Matthew 10:10 (cf. Mark 6:8)—Did Jesus command that the disciples take a staff or not?

Problem: In Matthew, Jesus seems to say that the disciples should not take a staff, but in Mark it appears that He allows them to have one.

Solution: A closer examination reveals that the account in Mark (6:8) declares that the disciples are to take nothing except a staff, which a traveler would normally have. Whereas the account in Matthew states that they are not to acquire another staff. There is no discrepancy between these texts. Mark’s account is saying that they may take the staff that they have, while Matthew is saying that they should not take an extra staff or tunic. The text reads “Provide neither ... two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs” (plural: vv. 9–10). It does not say that they should not take a staff (singular). So there is no contradiction.

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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.