Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning the question, “Did the centurion or elders talk to Jesus?” The argument is that Matthew 8:5-8 says that the centurion spoke to Jesus, but Luke 7:3-6 says that the elders spoke to Jesus. However, there is a reasonable explanation for this apparent contradiction in the Bible.
Scriptures – Did the Centurion or Elders Talk to Jesus?
Matthew 8:5-8 – The Centurion
5 When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, 6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” 7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.Matthew 8:5-8
Luke 7:3-6 – The Elders
3 When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, 5 for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” 6 And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.Luke 7:3-6
The Answer – Did the Centurion or Elders Talk to Jesus?
Matthew May Be Presenting a Shortened Summary
It is reasonable to believe that Luke is presenting the full account of what happened, while Matthew is presenting a shortened summary. Perhaps Matthew is saying that the centurion “came forward” to Jesus in the sense that the centurion sent elders and friends to Jesus, who represented what he wanted to say to Jesus.
Foundational Principles Regarding Bible Difficulties
There are some foundational principles that apply to all alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible. To read more, see Bible Difficulties: Foundational Principles.
Related to “Did the Centurion or Elders Talk to Jesus?”
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: