DO MATTHEW 10:10, MARK 6:8, AND LUKE 9:3 CONTRADICT?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Matthew 10:10: “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”
Mark 6:8: “And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:”
Luke 9:3: “And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.”
The above verses are part of Jesus’ original commissioning of His 12 apostles. Some have imagined a contradiction concerning the statements about these “staves.” Matthew 10:10 and Luke 9:3 agree that the apostles are not to take staves (plural of “staff,” as in a walking stick). Yet, Mark 6:8 says they are to take nothing “save [except] a staff only.” What are they to do? Take a staff, or not take any?
It has been said that the easiest explanation is the most plausible. How sad it is that rather than trying to keep the Bible simple, people have complicated it! They do not have spiritual eyes to appreciate any spiritual truths, so they use their own human resources to “do the best they can” and still cannot make sense of the Bible. However, beloved, if we give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, and use the eyes of faith, the Holy Spirit will honor that attitude and He will show us how to understand the Bible’s various oddities.
What is the easiest explanation here? The Lord Jesus allowed them to use one walking staff, just not bring along another (or special) one. In other words, they did not need to go out a buy another staff to prepare for their journeys (thus giving them two or more staves, which Jesus forbade). No, just they just needed to bring along the one staff they already had. They did not need to pack a bag with money or extra clothes, either. Bringing along more supplies was unnecessary. The Messianic believers whose houses they would visit, those people would provide for their needs, for “the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:10b).
As a final note, if we look at these verses from another angle, the above explanation further proves likely. Jesus told them in Matthew 10:10: “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” Certainly, Jesus was not telling them not to bring shoes along. The rocks of Palestine are sharp and jagged. No, He was implying a second pair of shoes was unnecessary. And, notice how Luke 9:3 mentions not bringing “two coats:” “And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” They were certainly to wear clothes, just not bring along a second coat (“tunic” or “shirt”). Again, the emphasis is on not bringing extra supplies—extra shirts, extra shoes, extra staves. God’s people, the Messianic Jews, would take care of these apostles’ material needs on their journeys. They were to bring along one walking stick, and if they needed a replacement, their converts could provide. How simple, friends, how simple the Word of God is if we just read and believe it!