Did the Fig Tree Wither Immediately or Overnight?

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Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning the question, “Did the fig tree wither immediately or overnight?” The argument is that Matthew 21:19 says that it withered immediately, but Mark 11:14, 20 says that it withered overnight. However, is a reasonable explanation that would solve this alleged contradiction in the Bible.

Scriptures – Did the Fig Tree Wither Immediately or Overnight?

Matthew 21:19 – Immediately

And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

Matthew 21:19

Mark 11:14, 20 – Overnight

14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it… 20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.

Mark 11:14, 20

The Answer – Did the Fig Tree Wither Immediately or Overnight?

Withered vs Withered to Its Roots

Matthew 21:19 says that the “tree withered,” but Mark 11:20 says, “the fig tree withered away ”’to its roots.” It is very reasonable to believe that in Matthew 21:19, the fig tree immediately began the process of withering, and in Mark 11:20, the fig tree had completed the process of withering.

Essentially, the two passages speak about the tree withering according to different timelines.

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 Fig Tree Wither Immediately or Overnight?”

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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