Alleged Bible Contradiction 1: The color of Jesus’ Robe

***DISCLAIMER***The following is far from an exhaustive answer to this alleged Bible contradiction. It is simply an answer nonetheless.

Recently, someone asked me about an alleged Bible contradiction between Matthew 27:27-28 and John 19:2. Below is the question followed by my response. Because the question pertains to an alleged Bible contradiction, I have placed this under the umbrella of alleged Bible contradictions.

THE QUESTION

In Matthew 27:27-28, the color of Jesus’ robe is scarlet. In John 19:2, the color is purple. How do you reconcile this?

THE ANSWER

When addressing the color of the robe Jesus wore to the cross, one must consider several biblical texts. These include Matthew 27:27-32, John 19:1-5 as well as Mark 15:16-21.

They read as follows (NASB):

Matthew 27:27-32

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

32 As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.

Mark 15:16-21

16 The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they *called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They *dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. 20 After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they *led Him out to crucify Him.

21 They *pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.

John 19:1-5

Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him;and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. Pilate came out again and *said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate *said to them, “Behold, the Man!”

Clearly, these three texts are discussing the same subject (specifically the Crown Of Thorns placed on Jesus). Furthermore, Matthew’s text mentions a scarlet robe was placed on Jesus whereas the texts in Mark and John mention a purple robe. Obviously, one needs to reconcile this apparent difference. The author of the referenced hyperlink from earlier compares the two colors with and without shade, as shown by the graphic below:

Because Jesus was inside a palace when the robe was placed on him, it is possible he was in a bit of a shaded area. As a result, it is possible that the robe was a “dark color that could have been accurately described” by either scarlet or purple. Therefore, there really is no apparent contradiction. It is likely the Gospel writers saw these colors a bit differently the way sports fans may see colors differently.

I hope this helps.

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