Did Jesus tell His disciples to take a staff or not?

Mark 6:8 and Matthew 10:9-10; Luke 9:3

  1. Can take a staff
    1. (Mark 6:8) - "and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belt."
  2. Cannot take a staff
    1. (Matthew 10:9-10) - "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10or a bag for your journey, or even two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support."
    2. (Luke 9:3) - "And He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece."

There are no textual variants in these verses in the Greek manuscripts that would bear upon this issue regarding the staff.  The word for "take" in both Mark 6:8 and Luke 9:3 is airo.  In Matthew 10:9, the word for "acquire" is ktaomai.  Each account is preceded by the raising of the dead girl so the context of each is the same.  It is possible that there is a textual variation not yet known.  Yet, this is not an acceptable explanation I would take since it is based on a lack of proof.  How then can this difficulty be reconciled?

The best explanation I can offer is that Matthew clarifies the issue by telling the disciples to not acquire anything more than what they already had.  It is possible that the "take" of Mark and Luke can be interpreted to mean acquire, but I think this is a weak explanation.  Nevertheless, each verse is saying that the disciples are to go as they are and to not take provisions--just trust the Lord.

I must note that I am not completely satisfied with this explanation, and I wait further clarification should it arise.


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About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.