Difference Between Luke and Matthew Birth Accounts (With Table)

We read stories in our leisure time. It serves a recreational purpose and a medium of gaining knowledge as well. But what if the stories are religious? Then it is not so easy for everyone to take it lightly. Both Luke and Matthew are writers in the New Testament, and they gave accounts of Jesus’s birth, which differ from each other.

Luke vs Matthew Birth Accounts

The difference between Luke and Matthew’s birth accounts is that Luke’s birth account is depicted through Mary’s eyes, and Matthew’s account gives details of Joseph. As visitors, Luke’s account shows shepherds, and Matthew’s account shows the Wise Men.

Luke’s narrative has 24 chapters and represents Jesus as a kind, compassionate man who is concerned about women and the poor. Luke constantly illustrated Jesus as a man by giving him human traits and emotions. Luke’s Jesus is for Christians.

Matthew’s gospel is the longest gospel with 28 chapters. It is the first book in the New Testament. Matthew shows Jesus as a messiah of Jewish people. Matthew was writing for Jews. Matthew quotes from Old Testament a lot and sends the message to have faith in the Old Testament.

Comparison Table Between Luke and Matthew Birth Accounts

Parameters of ComparisonLuke Birth AccountsMatthew Birth Accounts
Habitat In this narrative, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth and went to Bethlehem.In this narrative, Joseph and Mary had always been living in Bethlehem.
Birth newsHere, the news of the birth of Jesus was given to Mary by an angel, named Gabriel.Here, Joseph got the news of Jesus’s birth from an unnamed angel in his dreams.
Timeline of birth According to Luke’s account, Jesus was born after King Herod’s death. According to Matthew’s account, Jesus was born during the rule of King Herod.
Birth location Here Jesus was born in a stable. Here Jesus was born in a house.
VisitorsHere, shepherds visited to see Jesus.Here, Magi or the Wise Men visited Jesus.
CircumcisionIn Luke’s narrative, the child was circumcised.There is no mention of Jesus’s circumcision in Matthew’s account.
Journey to Here, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus left Bethlehem and went to Jerusalem.In Matthew’s account, Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem with Jesus and went to Egypt.

What are Luke Birth Accounts?

Luke’s birth account is the part of Luke’s Gospel, where he depicts the birth of Jesus, that messiah. Luke deals with the description very delicately. The first chapter says about the announcement of the forthcoming birth of Jesus.

He says that Joseph and Mary were a betrothed couple who did not live together. Their home was in Nazareth, but they moved to Bethlehem for a census.

In this account, Mary got to know the arrival of Jesus as her child by an angel named Gabriel. She told this to Joseph, who did not believe it initially but later realized the divination as he got a dream about this as well.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus was born after the death of King Herod. Jesus was born in a stable because of the unavailability of rooms in the inn. The child was circumcised on the 8th day, and he was named Jesus.

Luke says that the angels announced the news of the birth to the shepherds, and they visited to see the child. Later, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus left Bethlehem for Jerusalem in order to offer a sacrifice at the temple.

What are Matthew Birth Accounts?

Matthew is a writer of the New Testament, and we can find the illustration of Jesus’s birth in his narrative. According to his account, Joseph got the news of Jesus’s birth from an unnamed angel in his dreams. He also got to know the name of the child in his dreams.

Matthew’s account represents the time of King Herod. Jesus was born during his rule in a house, and he gives no account of Jesus’s circumcision.

Matthew also includes Magi or the Wise Men in his narrative. On the birth of Jesus, they noticed a star’s appearance. They followed it and ended up to Jesus. They brought many gifts and blessed him. This part enhanced the supernatural aspects of the story.

Later, Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem with Jesus and went to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod’s order of slaughtering children. Later after Herod’s death, they came back.

Main Differences Between Luke and Matthew Birth Accounts

  1. In Luke’s narrative, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, and they went to Bethlehem for a census. And on the other hand, in Matthew’s narrative, Joseph and Mary had always been living in Bethlehem.
  2. In Luke’s version of the story, the news of Jesus’s birth was first given to Mary by an angel named Gabriel. But in Matthew’s version of the story, Joseph got the news first. In his dreams, an unnamed angel told that Mary will give birth to a messiah.
  3. The timeline of these two accounts does not match either. According to Luke’s account, Jesus was born after King Herod’s death. But Matthew’s account tells that Jesus was born during the rule of King Herod.
  4. According to Luke’s birth account, Jesus was born in a stable, as there was no empty place In the inn. While according to Matthew’s birth account, Jesus was born in a house.
  5. In Luke’s account, the news of Jesus’s birth was announced to the shepherds, and they visited to see Jesus. While in Matthew’s narrative, the Magi or the Wise Men saw the appearance of a star in the sky. They followed the star and visited Jesus.
  6. In Luke’s narrative, the child was circumcised on the 8th day and named Jesus. But there is no mention of Jesus’s circumcision in Matthew’s version of the story.
  7. After the birth, in Luke’s account, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus left Bethlehem and went to Jerusalem in order to offer a sacrifice at the temple. But Matthew’s account says that Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem with Jesus and went to Egypt to protect Jesus from King Herod’s order of slaughtering children.

Conclusion

There are 4 gospels in New Testament. Luke and Matthew’s books are part of it. Both tell the stories of Jesus’s birth. In both the books, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but many details differ from each other. New Testament has 4 writers, and their stories have many dissimilarities.

Both of them show different shades of Jesus. Scholars debate the reliability of these two stories. While Luke writes about the Christians’ savior, Matthew gives the Jewish people their messiah.

References

  1. https://brill.com/view/journals/hbth/19/1/article-p58_4.xml
  2. http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0259-94222013000100083
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