Matthew,Luke, John.. Contradict each other?


I was reading the book “The 100 most influential people in History” , and there was a biography written of Jesus, The author said that Matthew,Luke,Mark and Jon, contradict each other, especially the very “last words” of Jesus…
Is this true??


Jesus said many things while He was on the cross. The writers of the Gospels had different audiences and purposes for writing, so their last recorded words would have reflected that.


That is a claim people make sometimes to discredit Christ, but no he did not contradict himself. As was said, there were different audiences and sometimes one thing was emphasized or another, but taken as a whole there are not contradictions.God bless you.


It’s certain that St. Matthew and St. Mark are in agreement on the last words; I briefly skimmed the relevant sections (St. Matthew 27 and St. Mark 15), and for a second wasn’t sure if I was actually reading two separate accounts or the same account twice.

It would appear that St. Matthew and St. Mark could be reconciled with either St. Luke or St. John, but it does appear difficult (for me, anyway) to force agreement between St. Luke and St. John without playing grammar games. Perhaps someone else could shine more light on the situation. However:

[quote=St. John Chrysostomos]“But the contrary,” it may be said, “hath come to pass, for in many places they are convicted of discordance.” Nay, this very thing is a very great evidence of their truth. For if they had agreed in all things exactly even to time, and place, and to the very words, none of our enemies would have believed but that they had met together, and had written what they wrote by some human compact; because such entire agreement as this cometh not of simplicity. But now even that discordance which seems to exist in little matters delivers them from all suspicion, and speaks clearly in behalf of the character of the writers.


Use that book to start a fire. That will be the only illumination you get from it.


Yes there are inconsistencies. But that is natural, and reflective on how facts where accepted at the time.

Here’s an interesting story. One time during a get-together with the bishop, someone wanted to bring up a funny story from the bishop’s ordination. So that person told the story. After which the bishop smiled and he said it didn’t quite happen that way, so he made a few corrections, like the fact that the story happened not during the ordination Liturgy as the person recalled, but at the very first Liturgy at the Cathedral as bishop. Now, there are inconsistencies with the story, does that mean that what was told did not happen?

Today we have become so absolutists with our facts. Either it has to be told exactly how it happened, or it never happened. Why can’t we accept human error? Also, we seem to dwell on the little things rather than what is being told. Take Christ’s resurrection account. Who was first to the tomb? Peter? John? Or the Myrrh-bearing women? Does it matter? The point of the account was that Christ has risen, and here we have witnesses that the tomb was empty. Does it matter who was there first? If Peter came first and not John, does that mean Christ did not rise from the dead? What if it was James who was actually there? It doesn’t invalidate the fact that Christ has risen if we can’t agree on who was there first. Whoever was the first person to witness the Resurrection does not affect the reality that the Resurrection took place.


In the Greek way there is Yes or no, black or white.

Celtic thought has a third way in between.


Pax vobiscum+


No, for me there is absolutely no contradiction.
There are only 7 times Jesus is recorded as speaking while He was on the cross. They are sometimes referred to as the “seven last ‘words’ of Jesus”.**1. Matthew 27:46 (and Mark 15:34) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
** “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?”
that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

**2. **Luke 23:34 And Jesus said,
** “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” **And they cast lots to divide his garments.

**3. **Luke 23:43 And he said to him,
"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

**4. **Luke 23:46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said,
**“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” **And having said this he breathed his last.

5. John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother,
** “Woman, behold, your son!” ** Then he said to the disciple,
"Behold, your mother!"

**6. John 19:28 After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture),
** "I thirst."

**7. John 19:30 When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said,
** "It is finished
"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. The fact that all four evangelists did not record all 7 “words” does not mean they conflict. For all we know, Jesus may have said other things which never got recorded.

Some may see a conflict between Luke 23:46 (#4 above) and John 19:30 (#7). But neither of those 2 acccounts specify that these were the very last words spoken by Jesus. All they say is that (at some point) after those words, Jesus died. The closest to saying they were the final words are contained in Luke’s gospel where he says: " having said this he breathed his last". John says that Jesus “bowed his head and gave up his spirit”. He doesn’t specify when.

Who knows, perhaps Jesus said “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”


St. Augustine demonstrates that there are no contradictions, and the Gospels can be harmonize perfectly. Here is what St. Augustine says concerning the last utterances…

Matthew proceeds as follows: “And Jesus, crying again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”(Mt 27:50) In like manner, Mark says, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”(Mark 15:37) Luke, again, has told us what He said when that loud voice was uttered. For his version is thus: “And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit: and saying this, He gave up the ghost.”(Luke 23:46) John, on the other hand, as he has left unnoticed the first voice, which Matthew and Mc have reported—namely, “Eli, Eli”—has also passed over in silence the one which has been recited only by Luke, while the other two have referred to it under the designation of the “loud voice.” I allude to the cry, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Lc has also attested the fact that this exclamation was uttered with a loud voice; and hence we may understand this particular cry to be identified with the loud voice which Matthew and Mc have specified. But Jn has stated a fact which is noticed by none of the other three, namely, that He said “It is finished,” after He had received the vinegar. This cry we take to have been uttered previous to the loud voice referred to. For these are John’s words: “When Jesus, therefore, had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”(Jn 19:30) In the interval elapsing between this cry, “It is finished,” and what is referred to in the subsequent sentence, “and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost,” the voice was uttered which Jn himself has passed over without record, but which the other three have noticed. For the precise succession appears to be this, namely, that He said first “It is finished,” when what had been prophesied regarding Him was fulfilled in Him, and that thereafter—as if He had been waiting for this, like one, indeed, who died when He willed it to be so—He commended His spirit [to His Father], and resigned it. But, whatever the order may be in which a person may consider it likely that these words were spoken, he ought above all things to guard against entertaining the notion that any one of the evangelists is in antagonism with another, when one leaves unmentioned something which another has repeated, or particularizes something which another has passed by in silence. (St. Augustine Harmony of the Gospels 3.18)


No. And due caution is advised as then there might be temptation in prayer that must be combated. For if you ask for wisdom upon this, you might get repeat examples in your life of how this is not so…

To question this and to seek answers is a huge step in your faith journey. These are men, who received some of the same experiences. Yet their sociological background and what they faced at each instance were very much different. Thus the interpretation is different, sometimes the audience, and the contextual sense of and contextual sense needed to implement the use of those words. Contextual sensitivity is interesting in the Bible. It is too often misused. People generalizing when it was specific and specific when it was meant generalized. This is why it is necessary to work within the Spirit, to be in touch with it when you read, when you impart it to others…The word is to join, not create rifts…yet what did the apostles do themselves, much like the twelve tribes of Israel? With humor, why are there twelve tiers of heaven? It takes a lot of study. Good luck, pray often, that the lamp unto your feet and the light of the world makes clear your path…

There are seemingly blatant contradiction with the old testament and new, and even within the book of Proverbs itself…there are nuances of understanding that change. Read the bible much more than once. For in parts of proverbs31" Silver hair is a beautiful crown found in a righteous life.", righteous doesn’t necessarily mean ‘right with God’ as we take it to mean. It is how they are seen in the community. A certain respect attributable to age, stamina, whatever, within the culture…that old gray haired guy may not be right, but he thinks he is (opinionated), and odds are the community will stick with him rather than you if you show disrespect, etc…it’s warning you of this social stigma…Hope this helps…It was the fastest example that I knew of…for we know that not all silver haired folks are righteous.


You stole my thought :slight_smile: If I remember right, isn’t that actually how Mel Gibson’s movie had it go? That always made the most sense to me.



Almost as if there were 12 basic personality types, and cultures that needed addressed? To maximize the reaching out of the ministries? Had not these men had some variances of opinion, and started churches, before being filled with the Holy Spirit…but they had drawn them in…did their ministry change after this?



Well put :smiley:


=nida007;10803393]I was reading the book “The 100 most influential people in History” , and there was a biography written of Jesus, The author said that Matthew,Luke,Mark and Jon, contradict each other, especially the very “last words” of Jesus…
Is this true??


Here’s the problem:

There is only One Infallible RULE for right understanding of God’s WORDS

Here it is [caps for emphasis NOT shouting]:smiley:

NEVER-EVER, CAN, MAY OR DOES ONE PASSAGE, VERSE OR TEACHING HAVE THE AUTHORITY OR POWER TO MAKE VOIOD; INVALIDATE OR OVERRIDE ANOTHER VERSE; PASSAGE OR TEACHING. Only by adhereing to this rule can God’s truth be uncovered. Were this not absolutely FACT; the bible would be worthless to learn ot teach God’s One Faith.

Matthew 4:4Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God”

Matt.13:9-12 “He who has ears, let him hear." Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. “

John 12: 48-49 He who rejects me and does not receive [ALL] my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.”

2nd. Tim. 3:16 "All scripture, [IS] inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice,"

Take NOTE:

John 20:30-31 "Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name. "

John 21:“But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.”

IF you would care to share the specific passages,’ we will try to unravel the mystery for you:thumbsup:

God Bless you,


You/The book you’re reading is projecting a modern cultural interpretation onto an ancient text. . . this is why we have the Church (and thousands of years of scholarship) on the subject … to prevent such oversights. **Brace yourself- this will be a long post but will include historical information on the Bible that I find VITAL for EVERY Catholic/Christian to know- ** I’ve taken a few classes on the subject in a secular historical perspective that I believe simply offers more proof that Catholicism is correct…]

In the ancient world, texts were not copied word for word - we have found ancient scrolls with Biblical books which slightly differ from what we would recognize today. Neither the Jews nor the early Christians viewed written texts as we currently do (in a legalistic, post-copyright-obsessed manner). Rabbinical literature emerged (long before Christ)- this tells us people never relied solely on so-called “sola scriptura” (belief based on the [literal] Bible-Only). A few hundred years prior to Christ, the “Septuagint” was formed (and translated into Greek) so that people of other religions could read and learn a bit about the Jewish faith. It used all of the books the Jews most commonly used… when the Bible was officially compiled a few hundred years later (by St Jerome), this is what he included and is what we now call the “Old Testament” .

Up until this point, (pretty much all) Jews used the Septuagint but did not have an official canon (a list of approved books). **It was not until AFTER the Bible was compiled **that (a few obscure) Jewish leaders (without real authority or discussion with other Jewish leaders) began to preach against the Septuagint. [Remember- this was no longer the “correct” religion as God gave us Jesus and therefore Catholicism had come to replace it - at this point Jews had no authority over Christian texts]. [Ever hear of Protestant lies that we “added” to the Bible?- MUCH LATER- By choosing to reject the use of the Septuagint, Martin Luther was able to justify the removal of several Old Testament books which contradict his heresies]

According to secular scholars, Mark is believed to be the oldest followed by what we call “The Synoptic Gospels”. . . as you pointed out - Mark is a bit different from the other 3 (it was written earlier, as is evidenced by discreet mentions of political structures in power, city names, etc. and the abrupt ending which differs from the others). It is believed that there is a 5th “document” which we call the “Q Strand” and I (like many scholars) believe to this have been orally transmitted (rather than written). This was most probably spread through the Apostles’ ministries. The “synoptic gospels” are (supposedly) influenced by this and become increasingly philosophical in their explanations of Theology as you go down the line (ending in John which presents a focus on Christ as more divine rather than human - the way Mark is accused of being).

Above all, there are a few things to take from this all… [This is not an attack on you/your intelligence… I have heard this & similar claims before so let me be a bit direct]

  1. You are reading an ancient text in a modern language, a modern translation, and (virtually no) historical / cultural context is being taken into account. [If we need help placing Shakespeare into context- why would the Bible not be the same?]

  2. The Bible was never intended to be picked apart word-for-word OR to be read/interpreted by the common man. It was intended to be interpreted by scholars (who CAN place it into context) which do not necessarily get hung up on so-called “contradictions” within the text.

  3. The Bible was written by many different people from different cultures, locations, and at different times.

  4. God always intended for us to have an (ordained) priesthood/ clerical hierarchy whose writings supplement and explain the questions each generation has concerning the Faith.

  5. The Catholic canon is the ONLY legitimate Bible. It is was the first (within Judeo-Christianity) to officially create a canon of religious texts. It was formed by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many other books exist from the time (the so-called “dead sea scrolls” and various heretical “gospels”) but the Holy Spirit guided St Jerome to compile (based on the Pope’s request) AND translate the appropriate texts to form the Vulgate Bible (which we continue to use in the Church). If its included in the Bible- God made sure it was included for a reason.

6.Unless you have a VERY strong faith (even then you must still be cautious), it would be wise not to read books/ watch programs which are written by other religions concerning such matters. Its not arrogance, there is a legitimate reason to stick with Catholic literature for the Catholic reader.
In my area of study I must read lots of secular historical works but since I am also involved in Catholic Apologetic(s) & New Evangelism, I find it helpful to know what others say. I would not recommend it for you though (at least until you get a more firm grasp on the Catholic teachings).

I hope this helps you (and others!) - Pax et Bonum


I understand that John the Baptist was the spirit of Elijah and not the literal Elijah, but why does he deny being the prophet the Jews were seeking for in John 1:21 but then Jesus says in Matthew 11:11-14 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven **suffers violence, and violent men [c]take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who [d]was to come.

It sounds as if John was the greatest of Prophets and yet he denies being one. Can someone give me a good explanation of these seemingly contradictory statements?**




No doubt Peter confirms this in Acts 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a]

24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’** 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”**


It’s more correct to say that Matthew, Luke and John (and Mark!!!) given different accounts rather than contradict each other. None of the Gospels states: “These are Jesus very last words…” And the way the Gospels (and many other texts) were written in those times, temporal precision is not always a commanding factor in a narrative, but rather thematic - or in the evangelists’ case, theological - aspects tend to be.

For instance, John’s last words are written apparently to tie up the theology of the family of God, the glorification of Christ and the giving of the Spirit; Luke’s focus on God’s forgiveness; and Matthew and Mark on the Messianic fulfillment of Jesus’ mission, as well as his coming vindication.

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