Luke 6:17—Why does Luke say Jesus gave this sermon on a level place when Matthew declares it was given on the mountain?

Problem: Luke affirms that Jesus “stood on a level place” when He gave this famous sermon, but Matthew says “He went up on a mountain” to deliver it (Matt. 5:1). How can this discrepancy be resolved?

Solution: Granted that the two accounts are referring to the same event (see comments on Luke 6:20 below), they can be reconciled by noting that the mountain only refers to the general area where everyone was, while the level place denotes the particular spot from which Jesus spoke. It says “He stood on a level place.” It does not say all the people were seated in a level place. A level place from which to preach to a multitude on a mountain side would make a natural amphitheater.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.