ABC:Luke 4

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Verse 5

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments (italicized) in the section "Where Did the Devil Take Jesus?"[1]

Matthew 4:5-8 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, then to the mountain top.

Luke 4:5-9 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

Satan took Jesus to the mountain first, then the temple.

There are two possibilities here which would avoid a contradiction. The first, and in my opinion most likely, is that the devil showed Jesus the Earth's kingdoms twice, as argued by CARM.[2] Perhaps the original starting point was near a high mountain in the wilderness, in which case Satan was simply taking Jesus back to their original starting point. What makes this particularly likely to me is that Matthew 4:8 says "AGAIN" the devil took Jesus to the high mountain, suggesting this was a reoccurrence. This key word "again" is missing from the Luke passage, suggesting it mentioned the first occurrence. What also makes this likely for me is that there were stones in the original area (v. 3) which would fit with an original starting point near a mountain.

The second possibility raised by Eric Lyons of Apologetics Press is that the events are arranged topically rather than chronologically. As argued by Lyons, "Open almost any world history textbook and you will see that even though most events are recorded chronologically, some are arranged topically... Had Matthew and Luke claimed to arrange the temptations of Jesus chronologically, skeptics would have a legitimate case. But, the fact of the matter is, neither Matthew nor Luke ever claimed such."[3] Recourse may be made for this point of view by observing that the Gospel of Luke does not begin chronologically, but opens with Luke's later address to Theophilus presenting the book.

Sources

  1. TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.
  2. Where Did the Devil Take Jesus First, the Pinnacle or Somewhere Else? Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.
  3. Lyons, E. (2004). In What Order Did Satan Tempt Jesus? Apologetics Press.