The Blind Men at Jericho -- By: Zane C. Hodges

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 122:488 (Oct 1965)
Article: The Blind Men at Jericho
Author: Zane C. Hodges

The Blind Men at Jericho

Zane C. Hodges

[Zane C. Hodges, Assistant Professor, New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

In a recent issue of a widely read national magazine a feature article on the Bible displayed as one of its headlines the confident assertion: “In detail and many important points, the Gospels do not agree.”1 It is always a little jolting to find so bald an unbelieving assertion in popular literature written for the general public, but it serves as a salutary reminder that the sophisticated intellectual unbelief long identified with Biblical criticism on the seminary and university level has enjoyed amazing success in penetrating the thinking of the average man in the street. It is obviously worth-while, therefore, in such a thickening atmosphere of skepticism for the Christian to direct his attention anew to some of the alleged discrepancies and contradictions in the Gospel records. The effort to do so will always be found rewarding to the believing heart, not only in terms of strengthened faith, but also as a means of attaining a heightened readiness to give to every man that asks a reason for the hope that is in us.

Typical of those narratives in the Gospels where, to the superficial observer, both “details” and “important points” appear to be discordant, is the triple account of the healing of blind Bartimaeus at the city of Jericho.2 The story is related

by all three of the Synoptic Gospels and is to be found in Matthew 20:29–34, Mark 10:46–52 and Luke 18:35–43.3 At least three apparent discrepancies in the parallel records are readily observed and demand special attention. These are: first, according to Matthew two blind men are healed while Mark and Luke speak of only one; second, there are a number of differences between the evangelists in the recorded words both of the beggars and of the Lord; and, third, Matthew and Mark relate the incident to Jesus’ departure from Jericho while Luke relates it to His entrance into that same city. It is precisely to just such divergencies as these that modern unbelief characteristically makes its appeal.

Two Blind Men Or One?

On first sight it might appear to many Bible believing Christians that the seeming discrepancy between Matthew, who speaks of the healing of two blind men, and Mark and Luke, who speak only of one, could be summarily dismissed as sim...

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