A famous “contradiction” from the New Testament attempts to discredit the story of the resurrection of Jesus. In Matthew 28, the story mentions one angle at the tomb when Jesus is resurrected.

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

Matthew 28:1-4

However, the story in Luke, Chapter 24 mentions two angels.

24 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered his words.

Luke 24:1-8

Is this a contradiction? Not necessarily.

In my interview with Craig Blomberg, he stated the simple fact that when there are two, there are is also one. This means that if someone saw two people, it is entirely possible for another person to have only seen one of the two people and missed the other, but they were still there.

The idea that the stories are very similar but differ on small details makes them more historically reliable. If 4 witnesses went to court, and their stories were the same to the last detail, you would assume that they collaborated, but the gospels are not this way at all. There minor differences point towards their independent authorship dates.

Simon Greenleaf, who was a professor at Harvard Law School said that the gospels:

“Would have been received in evidence in any court of justice, without the slightest hesitation”

Simon Greenleaf

 The small differentiations in the New Testament writings regarding the specifics of the resurrection of Jesus can be explained easily.

If the gospels all had the same exact story, down to the last detail, wouldn’t you think that they were set up beforehand?