During my recent Bible reading I have noticed some differences between the stories told in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. While the books parallel one another some of them include details not included in the other versions. Some people would call these inconsistencies but I consider the differences to be based on  perspective. For example:

  • Luke 23:6-12:   6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.  8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

Matthew, Mark and John do not mention that Pilate sent Jesus to stand before Herod. They also do not mention that Pilate and Herod became friends that day.  However, Luke finds it important to include this information in the manuscript.

  • John 6:9:  9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

None of the other accounts in the Bible mention the source of  the fish and loaves.  However, John tells us that a small boy had the fish and loaves that were increased in order to feed the thousands. I can not help but wonder why the other writers did not think to include that detail in their manuscripts.

These details do not negate the message that was written. However, I think that an important point can be made concerning cross referencing and reading all of the gospels when you decide to study one of them. By doing this you will be able to see the stories from more than one perspective and glean additional information from the material you are studying. We all know from experience that an entire room of people can witness something and all tell a different account of what happened. This does not mean that they are wrong in their account, it just means they viewed the event with a different perspective.

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