Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning whether Jesus told his disciples they could take a staff. The argument is that Mark 6:8 says that Jesus tells his disciples they can take a staff, but Matthew 10:9-10 and Luke 9:3 say that Jesus tells his disciples they should not take a staff. However, there are two possible explanations that would solve this alleged contradiction in the Bible.
Scriptures – Did Jesus Tell His Disciples to Take a Staff?
Take a Staff
He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts—Mark 6:8
Don’t Take a Staff
9 Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.Matthew 10:9-10
And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics.Luke 9:3
The Answer – Did Jesus Tell His Disciples to Take a Staff?
“Staffs” in Matthew and Luke is Plural
It is possible that the word translated “staff” is actually plural in the Greek. The Nestle and Aland 27th edition/USB 4th edition have “staff” as singular, but the Greek used for the KJV translation have “staff” as plural.
If this is the case, then Mark 6:8 is saying that the disciples should take one staff, and Matthew 10:9-10 and Luke 9:3 are saying that the disciples should not take more than one staff.
The Disciples Should Not Acquire Any More Staffs
It is also possible that Matthew and Luke are saying that the disciples should not acquire any more staffs than the one they already have, while Mark is saying that the disciples should simply take one staff for the journey. Thus, the meaning of all three passages would be to take one staff, and no more than one staff.
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 Jesus Tell His Disciples to Take a Staff?”
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: