Lens #5: Parallels

At 4:50 in the above video, I asked you to pause it and read the four accounts of the Feeding of the 5,000 plus Jesus walking on the water. Click here to download a PDF of the story or go ahead and find them all in your Bible. Remember that putting similar stories in conversation with one another helps us go deeper into the text than looking at just one version.

Prompts for Discussion

Use the comments box below (under “Leave a Reply”) to discuss some of these prompts. You can post more than one comment and respond to other people’s comments The first time you do it, you many need to provide some basic info like name and email.

1) I mentioned a few similarities in the story of the Feeding of the 5,000. What other ones do you notice? What about this similarities do you think made the Gospel writers put them in their accounts?

2) I also mentioned a few differences in the story. What other ones do you notice? What about those differences makes the story from which they come unique? Why do you think a particular Gospel writer chose to highlight those different aspects of the story?

3) Moving to the story of Jesus walking on water, what similarities and differences do you find among the three accounts that mention it?

4) Why do you think Matthew is the only one to mention Peter stepping out of the boat?

5) Seek out another place in the Gospel where all four accounts speak in parallel (I mention a few in the video). Do the same exercise there.

6) What about parallels in the Hebrew scriptures? I will tell you that there is at least one place where you can put two books in parallel. The books of I Samuel through II Kings share much of the same story as the books of Chronicles because the latter is a revised history of the former. Go find a parallel between them!

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