Mark 6:8-9, Should We Carry a Staff?

He commanded them to take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bag, no bread, no copper in their money belts, but to wear sandals, and not to put on two tunics.

//So Mark’s Gospel explicitly commands evangelists to carry a staff. But here is Matthew’s version:

“Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.” –Matthew 10:10

The two Gospels thus stand as polar opposites. Matthew expressly forbids a staff, Mark commands one. So which did Jesus say? Carry a staff or not? We may be tempted to go with the earliest version—Mark’s—and assume Matthew amended Mark’s Gospel for his own purpose. But the analysis turns more complex when we read Luke:

And He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.—Luke 9:3

Of course, Luke is also written after Mark, and like Matthew, written with a copy of Mark in front of the author. But most scholars consider Luke and Matthew to be independent sources, not dependent upon one another. So, what are the odds that they would BOTH change the Gospel of Mark, in precisely the same location, with a direct contradiction?

Answer: Either Mark was inadvertently changed later, or Matthew and Luke must have had another common source besides Mark … perhaps the Q Gospel. This, of course, means the source instructing evangelists to not carry a staff precedes the instruction to carry a staff, and becomes the original desire of Jesus.

Leave your staff home, guys.


  1. Meditate On

    …Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
    Galatians 3:3
    Continue In God’s Grace

    How were you first impacted by Jesus? Was it through the law (demands) or was it His grace toward you that touched your heart? We all began our relationship with the Lord because we were impacted by His love and grace. Let us then continue in that grace.

    The apostle Paul asked the church in Galatia point-blank, “…Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh [self-effort]?” (Galatians 3:2–3). Paul was saying to them, “You began by believing in His grace, why are you now depending on your works? That is foolishness! You should be continuing in His unmerited favor!” These are strong words by Paul.

    My friend, don’t start with grace and end up with the law. Don’t start with the new covenant, only to turn back to the old covenant! Stay on the path of grace. When you are established in the new covenant of grace, you will experience a tremendous sense of confidence and security in Christ. When your confidence is in His unmerited favor and not your performance, you will know that you have access to His blessings all the time, simply because of His finished work at the cross. Today, think, talk and act knowing that it is not about you or your works, but Jesus and His work, and step out into His blessings for you!

    Joseph Prince

  2. Not to worry, Logan, we’re all too lazy to walk anywhere anymore anyway, so few people own a staff.

  3. EndTimesHere

    Shall we then deny the truth of God’s word that states the Law shall be upheld? Malachi 4:4 Walk in grace, but fulfill the Law by the power of God through Christ, Jesus our Lord.

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