Counting 5,000 People

The feeding of the 5,000 people by Jesus is found in all four gospel accounts. How did the gospel writers know that there were 5,000 people? Was that just a guess? Does this prove that the Bible has errors? Does it prove or disprove that the Bible was written by eyewitness accounts? Let’s take a look at how they counted 5,000 people.

Mark 6:39-40 “Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.”

Luke 9:14-15 “For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down.”

5000 people / 50 people per group = 100 groups

100 groups / 12 disciples = 8.333 groups per disciple

Do you think a group of fishermen (who always counted their fish like in  John 21:11 where John says they caught 153 fish) and tax collectors could count to eight? I think that is entirely plausible and explains why the gospel writers are able to give us an accurate approximation. I think it also shows us how they were able to so effectively serve the crowd the food.

May this encourage your faith and trust in the accuracy of the Word of God.




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