Text: Mark 10:46-52
I. What do you do when witnesses to an event give two different sets of details?
A. Matthew 28:1-7 mentions an angel rolling away the stone blocking the entrance and sitting upon the stone. The angel talks to the women when they get to the tomb.
B. Mark 16:1-7 mentions an angel inside the tomb standing on the right side who talks to the women.
C. Luke 24:1-8 mentions two angels appeared while they were in the tomb trying to figure out what happened to the body of Jesus. The angels speak to the women
D. Do we have a contradiction or different details of the same event?
1. The accounts that mention one angel do not state that there was only one angel present.
2. Luke’s account mentions two angels, but he doesn’t say that both angels talked at the same time or even that both angels spoke, only that the angels addressed the women
3. There is a difference in time.
a. Matthew talks about the angel rolling away the stone and sitting on it while the guards were present and before the women came. He mentions the angel speaking to the women, but he doesn’t say where they were at that moment
b. Luke mentions that the tomb was empty when they first went in and then angels appeared who talked to them
c. Mark mentions that they went into the tomb and that the angel on the right spoke to them.
d. All of these are compatible if you realize that there was a time order and some details were being skipped.
E. When people claim there is a contradiction, it is because they assume things when the author didn’t mention something
1. Some assume that if one angel is mentioned, then there must be only one
2. Some assume that if a location is mentioned, then everything happened at that spot
3. Some assume that not mentioning a fact means the author didn’t think it happened (i.e. the initially empty tomb).
F. What can you assume when an author doesn’t say something?
1. The only reasonable answer it that you can assume nothing.
II. God expects us to respect His silence
A. If He hasn’t said something, don’t fill in the gap!
1. Do not add or take away - Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32
2. Do not add or you will be found a liar - Proverbs 30:6
3. Do not alter - Galatians 1:6-10
B. God is not an author of confusion - I Corinthians 14:33
1. He cannot lie - Titus 1:2
2. Thus, if two accounts have different details, we cannot assume a contradiction. We should look to see if there is a way that the accounts blend together.
III. Other examples
A. The rich young ruler
1. Matthew 19:20 - mentions he is young
2. Mark 10:17 - mentions that he ran up to Jesus, but doesn’t say anything about me being a ruler or young
3. Luke 18:18 - mentions that he is a ruler
4. Are there conflicts or just different views of the same event?
B. The blind men
1. Matthew 20:29-34 - Says there were two blind men
2. Mark 10:46-52 - Says there was a blind man named Bartimaeus
3. Luke 18:35-43 - Says there was a blind man
4. Did the fact that both Mark and Luke mention one blind man and Matthew mentions two meant that Matthew got the story wrong?
a. Notice that neither Mark or Luke eliminate additional people. They only focus on one particular person.
C. The demon possessed men
1. Matthew 8:28 mentions there were two men from the tombs
2. Mark 5:1ff only mentions one man from the tombs
3. Luke 8:26ff mentions one homeless man from the city
4. Again, different details but none are worded exclusively, so there is no conflict.
IV. What happens if two commands appear to conflict?
A. The Sabbath requires that a person not work - Deuteronomy 5:12-15
1. But the priest were required to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath - Numbers 28:9-10
2. Boys were to be circumcised on the eighth day. What happens if the eighth day fell on a Sabbath? - Genesis 17:12
B. These were not conflicts. Since God commanded them, then they don’t count as a part of the forbidden work
1. Matthew 12:1-8 mentions that priests were not wrong in offering sacrifices
2. Mark 2:23-28 and Luke 6:1-5 do not mention the exception for priests
3. John 7:21-23 mentions that circumcision is allowed but not the mercy extended to David or the sacrifices done by priests
4. Is there a disagreement? No. One mention is enough to establish the principle. Together they show things authorized by God can be done on the Sabbath.
V. I had someone write claiming there cannot be any divorce because Mark, Luke, and Paul only mention forbidding divorce. It is only Matthew that mentions an exception. That is 3 against 1, so Matthew must not be talking to Christians (in the person’s opinion).
A. Matthew 5:31-32 - Focuses on what happens to the one divorced
1. Divorcing your wife makes her become an adulteress
a. Exception: If the divorce was due to fornication, the divorce does not make her become an adulteress
b. Why? Because she would already be an adulteress
2. Marrying a divorced woman is adultery
B. Matthew 19:9 - Focuses on what happens to the one divorcing
1. Divorcing your wife and marrying someone else makes you an adulterer
a. Exception: If the divorce was due to fornication, marrying someone else does not make you an adulterer
b. Why? Jesus is allowing an exception when the woman violated the marriage covenant
2. Some texts include the same second point as found in Matthew 5:32, marrying a divorced woman is adultery
C. Mark 10:11-12 - Shows that it doesn’t matter who initiates the divorce
1. Divorcing your wife and marrying another commits adultery
2. Divorcing your husband and marrying another commits adultery
D. Luke 16:18 - Shows that it doesn’t matter if you are the one divorced or the your spouse was the one divorced, it is still adultery.
1. Divorcing your wife and marrying another commits adultery
2. Marrying a woman who is divorced commits adultery
E. Romans 7:2-3 - Emphasizes that marriage is for the life of the two partners
1. Marriage lasts until the death of the spouse
2. Being married to someone else while the original husband lives is adultery
3. Being married to someone else after the original husband is dead is not adultery
F. I Corinthians 7:10-11 - Focuses on avoiding divorce
1. Neither a man or woman should divorce their spouse
2. If woman does divorce her husband, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband
G. While Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18 are parallel accounts of the same event, notice that every discussion has a different focus; that is, a different point is being brought out.
1. No one passage is the complete discussion of divorce and remarriage
2. Why is Mark the only one to mention that the wife can initiate a divorce?
a. Actually, it is not ruled out by the other passages.
b. But consider that if you had to list every possible permutation, the complexity of the statements would get mind boggling.
(1) Does a marriage end because of death or divorce
(2) Is it the death of the husband or wife?
(3) Does the husband or wife initiate the divorce?
(4) Is the divorce due to fornication or some other reason?
(5) Is it the husband or the wife who commits the fornication?
(6) Can there be a remarriage and when?
(7) What about the third party who marries someone formerly married?
(8) What happens if there was a divorce and then later a death?
c. Thus, it seems the Holy Spirit makes the point once and we assume it for al the rest.
3. Why does only Romans mention that marriage ends at the death of one spouse?
a. Because that one mention is enough to cover all other passages that mention marriage
4. Why does only Matthew mention the exception?
a. Because these establish that the exception exists and covers all other passages that mention divorce
VI. We must be careful not to insert our personal assumptions into the text.
A. When we have multiple accounts on a subject, everything said on the topic needs to be considered together
B. This is how the Baptists come to the wrong conclusion about baptism. They find passages that say faith saves and conclude that only faith saves, even though “only” never appears in the passages.
C. Many false doctrines could be avoided if we just stop to think