Word Counts Per Markan Pericope

The following table demonstrates Matthew's and Luke's tendency to abbreviate Mark. Passages in which Matthew or Luke uses more words than Mark are highlighted. Passages that contain double tradition material are marked with an asterisk.

PericopeVersesNumber of WordsPercent of Passage Paralleled in
1John the Baptist Prepares the Way3:1-121:1-83:1-20236*123380*877371
2Jesus' Baptism3:13-171:9-113:21-2299*5343*100100100
3The Temptation of Jesus4:1-111:12-134:1-13184*30203*836767
4Jesus Goes to Galilee4:12-171:14-154:14-3181*35309*1001717
5Jesus Calls His First Disciples4:18-221:16-205:1-118982207100100100
6Jesus Drives Out an Impure Spirit1:21-284:31-3701241191510015
7Jesus and Simon's Mother-in-Law8:14-151:29-314:38-39304438100100100
8Healings at Capernaum8:16-171:32-344:40-41364652808080
9Jesus Prays Early in the Morning1:35-394:42-440635401000
10Jesus Heals a Leper8:2-41:40-455:12-165299987110071
11Jesus Heals a Paralytic9:1-82:1-125:17-26126196213100100100
12Call of Levi9:9-132:13-175:27-329310994100100100
14Lord of the Sabbath12:1-82:23-286:1-513610892858885
15Healing on the Sabbath12:9-143:1-66:6-119095115839783
16Crowds Follow Jesus12:15-213:7-126:17-192310362737245
17Jesus Appoints the Twelve10:1-43:13-196:12-167494769510095
18A Kingdom Divided12:22-373:20-3011:14-22150*126153*747474
19Jesus' Mother and Brothers12:46-503:31-358:19-219085541008080
20Parable of the Sower13:1-94:1-98:4-813115190999594
21The Purpose of Parables13:10-174:10-128:9-10155*5236100100100
22Parable of the Sower Explained13:18-234:13-208:11-15128145109989898
23Lamp on a Stand4:21-258:16-18074610720
24Parable of the Growing Seed4:26-290600000
25Parable of the Mustard Seed13:31-334:30-3213:18-2050*5740*798463
26Summary of Jesus' Speaking in Parables13:34-354:33-34342505600
27Jesus Calms the Storm8:18-274:35-418:22-25155*11894989898
28Gerasene Demoniac8:28-345:1-208:26-39135325293629962
29Jairus' Daughter and the Hemorrhaging Woman9:18-265:21-438:40-56138373287709467
30Jesus in His Hometown13:54-586:1-6a9612509400
31Jesus Sends the Twelve10:1-146:6b-139:1-6230*10693748974
32John the Baptist Beheaded14:1-126:14-299:7-917230252881813
33Feeding of the 5,00014:13-216:30-449:10-17157237164708468
34Walking on the Water14:22-336:45-5218813908800
35Many Healings14:34-366:53-56447207500
37Syrophoenician Woman15:21-287:24-3013912909100
38Deaf and Mute Man15:29-317:31-376311505700
39Feeding of the 4,00015:32-388:1-911513108500
40The Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod15:39-16:128:10-21194*16808400
41The Blind Man at Bethsaida8:22-260800000
42Peter's Confession16:13-208:27-309:18-211577566100100100
43First Passion Prediction16:21-238:31-339:22726925934343
44On Discipleship16:24-288:34-9:19:23-27114132106989292
46Demonized Boy17:14-209:14-299:37-43a133*270124424432
47Second Passion Prediction17:22-239:30-329:43b-451314754875555
48Who Is the Greatest?18:1-209:33-509:46-50423*30798522715
50Little Children19:13-1510:13-1618:15-17456457728658
51The Rich Man Who Lacks One Thing19:16-3010:17-3118:18-30271*281202858181
52Third Passion Prediction20:17-1910:32-3418:31-34537343847373
53Request of James and John20:20-2810:35-4522:24-27168190671004545
54Blind Bartimaeus20:29-3410:46-5218:35-4379123108718261
55Entry into Jerusalem21:1-1111:1-1119:28-44190185266768976
56Cursing the Fig Tree and Clearing the Temple21:12-2211:12-2619:45-4821525361702815
57Jesus' Authority21:23-3211:27-3320:1-8222125118100100100
58Parable of the Tenants21:33-4612:1-1220:9-19238182199989292
59Rendering to Caesar22:15-2212:13-1720:20-26115106104968888
60Marriage at the Resurrection22:23-3312:18-2720:27-38163171170999191
61Greatest Commandment22:34-4012:28-3410:25-288215373415237
62David's Son or David's Lord22:41-4612:35-3720:41-44786347898989
63Warning against the Scribes23:1-712:38-4020:45-47109*44486810068
64Widow's Offering12:41-4421:1-4075580930
65Apocalyptic Discourse24:1-5113:1-3721:5-36824*606497897061
66Chief Priests Plot Against Jesus26:1-514:1-222:1-2703424100100100
67Anointing at Bethany26:6-1314:3-910912408800
68Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus26:14-1614:10-1122:3-6353044100100100
69Preparations for the Last Supper26:17-1914:12-1622:7-136199968810088
70Last Supper26:20-3014:17-2622:14-231811601681008484
71Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial26:31-3514:27-3122:31-348779621004343
73Jesus' Arrest26:47-5614:43-5222:47-53189140124865454
74Peter Follows at a Distance26:57-5814:53-5422:54-55394330100100100
75Jesus Before the Sanhedrin26:59-6814:55-6522:63-71157179121894141
76Peter's Denial26:69-7514:66-7222:56-621161281121009494
77Jesus Before Pilate27:1-2615:1-1523:1-253981963731004747
78The Soldiers Mock Jesus27:27-3115:16-20846909100
79Crucifixion of Jesus27:32-5415:21-3923:26-48328259359977777
80Burial of Jesus27:55-6115:40-4723:49-56114144118777465
81Resurrection of Jesus28:1-1016:1-824:1-12173136176787260

Matthew's Use of Mark

  1. Matthew and Mark have 75 pericopes in common.
  2. Within these pericopes Matthew uses 10962 words, while Mark uses 10570 words. Thus Matthew condenses the Markan pericopes by -4%.
  3. Matthew is longer than Mark in 38 (51%) of these passages.
  4. If we remove pericopes where Matthew has added Q material, then Matthew is longer than Mark in 26 out of 59 pericopes, using 7390 words in place of Mark's 7833 words (a 6% decrease).
  5. If we split the Markan passages into ideas (sometimes verse, sometimes clause - see the gospel comparisons pages), we find that 80% of Mark is included in Matthew.
  6. If we consider only the words of Jesus, Matthew includes 3146 of Mark's 3800 words of Jesus (83%).
  7. Matthew adds material from another source to approximately 30 of the 75 pericopes.

Luke's Use of Mark

  1. Luke and Mark have 67 pericopes in common.
  2. Within these pericopes Luke uses 8496 words, while Mark uses 9295 words. Thus Luke condenses the Markan pericopes by 9%.
  3. Luke is longer than Mark in 18 (27%) of these passages.
  4. If we remove pericopes where Luke has added Q material, then Luke is longer than Mark in 14 out of 61 pericopes, using 7368 words in place of Mark's 8871 words (a 17% decrease).
  5. If we split the Markan passages into ideas (sometimes verse, sometimes clause - see the gospel comparisons pages), we find that 63% of Mark is included in Luke.
  6. If we consider only the words of Jesus, Luke includes 2413 of Mark's 3800 words of Jesus (64%).
  7. Luke adds material from another source to approximately 19 of the 67 pericopes.

If we tried to reconstruct Mark using only Matthew and Luke and did not account for portions dropped out by one or the other, we would end up with only 54% of Mark's gospel! The situation is no better with the words of Jesus, where only 2139 of Mark's 3800 words of Jesus (56%) are reflected in both Matthew and Luke in writing their gospels.