Stylos is the blog of Jeff Riddle, a Reformed Baptist Pastor in North Garden, Virginia. The title "Stylos" is the Greek word for pillar. In 1 Timothy 3:15 Paul urges his readers to consider "how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar (stylos) and ground of the truth."
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Even more thoughts on Matthew's "Sermon on the Mount" and Luke's "Sermon in the Plain"
As I continue to preach through Luke’s Sermon in the Plain (Luke 6), I am still pondering the propriety of
taking Luke’s account as an abbreviated doublet of the material in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5—7) [see this previous post].My tendency, again, is to see these as
records of two independent sermons and not the same event.
The McArthur Study
Bible provides an
example of an evangelical interpretation which argues that Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s Sermon in the Plain are two
presentations of the same event.It acknowledges,
“It is possible … that Jesus simply preached the same sermon on more than one occasion.”Yet it concludes:
It appears more likely, however, that
these are variant accounts of the same event.Luke’s version is abbreviated somewhat, because he omitted sections from
the sermon that are uniquely Jewish (particularly Christ’s exposition of the
law).Aside from that, the two sermons
follow exactly the same flow of thought beginning with the Beatitudes and
ending with the parable about building on the rock.Differences in wording between the two accounts
are undoubtedly owing to the fact that the sermon was originally delivered in
Aramaic.Luke and Matthew translate into
Gr. with slight variances.Of course,
both translations are equally inspired and authoritative (p. 1524).
The problem with this approach is simply that the differences
between the two sermons are much more than “slight variances” resulting from
translation from Aramaic to Greek.For
example, Matthew has eight (or nine) beatitudes (Matthew 5) and no woes, while
Luke has four beatitudes and four corresponding woes (Luke 6).
I am more inclined toward the interpretation of Matthew Poole
in his Luke commentary.Poole begins, “There
are many that think what Luke hath in these verses, and so the end of the
chapter, is but a shorter epitome of what Luke hath in his 5th, 6th,
and 7th chapters, and that both Matthew and Luke mean the same
sermon preached at the same time.”He cites
two points in favor of this opinion:(1)
Matthew says that Jesus was teaching on a mountain, and Luke’s description can
be taken as reference to a mountain plain; (2) There is much overlap in
Nevertheless, Poole concludes, “I can hardly be of that mind.”He cites the following reasons:
(1)He judges Luke’s reference to the
plain is not the same setting as Matthew.
(2)The description of the audience for the sermon
in Luke (see 6:17) is distinct and indicates a unique setting.
(3)“Principally, from the great differences in
the relations of Matthew and Luke.”
many large discourses in Matthew are not covered by Luke (e.g. Christ “true
interpretation of the law” and his teaching about alms, prayer, fasting in
Matthew 6); and (b) differences in the beatitudes (and woes) section.
therefore all to their own judgments, I see no reason to think that this
discourse was but a short copy of the same discourse, referring to the same
time and company.”