Matthew and Luke seem to have to “contradict” when both books describe the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness. The order of events is different depending on whether you read Matthew or Luke. Here is the order of events when you read Matthew 4.
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The temptercame to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”Matthew 4:1-11
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.m.
So in summary here is the order of events in Matthew.
1.) To turn stones into bread
2.) Throw himself down from a high point
3.) Satan offers Jesus kingship of the world
In Luke 4, the order of these events is different.
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.Luke 4:1-13
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
To summarize, here is the oder of events in Luke:
1.) To turn stones into bread
2.) Satan offers Jesus kingship of the world
3.) Throw himself down from a high point
Events 2 and 3 are listed in a different order depending on which book you read. So is this a Bible contradiction? Not likely. The most likely explanation is that Matthew is recording the literal order of events and that Luke is recording the events in dramatic order.
How is this possible? Matthew uses words such as “then” in verse 5 and “again” in verse 8. These words would suggest a story that advances with time.
However in Luke, these words are not used and the events of Jesus’ temptation are listed, but no wording is used to suggest a particular order.
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