ABC:Luke 6

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Verses 3-4[edit]

The ReasonProject lists the following as a Bible contradiction with the headline "Was David alone when asking for the holy bread at Nob?"[1] Critic's words are italicized.

He was alone.

1 Samuel 21:1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?

He was with others.

Matthew 12:3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Mark 2:25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him?
26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?

Luke 6:3 And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;
4 How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?

Eric Lyons points out the truth of this case in his article for Apologetics Press, "Was Jesus Mistaken?"[2] As seen from the context of 1 Samuel 21 which the critic sneakily omits (considering they quoted multiple verses in the other passages), David was visiting on behalf of his soldiers.

1 Samuel 21:1 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee?
2 And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, Let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.
3 Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present.
4 And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from women.
5 And David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.

David mentions that his warriors are waiting for him elsewhere (v. 2), and have not been engaging in sexual promiscuity. (vv. 4-5) As pointed out by Lyons, "Consider the situation where a colonel in the army might visit a general’s quarters 'alone' to discuss provisions for his men, while instructing his men to wait for him at a nearby designated location. In one sense, the colonel was alone with the general, yet in another sense, the colonel and his men had traveled to the general’s location in order to request essential provisions that would have been used for both the colonel and those who were with him."[2]

Jesus is correct. There were people with David and David took the shewbread to give to them. The critic wants to incorrectly argue that Jesus was saying David's men were with him when he received the shewbread, but that is not what Jesus said. David was acting in concert with his servants who were waiting elsewhere for him, they were hungry like he was, and the priest recognized the bread was intended for all of them, not just David, which is why he asked if David's men had been sexually promiscuously. David replied that women had been kept from "us." (v. 5)

Verse 17[edit]

Infidels.org's Meritt claims a contradiction exists here.[3]

Matthew 5:12: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Luke 6:17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;
18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.
19 And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.
20 ¶ And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6:17 appears to be separate from 6:20, in other words, Jesus was on a plain healing the sick, the multitude thronged Him, and then He went up into a mountain to teach. This entire sequence is related in order in Mark 3:7-14, including the exact location of Tyre and Sidon's sea coast:

Mark 3:7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
8 And from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude
, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him.
9 And he spake to his disciples, that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him.
10 For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.
11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.
12 And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known.
13 ¶ And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

...

Mark 4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:

The Sermon on the Mount appears to have occurred here in the Gospel of Mark, which relates the entire story. First Jesus withdrew with His disciples to the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon and was followed by a great multitude from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Jordan, Tyre, and Sidon. (Luke 6:17, Mark 3:7-8) Jesus went into a ship with His disciples so He wouldn't get crowded by the multitude. (Mark 3:9-12) Jesus then went up to a mountain and taught. (Matthew 5:12, Mark 3:13-35) After all of this Jesus "began again to teach by the sea side" and again entered into a ship, teaching the multitude through parables from the ship. (Mark 4:1-34)

At any rate, both are true, Jesus was at a plain near the sea coast and then went up into a mountain. Mark appears to be the most detailed account of what happened with regards to location and detail. Luke 6:20 then skips all of the information about him moving from the plain to the sea to the mountain back to the sea and just starts the new paragraph talking about his famous sermon. Luke then probably focuses on what the writer considers most relevant, the huge multitude, the miracles, and the sermon, largely bypassing the specific details of the location changes that Mark delves into in detail.

Additionally, see John 6:1-3 for more confirmation that this sequence occurred:

John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.
2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

Again, same sequence as before. Jesus crosses over the sea. He is followed by a huge multitude because of His miracles. Jesus then goes up into a mountain with His disciples. There is a transition back and forth from the plain to the sea to the mountain and back to the sea again, but without comparing all accounts this isn't as obvious.

Verse 20[edit]

Infidels.org's Meritt claims a contradiction exists here and asks, "How many beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount" before providing the following list:[3]

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

Obviously it's not a 'contradiction' for one account to give more detail than another since neither passage states "there are X amount of beatitudes." The pattern of the Bible is that some accounts give more detail than others, complementing one another to form a cohesive whole and filling in spots left unexplained elsewhere.

Sources[edit]

  1. Marlow, Andy (2009). Contradictions in the Bible. Project Reason.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lyons, Eric (2006). Was Jesus Mistaken? Apologetics Press.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.