An Analysis of a Story in Three Versions: Jesus Drives Out a Demon and Heals a Person Matthew 12:22-32//Mark 3:20-30//Luke 11:14-23

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An analysis of a story in Three Versions:
Jesus Drives out a Demon and Heals a Person
(Matthew 12:22-32//Mark 3:20-30//Luke 11:14-23)

I find it fascinating but also a bit confusing that the bible has more than one account of similar stories. The versions are alike yet have obvious differences as well. How can we explain these discrepancies? Do we need to? It is understandable to me why people have trouble sorting through the different versions, in the hopes of finding the truth. Will we ever be able to find out what the true stories are? Did the authors of the gospel even really know what the truth was? This we will never really know for sure, but what we can do is look at the analogous passages and sort out the comparable phrasing, parallel surroundings, and matching backgrounds to see if one straightforward version can be derived from a melding of all three.

Step # 1 Inventory
What I did to start sorting through the three versions from the gospels was I highlighted in the same colour anything that was comparable, and if something was unique to a particular version I underlined it. If a passage was word for word with it’s counterpart, I made it bold. Here is what I found: Similarities

There were a number of passages that were strikingly similar with each other in all three gospels, in some cases they matched word for word. Similar phrasing in all three accounts:
1 ~ Matthew 12: 24 // Mark 3: 22 // Luke 11: 15
2 ~ Matthew 12: 25 // Mark 3: 24 // Luke 11: 17
3 ~ Matthew 12: 26 // Mark 3: 26 // Luke 11: 18
4 ~ Matthew 12: 29 // Mark 3: 27 // Luke 11: 21
Word for word accounts:
1 ~ Matthew 12:22 // Luke 11: 14 ~ in both accounts they use the word AMAZED to describe the crowds. 2 ~ Matthew 12: 25 // Luke 11: 17 ~ First sentence only
3 ~ Matthew 12: 27 // Luke 11: 19
4 ~ Matthew 12: 29 // Mark 3: 27
5 ~ Matthew 12: 30 // Luke 11: 23
1 ~ In Matthew the Demoniac is a blind and mute man. In Mark there is no mention of anyone being exorcised. In Luke the man is only mute. 2 ~ Only in Matthew does the crowd ask, “Can this be the son of David?” (Matthew 12:23) 3 ~ Only in Mark is there any mention of Jesus’ family being present. His family goes out to restrain him, because people were saying that he had gone out of his mind. (Mark 3: 21) 4 ~ Only in Mark is there mention of a large crowd, in fact the crowd is so large that “they could not even eat”. (Mark 3:20) 5 ~ Only in Mark is there mention of Jesus speaking to the crowd in Parables. “And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables,” (Mark 3:23) 6 ~ There are five passages spoken in Matthew and Luke that are not in Mark’s version at all. 1) Matthew 12: 22 // Luke 11: 14 2) Matthew 12: 25 // Luke 11: 17

3) Matthew 12: 27 // Luke 11: 19
4) Matthew 12: 28 // Luke 11: 20
5) Matthew 12: 30 // Luke 11: 23

Step # 2 Explanation
How can we explain the similarities from version to version? Well the obvious answer for that would be that each of the writers of the gospels drew their information from a common source. Although this mysterious source has never been found, the Q gospel as it is commonly known would be an easy answer as to how similar and exact quotes can be found in different versions of the stories. If you were in a classroom and three of the students handed in a test with exact word-for-word phrasing, the teacher would be sure to charge the students with plagiarism. If you were in a courtroom, and two witnesses gave exact word-for-word testimonies, then the judge would be sure to throw out their testimonies accusing the witnesses of corroborating their stories in advance. The students and the witnesses were drawing from a common source to get their answers right. The gospel writers were not worried about copying the stories from others, because their goal was not to write a unique story that they could take credit for, instead they are trying to record for posterity the teachings and sayings of...
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