Matthew 26: 34 - 75
Did Peter deny Christ three times before the cock crowed(John 13:38), or
three times before the cock crowed twice(Mark 14:30,72)?
This particular question or variations appear in numerous Biblical contradiction sites. Some of the apologetic answers are less than satisfactory and may even deny the infallibility of scripture. The quest to answer this question for myself prompted this endeavor.
This is a Bible study of the Lord Jesus Christs prophecy that Peter would deny him three times before the cock would crow twice.
This study will demonstrate that Peter denied the Lord Jesus Christ not three times only, but three times twice for a total of six times.
After presenting the verses to illustrate this, an examination of the significance of this account upon the magnificence and veracity of the scriptures will be related.
THE WORD OF THE LORD UNTO PETER
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it
is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered
But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of
thee, yet will I never be offended.
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow,
thou shalt deny me thrice.
Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.
Likewise also said all the disciples.
And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night,
before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou
shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock sall not crow, til thou hast denied me thrice.
In the following Gospel accounts, Jesus was first brought to the palace of the high
priest Annas. Luke 3:2 states that there were two high priests; Annas and Caiaphas.
This fact is important in dividing the Word of God as it relates to this account. Peter
along with the other disciple, who I believe is John, enter into the palace of Annas
Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound
And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was
the high priest that same year.
Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that
one man should die for the people.
And Simon Peter followed Jesus and so did another disciple: that disciple was
known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high
A damsel kept the palace door. The disciple went into the palace leaving Peter
outside. The disciple comes back outside, talks to the damsel, and Peter is
But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was
known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in
This damsel questions Peter in regard to his being a disciple of the Lord Jesus.
Peter denies the Lord.
THE FIRST DENIAL
Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this
man?s disciples? He saith, I am not.
John 18:17 *Denial 1*
The account continues. The setting is still at the palace of Annas. It is once again
important to examine the Word of God thoroughly. To be noted is that around this
fire, Peter stood.
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was
cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed
The following Gospel accounts relate Jesus being led unto the palace of the high
priest Caiaphas; and Peter following into this, the second palace.
Note that Peter is sitting at this second fire.
Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest,
where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest?s palace, and went in, and sat
with the servants, to see the end.
And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the
chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat
with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.
Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest?s house.
And Peter followed afar off.
And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down
together, Peter sat down among them.
Peter is sitting at the fire along with the servants when a maid (damsel) asserts that
he is with Jesus.
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou
also wast with Jesus of Galilee.
And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high
And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And
thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him,
and said, This man was also with him.
Peter denies the Lord Jesus.
THE SECOND DENIAL
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
Matthew 26:70 *Denial 2*
But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest.
Mark 14:68 *Denial 2*
And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
Luke 22:57 *Denial 2*
Peter goes into the porch and another maid accuses him of being with the Lord
And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto
them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.
Another denial ensues.
THE THIRD DENIAL
And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
Matthew 26:72 *Denial 3*
THE FIRST COCK CROW
And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
Mark 14:68 *Cock Crow 1*
A maid sees Peter once more, this time on the porch, and makes her allegation to
And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of
Peter once more denies the Lord Jesus Christ.
CONTINUE TO PART TWO
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