This is Mike’s third and final guest post.  In the earlier post he explained his views about whether the Bible is inspired by God and is inerrant.  He thinks the answers to both are “yes,” though his actual views are not what most people would probably expect.   Here now is the third, and critical post, based on the research he did for his 2017 Oxford University Press book, with the same title:  Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?   

I agree with a lot of what Mike writes here.  In reading it, I’d suggest you bear in mind his earlier two posts, that he sees the Gospels as inspired and inerrant.

Mike has graciously agreed to answer questions you have for him, but only for the next four days!  Otherwise this would go on forever.  And please, in your questions, do your best to keep them concise and direct, without asking multiple questions at once.  Pick the most pressing.  And I scarcely need to remind you of that verse in the Ehrman Revised Standard Version: “The rude and snarky shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Many thanks to Mike for taking these posts on.  I really appreciate it.

Mike Licona is the author of The Resurrection of Jesus, Why Are There Differences in the Gospels and Evidence for God.



In June 2017, two convicts in the state of Georgia killed two corrections officers who were transporting them, took their guns and fled. One morning, my wife told me the two had been captured in Tennessee by a guy who saw them trying to steal his car and held them at gunpoint until the police arrived. A few moments later, we saw a reporter on television saying the two convicts were captured after their stolen car had crashed during a high-speed police chase. I looked at Debbie and said, “What? But you said . . .” to which she replied, “Just wait and hear the entire story.”

Both accounts are true. The convicts had stolen a car. The police tracked them and were in a high-speed pursuit when the convicts crashed their stolen car and fled on foot through the woods. They were trying to steal another car when the home owner confronted them, held them at gunpoint, and called the police. Here were two stories that seemed irreconcilable to me at first but were easily harmonized.

Harmonizing Gospel differences is a legitimate approach. However, as demonstrated in my previous post, it can quickly go awry. Similarly, skeptical approaches can go too far in the opposite direction, being too quick to conclude that an error is present and assert that the differences prohibit us from trusting anything the Gospels claim. Those applying this standard would have to reject the reports in virtually all ancient literature!

I think there’s a better approach. It’s not a middle ground. It’s actually ground that’s fairly new in Gospels research but …

The rest of this post is for blog members only.  If you want to hear what Mike has to say, join the blog!  It costs pennies a day, and every one of those pennies goes to charity.  And for the content you get — it’s unbelievable value!