Post by Bill Yates on Mar 16, 2008 14:57:33 GMT -5
After Jesus heals a demon-possessed boy, which the disciples were unable to do; the disciples ask Jesus in private, "Why could we not cast it out?". I assume the disciples are Peter, James, and John since they had just been with Jesus on the mountain during the transfiguration. Jesus' answer in Mathew is different than His answer in Mark.
The author of Mathew is not known (?) and the author of Mark is John Mark. I found that it is common for John Mark to write the collective accounts of the disciples for them. They were reportedly in private when the question was asked of Jesus. With that said, the authors of Mathew and Mark were not present when Jesus answered the disciples.
In Mathew Jesus speaks of the disciples little faith and in Mark he speaks of it only being done by prayer. Through prayer, faith even as small as a mustard seed can accomplish great things; which we can not do on our own. I don't believe the bible will contradict its self and does not here.
But what is to be made of the two different quotes. Is it as simple as two different people recounting the event to two different authors? I have a bad memory, did they also?
In Luke 9:43, the passage does not speak of the question the disciples asked Jesus nor his answer to them.
Are there other stories in the gospels that differ; especially in the quotes of Jesus?
I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. I am not trying or want to appear to be trying to question the Bible; but rather just trying to understand it and apply it to my life.
Last Edit: Mar 16, 2008 15:00:26 GMT -5 by Bill Yates
A couple of things: 1. The author of Matthew is, in fact, Matthew also known as Levi. He was formerly a tax collector who Jesus called to be a disciple. 2. This story is also recounted in Luke 9:37-43. This account dones not mention the disciples question or Jesus' response. 3. These answers are not quite so different and each may have been part of the answer that Jesus gave. As is often the case in the gospels, writers intended to emphasize particular concepts for their intended audience and that is likely the case here. Apparently the disciples had tried to cast out the demon in their own strength and in both passages, Jesus makes it quite clear that we are dependant on the power of God to accomplish God's work. The Matthew passage mentions a lack of faith, the Mark passage implies a lack of payer. Those two short comings are certainly related.
Post by Mike Miller on Mar 25, 2008 10:43:10 GMT -5
Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I was on a cruise, you know.
Anyway, this is a terrific question. You have raised an important issue that too many people don't even notice because they don't study their Bibles intently enough. In essence, the issue you raise is related to what we call the "Synoptic Problem." Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels because they parallel in much of their content. However, they do have differences in recording the same events, thereby giving us the problem. However, the problem is not insurmountable, nor does it indicate that God did not inspire the text. I don't mean to overload you with information, but let me explain a couple of foundational concepts.
First, that God inspired the Bible does not mean that He dictated the Bible to people who simply wrote down what He said verbatim. No, instead, He moved the writers to write in such a way that they wrote in their own styles and personalities. However, He so governed the process that they did not pen any errors. Simply read a letter of Paul's, a letter of Peter's, and a letter of John's, and you will see stylistic differences. However, they were inspired by God to the point that they wrote exactly what He wanted them to write. That in itself explains some of the differences between Mark (a missionary), Matthew (a former tax collector), and Luke (a physician).
Second, no one reputable disputes the idea that the Gospel writers used each other. The most common belief is that Mark was actually the first Gospel written and that Matthew and Luke used his Gospel as source material for their own. In fact, those holding to this view even believe that Mark had a source since he wasn't present during Jesus' ministry (many believe it was Peter). Others, however, believe Matthew was the first. I really don't know who was first, and it doesn't matter to me. I also don't have a problem with their using each other as sources. Why wouldn't they? This does not mean God didn't inspire them. He still guided the entire process.
Now, if you look at the differences between Matthew 17 and Mark 9, you simply see two people who recorded the same event differently. That doesn't mean one was in error. It simply means they focused on different parts of the story. Matthew's account is much shorter than Mark's, which leads some to say that he edited it down for his specific audience. Others say that Mark expanded on Matthew's account for his specific audience. Bear in mind that the intended readers were ultimately intended by God, so it really doesn't matter except for scholarly discussion.
So, having said all that, I will conclude by agreeing completely with David's response. Good question. Good answer.