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Vol.  10  No. 4 April 2008  Page 20
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Since You Asked By Louis Rushmore

Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Louis Rushmore

Was Ananias an Apostle?

Hello. My question is concerning Ananias in Acts 9. Was Ananias a rare exception in the laying on of hands to heal Saul in Acts 9:17-18? I don’t see him named as one of the apostles. Since learning more about the apostles authority in the laying on of hands, I wasn’t able to figure this out. I wanted to so that I wouldn’t speak presumptuously to anyone about the passage. Thank You. (Anthony Grigsby)

    First, Ananias was not one of the apostles of Christ. He was not one of the original twelve (Matthew 10:2-5). He was not the replacement apostle for Judas who by transgression fell (Acts 1:13-26). He was not the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul (Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17). Apostles were not replaced simply due to death (Acts 12:1-2). Second, laying on of hands, when it referred to miracles of healing, was not limited to the apostles, but believers in the first century (Mark 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 12:9). Ananias was not an apostle of Christ.

Private Interpretation

    A person from a university in Nigeria asks what “private interpretation means.” “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21). The word “private” means “pertaining to self” or “one’s own” (Biblesoft’s). The word “interpretation” means “explanation” or “application” (Biblesoft’s). Vine observes, “…the writers of Scripture did not put their own construction upon the ‘Godbreathed’ words they wrote.” Second Peter 1:20-21 contrast uninspired interpretation with divine inspiration (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown). Scripture is not the proper object of “conjecture” (Clarke). Consequently, Scripture is “sure” and worthy to be heeded (2 Peter 1:19) for what it teaches without combination with human ideas (Matthew 15:9).

Works Cited

Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle:  Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, 1994.

Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1985.

Healing the Blind Man (Men)

How do explain the various/different accounts about the healing of the blindmen in the Matt 20 vs 30, Mark 10 vs 46, Luke18 vs 35; Help me clarify the discrepancy.

    Discrepancy is definitely the wrong word to describe variations in parallel or companion Bible texts. In the first place, similar accounts are not all necessarily parallel or discussing the same occasion. Second, accounts that are parallel may provide varying degrees of details; rather than contradicting each other, they corroborate each other, only one text provides additional details. Third, two texts that appear to be discussing the same occasion, but vary from each other, may only represent an emphasis on an aspect of the event by one of the texts. Therefore, any plausible explanation, that harmonizes two biblical references that may first appear to conflict, disallows categorization as discrepancies in Scripture.

    One commentator addresses the variances in these passages by observing that “…Matthew tells of two, while Mark and Luke tell only of one—the principal one” (McGarvey). Another commentator adds, “The two blind men who sat by the wayside heard the multitude as Jesus passed by and in the midst of the noise and confusion ‘cried out, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David.’ One of these was Bartimaeus…but the mention of him does not exclude another, and Matthew tells us that there was another to share the blessing” (Boles, Matthew). B.W. Johnson concurs by penning, “‘If there were two there certainly was one.’ Luke and Mark only name the one who was most active and earnest. Mark says his name was Bartimæus.”

    The following observations complement what we have already noted.

Mark gives the fullest record of this event, but Luke is the only one that records the effect of the miracle on the people. (Verse 43.) Matthew says: “And behold, two blind men sitting by the way side.” Hence, Matthew mentions two blind men, while Mark and Luke describe one; probably they describe the more conspicuous one. It seems that the one named Bartimaeus by Mark was the principal one and that he had a companion; hence, Matthew mentions Bartimaeus and his companion, while Mark and Luke mention only Bartimaeus.” (Boles, Luke)

Matthew (20:30) says: “Two blind men.” Both pleaded for mercy and were healed. Only one name is given, probably the most noted. There is no contradiction here since Mark selects the most prominent one for his history, and simply says nothing about the other. Luke (19:35-43) mentions the healing of a blind man as Jesus entered Jericho which Matthew and Mark omit. Here are two separate and distinct cases of healing the blind—one as Jesus enters the city, the other as he leaves. (Dorris)

    Apparent confusion between the Gospel records as to when our Lord encountered the blind men has to do with translation rather than any real conflict in the inspired witnesses.

Luke says, “As he was come nigh unto Jericho.” The original word used in Luke, translated was come nigh, commonly expresses approach to a place. But it does not of necessity mean that always. It may denote nearness to a place, whether going to it or from it. It would be here rendered correctly, “when they were near to Jericho,” or when they were in the vicinity of it, without saying whether they were going to or from it. Matthew and Mark say they were going from it. (Barnes)

    In summary, it could only be rightfully said that discrepancies exist between the accounts if there were restricting information in any of the accounts disallowed the inclusion of more than one blind beggar, or were there similar restricting information in the records respecting when at Jericho the healing or healings occurred.

The difficulty mentioned above, whether there was one healed or two, is resolved in the truth that there were actually two, as stated by Matthew; and that Luke and Mark, following a pattern often observed in the New Testament, mentioned only one, the most important (to them). Mark’s account shows that he was personally acquainted with Bartimaeus and his father. Thus, the healing of one known personally to Mark as a respected friend would naturally overshadow other healings that occurred at the same time. There is no contradiction that Matthew named two, a fact that could be contradicted only by an assertion that Jesus healed ONLY one, a statement that neither Mark nor Luke made. (Coffman, “Matthew 20:30”)

“That rule, which in all reconciliations of parallel histories must be applied, is that the silence of one narrator is no contradiction of the affirmation of another; thus the second and third evangelists making mention of ONE blind man do not contradict St. Matthew who mentions TWO.” (Trench qtd. Coffman, “Mark 10:46”)

 Works Cited

Barnes, Albert. “Matthew 20:30.” Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2004.

Boles, H. Leo. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew: Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1989. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

- - -. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Luke: Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1991. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

Coffman, James Burton. “Mark 10:46.” James Burton Coffman Library. CD-ROM. Abilene: ACU Press, 1989.

- - -. “Matthew 20:30.” James Burton Coffman Library. CD-ROM. Abilene: ACU Press, 1989.

Dorris, C.E.W. A Commentary on the Gospel According to Mark: Gospel Advocate Commentaries. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1992. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2005.

Johnson, B.W. “Luke 18:35.” The People’s New Testament. St. Louis: Christian Publishing, 1891. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2004.

McGarvey, J.W. Four-Fold Gospel. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2004.

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