Matthew 5:38-48 from the Sermon on the Mount and Luke 6:27-36 from the Sermon on the Plain are clearly related, but there are also substantial differences including reorderings. I've coloured the verses that are very similar:

Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36 in parallel with similar verses highlighted

With the Q hypothesis these differences are fairly easy to explain: Matthew and Luke each used the same source, called Q, which we can assume was shorter, perhaps only the coloured verses, and then expanded and edited it as they wished. Perhaps they did this based on their personal memory of what Jesus said and/or included the memories of the other sources they consulted.

Without the Q hypothesis this parallel seems much harder to explain. The second gospel author would have had to take the earlier one, simultaneously condensing some parts and expanding others. And if Luke was second--this is the more common position--then you'd also have to explain why he pulled the golden rule out of its position much later in Matthew 7:12 to include here.

So how do proponents of the Luke used Matthew or Matthew used Luke positions explain this parallel?

  • Could you elaborate what kind of answer you're looking for? It looks like you're asking for more than "Luke used Mathew and edited and re-arranged it" - are you asking "why" there might be this or that particular redaction (e.g. why Luke might have moved the Golden Rule)?
    – Soldarnal
    Apr 7, 2020 at 15:31
  • @Soldarnal Whatever specific explanations proponents give to this parallel. For example I think I've seen people say that Luke removed Matthew's mentions of the Jewish law, that could explain cutting Matt 5:38. But what about the rest of it? I'm sure people have posited specific motivations for why Luke or Matthew would have cut or expanded various things. It's the specifics I'm after, because this is a messy parallel and it deserves to have a full explanation in order to refute Q proponents.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 7, 2020 at 22:02
  • @Soldarnal This post is the kind of thing I'd love to see for this question: a detailed examination of the parallel passages with analysis of individual verses or even words.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 8, 2020 at 10:31
  • 2
    I found a promising paper to build an answer on: Luke's Rewriting of The Sermon on The Mount by Mark A. Matson, which was published in a 2004 book Questioning Q co-edited by Mr. Goodacre himself, a scholar frequently cited to support Q-less hypotheses. I haven't finished reading this and haven't had the time to summarize the argument, but thought that you may be interested to comment first. CC @Soldarnal Apr 9, 2020 at 1:51
  • 1
    @HoldToTheRod That's fair. And I appreciate Lucian's answer below showing that the two passages are actually quite distinct textually, even if very similar thematically.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 12, 2021 at 0:53

4 Answers 4


Premises of this response:

  • There was no Q document (per the OP)
  • Luke (writing to a gentile audience) used Matthew’s Gospel (written to a Jewish audience) as a source. For a more thorough discussion of the greater Jewish focus of Matthew, and why it indicates that Matthew preceded Luke, see my thoughts here.


What Luke leaves out

You have heard it said

This is a reference to the Mosaic Law. Matthew, writing to Jews, would be able to reference the Torah and his audience would know what he was talking about. For Luke, writing to a gentile audience, references to the Torah would be a distraction at best and a source of confusion at worst. Unsurprisingly then, Luke omits the “you have heard it said” passages found in Matthew.

Pagans & Tax Collectors

Matthew’s reference to pagans would be an effective message to the Jews, who prided themselves on being different from pagans. It’s a sharp remark: how good are you if you’re only doing what the pagans do?? It’s an effective and poignant observation of hypocrisy, if people are doing the same things they criticize their “out-group” for doing.

But to Luke, whose readers may well have been pagans (past or present), rather than driving the point home he might actually offend his readers. They didn’t grow up believing in the Lord and probably won’t take well to be referred to as an “out-group”. Even if some of the Jews looked down on the pagans, Luke doesn’t score any points by pointing it out.

On a related note, where Matthew speaks tax-collectors—a group despised by many Jews who saw publicans as traitors in the service of a foreign power—Luke changes the reference to sinners. An educated Greco-Roman audience would likely not feel the same way about tax-collectors as Matthew’s audience did.

In general, Luke portrays Rome in a remarkably positive light (just two examples of many would be Pilate really hard to let an innocent man go & Gallio being evenhanded in the Corinthian trial of Paul); he may in fact be doing so in order to try to keep Christianity & Rome on positive terms. As such, he’s not going to go out of his way to gratuitously criticize Rome’s tax-collectors. John Mauck goes into great detail on the context of Luke’s portrayal of Christianity & Rome here.

Go the second mile

This classic teaching from the sermon on the mount (Matthew) is conspicuously absent from the sermon on the plain (Luke). I do not claim to know for certain why, but I can offer a hypothesis. Matthew’s audience would generally be people who were being asked to go a mile, whereas Luke’s audience may well include people who were in positions of authority to compel others to go a mile. It is widely held that Luke's target audience was educated Greco-Romans--the high Greek of his preface (Luke 1:1-4) supports this.

Luke thus leaves this passage out so as not to 1) justify the abuse of power or 2) create the impression that Christians should be targeted for public mistreatment because they’re too nice to say no.

Assuming Matthew wrote first and was used as a source by Luke, there is no need to explain why Matthew leaves out passages found in Luke.


What Luke adds

Approximately half of the Gospel of Luke is material not found in Matthew or Mark. Whether we call this “L” or “Luke’s notes from eyewitness interviews” or something else, clearly Luke has material and commentary beyond what’s in Matthew (in many contexts) that he wants to include.

Perhaps the most parsimonious solution to what Luke adds in the sermon on the plain is this: the sermon on the plain was a different time and place than the sermon on the mount, and Jesus said some things during the sermon on the plain that he didn’t say on the mount.

If Jesus gave multiple versions of the sermon (traveling preachers do this all the time), then Luke may have heard different versions of the sermon. If Luke had heard several versions of the sermon and really liked certain passages, why not include them even if Matthew had left them out?

I’m hesitant to try to dive too far into speculating what is in the mind of the author (I think this has been the shipwreck of many an exposition on the synoptic problem), but at the very least, whatever his source, Luke had some material that wasn’t in Matthew and it was quite appropriate in the context in which he presented it.


The Golden Rule

This is one of Jesus’ most iconic teachings. To those who see the sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plain as evidence of fabrication I would ask: find me an itinerant preacher in any time or place who never taught the same ideas more than once. Given that every word attributed to Jesus in the Gospels can be read aloud in under an hour, it is a virtual certainty that over the course of a multi-year ministry He would have said many things—including telling stories more than once & teaching principles not found in the Gospels.

I find it inconceivable that so profound a statement as the golden rule (which to my knowledge is never found in its positive form prior to Jesus) would only have been uttered once.

But even if Jesus taught the same parables & principles many times, we shouldn’t expect the Gospel authors to write it many times. A document of this magnitude would be a significant and expensive undertaking—so even if you have a really profound statement to make, you might make it only once.

As such, Matthew & Luke each took the golden rule, probably spoken by Jesus on a number of occasions, and put it in the context they thought would be most effective.


Chronology isn’t the #1 guiding principle here

Some have been surprised to discover that the Gospels are not designed to be strictly chronological documents. True the infancy narratives are at the beginning and the passion narratives at the end, but in between there appear to be other interests besides chronology.

This is less surprising when we consider that early on, the Gospels were much more likely used as memory aids (see HE 3.24.6) for preachers than as treatises to be read aloud from end to end as a sermon (have you ever tried this with a massive scroll that has no chapters, verses, or spaces between words?). The narrative context then serves a very valuable purpose--it's much easier to remember a story than a long dialogue. A Gospel written in bite-sized pieces (pericopes) would serve the preachers' needs quite well.

(For those who want to really geek out on the synoptic problem, I gave an in-depth presentation of the argument from order which can be found here)

Matthew organizes much of his material by topic and builds his narrative around the major sermons. Luke, on the other hand, organizes a decent portion of his gospel by geography. E.g. Jesus spent time in city A, here are things in said and did there; He spent time in city B, here are things in said and did there, etc. These aren’t hard and fast rules but they are frequent patterns. I believe they explain a decent portion of the dislocations between material shared by Matthew & Luke.


The parable of the stained-glass window

(described in greater detail here from 3:42 to 5:48 )

You see two photographs, both of the same stained-glass window. In one, the window is intact and it is a masterpiece. In the other, it is in shards and fragments in front of the frame—which is bent—as there’s a rock on the ground next to the window. The photographs don’t have timestamps on them, and you’d like to know which was taken first.

In theory it’s possible that either photograph was taken first—it’s possible to restore a broken window so well that nobody can tell it’s a restoration—but it is far more likely that the intact picture was taken first, and then somebody threw a rock through the window.

I see this phenomenon in Matthew & Luke. Matthew has put together magisterial sermons. Luke regularly breaks them up (this is not just the sermon on the mount) and scatters them throughout his Gospel based on his own plan of what content will be covered where. That Luke would break up Matthew’s sermons is easier to believe than that Matthew found all these pieces scattered throughout Luke and managed to assemble a masterpiece from scattered remnants.

This isn’t intended as an attack on Luke; he just has a very different set of organizing principles than does Matthew.

Bringing Q into the mix doesn’t help—the same problem remains. If Matthew used Q, did Matthew patchwork together a stained-glass window from fragments in Q? It’s no more likely than that he did so from Luke. But if Luke is willing to break up sermons he could do it whether his source is Matthew or Q.

Thus, the simplest solution is to get rid of the middleman and drop the Q assumption. If Luke’s use of Q and Luke’s use of Matthew require an (essentially) identical explanation, appealing to Q would only serve to multiply entities beyond necessity.


Insight from Shem Tob Matthew

The 14th century Shem Tob polemic against Christianity includes a copy of Matthew—in Hebrew—which does not appear to be a translation from Greek or Latin, but rather a descendent of ideas originally put down in Hebrew. (Here is a summary on what Shem Tob is, and here is a detailed scholarly discussion of what it means.)

A fascinating observation has been made regarding the way the Sermon on the Mount is recorded in Shem Tob:

When the sayings in Luke are placed alongside their parallels in the Hebrew text of Matthew 5-7, every time the Hebrew is interrupted by the words “Jesus said to his disciples,” without exception Luke jumps to a different place in his Gospel or has a void. See here p. 254

This data point, in conjunction with the discussion of the parable of the stained-glass window above, leads me to the conclusion that early on the sermon on the mount—though an unparalleled masterpiece in its entirety—was regularly thought of as a source from which individual lessons could be broken out and used in a variety of contexts (in the ministry you'll find a lot more opportunity for a 2 minute lesson than a 30 minute sermon).

This is exactly what Luke appears to do with the sermon, and if Matthew was already written in a form that made these bite-sized pericopes easy to separate from the whole, there is no need to appeal to Q at all in these passages.



  1. Jesus almost certainly gave the same/similar sermons more than once; variations in different settings should not surprise us.
  2. When Matthew says something that would be misunderstood by or offensive to Luke’s audience, Luke usually leaves it out.
  3. When Luke has material (from another source and/or setting) that fits contextually very well with material he is obtaining from Matthew, Luke is happy to add it in. Since about half of Luke is not found in the other Gospels, Luke was clearly willing to add material he liked to whichever documents he used as sources.
  4. Matthew organized material into effective, self-contained sermons, but they were made up of individual pericopes that were sometimes presented together and sometimes presented on their own. Luke sometimes did one and sometimes the other based upon the themes he was emphasizing in a given place in his Gospel.
  5. Q is unnecessary to explain any of this behavior.

From UBS5:

The blue passage(s):

Matthew 5:39-40 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν μὴ ἀντιστῆναι τῷ πονηρῷ· ἀλλ᾿ ὅστις σε ῥαπίζει εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα [σου], στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην· καὶ τῷ θέλοντί σοι κριθῆναι καὶ τὸν χιτῶνά σου λαβεῖν, ἄφες αὐτῷ καὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον·

Luke 6:29 τῷ τύπτοντί σε ἐπὶ τὴν σιαγόνα πάρεχε καὶ τὴν ἄλλην, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντός σου τὸ ἱμάτιον καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα μὴ κωλύσῃς.

The green passage(s):

Matthew 5:42 τῷ αἰτοῦντί σε δός, καὶ τὸν θέλοντα ἀπὸ σοῦ δανίσασθαι μὴ ἀποστραφῇς.

Luke 6:30 παντὶ αἰτοῦντί σε δίδου, καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦ αἴροντος τὰ σὰ μὴ ἀπαίτει.

The pink passage(s):

Matthew 5:46 ἐὰν γὰρ ἀγαπήσητε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, τίνα μισθὸν ἔχετε; οὐχὶ καὶ οἱ τελῶναι τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;

Luke 6:32 καὶ εἰ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς, ποία ὑμῖν χάρις ἐστίν; καὶ γὰρ οἱ ἁμαρτωλοὶ τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας αὐτοὺς ἀγαπῶσιν.

The orange passage(s):

Matthew 5:45 ὅπως γένησθε υἱοὶ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς, ὅτι τὸν ἥλιον αὐτοῦ ἀνατέλλει ἐπὶ πονηροὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς καὶ βρέχει ἐπὶ δικαίους καὶ ἀδίκους.

Luke 6:35 πλὴν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ ἀγαθοποιεῖτε καὶ δανίζετε μηδὲν ἀπελπίζοντες· καὶ ἔσται ὁ μισθὸς ὑμῶν πολύς, καὶ ἔσεσθε υἱοὶ ὑψίστου, ὅτι αὐτὸς χρηστός ἐστιν ἐπὶ τοὺς ἀχαρίστους καὶ πονηρούς.

The violet passage(s):

Matthew 5:48 Ἔσεσθε οὖν ὑμεῖς τέλειοι ὡς ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τέλειός ἐστιν.

Luke 6:36 Γίνεσθε οἰκτίρμονες καθὼς [καὶ] ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν οἰκτίρμων ἐστίν.

The yellow passage(s):

Matthew 5:44 ἐγὼ δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς,

Luke 6:27-28 Ἀλλ᾿ ὑμῖν λέγω τοῖς ἀκούουσιν, Ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑμῶν, καλῶς ποιεῖτε τοῖς μισοῦσιν ὑμᾶς, 28 εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμᾶς, προσεύχεσθε περὶ τῶν ἐπηρεαζόντων ὑμᾶς.

In light of the above, would you kindly explain to the reader(s) how on earth the actual Greek text of any of the above-quoted pairs of passages can in any meaningful way be even remotely described as very similar ?

Take the green passage, for instance:

  • Luke records Jesus saying, "if anyone αἴροντος τὰ σὰ = takes/carries away your things"; and
  • Matthew records Jesus saying, "the one who θέλοντα ἀπὸ σοῦ δανίσασθαι = desires to borrow from you"

Does anyone seriously imagine Luke and Matthew, one reading the other or both consulting a common list of sayings, arriving at such different notions. CLEARLY, the notions are different because their sources were different.

What about the blue passage:

  • Luke records Jesus saying, "τοῦ αἴροντός σου τὸ ἱμάτιον καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα μὴ κωλύσῃς = the one who takes/carries away your garment and your coat, do not hinder him"

  • Matthew records Jesus saying, "τῷ θέλοντί σοι κριθῆναι καὶ τὸν χιτῶνά σου λαβεῖν, ἄφες αὐτῷ καὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον = the one who desires you to be judged to receive your coat, leave it to him, and your garment"

Again, who seriously imagines Luke and Matthew, one reading the other or both consulting a common list of sayings, would arrive at such different notions. Surely, it is way more probable that the authors had access to different sources. It is highly likely that Jesus illustrated the point he was making in both ways at different times and Luke and Matthew each had knowledge of only the one they recorded.

Were such a helpful textual aid as the hypothesized Q source to have actually existed, wouldn't the actual text of each of these parallel pairs of passages be expected to be much closer to one another than the one we actually possess ?

Those (still) underestimating just how strongly having an actual complete text at one's disposal influences one's pre-Bill Gates copy-pasting tendencies, can feel free to compare, for instance, Ezra's second chapter with Nehemiah's seventh, and notice how they seem to match almost word for word; similarly for the last chapters of both Jeremiah and Second Kings, which also appear to be virtually identical. Needless to say, this is simply not the case with Matthew's fifth and Luke's sixth chapters.

How do those who reject Q explain Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36?

In roughly the same manner those who reject Santa explain Christmas gifts.

I'm sorry, but I genuinely fail to grasp what exactly precipitated the posting of this question to begin with; is there something obvious that I am missing here ? I honestly don't understand.

So how do proponents of the Luke used Matthew or Matthew used Luke positions explain this parallel?

Whether one realizes it or not, this is a second question, distinct from the first, and this site's rules usually allow only one question per post.

  • @curiousdannii: Were a text to have existed, then the text would have been nearly the same. Sheer meaning can be easily conveyed by oral sayings as well.
    – Lucian
    Aug 31, 2020 at 23:52
  • It's obvious that the text wasn't copied without being changed. That doesn't mean it wasn't adapted and edited. And maybe something like Q was oral. I asked this question to those who say that Matthew or Luke used the other gospel directly, which requires an even harder explanation.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 31, 2020 at 23:53
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: Then what is this question about, exactly ?
    – Lucian
    Sep 1, 2020 at 0:01
  • 1
    @curiousdannii: (1). These specific passages, and how their similarities... is explained by those who reject Q. - Except, there really aren't any meaningful textual similarities there to begin with, for a text to be needed to explain them. (2). their... general complex relationship - Too complex.
    – Lucian
    Sep 1, 2020 at 0:05
  • 1
    So, you're right, several of these "parallels" have very little direct textual similarity, even though they're clearly talking about the same things. Different people's memories of the same event would be a reasonable explanation, or translation from a Hebrew source. The yellow passage has the most direct textual similarity.
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 1, 2020 at 0:19

"How do those who reject Q explain Matthew 5:38-48 and Luke 6:27-36?"

I am a proponent of the sensus plenior approach, and reject Q. This is how I explain these particular differences.

Jesus taught his disciples many things in many places. He often repeated the teaching using different words.

The disciples did not remember his teaching.

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to remind them of what they had been taught.

The Greek church did not wish to be Jewish. From time to time, the teaching of the apostles given largely in Jewish communities, was written down and given to the Greek church to keep them abreast in the deeper teachings of the apostles as they learned to handle the 'mystery' with more proficiency, guided by the Spirit reminding them of Jesus's teaching.

These snapshots of the maturing doctrine were done in the order Mark, Matthew, Luke, John.

Differences are explained these ways.

  1. Later writings sometimes summarized earlier teachings or did not include them because they had been covered well in earlier writings. They included them word-for-word when it was deemed that the repetition was required in their own presentation.

  2. Later writings added material which was discovered in the sensus plenior of the OT as they continued to study the scriptures the way Jesus had taught them.

  3. By including a different teaching of Jesus, clarifications were made on issues which were caused by misunderstandings. Later Gospels should been seen as clarifications of earlier gospels, and not pitted against one another.

Concerning these particular differences:

One teaching was on the mount, one was on the plain. Matthew and Luke are relating different sermons. Luke remembered that Jesus taught the same things in different ways on different occasions. The differences remembered are presumed to be significant enough to have included them, presuming that Jesus taught in a different way for a reason.

First we consider some 'colored verses' :

Mt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Lu 6:27 ¶ But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Lu 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

which hear was likely added because the teaching of love is impossible to accomplish in the flesh and had generated silly legalistic debates. "Does this mean I can't defend my family? What happens if I accept the teaching but backslide under persecution?" Some simply do not hear "Love your enemies".

and persecute you was likely dropped because it caused debate among those who only heard in the flesh: "Are those who despitefully use you, and those who persecute you two groups, or two qualifiers for me to pray for them. That is, must they both despitefully use me AND persecute me?"

I am not suggesting that the author changed Jesus's words, but faithfully reproduced them as they were brought to remembrance by the Spirit, which helped clarify issues that had arisen. Since Jesus taught both ways, comparing the sermons allows for the clarification.

Mt 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Mt 5:40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloke also.

Lu 6:29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also.

resist not evil also caused silly debate. "The teaching was to not engage in battle over physical abuses" but it is easy to see in debates today that it is taken to mean 'moral evil' by those who cannot discern. We still see this debated today. But Matthew should be clarified by Luke, not pitted against one another.

right cheek The right side is your sheep side, your left side is your goat side, symbolic of the natural man. Matthew remembered that Jesus taught that if someone attacks you spiritually, as they did Jesus in denying his claims of divinity, that you should not resist when they want to kill you. This is a hard teaching for martyrs. You seal your testimony with your death. The teaching is not for everyone. Paul taught that your martyrdom counted for nothing if you didn't have Love.

sue thee at law was used by Jesus as an example, not as a constraint. Removing it by quoting his other sermon clarifies the teaching.

The additional material was from a memory aided by the Holy Spirit.

The real question for those who adopt sensus plenior hermeneutics is: where did Jesus get the new teaching. The premise is that Jesus got his teaching from the Old Testament sensus plenior, which is how Paul taught the things of Jesus to the Bereans from the OT.

  • Thank you for engaging with some of the parallels in detail.
    – curiousdannii
    May 17, 2020 at 13:50
  • Happy to. If I had time I would love to do the four books together.
    – Bob Jones
    May 17, 2020 at 13:51
  • @curiousdannii This one is easy since they are two obliviously different sermons. The ones where the authors use the same OT verse differently are more of a challenge to explain because they require a better background in SP. Do you give that background in the answer or refer to another article for it? Sometimes an answer requires a book lol
    – Bob Jones
    May 17, 2020 at 13:59

Here we have two cases where Luke is longer than Matthew, and two where Matthew is longer (ignoring textual variants: in fact some traditions have them more similar, possibly an attempt at harmonization).

Lk 6:27-28, 35 > Mt 5:44
Lk 29 < Mt 39-41
Lk 35 < Mt 45
Lk 32-35 > Mt 46-47

If Luke used Matthew, then he expanded two sayings and shortened two sayings. This much is clear.

The most straightforward application of the Q hypothesis here is that Luke and Matthew both expanded Q's short sayings. This is permitted by the evidence, but not required. There could have been four short sayings in Q - everything that is shared precisely by both Luke and Matthew - and Luke and Matthew each expanded two of them and left the others alone. But there could also have been four longer phrases that Luke or Matthew shortened. Or there could have been some that they shortened and some that they expanded.

By the nature of the hypothesis, Q will always have the option of being the least common denominator between (non-Mark) Luke and Matthew, but the reality (assuming Q existed) could be more complex. We can't say whether or not always expand, never delete was an editorial principle for Matthew and Luke's use of Q, so it would be speculative to treat the conciseness of the minimal reconstructed Q as representative of what Q actually was. We don't know what liberties Luke took with Q, but the Q hypothesis does require Luke or Matthew or both to have changed the order of sayings in Q, as evidenced by this passage: Matthew 5:46 is brought slightly earlier in Luke. If they could do it to Q, Luke could have just as easily done it to Matthew.

As to the question of why Luke quotes Matthew 7:12 long before he should have reached it, the exact same question could be asked to proponents of Q: if the saying appeared somewhere in Q, why does either Luke or Matthew (we can't know which) change its order? The Q hypothesis does have one extra option here, which is that this saying is not taken from Q but known both to Matthew and Luke independently. But (1) if so, Luke could also have known the saying independent of Matthew even if he did rely on Matthew; and (2) since Q is a hypothetical document meant to explain coincidences in Matthew and Luke, its inability to explain a particular coincidence would be a blow to the hypothesis.

  • "but the Q hypothesis does require Luke or Matthew or both to have changed the order of sayings in Q, as evidenced by this passage: ... Luke could have just as easily done it to Matthew." One explanatory advantage of Q is that it is proposed to be only a collection of quotes (like the Gospel of Thomas), and so reordering them does not change them much, whereas the quotes in the gospels are embedded in narratives, and have significance from the context they're in, so the order is significant and reordering them means changing or losing the contextual meaning.
    – curiousdannii
    May 17, 2020 at 23:55
  • @curiousdannii This particular passage in Matthew is a collection of quotes too
    – b a
    May 18, 2020 at 9:14
  • The chapter as a whole is, and indeed even some parts within this passage feel a little disjointed too, IMO. But each sentence still has contextual significance which a Q proponent would say was probably not there in Q.
    – curiousdannii
    May 18, 2020 at 9:17
  • 1
    @curiousdannii Whereas a Matthew proponent would say that any contextual significance in Matthew was there. These are two different ways of looking at Luke's use of his source, and neither can be assumed a priori without making the question tautological
    – b a
    May 18, 2020 at 10:46

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