Reporting on the Parables

“And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.” (Mark 12:1)

This parable of the vineyard had an obvious meaning, for even “the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders” to whom He was speaking (Mark 11:27) “knew that he had spoken the parable against them” (Mark 12:12). The same parable and the events surrounding it are reported in Matthew 21:33-46 and Luke 20:9-16.

But there is another question that has been raised about this parable, as well as all the other parables that have been reported in two or more different gospels. That is, if the Bible is inerrant in its very words as Jesus taught (e.g., Matthew 5:18; John 10:35), then why did the writers often vary in their reporting of the words of the parable?

It should be remembered, however, that Jesus probably spoke in Aramaic, whereas the written accounts were in Greek. Furthermore, two of the writers (Mark and Luke) were not present at the time, so would have to obtain their accounts from someone who was there (e.g., Luke 1:1-2). Flexibility in translation and reporting is always possible with different translators and different reporters.

The doctrine of divine inspiration of the Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16), however, applies not to the process but to the result. The Spirit of God was free to use the writer’s own research, vocabulary, and style in reporting an event, so long as there were no factual errors or irrelevancies in the final result. In fact, such minor differences often give greater depth and credence to the reported event since they help in proving that the different writers were not in collusion but simply telling of a real event from different perspectives. HMM

The Latest
NEWS
What's All the Flap About?
In the last few decades, there has been a lot of discussion by prominent paleontologists who imply that dinosaurs and birds are closely related. Many...

NEWS
Nearby Galaxy Has Almost No Dark Matter
A team of astronomers recently concluded that a nearby spheroidal galaxy, designated as NGC1052-DF2, contains very little, if any, dark matter.1,2 Since...

TESTIMONIALS
Building His Kingdom
Hello, my name is Andrew Infinger, and I work in ICR’s distribution center. As a full-time student and employee, I don’t have much time...

NEWS
Homo naledi had Lucy-Like Hips
Hips can reveal many things about fossilized organisms, especially when it comes to mammals. They can indicate the difference between species and even...

NEWS
Protein Discovery Confirms Design
Fungal infections can be a pain to eradicate. But new results show why these infections can take an even tighter hold on people or animals that are...