Did One or Two Demon-Possessed Men Meet Jesus?

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Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether one or two demon-possessed men met Jesus. The argument is that Matthew 8:28 says that two demon-possessed men met Jesus, but Mark 5:1-2 and Luke 8:26-27 say that only one demon-possessed man met Jesus. However, there is a reasonable explanation that solves this alleged contradiction in the Bible.

Scriptures – Did One or Two Demon-Possessed Men Meet Jesus?

Two Demon-Possessed Men Met Jesus

And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way.

Matthew 8:28

One Demon-Possessed Man Met Jesus

1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.

Mark 5:1-2

26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs.

Luke 8:26-27

The Answer – Did One or Two Demon-Possessed Men Meet Jesus?

Mark and Luke Do Not Say “Only” One Man

It is clear that the three passages are all about the same event. The key to reconciling Matthew’s account with Mark and Luke’s accounts is to recognize that Mark and Luke’s accounts do not say that there was only one demon-possessed man. This leaves open the possibility that there were in fact two demon-possessed men, as Matthew records, but Mark and Luke only mention one of them.

Why would Mark and Luke only mention one of the demon-possessed men? We cannot be certain, but perhaps one demon-possessed man was more prominent than the other demon-possessed man, or perhaps Mark and Luke are simply using one demon-possessed man to represent both of the demon-possessed men for simplicity’s sake.

In any case, there is simply no necessary contradiction between Matthew 8:28, Mark 5:1-2, and Luke 8:26-27.

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.

More Answers to “Contradictions” in the Bible

To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.

These books are also excellent resources:

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