Jesus Contradicts Himself

Justin Johnson

When Jesus sent his disciples to preach the kingdom in Luke 10:4 he gave them these specific instructions:

“Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.” – Luke 10:4-5; Luke 9:2

Twelve chapters later as he was preparing to “go to the Father” he gave these contradictory instructions:

“And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” – Luke 22:35-36

That this is a clear contradiction is obvious. This does not mean that Jesus was confused. He gave the right instructions to the right people at the right time. Luke 10 is before he was preparing to go the Father and his disciples were displaying the glories of the kingdom to Israel by God’s promised provision.

We see differing instructions like this all the time. The same football team is given differing plays depending on the down, the quarter, and the scoreboard. Farmers tell their workers both to plant and to harvest depending on the season.

It would be foolishness to tell a twenty year old to “hold mommy’s hand” as they crossed the road. However, it is prudent when dealing with a five year old.

Stoplights give contradictory information at the same time! One light is red and the other is green depending on which direction you are going.

The Bible is no different. It contains hundreds of contradictory verses that demand careful study to be reconciled (2 Tim 2:15). It is always necessary for us to determine who is speaking, to whom, and what is the context?

It would have been wrong for the disciples to take a purse and shoes in Luke 10. Yet, what was disobedience and a “lack of faith” in Luke 10 would be obedience and God-honoring in Luke 22.

Why do some Christians still sing the song “take nothing for your journey now” when it would clearly disobey the Lord in Luke 22:35-36? It is because they do not understand the further instructions.

It is the same way with the gospel committed to Paul. So many are attempting to follow the Lord’s instructions while he was on earth hardly noticing that he returned and gave subsequent information to the Apostle Paul!

Some of the doctrines revealed to Paul contradict prior instructions. It is necessary for us to rightly divide the further instructions given to Paul and the old instructions of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

This is part of the Bible Contradictions series which creates a scriptural necessity for mid-acts Pauline right division.  See the complete list here.

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Published: August 1, 2009
Last Modified: June 23, 2016
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