Sunday, September 11, 2016

Do the Gospels Contradict Each Other?

Some gospels record events differently than the other gospels. Does this mean they contradict each other? Are they telling different stories, or are they telling the same story from different perspectives?

Matthew and Luke list the temptations of Jesus in different orders. That looks like a contradiction until you understand that an event can be recorded in two ways. An incident can be recorded as a descriptive account (where sequence isn’t a factor) or as a chronological account where sequence is a factor. Matthew records the temptations chronologically, while Luke writes descriptively, where temptations are stated as facts, but not in order.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke record that several women went to visit the tomb of Jesus, while John 20:1 seems to indicate that Mary Magdalene came alone. Is this a contradiction? No, because she mentions that others were with her when she told Peter, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him” (20:2).

The four gospels are like four cameras filming the scene from different angles. When you go to a movie, the film isn't shot from just one camera angle. Instead, you watch scenes from cameras set up in different places, which record unique perspectives. Some shots are up close, showing only one person and leaving out the other people. If you only saw the close-up view (Mary Magdalene), you’d think that she was alone. But other cameras (Matthew, Mark and Luke) film a wider angle, showing the other women. Then you understand she wasn't alone after all.

To get the clearest picture of what happened, read all four gospels as complementing each other, not contradicting each other.
Your concept of God determines your faith. Jesus used “shock treatments” to shock people out of thinking too small. Read If God Knows What I Need, Should I Pray?

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Making Life Count Ministries
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