Are Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, and Luke 9:28 contradictory?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 17:1: “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,”

Mark 9:2: “And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.”

Luke 9:28: “And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.”

Why do Matthew and Mark say “six days” but Luke says “about an eight days?” A contradiction? A mistake? By no means! Banish the thought, friend! Let us give God’s Word the benefit of the doubt.

In the earlier verses of their respective chapters (Matthew 16:27-28; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26-27), Jesus had promised that some of His disciples would not taste death until they had seen Him come in the glory of His kingdom. In the verses following, Jesus Christ radiates before them—a preview of His glorious Second Coming and subsequent 1,000-Year Reign on Earth. As you may know, this passage is commonly called “the Mount of Transfiguration.”

As pointed out earlier, Matthew and Mark recorded it as “six days” but Luke reports it as “about an eight days.” Luke never wrote “eight days” but rather about eight days.” Luke has given us an approximation—not a precise timeline! Evidently, Luke included the day the promise was made, and the day of the Transfiguration itself. In comparison, Matthew and Mark counted the six days between the promise and the Transfiguration. Matthew and Mark did not count the day of the promise and they did not count the day of the Transfiguration. Furthermore, we do not know the precise times of day Jesus promised and Jesus transfigured. There was plenty of room to say it was approximately eight days in total.

Unfortunately for the Bible critics, there is no contradiction here!

Also see:
» Do Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 contradict each other?
» How many sons did Jesse have—seven or eight?
» Why do Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 contain different formulas?