To Whom Did Jesus Teach the Lord's Prayer? Matt 5, 6, Luke 11

Some argue that Matthew 5:1, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4 are contradictory concerning who Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to (Matthew 5:1, 6:9-13, Luke 11:1-4).
Bible "contradictions"
...

Quick Answer

Jesus was an itinerant preacher. He taught the same thing multiple times. So, he taught the Lord's Prayer to both the multitudes and to his disciples.

The argument

Some argue that the Bible is contradictory concerning who Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to. Matthew says that Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to "the multitudes," and Luke 11:1-4 teaches that Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to his disciples. Here are the relevant verses.

Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to the multitudes

Matthew 5:1, 6:9-13

... 5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him.

...

9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[a]For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Jesus taught the Lord's Prayer to his disciples

Luke 11:1-4

1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

The solution

The answer is simple. Jesus was an itinerant preacher. He taught the same thing multiple times. So, the answer is that he taught the Lord's Prayer to both the multitudes at the Sermon the Mount and to his disciples.

"I don't buy that explanation"

Some people have trouble accepting possible explanations to alleged contradictions in the Bible, especially ones that they consider a stretch. For example, Dan Barker, president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says this:

I have received numerous replies from Christians who think that these contradictions are either trivial or easily explained. Yet not a single "explanation" has been convincing.

Fact vs Opinion

The fact is that there are plausible explanations for every alleged contradiction in the Bible. That there is a plausible explanation for an alleged contradiction does not mean that it is definitely the correct explanation for the alleged contradiction.

However, as long as a possible explanation has been suggested, then it has been objectively demonstrated that there is no necessary contradiction regarding the Bible verses and passages brought up.

When people like Dan Barker say that they don't find a particular explanation for a contradiction "convincing," then that is merely their opinion. A plausible explanation has been suggested that eliminates the necessary alleged contradiction. They simply don't like it, which is not at all a relevant argument against the explanation.

Additional Resources

To read more about solutions to Bible contradictions and difficulties, check out Norman Geisler's The Big Book of Bible Difficulties: Clear and Concise Answers from Genesis to Revelation. While we do not agree with some of Geisler's theology, particularly concerning his view of predestination, this book is still an excellent resource. It is thorough and filled with research.

Another book to check out is Tim Chaffey's Demolishing Supposed Bible Contradictions: Exploring Forty Alleged Contraditions, which also answers many alleged contradictions in the Bible.

Read More

Why Was a Man Killed for Gathering Sticks on the Sabbath?
Numbers 15:32-36
Bible "contradictions"
Is God good?
Updated: a year ago
Does God Create Evil/calamity? Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6
Isaiah 45:7, Amos 3:6
Bible "contradictions"
Is God good?
Updated: a year ago
How Old Was Jehoiachin When He Became King? 2 Chr 36, 2 Kg 24
2 Chronicles 36:9, 2 Kings 24:8
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
Does God Change His Mind? Gen 6:6-7, Ex 32:14, Jon 3, Mal 3
Genesis 6:6-7, Exodus 32:14, Jonah 3:10, Malachi 3:6
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
Where Were the Angels When the Women Arrived at the Tomb?
Matthew 28:2-5, Mark 16:5-6, Luke 24:2-6, John 20:12-13
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
Should We Acquire Wisdom? Proverbs 4:7, 1 Corinthians 1:19
Proverbs 4:7, 1 Corinthians 1:19
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
Did God Approve of Human Sacrifice (Jephthah)? Judges 11:29-40
Leviticus 18:21, Judges 11:29-40
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
When Did the Women Arrive at the Tomb? (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1)
Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2, Luke 24:1, John 20:1
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
How Many Women Went to the Tomb? (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:1, 10, John 20:1)
Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1, Luke 24:1, Luke 24:10, John 20:1
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago
Can the Four Gospel Resurrection Narratives Be Harmonized? (Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18)
Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18
Bible "contradictions"
Updated: a year ago