The resurrection accounts are very consistent and the supposed contradictions that skeptic raise can be explained. It’s true the accounts are different, but they are also complementary and without contradiction.

Unique nuances from each of the Gospel writers contributes to the credibility of each account being true. Only if the four accounts were identical (which they are not) could Matthew, Mark, Luke and John be suspect of fabrication and collaboration. In fact, each writer delivered different details about the same event, based on different perspectives and on the message the Holy Spirit inspired them to write.

Two examples that appear to be discrepancies in testimonies, but are not, include:

  • Matthew, Mark and Luke mention a plural number of women who came to the empty tomb, while John mentions only Mary Magdalene. However, no writer says that only Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Mention of one woman does not rule out there being more women present.
  • Matthew and Mark mention only one angel in the tomb, while Luke and John mention two. However, Matthew and Mark never say that only one angel appeared, or that only one angel spoke. Similar to the women, mentioning one angel does not rule out there being two.

Neither of these are contradictions. They are simply accounts from two different perspectives with varying details.

Lee Strobel, a respected journalist, legal scholar, and former skeptic, after extensively interviewing New Testament scholars, concluded,

“The harmony among the Gospels on essential facts, coupled with divergence on some details, lends historical credibility to the accounts. The early church couldn’t have taken root and flourished right there in Jerusalem if it had been teaching facts about Jesus that his own contemporaries could have exposed as exaggerated or false.”

Read about another suggested contradiction that is easily explained: Why are There Two Different Genealogies for Jesus?

To understand why the Gospel accounts differ, read: What are the Four Different Presentations of Jesus in the Gospels?