Chapter
Verse

Luke 5:2

ESV and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.
NIV He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
NASB and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets.
CSB He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.
NLT He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.
KJV And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

What does Luke 5:2 mean?

Jesus is speaking to a crowd on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. To hear Him better—and probably touch Him and be healed—the people have crowded around Him. Jesus climbs into a nearby boat so the people can hear Him better as sound travels well over water (Luke 5:3).

This verse varies slightly from the parallel accounts. Matthew and Mark say Peter and Andrew are "casting a net into the sea" (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1: 16) while Luke says "fishermen" are washing their nets without specifically mentioning Andrew. Are these two separate accounts? Possibly. Or maybe Peter and Andrew aren't flinging their nets to fish but to wash them. And maybe the Holy Spirit didn't lead Luke to include Andrew because Peter's actions are more important to Luke's theme of humility (Luke 5:8).

This brings up an important topic. The synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—are called so because they are very similar, sometimes down to the wording. But they aren't identical. The Holy Spirit had specific goals for each of the Gospels and inspired the writers, informing them what to include, what to leave out, and what order to put things. That doesn't mean there are contradictions between the Gospels.
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