Parallel Texts in Matthew, Mark & Luke

1. True Kin
Matt 12:46-50 // Mark 3:31-35 // Luke 8:19-21

  context     Greek synopsis     English synopsis     analysis     source hypotheses     variants 

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Matthew 12 Mark 3 Luke 8
46 While he was still speaking        
  to the people,        
  behold, 31 And 19 [Then]
  his mother   his mother   his mother
  and his brothers   and his brothers   and his brothers
      came   came to him,
  stood outside   and, standing outside,   but
  asking   they sent to him,   they could not reach
  to speak to him. ** <calling> him.   him
    32 And a crowd was sitting   for the crowd.
      about him;    
47* [Someone told him   and they said to him,  20  [And] he was told,
  "Your mother   "Your mother   "Your mother and
  and your brothers are   and your brothers are   your brothers are
  standing outside,   outside,   standing outside,
  asking to speak to you."]   asking for you."   desiring to see you."
48 But he replied  33  And he replied,    
  to the man who told him,        
  "Who is my mother,   "Who are my mother    
  and   and    
  who are my brothers?"   my brothers?"    
49 And 34 And 21 [But]
  stretching out his hand   looking around    
  toward his disciples,   on those who sat about him,    
  he said,   he said,   he said to them,
  "Here are my mother   "Here are my mother   "My mother
  and my brothers!   and my brothers!   and my brothers
50 For whoever does the will 35 Whoever does the will   are those who hear
  of my Father in heaven   of God   the word of God
  is my brother,   is my brother,    
  and sister,   and sister,    
  and mother."   and mother."    
          and do it."

* Note: Matt 12:47 is not in the two earliest codices (before 400 CE): Sinaiticus & Vaticanus. But it is found in most mss. after 400 CE. Which explanation of these facts is more plausible?

  • It was omitted by accident. Scribes copying a ms. in which the same words occurred a line or so apart sometimes omitted the words between them. Note that the ending of Matt 12:47 echoes the narrative in Matt 12:46. Or...

  • It was added by later scribes to bring Matthew in line with the other synoptic versions of this anecdote. Note parallels to Luke 8:20.

If Matt 12:47 was missing from later mss., a scribal lapse would be clear. But since it is lacking in both of the oldest mss., accidental omission is less likely. This verse was in the Diatesseron, a 2nd c. harmony of the four gospels. But there is no evidence for it in Greek mss. of Matthew before the 5th c. CE.

** Editorial Note: The RSV tried to salvage the awkward grammar of Mark 3:31 by translating Mark's second participle as a main verb: "and called him." For the sake of analysis, I have restored Mark's bad grammar.

Color Code
 Blue  Three gospels use same vocabulary.
 Teal  Two gospels use same vocabulary.
 Black   Words unique to a particular gospel.
 [it]  RSV wording; not in Greek text.
 <all>  RSV wording altered to reflect Greek

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last revised 28 February 2023

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