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According to Mark 14:30 before the rooster crows twice Peter would deny Jesus three times:

Mark 14:30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times."

But in Mark 14:68 the rooster crows the first time after Peter's first denial:

Mark 14:68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed

Isn't it supposed to be that Peter denies Jesus three times and only then does the rooster crow twice, isn't this therefore a contradiction?

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A: Cock crows twice

Will happen before

B: You will deny me thrice

This only means that B will not be complete before A is. The first cock crow and the first two denials could happen in any order without invalidating the statement.


The greater question of contradiction raised with respect to this passage is that in Mark the cock crows twice, whereas in Matthew & Luke it only crows once.

  • Some see this as a contradiction
  • Some see this as a reminiscence by Peter himself, who Papias & Clement of Alexandria indicated is the source of the material in Mark's Gospel[1]. E.g. Peter knew the story was being told with one crow and wanted to clarify it was in fact two.

On this later point, Mark's Gospel usually has more detail per story than Matthew & Luke (Mark is shorter by virtue of having far fewer stories). I won't bore you with a discussion of the synoptic problem here =); but my own two cents are that Peter is adding an eyewitness detail to a story others have been repeating, as he does throughout the Gospel of Mark.


Footnotes

1 For the testimony of Papias, see HE 3.39; for several of the key statements by Clement see HE 2.15 & HE 6.14

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Jesus did not say:

before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.

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