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Matthew 4:1-11; The Temptation of Jesus (Bible Difficulties)

According to Matthew, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world as his third and final temptation. Luke 4:5-12, however, appears to indicate that the kingdoms were Satan’s second temptation. Which author got it right? Well, most scholars answer that question this way: Both are right.

The consensus of academic thought is that Matthew was giving a deliberately chronological report of this event, while Luke was simply telling what was included without concerning himself with chronology. Scholars point to grammatical construction to support this view. Matthew peppered his account with sequential adverbs—such as “then,” (tote, in 4:5) and “again” (palin in 4:8)—to move the reader from one temptation to the next. Luke, though, simply adds the conjunction “and” (kai) as his connectors between the temptations.

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One theologian explains Luke’s difference by comparing it to a girl who reports that for Thanksgiving she had, “Apple pie and turkey and everything!” He continues, “The chances are that a more careful interrogation would reveal that she had been served the turkey before she had her apple pie…Could her report be faulted as erroneous under these circumstances? Hardly!”

Matthew 4:1-11; The Temptation of Jesus

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