The Bible is a sacred book filled with numerous contradictions since many people have influenced its content. Reading several Gospels, Matthew and Mark can prove the inconsistencies because every individual account describes the same events but pays attention to diverse details. It means that they perceived the teaching of Jesus in different ways. This paper aims to analyze how Matthew edited Mark’s Gospel and disclose main differences.
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Mark 6:45-52 vs. Matthew 14:25-27, 32-33
Matthew’s Gospel seeks to narrate about Jesus Christ to the Jewish audience. Its primary goal is to assure the devoted Jews that Jesus is the Messiah of God. Meanwhile, Mark’s Gospel appeals to Greek and refers to a sermon calling for action. It revolves around one’s implicit desire to act rather than around specific details. Yet, these Gospel’s purpose is not the primary aspect that distinguishes them.
Matthew 14:25-33 and Mark 6:45-52 come from the same Gospel book and are even similar in their message. However, Matthew edited the Gospel of Mark, altering particular quotes. The chapters follow the same order and suggest the resembling description of the events, for instance, how Jesus strolls on water. Jesus Christ sends away the crowds, goes up to the mountainside to pray, and then sees his supporters floating with the flow. The disciples were petrified to witness him hovering above the water.
In addition, here, the primary difference is that Matthew’s Gospel specifies some details. For instance, Matthew claims that Christ called on his follower Peter: “Jesus said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus” (The Bible, Matthew 14:29). Peter goes to Jesus but, doubting his faith, begins to drown: “But when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink” (The Bible, Matthew 14:30).
After the incident, Christ scorns Peter for having no faith in God. Meanwhile, this part is omitted in the Gospel of Mark, and there is no concretization that one of Christ’s apprentices leaves the boat. Despite that this fragment does not appear in the book of Mark, both chapters provide the idea that Jesus comes to his supporters to help (The Bible). In general, Matthew’s point of view was more lengthy and abundant with details.
What is more, another distinguishing detail can be observed in what Jesus tells his people. In Mark’s Gospel, they refer to Christ as a “ghost,” while he assures them in the vitality of being brave (The Bible, Mark 6:49). Meantime, Matthew suggests that Jesus only cheers the crowd up by commanding them not to be afraid (Martin 107). It means that Jesus is seen differently in both stories.
Mark 9:2-10 vs. Matthew 17:1-13
Mark 9:2-10 and Matthew 17:1-13 are placed in the same two chapters and narrate about the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. Despite the fact that they tell a similar story, they have several inconsistencies that distinguish them from each other. In Matthew’s Gospel, it is stated that “Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John” (The Bible, Matthew 17:1). At the same time, Matthew adds that John is James’ brother. Even though it is not significant, these specifications prove that Matthew edited Mark’s Gospels.
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Besides, some other astonishing details differentiate Mark and Matthew’s books. For example, while describing Jesus, Mark portrays him in white clothes while Matthew also depicts his face mentioning that it “shone like the sun” (The Bible, Matthew 17:2). Here, it is also notable that the color white is attributed differently “as white as the light” and “dazzling white” (The Bible, Mark 9:3). The portrayal of Jesus in both gospels creates different perceptions of him.
Additionally, it may be noted that in both gospels the character Peter calls Jesus using different names. For instance, Matthew appeals to him as Lord, while Mark calls him Rabbi. What is more, the sequence of events slightly differs in both stories, particularly at the moment when the disciples got frightened. Mark suggests that it occurred before the voice and the cloud emerged, whereas Matthew claims it happened only after they appeared (Muddiman and Barton 56). In the final lines, Mark omits the fact that the apprentices understood the idea about Elijah coming first.
Hence, even though there are many similarities between these two gospels, one may observe specific events distinguishing one story from another. This indicates a possibility that Matthew could have just copied Mark’s Gospel adding extra details to make his narrative more vivid. It is evident that once again, Matthew only slightly altered the story itself, changing the events’ sequence; however, the idea transferred remained the same.
Martin, Dale B. New Testament History and Literature. Yale University Press, 2012.
Muddiman, John, and John Barton. The Gospels. Updated selection., Updated selection ed., Oxford University Press, 2010.
The Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985.