According to critics of the New Testament, the story of Jesus has been made up by men who wanted us to believe that He is God. According to their view, Jesus never claimed to be God, nor did He ever perform miracles.
When we read through the New Testament we do not find that the narratives are written as stories to convince us, but in a majority of the text, they are simply letters of communication written between persons. A large number of these personal letters are from Paul, who was a hater of Christ and chief persecutor of those who followed Jesus.
Isn’t it strange that a leading Pharisee and noted scholar of the Hebrew law, would fabricate a story about a man whom he himself did not believe, during the time when the events about Jesus were written.
As we peer over the shoulder of Paul while he is writing these letters, we see him repeatedly claim to have seen Jesus alive after He was crucified, as the reason he now believes in a risen Christ. In many of Paul’s letters, he tells us that as a result of believing in Jesus, he has lost his coveted position as a Jewish scholar and member of the Sanhedrin. In fact, Paul said that following Jesus has cost him everything that he once held dear.
This is followed up by a declaration by Paul that he now considers all of these former things that he once valued so highly, as totally meaningless in comparison to knowing Jesus and the power of His resurrection.
This unique style of writing, through personal correspondence, makes it impossible that we are reading a fabricated story. Throughout history, personal letters written between persons, have proven to be one of the most reliable pieces of evidence for authenticity.
New Testament critics also state that we cannot trust that the resurrection of Jesus really happened because it is described in very few places in the four Gospels. When we read the text of the New Testament for ourselves, we find that there are 391 places in the New Testament where Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are described as proven facts, seen by over 500 eyewitnesses, over a 40 day period, after He rose from the dead.
The Gospels have 200 citations for Jesus’ death and resurrection, with 191 in the remaining letters of Paul, John, Peter, Jude, and James.
The writers who claim that Jesus rose from the dead after they saw Him crucified, state specifically that they saw Jesus alive with their own eyes. These men state that they touched His body and ate with Him after His resurrection. These writers are very careful to tell is that they are not lying and they recorded these narratives as true historical events so that we could know the truth about Jesus.
In fact, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any of the 2,000 year old records of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, that these accounts are fabrications or myth’s. In the entire historical record there is not one document of impeachment written for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Fulfillment Of Over 400 Messianic Prophecies
When Liberal Theologians state that we cannot trust the narrative of the New Testament about Jesus because these stories are embellished or untrue, we must realize that everything these men wrote about Jesus in the four Gospels was also predicted by the Hebrew prophets. From Moses, Abraham, David, Isaiah, and many others, the very words and specific actions that are described as supernatural in the New Testament were predicted for the Messiah in the Old Testament.
If we are told to disregard the narrative about Jesus in the New Testament, then we must also disregard all that was written in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah; for they are the very same person, doing the very same things.
If we accept the statements of liberal Theologians today, claiming that the Gospels are contrived, we must also accept that the entire Old Testament is also a fraud. What is predicted by the old is fulfilled by the new. If the Prophecies of the Messiah are lies and the testimony that Jesus performed the miracles these prophets predicted are lies, we are facing the greatest global conspiracy in the history of the world.
This deception began 3,500 years ago and involves 40 authors, who penned 66 books.
In the third chapter of Genesis, Moses wrote that the Messiah would come and “bruise the head of the serpent,” thereby destroying the works of the devil. This Messiah would be born by supernatural birth from the “seed of the woman.” Not women in general but one specific woman, a prophecy of Mary who would conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit as a virgin. The “Seed” that God described in Genesis 3:15 was placed in Mary by the Holy Spirit, not by Joseph or any man.
Seven hundred years before Mary existed, the prophet Isaiah wrote that a virgin would conceive and bear the Messiah (Isaiah 7:14). When Jesus was born, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him that Mary’s pregnancy was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a virgin, giving birth to the Savior (Matthew 1:20-23).
Did Isaiah conspire with Matthew to deceive the world into believing that a Messiah would come into the world? According to Bart Ehrman and those from the Jesus Seminar, this global conspiracy began with the Old Testament, not when Jesus was born in Bethlehem as described by the Gospels of the New Testament.
In this regard, if we believe these men who claim that Jesus never said or did 85 percent of what is written about Him, then the Bible must consist of 66 books, written by 40 authors, with the sole intention of deceiving the world. The entire Bible describes a Messiah who is God dwelling in the body of a man, performing the miracles that we see Jesus fulfilling in the New Testament.
I think you can see just how preposterous the claims of liberal Theologians are. The obvious answer to this question is that these modern day critics are the ones who are lying, not the Bible.
How Could A Myth Survive For 2,000 Years?
It would not be unusual to find a historical event of antiquity that was later found to be a fraud. It is impossible that one could survive for 2,000 years undetected.
In the second century, Greek atheist philosopher, Celsus, launched a massive assault upon the Gospels of Jesus Christ, claiming that they were frauds and the miracles and resurrection of Jesus never happened. Second century Christian apologist, Origen, wrote an equally massive rebuttal of every point that Celsus made—demonstrating that the narratives of Jesus’ miracles, claims to be God, crucifixion, and resurrection, are valid events of history.
If Jesus’ death and resurrection were a hoax, these facts would have been uncovered by Origen at that time.
Though the New Testament is asserted by critics as a later creation by men who had no first hand knowledge of the events they wrote, Origen presents us with complete records of all four Gospels, with extensive commentary, from the second century. There are over 31,000 quotations of the New Testament scriptures from early church writers in surviving manuscripts. From these quotations, we can virtually reconstruct the entire New Testament.
We have complete copies of entire books from the New Testament from before the second century. These extant manuscript copies are identical to our current New Testament.
Surviving New Testament Manuscripts Dates Before 200 A.D.:
We have P52 from 130 A.D., with the text of Jesus’ trial before Pilate in a Codex. It is certain that there was an original autograph (original writing) that is dated much earlier. It would not be unrealistic to conclude that the original autograph was written in the middle of the first century, immediately after the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
From 150-200 A.D., we have P66, P72, and P75., with most of P66 from John’s Gospel, from 200 A. D., known as a first copy. This is evidence that a early first century original autograph was written for John’s Gospel immediately after Jesus death and resurrection.
P72 is our earliest copy of Jude’s epistle, with one reference to Jesus’ resurrection, and two epistles of Peter, who vividly describes Jesus death and resurrection in 12 references.
P75, from 175-225 A.D., contains Luke’s Gospel, with 13 references to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Also, the earliest of John’s Gospel with 18 references to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The Diatessaron, from 170 A.D., contains all four Gospels, and has a total of 301 references to Jesus’ death and resurrection (Matthew: 30, Mark: 37, Luke: 32, John: 101)
From 200 A. D.: P45, P46, and P47, contain surviving manuscript copies from all four gospels, and Acts (P45), with 30 references to Jesus’ death and resurrection,
P46 is the earliest New Testament Codex Manuscript in existence, dated at 200 A.D. It contains the following:
- The last eight chapters of Romans
- All of Hebrews
- All of 1-2 Corinthians
- All of Ephesians
- All of Galatians
- All of Philippians
- All of Colossians
- Two chapters of 1 Thessalonians
These Texts Above, Survive In Manuscript Copies, Dated Before 200 A.D.
Most people have the idea that a person who has achieved the designation of New Testament scholar, knows what they are talking about. When we investigate the backgrounds of these modern scholars, we find that they are atheists who do not believe that God exists, and the person called Jesus was not capable of miracles because miracles are not possible.
These individuals attended universities and obtained degrees in Theology and Biblical Studies, while never believing that any of what they had studied was true. These persons obtained their degrees for the express purpose of refuting the New Testament, not supporting it.
These so called experts began with a bias against God, the Bible, and the record of Jesus Christ, and obtained an education and credentials, for the sole purpose of being an authority who could refute the truth of the New Testament. In this we see that these individuals are frauds. They are not scholars or experts, they are mercenaries who write books and publish criticism for the purpose of gaining riches and notoriety, not to tell the world the truth about the records of History for Jesus Christ.
These critics tell us that we cannot trust the New Testament because it has been changed drastically over the past 2,000 years. They say that there are over 200,000 Textual Variants in the New Testament.
What they really mean is that there are spelling errors, grammatical inaccuracies, and words in sentences that are in a different order. In reality, these alleged Textual Variants are not errors, but varying translations of the same text. The structure of the sentences were changed in order to make the text easier to read, and this, in their opinion, makes the text unreliable.
Have you ever read the New Living Translation of the Bible? Did you read this modern translation and think that the text was unreliable? In fact, modern translations make the text easier to understand but they never make the text inaccurate or unreliable.
What we find in these different translations of the New Testament is that the story about Jesus remains exactly the same, but it is easier for us to understand.
This is precisely what the entire body of Textual Variants accomplishes for us. Over the course of the past 2,000 years, the original text was copied as varying translations for the audiences they were reaching.
Let me show you a brief sample of the Textual Variants that critics of the New Testament say, makes them unreliable.
Then she will bring forth to you a son
Then she will bring forth a son
you will call his name
they will call his name
All alleged 200,000 Textual Variants are just like the four above. They do not change or diminish the story of Jesus at all. Why do critics make this accusation against the New Testament without telling us the truth about what these Variants show? They want us to believe that the New Testament is not reliable.
The New Testament that is available today, is precisely the same narrative of Jesus and the events which took place at that time, as the original autographs of these events recorded. Today, we have reliable historical artifacts of these events that have survived intact so that we might believe what Jesus said and did.
The narratives of Jesus Christ in the New Testament are valid, reliable, historical records of true events. God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. In fulfillment of over 400 Hebrew prophecies, Jesus performed miracles as required by these prophecies, was crucified and raised from the dead—just as the Hebrew prophets said He that He would.
The New Testament is true and you can trust that what is says is reliable. This is because the historical records proves these narratives are true, written by eyewitnesses and preserved for us for nearly 2,000 years. Jesus is the fulfillment of what God promised the world in the Old Testament.
See The Following Articles For Evidence To Support The Facts Of This Article:
- Why The New Testament Is a Valid Historical Narrative
- Alleged Textual Variants Of The New Testament Do Not Change The Narrative
- The Historical Documentation For Jesus’ Death And Resurrection
- The Four Gospels Were Not Written Anonymously
- The Internal Evidence Of The New Testament Proves Its Integrity And Reliability
- The Truth Of The New Testament Is Not Defined By Opinion, Bias, Or, Doubt, But By Historical Evidence
- The Historical Records Of Jesus’ Life, Death, And Resurrection Are Unimpeachable
See “These Things Were Written: An Expositional Treatise Of The Life, Death, And Resurrection Of Jesus,” By The Same Author Of This Article
Categories: Alleged Contradictions, Contradictions in the Bible, Defending the Gospel, Historical Validity of the New Testament, Messianic Prophecies, Messianic Prophecy Bible, Reliability of the New Testament, Robert Clifton Robinson, Studying the Word of God, The Importance of the Bible, The Miracles of Jesus, The Resurrection