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Why are some details of the gospel accounts of the inscription on the cross different in Matthew 27:37 (cf. Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19)?


Matthew 27:37

ESV - 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 19 2019 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
One factor contributing to the variance noted in the question may have been the inscription being written in three separate languages with three different alphabets (Hebrew, Greek, and Latin) -- whether the variance may have originated with Pilate (who wrote the inscriptions), or by the selection of which of those wordings to use by each of the gospel writers.

Also, the inscriptions as given by the gospel writers differ primarily in the inclusion or omission of words (implying selectivity on the part of the writers), rather than being a case where there would be no credible way to reconcile the accounts. However, none of the accounts omit, or are inconsistent with regard to, the charge for which Jesus was being put to death, as expressed by the identical words "the King of the Jews".

In regard to this, as well as other instances in the gospels where what were obviously the same events were recorded in varying amounts of detail, or with differing accounts by the writer of the exact spoken or written words used, one commentator has suggested that if the writers had used identical verbiage, the only thing that would have been established (rather than proving the authenticity of their accounts) would have been that the authors were copying directly from each other (whether individually or colluding as a group), which would actually have detracted from the credibility of what they were saying. Even though they were all inspired, they were still distinct individuals with their own specific styles, word selection, and theological focus.

November 19 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
I would agree with Mr. Tim Maas' marvelous answers: 

1. The 3 different languages in which the inscription was written can get a little more complicated.

2. Each gospel writer only gave part of the whole statement that may have read “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.” In this case, each Gospel is giving the essential part (“the king of the Jews”) as Mr. Maas implied, but no Gospel is giving the whole inscription. But neither is any Gospel contradicting what the other Gospels say. The accounts are divergent and mutually complementary, not contradictory.

November 20 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Data Carl Jones
One thing that comes across is the need to compare scripture with scripture.
Only by comparing scripture with scripture will we see the complete picture.

The full inscription would read,
"This is Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews."

This occurs many times in the Bible where a passage is expanded on in a parallel account, and only by exercising due diligence do we receive full understanding.

November 25 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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