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Answering The Atheist
December 4, 2005 / Volume 5, Issue 49

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Did the rooster crow before or after Peter's denial? Some verses (Matthew 26:70,72,74; Luke 22:57-60; John 18:17,25-27) say that Peter denied Jesus before the rooster crowed, but other verses (Mark 14:67-72) say that the rooster crowed after Peter's first denial. Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
Though the questioner listed Mark 14:67-72, it is apparent that verse 72 is being ignored to set up this supposed contradiction. Verse 72, which follows Peter's three denials, reads, "A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the words that Jesus had said to him, 'Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.' And when he thought about it, he wept." The rooster crowed after Peter had denied Jesus three times. This is consistent in all 4 gospel accounts.

But what should we make of the 2 rooster crows in Mark's account? Does Mark somehow contradict the other writers because he reports two crows? We have noted before that there are times when one writer will give us details which others do not. All 4 writers mention the rooster crow after Peter's denial, Mark gives the additional information that there would infact be two crows. The first came after Peter's first denial, the latter after his third denial. The second crow of Mark's account is the crow mentioned in Matthew, Luke and John.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible