Did Jesus tell the disciples that they could take a staff or not?

A “contradiction” that people often cited by people to prove that the Bible has contradictions is did Jesus tell his disciples to take a staff on their journey or not?  

In the gospel of Mark Jesus is recorded as telling the disciples to take nothing for their journey SAVE(but) a staff

Mark 6-8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:

However In the gospels of Matthew and Luke Jesus is recorded as telling his disciples to take no staff.

Matthew 10-9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Luke 9-3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

 

So did Jesus tell them to take a staff or not?

In Mark it is clear that Jesus says that the disciples can take nothing but a staff

Staff here being ῥάβδον rhabdon which is in the singular

 

However in Matthew It states that Jesus told them not to ACQUIRE anything including a stave


The Greek translated as Provide is Κτάομαι ktaomai means to acquire or gain

 

The NIV translates this as “do not GET any”


Matthew 10-9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts–

The ESV literally “ACQUIRE no”

Matthew 10-9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts,

Here Jesus does not prohibit the disciples from TAKING a stave but rather from acquiring another one, or anything else, on their journey.


When it comes to the gospel of Luke however in SOME versions it has Jesus telling the disciples not to take a staff, which is a direct contradiction of Mark.

The NIV says staff

Luke 9-3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.

As does the ESV

Luke 9-3 And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.

As does the NLT, BSB, NASB and the ERV to name a few.

ALL these versions create a direct contradiction. BUT the KJV does not say staff it states STAVES, plural.

Luke 9-3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.

 

Jesus did not tell them not to take a staff, which he clearly did allow as per Mark but rather he prohibited them from taking more than one.

This is another example of the importance of using the correct translation.

The word translated as staff in the modern versions of the Bible is again ῥάβδον rhabdon which as we saw in Mark is in the singular

The Greek that underlies the Modern versions is the Nestle and Aland 27th edition/USB 4th edition Greek text. It has staff in the singular

καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μηδὲν αἴρετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, μήτε ῥάβδον μήτε πήραν μήτε ἄρτον μήτε ἀργύριον, μήτε [ἀνὰ] δύο χιτῶνας ἔχειν.

However the Greek that underlies the KJV has STAVES plural  ῥάβδους

καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς Μηδὲν αἴρετε εἰς τὴν ὁδόν μήτε ῥάβδους, μήτε πήραν μήτε ἄρτον μήτε ἀργύριον μήτε ἀνὰ δύο χιτῶνας ἔχειν

When we take all 3 verses together we see there is no contradiction at all, provided you do not use incorrect translations. Jesus told the disciples that they could only take one staff(Mark). They were prohibited from taking more than one staff (Luke) neither were they allowed to acquire another on their journey (Matthew).

With just a little bit of investigation the “contradiction” just disappears.


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