Contradictions of Matthew
Examples of contradictions of Matthew against other gospel accounts are provided below. Many more discrepancies can be identified, but this list is amended to include the most striking inconsistencies. Additional problematic passages are also summarized after contradictions.
Contradiction # 1
Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?
(a) Yes (Matthew 14:5).
(b) No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him. But Herod knew that he was a righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20).
Matthew 14:5 (ESV)
5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet.
Mark 6:20 (ESV)
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
Contradiction # 2
When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus’s daughter already dead?
(a) Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, “My daughter has just died”.
(b) No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death”.
Matthew 9:18 (ESV)
18 While he was saying these things to them, behold, a ruler came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”
Mark 5:23 (ESV)
23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.”
Contradiction # 3
When Jesus entered Capernaum, he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally to request Jesus for this?
(a) Yes (Matthew 8:5).
(b) No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3, 6).
Matthew 8:5-7 (ESV)
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
Luke 7:3-6 (ESV)
3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.
Contradiction # 4
When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?
(a) They worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33).
(b) ‘They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:51-52)
Matthew 14:33 (ESV)
33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Mark 6:51-52 (ESV)
51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Contradiction # 5
How many animals did Jesus ride on into Jerusalem?
(a) One – a colt (Mark 11:7; cf. Luke 19:35). And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments on it, and he sat upon it”
(b) Two – a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7). They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon”
Mark 11:7 (ESV)
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.
Luke 19:34-35 (ESV)
34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.
Matthew 21:7 (ESV)
7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.
Contradiction # 6
Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?
(a) Yes (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38).
(b) No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46).
Matthew 27:50-51 (ESV)
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.
Mark 15:37-38 (ESV)
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
Luke 23:45-46 (ESV)
45 while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
Contradiction # 7
At what time of day did the women visit the tomb?
(a) ‘Toward the dawn” (Matthew 28:1).
(b) ‘When the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2).
Matthew 28:1 (ESV)
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Mark 16:2 (ESV)
2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
Contradiction # 8
A large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. Where was the stone when the women arrived?
(a) As the women approached, an angel descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and conversed with the women. Matthew made the women witness the spectacular rolling away of the stone (Matthew 28:1-6).
(b) They found the stone ‘rolled away from the tomb” (Luke 24:2).
(c) They saw that the stone was ‘Rolled back” (Mark 16:4).
Mark 16:4 (ESV)
4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.
Luke 24:2 (ESV)
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
Matthew 28:1-6 (ESV)
1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
Contradiction # 9
When did Mary Magdalene first meet the resurrected Jesus? And how did she react?
(a) Mary and the other women met Jesus on their way back from their first and only visit the tomb. They took hold of his feet and worshiped him (Matthew 28:9).
(b) On her second visit to the tomb Mary met Jesus just outside the tomb. When she saw Jesus she did not recognize him. She mistook him for the gardener. She still thinks that Jesus’ body is laid to rest somewhere and she demands to know where. But when Jesus said her name she at once recognized him and called him ‘Teacher” Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold me . . . ‘ (John 20:11 to 17).
Matthew 28:7-9 (ESV)
7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
John 20:11-18 (ESV)
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.
Contradiction # 10
Where did Jesus first meet Simon Peter and Andrew?
(a) By the sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22).
(b) Likely on the banks of river Jordan, thereafter, Jesus decided to go to Galilee (John 1:43).
Matthew 4:18-22 (ESV)
18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
John 1:41-43 (ESV)
41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).
Contradiction # 11
Upon the resurrection, did Jesus command his disciples to go make disciples of all nations or to stay in Jerusalem until they receive the promise of the Holy Spirit?
(a) Jesus commands the disciples to go, with no mention of waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
(b) Jesus commands the disciples to wait in the city until they are clothed with power and to wait for the promise of the Father of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4-5, Acts 1:8)
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
Luke 24:49 (ESV)
49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Acts 1:4-5 (ESV)
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:8 (ESV)
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”