In this study we are going to look at these passages very carefully because when you compare the accounts of Peter’s denial of Jesus Christ you find a variety of things going on. The accounts are supplemental, none of them are contradictory and you are going to find that although Peter denied Jesus three times, each time that he denied Him he did not give just one response. There were other people that were speaking to Peter, to the people around Peter, or speaking about Peter. Therefore in each of the denials he is responding more than one time. In each case he responds three times. We want to show in this study that the differing accounts in each of the Gospels can be laid out chronologically and are not contradictory at all.
As we go through the account remember that Matthew, Mark and Luke all deal with the denials in one segment while John deals with them in two segments. There is a break in John 18 between verses 18 and 25. The first denial takes place when Jesus is speaking to Annas while the other two denials take place when Jesus is speaking to Caiaphas. The next thing to notice is that Annas and Caiaphas were both in the high priest’s palace. The scribes and elders were assembled with Caiaphas and so the first denial took place while Peter was seated and while Jesus was being interrogated by Annas. Then Peter goes out on the porch and stands there and denies Jesus twice more. Peter denies Him once while Jesus is with Annas and then again about an hour later while Jesus is still being tried by Caiaphas.
Peter, while following Jesus at a distance, waits at the door as John goes into the palace of the high priest. John was known unto the high priest and so spoke to the damsel who kept the door and gained entrance for Peter (John 18:15-16). When the people start a fire to keep warm Peter moves in and sits among them to keep warm (Luke 22:54, Matt. 26:58, Mark 14:54). Now when Peter gained entrance the damsel asked him if he were a disciple of Jesus which he denied (John 18:17). Then as Peter sat in the palace he was confronted again about being a disciple of Jesus and once again he denies the accusation (Matt. 26:69-70 Mark 14:66-67, Luke 22:56-57). Then after going out and standing on the porch Peter is confronted yet again by a maid who points him out to the crowd (Matt. 26:71-72, Mark 14:69-70, Luke 22:58), but still he maintains his denial. These are some of the details of this event that are left out of the Book of John taking place between verses 17 and 18 of chapter 18, but provided for us in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Therefore, we understand that it is not a contradiction when John tells us that Peter was standing by the fire, while Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that Peter was sitting by the fire. Through our study we see that Peter sat by one fire, but when accused he then moved out onto the porch to stand by a different fire. The King James Bible has no contradictions.