Drowning Swine: The Synoptic Harmony

In preparation for writing Drowning Swine, I created a harmony between the accounts of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. This study is included at the end of the book, but I also wanted to share it online, especially for anyone who may be preparing to preach or teach this incredible narrative, or for anyone who is interested in detailed forms of Bible study.

There is really nothing fancy here, just a close comparison between the three accounts in chronological order (with the SBL Greek text included for even closer comparisons).

It is incredibly interesting to see which features of the story are unique to a particular writer. For example, only Luke shares the details that the demoniac had not worn clothing for a long time and that the demon made a habit of seizing the man on multiple occasions. Likewise, only Matthew mentions that that were two men, not just the one mentioned by Mark and Luke. And only Mark mentions the number of pigs (about 2,000).

Even a cursory look at the harmony will reveal what each gospel writer sought to emphasize in the respective retellings.

I hope it is helpful to you.

The Story of the Demoniac of the Gerasenes
Harmonized in the Synoptic Gospels
NASB and SBL Greek New Testament

Mk 5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. (Καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὸ πέραν τῆς θαλάσσης εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν)
Mt 8:28a When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, (Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πέραν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γαδαρηνῶν)
Lk 8:26a Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, (Καὶ κατέπλευσαν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Γερασηνῶν)

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Lk 8:26b which is opposite Galilee. (ἥτις ἐστὶν ἀντιπέρα τῆς Γαλιλαίας)

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Mark 5:2a When He got out of the boat, (καὶ ἐξελθόντος αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πλοίου)
Lk 8:27a And when He came out onto the land, (ἐξελθόντι δὲ αὐτῷ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν)

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Mk 5:2b immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, (εὐθὺς ὑπήντησεν αὐτῷ ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἄνθρωπος ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ)
Mt 8:28b two men who were demon-possessed met Him (ὑπήντησαν αὐτῷ δύο δαιμονιζόμενοι)
Lk 8:27b He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; (ὑπήντησεν ἀνήρ τις ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἔχων δαιμόνια)

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Lk 8:27c and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, (καὶ χρόνῳ ἱκανῷ οὐκ ἐνεδύσατο ἱμάτιον)

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Mk 5:3a and he had his dwelling among the tombs. (ὃς τὴν κατοίκησιν εἶχεν ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν)
Mt 8:28c as they were coming out of the tombs. (ἐκ τῶν μνημείων ἐξερχόμενοι)
Lk 8:27d and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. (καὶ ἐν οἰκίᾳ οὐκ ἔμενεν ἀλλ’ ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν)

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Mt 8:28d They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. (χαλεποὶ λίαν ὥστε μὴ ἰσχύειν τινὰ παρελθεῖν διὰ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἐκείνης)

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Lk 8:29b For it had seized him many times; (πολλοῖς γὰρ χρόνοις συνηρπάκει αὐτόν)

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Mk 5:3b And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; (καὶ οὐδὲ ἁλύσει οὐκέτι οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο αὐτὸν δῆσαι)

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Mk 5:4a because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, (διὰ τὸ αὐτὸν πολλάκις πέδαις καὶ ἁλύσεσι δεδέσθαι)
Lk 8:29c and he was bound with chains and shackles (καὶ ἐδεσμεύετο ἁλύσεσιν καὶ πέδαις)

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Lk 8:29d and kept under guard, (φυλασσόμενος)

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Mk 5:4b and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, (καὶ διεσπάσθαι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὰς ἁλύσεις καὶ τὰς πέδας συντετρῖφθαι)
Lk 8:29e and yet he would break his bonds (καὶ διαρρήσσων τὰ δεσμὰ)

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Lk 8:29f and be driven by the demon into the desert. (ἠλαύνετο ὑπὸ τοῦ δαιμονίου εἰς τὰς ἐρήμους)

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Mk 5:4c and no one was strong enough to subdue him. (καὶ οὐδεὶς ἴσχυεν αὐτὸν δαμάσαι)

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Mk 5:5a Constantly, night and day, he was screaming (καὶ διὰ παντὸς νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας…ἦν κράζων)

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Mk 5:5b among the tombs and in the mountains, (ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν καὶ ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν)

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Mk 5:5c and gashing himself with stones. (καὶ κατακόπτων ἑαυτὸν λίθοις)

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Mk 5:6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; (καὶ ἰδὼν τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔδραμεν καὶ προσεκύνησεν αὐτόν)
Lk 8:28a Seeing Jesus…and fell before Him (ἰδὼν δὲ τὸν Ἰησοῦν…προσέπεσεν αὐτῷ)

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Mk 5:7a and shouting with a loud voice, (καὶ κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ)
Mt 8:29a And they cried out, (καὶ ἰδοὺ ἔκραξαν)
Lk 8:28a …he cried out…in a loud voice (…ἀνακράξας…φωνῇ μεγάλῃ)

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Mk 5:7b he said, “What business do we have with each other, (λέγει· Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί)
Mt 8:29b saying, “What business do we have with each other, (λέγοντες· Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί)
Lk 8:28b and said… “What business do we have with each other, (καὶ…εἶπεν· Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί)

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Mk 5:7b Jesus, Son of the Most High God? (Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου;)
Mt 8:29b Son of God? (υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ;)
Lk 8:28b Jesus, Son of the Most High God? (Ἰησοῦ υἱὲ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ὑψίστου;)

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Mk 5:7c I implore You by God, do not torment me!” (ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν, μή με βασανίσῃς)
Mt 8:29c Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (ἦλθες ὧδε πρὸ καιροῦ βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς;)
Lk 8:28c I beg You, do not torment me.” (δέομαί σου, μή με βασανίσῃς)

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Mk 5:8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (ἔλεγεν γὰρ αὐτῷ· Ἔξελθε τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἀκάθαρτον ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)
Lk 8:29a For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (παρήγγελλεν γὰρ τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ ἐξελθεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)

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Mk 5:9a And He was asking him, “What is your name?” (καὶ ἐπηρώτα αὐτόν· Τί ὄνομά σοι;)
Lk 8:30a And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” (ἐπηρώτησεν δὲ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Τί σοι ὄνομά ἐστιν;)

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Mk 5:9b And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· Λεγιὼν ὄνομά μοι, ὅτι πολλοί ἐσμεν)
Lk 8:30b And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. (ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Λεγιών, ὅτι εἰσῆλθεν δαιμόνια πολλὰ εἰς αὐτόν)

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Mk 5:10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. (καὶ παρεκάλει αὐτὸν πολλὰ ἵνα μὴ αὐτὰ ἀποστείλῃ ἔξω τῆς χώρας)
Lk 8:31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. (καὶ παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν ἵνα μὴ ἐπιτάξῃ αὐτοῖς εἰς τὴν ἄβυσσον ἀπελθεῖν)

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Mk 5:11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. (ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ πρὸς τῷ ὄρει ἀγέλη χοίρων μεγάλη βοσκομένη)
Mt 8:30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. (ἦν δὲ μακρὰν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἀγέλη χοίρων πολλῶν βοσκομένη)
Lk 8:32a Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; (Ἦν δὲ ἐκεῖ ἀγέλη χοίρων ἱκανῶν βοσκομένη ἐν τῷ ὄρει)

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Mk 5:12a The demons implored Him, (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν)
Mt 8:31a The demons began to entreat Him, (οἱ δὲ δαίμονες παρεκάλουν αὐτὸν)
Lk 8:32b and the demons implored Him (καὶ παρεκάλεσαν αὐτὸν)

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Mk 5:12b saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” (λέγοντες· Πέμψον ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, ἵνα εἰς αὐτοὺς εἰσέλθωμεν)
Mt 8:31b saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” (λέγοντες· Εἰ ἐκβάλλεις ἡμᾶς, ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων)
Lk 8:32c to permit them to enter the swine. (ἵνα ἐπιτρέψῃ αὐτοῖς εἰς ἐκείνους εἰσελθεῖν)

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Mk 5:13a Jesus gave them permission. (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς)
Mt 8:32a And He said to them, “Go!” (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Ὑπάγετε)
Lk 8:32d And He gave them permission. (καὶ ἐπέτρεψεν αὐτοῖς)

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Mk 5:13b And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; (καὶ ἐξελθόντα τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους)
Mt 8:32b And they came out and went into the swine, (οἱ δὲ ἐξελθόντες ἀπῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους)
Lk 8:33a And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; (ἐξελθόντα δὲ τὰ δαιμόνια ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰσῆλθον εἰς τοὺς χοίρους)

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Mk 5:13c and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν)
Mt 8:32c and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea (καὶ ἰδοὺ ὥρμησεν πᾶσα ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν)
Lk 8:33b and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake (καὶ ὥρμησεν ἡ ἀγέλη κατὰ τοῦ κρημνοῦ εἰς τὴν λίμνην)

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Mk 5:13d about two thousand of them (ὡς δισχίλιοι)

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Mk 5:13e and they were drowned in the sea. (καὶ ἐπνίγοντο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ)
Mt 8:32d and perished in the waters. (καὶ ἀπέθανον ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν)
Lk 8:33c and was drowned. (καὶ ἀπεπνίγη)

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Lk 8:34a When the herdsmen saw what had happened, (Ἰδόντες δὲ οἱ βόσκοντες τὸ γεγονὸς)

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Mk 5:14a Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. (Καὶ οἱ βόσκοντες αὐτοὺς ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς)
Mt 8:33a The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, (οἱ δὲ βόσκοντες ἔφυγον, καὶ ἀπελθόντες εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἀπήγγειλαν πάντα)
Lk 8:34b they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. (ἔφυγον καὶ ἀπήγγειλαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εἰς τοὺς ἀγρούς)

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Mt 8:33b including what had happened to the demoniacs. (καὶ τὰ τῶν δαιμονιζομένων)

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Mk 5:14b And the people came to see what it was that had happened. (καὶ ἦλθον ἰδεῖν τί ἐστιν τὸ γεγονός)
Mt 8:34a And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; (καὶ ἰδοὺ πᾶσα ἡ πόλις ἐξῆλθεν εἰς ὑπάντησιν τῷ Ἰησοῦ)
Lk 8:35a The people went out to see what had happened; (ἐξῆλθον δὲ ἰδεῖν τὸ γεγονὸς)

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Mk 5:15a They came to Jesus (καὶ ἔρχονται πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν)
Mt 8:34b and when they saw Him, (καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν)
Lk 8:35b and they came to Jesus, (καὶ ἦλθον πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν)

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Mk 5:15b and observed the man who had been demon-possessed (καὶ θεωροῦσιν τὸν δαιμονιζόμενον)
Lk 8:35b and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, (καὶ εὗρον… τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἀφ’ οὗ τὰ δαιμόνια ἐξῆλθεν)

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Mk 5:15c sitting down, (καθήμενον)
Lk 8:35c sitting down at the feet of Jesus, (καθήμενον… παρὰ τοὺς πόδας τοῦ Ἰησοῦ)

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Mk 5:15d clothed and in his right mind, (ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα)
Lk 8:35d clothed and in his right mind; (ἱματισμένον καὶ σωφρονοῦντα)

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Mk 5:15e the very man who had had the “legion”; (τὸν ἐσχηκότα τὸν λεγιῶνα)

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Mk 5:15f and they became frightened. (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν)
Lk 8:35e and they became frightened. (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν)

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Mk 5:16a Those who had seen it described to them (καὶ διηγήσαντο αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες)
Lk 8:36a Those who had seen it reported to them (ἀπήγγειλαν δὲ αὐτοῖς οἱ ἰδόντες)

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Mk 5:16b how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, (πῶς ἐγένετο τῷ δαιμονιζομένῳ)
Lk 8:36b how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well. (πῶς ἐσώθη ὁ δαιμονισθείς)

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Mk 5:16b and all about the swine. (καὶ περὶ τῶν χοίρων)

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Lk 8:37a And all the people of the country of the Gerasenes and the surrounding district (καὶ …ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῆς περιχώρου τῶν Γερασηνῶν)

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Mk 5:17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region. (καὶ ἤρξαντο παρακαλεῖν αὐτὸν ἀπελθεῖν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν)
Mt 8:34c they implored Him to leave their region. (παρεκάλεσαν ὅπως μεταβῇ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων αὐτῶν)
Lk 8:37b asked Him to leave them, (ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν… ἀπελθεῖν ἀπ’ αὐτῶν)

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Lk 8:37c for they were gripped with great fear; (ὅτι φόβῳ μεγάλῳ συνείχοντο)

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Mk 5:18a As He was getting into the boat, (καὶ ἐμβαίνοντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ πλοῖον)
Lk 8:37d and He got into a boat and returned. (αὐτὸς δὲ ἐμβὰς εἰς πλοῖον ὑπέστρεψεν)

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Mk 5:18b the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him (παρεκάλει αὐτὸν ὁ δαιμονισθεὶς)
Lk 8:38a But the man from whom the demons had gone out was begging Him (ἐδεῖτο δὲ αὐτοῦ ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀφ’ οὗ ἐξεληλύθει τὰ δαιμόνια)

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Mk 5:18c that he might accompany Him. (ἵνα μετ’ αὐτοῦ ᾖ)
Lk 8:38b that he might accompany Him; (εἶναι σὺν αὐτῷ)

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Mk 5:19a And He did not let him, (καὶ οὐκ ἀφῆκεν αὐτόν)
Lk 8:38b but He sent him away, (ἀπέλυσεν δὲ αὐτὸν)

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Mk 5:19b but He said to him, “Go home to your people (ἀλλὰ λέγει αὐτῷ· Ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου πρὸς τοὺς σούς)
Lk 8:38c-39a saying, “Return to your house (λέγων· Ὑπόστρεφε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου)

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Mk 5:19c and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, (καὶ ἀπάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅσα ὁ κύριός σοι πεποίηκεν)
Lk 8:39b and describe what great things God has done for you.” (καὶ διηγοῦ ὅσα σοι ἐποίησεν ὁ θεός)

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Mk 5:19d and how He had mercy on you.” (καὶ ἠλέησέν σε)

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Mk 5:20a And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καὶ ἤρξατο κηρύσσειν ἐν τῇ Δεκαπόλει)
Lk 8:39c So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city (καὶ ἀπῆλθεν καθ’ ὅλην τὴν πόλιν κηρύσσων)

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Mk 5:20b what great things Jesus had done for him; (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς)
Lk 8:39d what great things Jesus had done for him. (ὅσα ἐποίησεν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς)

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Mk 5:20c and everyone was amazed. (καὶ πάντες ἐθαύμαζον)


Read Drowning Swine Online

Click the chapter links to read now

  1. Jesus the Missionary
  2. Here Be Demons (and Pigs)
  3. Darkness Is Dark
  4. Among the Tombs Crying Out
  5. Darkness Kills Itself
  6. Who’s the Boss?
  7. Team Affiliation
  8. Naming Your Demons
  9. Fighting Fire with Consuming Fire
  10. Why God Made Pigs
  11. The Idolatry of Economy
  12. Holiness, Sanity, and Missions

Appendix: Synoptic Harmony