Did the cock crow once or twice before Peter's third denial?

Matthew 26:34-35, 74-75; Luke 22:34, 60-62; John 13:38 and Mark 14:30

  1. Denies before cock crows
    1. (Mathew 26:34, 74-75)--"Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times . . . 74Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a cock crowed. 75And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly."
    2. (Luke 22:34,60-62)--"And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me . . . .60But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times." 62And he went out and wept bitterly."
    3. (John 13:38)--"Jesus *answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times."
  2. Denies before cock crows twice
    1. (Mark 14:30)--"And Jesus *said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me . . . "

If a cock crows a second time, then it has crowed once before. The problem is that in Mark, after Peter denies the Lord for the third time (Mark 14:71), immediately a cock crows a second time (v. 72). The other gospels tell us that after Peter's third denial a cock then crows. How do we reconcile this difficulty?

Mark does not mention when the cock crowed the first time. Therefore, it is possible that after Peter's third denial, the cock then crowed twice; that is, two times in a row. This is logically possible.

Peter's Denial of Christ
Event Mathew 26:34-35, 69-75 Mark 14:30, 66-72 Luke 22:34, 55-62 John 13:38 & 18:25-27
Jesus predicts Peter's denial 34 Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times." 35 Peter *said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing, too. 30 And Jesus *said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me."

 

34 And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me."

 

38 Jesus *answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until you deny Me three times.

 

first inquiry 69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a certain servant-girl came to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." 66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest *came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and *said, "You, too, were with Jesus the Nazarene." 55 And after they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 56 And a certain servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight, and looking intently at him, said, "This man was with Him too." 18:25a Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?"

1st denial

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are talking about." 68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." And he went out onto the porch. 57 But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." 25b He denied it, and said, "I am not."
second inquiry 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." 69 And the maid saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, "This is one of them!" 58a And a little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?"

2nd denial

72 And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." 70a But again he was denying it. 58b But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"  
third inquiry 73 And a little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away." 70b And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too." 59 And after about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, "Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too."  

3rd denial

74 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" 71 But he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this man you are talking about!" 60a But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about."  
cock crowed 74 And immediately a cock crowed. 72a And immediately a cock crowed a second time. 60b And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. 27 Peter therefore denied it again; and immediately a cock crowed.
Peter weeps 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly. 72b And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, "Before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And he began to weep. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times." 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.  
Event Matthew 26 Mark 14 Luke 12 John 13 & 18

 

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CARM ison