Matthew 7:11 versus Luke 11:13

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Stephen L Smith

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I have been reflecting on our Lord's great promise "Ask and it will be given to you" in the gospels. I noticed something interesting. In Matthew 7:11 our Lord says:
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

In Luke 11:13 our Lord says:
how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I was wondering how to reconcile this? Did the Lord make both statements? Did Luke and Matthew interpret the statements slightly differently?
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It was likely similar teaching given on separate occasions, much like a travelling preacher today might preach the same sermon multiple times, but with a few differences from place to place. In fact, Matthew and Luke seem to set the same teaching in different times and settings. Or, if the gospel writers are basing their text on the apostles' memory of what Jesus often taught, that report may have included some of Jesus' variations ("Sometimes he said it this way, and sometimes that way"), and Luke decided to use a different variant than Matthew used.

One excellent conclusion we can draw from the variation is that the best thing God gives his children is himself. In that regard, there's nothing to reconcile. Both statements fit Jesus' overall message.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
It was likely similar teaching given on separate occasions, much like a travelling preacher today might preach the same sermon multiple times, but with a few differences from place to place. In fact, Matthew and Luke seem to set the same teaching in different times and settings.
Interesting point. I had not thought of that. Luke's account of Jesus' teaching is considerably shorter. In Matthew's gospel it extends over 3 chapters. I had assumed Luke summarised the sermon on the mount, but perhaps it is a different sermon.
 
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