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Answering The Atheist
October 20, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 42

Jesus' disciples were told to not take sandals (Matthew 10:9-10), but they were also told to take sandals (Mark 6:8-9). Is there a contradiction?

Let us consider what the texts in question say:

Matthew 10:9-10
Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.

Mark 6:8-9
He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff -- no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts -- but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

Indeed, in Mark's account the disciples are sent forth with sandals. The apparent contradiction disappears if the reader will take careful note of what is actually said in Matthew 10:9-10. Jesus did not forbid his disciples to wear sandals. What He forbade was for them to "...provide...sandals..." That is, they were not to pack a pair of sandals for their journey. Rather than having packed and thus supplied for themselves this replacement pair of sandals and other supplies necessary for the journey, they would receive such things as were necessary along the way. To think that this required them to set forth on their journey barefoot is to read beyond what the text reveals.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible