Why were the disciples sent "two by two" by Jesus? I read it might have to do with cultural Jewish tradition of "two witnesses" being needed or desirable to corroborate a fact, or to convict. Is there any explanation for this?

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; [Mark 6:7 KJV]

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    Welcome to SE-BH. Please see the Tour and Help (below, left) as to the purpose and functioning of the site. Good question. Up-voted +1. I have edited only to indicate how text is highlighted. Please feel free to roll back, if you wish.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15 at 20:17
  • Thank you Nigel!
    – jbdo
    Feb 15 at 21:22
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    – Nigel J
    Feb 15 at 21:28

Mark 6:7 New International Version

Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

According to Jewish law, they need at least 2 persons to testify and agree. So if their hearers object, they have the required number of persons present to affirm the truthfulness of a statement.

Deuteronomy 19:15

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

John 8:17

Even in your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid.

Furthermore, the two can check on each other and support and encourage each other. They are mutually accountable to each other and to reduce the number of temptations

The formula works well as Jesus did the same on another occasion in Luke 10:1

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

  • I would add that when they spoke there would be two of them testifying, so that their hearers also had reason to believe the testimony.
    – Robert
    Feb 15 at 19:02
  • Right. I added to make it clear.
    – Tony Chan
    Feb 15 at 19:26
  • I agree with both your points : witness, support and avoiding temptation. I have found it necessary in any kind of work (evangelising, literature propagation) that it is inadvisable to do it alone, for both the reasons you point out.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 15 at 20:23
  • Right. I'm with a Korean group. Once a month, the leadership picks a neighborhood in Toronto. We gather in a park in the neighborhood. After a briefing, we are sent out into the neighborhood evangelizing, in teams of 2 or 3 in a team. 3 hours later, we return to the park and report our efforts. It is amazingly rewarding at times.
    – Tony Chan
    Feb 15 at 20:32
  • That's fantastic. I admire your energy.
    – Robert
    Feb 15 at 21:08

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