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You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”
Matthew 19:17-20  NASB

 

Defraud not. (mistakenly, should be: Honor your father and mother.)
19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
Mark 10:19-20  NASB

 

There were no six, but only five commandments.
20 You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” 21  And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
Luke 18:20-21  NASB

 

SAB Contradiction 418

 

Question
We seem to meet a serious problem raised by the critic. What was the sixth commandment in the list Jesus outlined to the rich young ruler? Three gospels give different lists and consequently three different answers. In fact one doesn’t have a sixth commandment at all. Well, what can we say?

 

Who was that man?
We value the fact that  the critic, as  we do, seeks to base his view on the Bible. It is therefore necessary to consider these texts in greater detail. Let’s read the reactions of the rich man:
– The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept …” (Matthew)
– And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” (Mark)
– And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” (Luke)
Mmmm, strange. In Matthew the rich man is a young man, however in Mark and Luke he isn’t a young man any more. From his youth he had kept the commandments implies that at the time of his encounter with Jesus he is no longer a young man.

 

How many?
So we have two or maybe three different rich men. The man from Mark is introduced as “a man who knelt before him” (10:17) and only in Luke’s account the man has the title “ruler” (18:18). We thus have two older men, of which one was a ruler and the other not a ruler as he knelt (kneeling was certainly not appropriate behavior for a ruler).
Conclusion: in each description of the gospels a different man comes to Jesus with the question what to do “to inherit eternal life”.

 

Coincidence?
It seems odd that almost identical occurrences are described in the Gospels at similar times and places. It all happened shortly after the “Blessing of the children” and shortly before Jesus entered Jericho on his way to Jerusalem. Yet, it is not as odd as it seems. We see frequently that people with identical questions came up to Jesus for answers. He was a rabbi, whose  role was to meet the needs of people with words of wisdom, with blessings etc. In fact many similar occasions (due to similar needs) occurred and are described in the Gospels with their many detailed differences.

 

Eternal life
In this case of the three rich men we see a living pattern behind the stories. Certainly they belonged to the elite of Jericho and had spoken together about Jesus and his message. Without openly admitting to each other that the question of eternal life was fundamental to them and not a purely theological problem, each decided to approach the Rabbi of Nazareth for himself to get an answer. And so it occurred and while Jesus’ writers were certainly surprised that they saw three times nearly the same things before their eyes, they made their notes as was their job. So we are able to perceive the fine details of the talks between Jesus and the rich men of Jericho. It is entirely congruous that Jesus should refer three times differently to the commandments.

 

No Bible Contradiction