In many of the events recorded in the Bible, details are written in more than one place. For example, details of the reign of many kings are recorded in both Kings and Chronicles and sometimes in one or more prophets also.
When we are writing Bible-based fiction, we always want to make sure that our stories match the details given in the Bible and sometimes that requires the harmonisation of more than one record.
For example, the events in the last generation of the kingdom of Judah are recorded in the books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Some of these books report important national events interspersed with some moral commentary, while others are dedicated to detailed prophecies of coming events or the outpouring of grief that gives the book of Lamentations its name.
Putting these passages together into a coherent narrative was essential for understanding the life of Jeremiah as described in the series “Terror on Every Side” and a harmony was developed which is included on the Bible Tales website in the article Harmony of Bible records in the time of Jeremiah. Unfortunately, this sort of harmony is best displayed in columns that do not fit easily on the small screens of mobile phones.
In places these passages have many details that help to interleave the details to get a more complete picture, but in some parallel passages there are very few places where the narratives converge. An example of this is in the records of the birth of Jesus for which a harmony is presented in the article Events around the birth of Jesus. This was produced as part of the research for the micro-tale “No more waiting”, telling the story of Simeon, who met Joseph and Mary in the temple when Jesus was presented there, 40 days after his birth.
When writing a micro-tale from the point of view of the centurion who supervised the crucifixion of Jesus, I needed a harmony of the four gospels for the Roman trial and crucifixion.
The Bible passages which record events in the Roman trial of Jesus are as follows:
The Bible passages which record the crucifixion of Jesus are as follows:
The gospel records can be interleaved with some effort and many people have made attempts to do so. The most common difference between the one shown below and other published harmonies is that this one presents the scourging/flogging referred to by John much later in the sequence, to match the order of Matthew and Mark. In doing so, this harmony also assumes that Pilate made another effort to free Jesus after (or while) Jesus was scourged. Pilate’s wife’s urgent message when he was on the judgement seat may have contributed to this extra attempt.
The harmonisation is most easily shown in a table format and is best viewed on a screen that is wider than it is high.
The text is taken from the World English Bible (WEB) which has been released into the public domain.
See the notes below the table for comments on the sign above Jesus’ head and the colour of the robe he was dressed in during the trial. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and ask them.
|2 They bound him, led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor.||1 Immediately in the morning the chief priests, with the elders, scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, bound Jesus, carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate.||1 The whole company of them rose up and brought him before Pilate.||28 They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium. It was early, and they themselves didn’t enter into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.|
|3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood.”|
|But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.”|
|5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary and departed. Then he went away and hanged himself.|
|6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called “The Field of Blood” to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,|
|“They took the thirty pieces of silver,|
|the price of him upon whom a price had been set,|
|whom some of the children of Israel priced,|
|10 and they gave them for the potter’s field,|
|as the Lord commanded me.”|
|29 Pilate therefore went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”|
|2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting the nation, forbidding paying taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”||30 They answered him, “If this man weren’t an evildoer, we wouldn’t have delivered him up to you.”|
|31 Pilate therefore said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”|
|Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is illegal for us to put anyone to death,” 32 that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying by what kind of death he should die.|
|11 Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, saying, “Are you the King of the Jews?”||2 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”||3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”||33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”|
|34 Jesus answered him, “Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?”|
|35 Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?”|
|36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.”|
|37 Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?”|
|Jesus said to him, “So you say.”||He answered, “So you say.”||He answered him, “So you say.”||Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”|
|38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”|
|12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?”||3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they testify against you!”|
|14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.||5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate marveled.|
|4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”||When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no basis for a charge against him.|
|5 But they insisted, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.”|
|6 But when Pilate heard Galilee mentioned, he asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he found out that he was in Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days. 8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him. 9 He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers.|
|10 The chief priests and the scribes stood, vehemently accusing him. 11 Herod with his soldiers humiliated him and mocked him. Dressing him in luxurious clothing, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before that they were enemies with each other.|
|13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and behold, having examined him before you, I found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. 15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.”|
|15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner whom they desired.||6 Now at the feast he used to release to them one prisoner, whomever they asked of him.||17 Now he had to release one prisoner to them at the feast.||39 But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover.|
|16 They had then a notable prisoner called Barabbas. 17 When therefore they were gathered together,||7 There was one called Barabbas, bound with his fellow insurgents, men who in the insurrection had committed murder. 8 The multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do as he always did for them.|
|Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up.||9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up.||Therefore, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”|
|19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of him.”|
|20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.||11 But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should release Barabbas to them instead.|
|21 But the governor answered them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”||12 Pilate again asked them, “What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?”|
|They said, “Barabbas!”||18 But they all cried out together, saying, “Away with this man! Release to us Barabbas!”— 19 one who was thrown into prison for a certain revolt in the city, and for murder.||40 Then they all shouted again, saying, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.|
|22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do to Jesus who is called Christ?”||20 Then Pilate spoke to them again, wanting to release Jesus,|
|They all said to him, “Let him be crucified!”||13 They cried out again, “Crucify him!”||21 but they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify him!”|
|23 But the governor said, “Why? What evil has he done?”||14 Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?”||22 He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.”|
|But they cried out exceedingly, saying, “Let him be crucified!”||But they cried out exceedingly, “Crucify him!”||23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified.|
|24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it.”||Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed.|
|25 All the people answered, “May his blood be on us and on our children!”|
|26 Then he released Barabbas to them, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified.||15 Pilate, wishing to please the multitude, released Barabbas to them, and handed over Jesus, when he had flogged him, to be crucified.||24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done. 25 He released him who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus up to their will.||So Pilate then took Jesus and flogged him.|
|27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him.||16 The soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they called together the whole cohort.|
|28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head,||17 They clothed him with purple; and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him.||2 The soldiers twisted thorns into a crown and put it on his head, and dressed him in a purple garment.|
|and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.||18 They began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him.||3 They kept saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and they kept slapping him.|
|4 Then Pilate went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I bring him out to you, that you may know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”|
|5 Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the man!”|
|6 When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they shouted, saying, “Crucify! Crucify!”|
|Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no basis for a charge against him.”|
|7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”|
|8 When therefore Pilate heard this saying, he was more afraid. 9 He entered into the Praetorium again, and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Pilate therefore said to him, “Aren’t you speaking to me? Don’t you know that I have power to release you and have power to crucify you?”|
|11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power at all against me, unless it were given to you from above. Therefore he who delivered me to you has greater sin.”|
|12 At this, Pilate was seeking to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this man, you aren’t Caesar’s friend! Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!”|
|13 When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called “The Pavement”, but in Hebrew, “Gabbatha.” 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”|
|15 They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!”|
|Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”|
|The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”|
|31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off him, and put his clothes on him,||20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple cloak off him, and put his own garments on him.|
|and led him away to crucify him.||They led him out to crucify him.||26 When they led him away,||16 So then he delivered him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led him away. 17 He went out, bearing his cross,|
|32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.||21 They compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them that he might bear his cross.||they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid the cross on him to carry it after Jesus.|
|27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.’? 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?”|
|32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death.|
|33 When they came to a place called “Golgotha”, that is to say, “The place of a skull,”||22 They brought him to the place called Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, “The place of a skull.”||33 When they came to the place that is called “The Skull”,||to the place called “The Place of a Skull”, which is called in Hebrew, “Golgotha”,|
|34 they gave him sour wine† to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink.||23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he didn’t take it.|
|35 When they had crucified him,||24 Crucifying him,||they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.||18 where they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.|
|34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”|
|19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘he said, “I am King of the Jews.” ’ ” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”|
|they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36 and they sat and watched him there.||they parted his garments among them, casting lots on them, what each should take.||Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.||23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 Then they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.|
|25 It was the third hour when they crucified him.|
|25 But standing by Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.|
|35 The people stood watching. The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others. Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”|
|37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”||26 The superscription of his accusation was written over him: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”||38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”|
|38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left.||27 With him they crucified two robbers, one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28 The Scripture was fulfilled which says, “He was counted with transgressors.”|
|39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”||29 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads and saying, “Ha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!”|
|41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”||31 Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, “He saved others. He can’t save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe him.”|
|44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach.||Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.|
|39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”|
|45 Now from the sixth hour† there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.||33 When the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.||44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.|
|46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lima§ sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”||34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”|
|47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”||35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard it, said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”|
|48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave him a drink. 49 The rest said, “Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”||36 One ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down.”||28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty!” 29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.|
|50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.||37 Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit. 38 The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.||45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.|
|30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.|
|31 Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn’t remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 Therefore the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they didn’t break his legs. 34 However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 He who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe. 36 For these things happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “A bone of him will not be broken.” 37 Again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they pierced.”|
|54 Now the centurion and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were done, were terrified, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”||39 When the centurion, who stood by opposite him, saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”||47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.”|
|55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.||40 There were also women watching from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him and served him; and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.||48 All the multitudes that came together to see this, when they saw the things that were done, returned home beating their breasts. 49 All his acquaintances and the women who followed with him from Galilee stood at a distance, watching these things.|
|57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus’ disciple, came. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.||42 When evening had now come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent council member who also himself was looking for God’s Kingdom, came. He boldly went in to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. 45 When he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 He bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.||50 Behold, there was a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), from Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was also waiting for God’s Kingdom. 52 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 He took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was cut in stone, where no one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing near.||38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds. 40 So they took Jesus’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. 42 Then, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand), they laid Jesus there.|
|61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.||47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, saw where he was laid.||55 The women who had come with him out of Galilee followed after, and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 They returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment|
1. In John 19:5, Jesus was presented to the crowd wearing a robe and the crown of thorns which Matthew and Mark agree were put on him after the initial judgement. Interestingly, Matthew describes the robe as ‘scarlet’, while Mark and John say it was ‘purple’. Although we would probably not use these two words interchangeably nowadays, both Tyrian purple and the purple from Thyatira are also described as red.
2. The section highlighted in light blue appears at the same point in the narrative in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but is included earlier by John since he describes the attempts made by the Jews to remove or modify the text of the superscription. This does not change the meaning or order of the events, although it is possible that the board was not put on the cross until Pilate had confirmed the wording.
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