and miss the big picture.  The big picture message of the Gospel is very important so you want to be sure that you don’t miss it.

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About wmarsau

Most of the people who visit this blog already know me so it is kind of pointless to try to describe my life in this short little blurb. What is the purpose of this blog is the question. Over the course of this last year I have been exposed to some amazing people and have made personal development an important focus of my life. Being successful, not by the world's standards, but by God's has become my main focus. Mainly, I want to work to develop myself as a person who is kinder, reaches out to help those in need, and truly makes a difference in this world. To this end I am constantly reading and am exposed to so many differnet things along the way. These have been amazing and it is helping me grow so much. Then I started to think, "Why am I being so selfish?" You need to share with others these amazing things you are learning and being exposed to. That is where this blog comes into play. As I am reading and experiencing things that are truly amazing and life changing, I will be posting them on this blog. Obviously, I will not be able to post everything in it's entirity, but I will be summarizing them and letting you know the source of the article or book they come from so you can check them out later if you wish. I want this blog to be a place where you can go to often and be inspired and leave here with a smile on your face. I will be covering all kinds of different topics dealing with success and personal development. Topics like taking action, relationships, living to your potential, reinventing yourself, finances, leadership, presenting, goal setting, time management, etc. I will also be occasionally including topics on cooking, music, and gardening because they are special interests of mine. As a little disclaimer, I have given my life to the Lord and he is #1 in my life. I am his servant and everything I do in life is for his glory. With that being said, religion influences all areas of my life. There will be references to God in this blog because I can't seperate God from this or any other area of my life. I want you to know that if you do not believe in God, that is fine. That is your choice. This blog is open to anyone who wants to better their life. I will not be trying to influence or pressure anyone into having a relationship with the Lord from this site. Please don't feel uncomfortable. You can just read the portions of the blog that you wish to. I am inviting you to go on a journey with me. We will learn together to be the kind of people we were designed to be. Anyone can make a difference in this world, but it starts%
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One Response to Not All Gospels Are The Same

  1. Agree, look past the many contradictions and just concentrate on the message.

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