Bible Questions and Answers

Browse all the questions that have been asked at and see their answers, read the most recent questions and answers, or have a look at some prepared questions and answers on key Bible themes.

Below are all the verses that mention Barabbas:

Matthew 27:16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.

Matthew 27:17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

Matthew 27:21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Matthew 27:26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Mark 15:7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.

Mark 15:11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.

Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

Luke 23:18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

John 18:40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

In just one verse, Matthew 27:17, some ancient copies read ‘Jesus Barabbas’.

It is not possible to decide whether the addition of Jesus was a scribal error or the subsequent suppression of Jesus was deliberate.

To my mind the former is more likely to be the case.

Christian scribes wouldn't lightly alter the word of God deliberately.

Mark, Luke and John do not call him Jesus Barabbas.

Most English Versions omit ‘Jesus’.

From here:

It is possible that the original gospel of Matthew said "Jesus Barabbas." And possible that, according to the Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament, the word "Jesus” in connection to Barabbas was “deliberately suppressed in most witnesses for reverential considerations." For example, acc. to the UBS textual commentary, Origen stated, it cannot be right, because, "In the whole range of the scriptures we know that no one who is a sinner [is called] Jesus." Origen, though admitting that Barabbas was called Jesus, nevertheless suppressed this in his work. In many even later witnesses, the copyists state in the margin that the earlier copies call Barabbas Jesus as well. But, they suppressed it, and the subsequent copies did not say Jesus Barabbas. Westcott and Hort however, state that the reading "Jesus Barabbas" was probably due to a scribe's error in transcription. Some say it is still easier to explain why "Jesus" might have been deleted than why it might have gotten added. In addition, having two men named Jesus fits better with the phrase of Pilate, found in all manuscripts, "or the Jesus called Christ," where he seems to be setting them off in a needed contradistinction. The fact is, according to Josephus, Jesus was not an uncommon name among Jews. After all, Joshua was a big hero in Judaism, and Jesus is simply a form of the name Joshua.

Notice that Origen rejected the inclusion of Jesus in the text, indicating a scribal error.

Whether Barabbas was also called Jesus makes no difference to the record of the crucifixion.

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,