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Answering The Atheist
February 20, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 8

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
What did the sign over Jesus' head say? All four gospel writers give a different inscription on the sign (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Indeed, the statements in all four gospels differ, just slightly:

  • "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" (Matthew)

  • "The King of the Jews" (Mark)

  • "This is the King of the Jews" (Luke)

  • "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews" (John)

Which writer recorded precisely what was written on the sign? I do not know. Perhaps none. We simply do not know. All four accounts do specifically mention, "...the king of the Jews". It is entirely possible that all four writers paraphrased the message of the sign, or that one recorded it exactly as written, while the other three paraphrased.

Regardless, there is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible