One of the questions that people have about the New Testament Gospels, is how the disciples were able to remember all of the specific details they included in their Gospel narratives. Some critics of the Bible have written that the Gospels were written many years after the fact and it was not possible that they could have remembered what we see written in our Bible today.
In John chapter 14, Jesus describes the fact that when anyone places their trust in Him and receives the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life, He comes to live inside that person. God created us with a physical body but this is not the true person who exists. Our primary composition is that of spirit, which lives in a human body. It is through the body that we are able to express ourselves and communicate with other persons on earth. It is through the Spirit that God is able to communicate with us and we are able to know Him.
Prior to our salvation, the Bible describes the spirit within us as dead. Until we are born of the Spirit, we cannot know God, understand His word, and are prohibited from having a relationship with Him. Before we make a decision to trust in Jesus for our Salvation, it is impossible for us to enter heaven because our sins have separated us from Him.
At the moment of salvation, a second birth takes place that Jesus describes in John chapter 3. Jesus said that those who turn from their sins and receive Him as their Savior are “born again,” a second time, by the Spirit. It is at this point that our relationship with God is restored because all our sins are gone and there is no longer a separation between us and God.
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. ~John 3:3-6 (NLT)
Then Jesus tells Nicodemus that this second birth of the Spirit takes place when anyone realized who Jesus is and receives Him as their Savior.
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16 (NLT)
From this we learn that in our natural state as human beings, we cannot have a relationship with God. We cannot enter heaven because our sins have separated us. In the process of accepting that Jesus has died for us and we are sorry for our sins and are willing to turn from these sins, we can receive Jesus into our heart and at that moment, the Spirit of God causes our spirit to come alive.
It is also at this point that God can now communicate with us by His Spirit and speak to our mind, the things He wants to say.
Jesus Caused The Disciples To Remember
Jesus told the disciples that although He had spoken many things to these men while He was still with them after His crucifixion and resurrection, He would return to heaven. At that time Jesus said that He would begin to communicate with these men by the Spirit, as He speaks to their minds and communicates all the things He wants to say to them. He would bring to their remembrance all the things He said and did so that they could write them down so others could know who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
This is a principle that the majority of the world does not know or understand. The idea that God could, or would, come to live in the body of a human being, is a strange concept.
These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ~John 14:25-26
Here, Jesus said that through the realm of the Spirit, He will teach these men all things and bring to their remembrance all things that He had said and did while still alive on earth. Jesus gives us the answer for how these men were able to remember all they had seen while they were with Jesus; He brought these things to their remembrance.
If we can believe that God has the power to create this incredible universe and cause it to function in such a way that human life is possible on earth, it is not difficult to believe that He also has the power to speak to these men and remind them what He said and did. God also has the power to preserve His word for every generation so that the whole world could know how they can have a relationship with God and gain eternal life.
The words that we read in the New Testament Gospels were communicated directly from the Spirit of God, to the men who recorded them. If you cannot believe this, then it will be impossible for you to understand all of the most important principles of the Bible. It was by the Spirit that God communicated the precise words or concepts that He wanted the prophets of the Old Testament to write.
Peter later wrote that none of these prophetic words that were written by these men of antiquity were their own private thoughts or interpretations. These words and principles were communicated by God to them, and we find this communication between God and the prophets, written in the Old Testament.
Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. ~2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)
In John 16:16, Jesus said that He chose these men who wrote the New Testament and enabled them to accomplish what we have today in the scriptures that describe Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. ~John 15:16 (NLT)
The men who wrote these words not only were reminded of what they had heard and seen Jesus do, they were eyewitnesses of all they wrote. We see this fact clearly indicated by the words of these writers as they recorded their testimony.
John was with Jesus at His crucifixion. He saw Him nailed to the cross and His side pierced with a Roman lance. John wrote that blood and water came out from the wound, a sign that Jesus had died. John knew that Jesus was dead, and he also wrote that He saw Him alive three days later.
Notice how carefully John writes to assure us that what he wrote, is the truth:
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. ~1 John 1:1-3 (NLT)
- “We saw him with our own eyes, we touched him with our own hands…”
- “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard…”
Peter also writes a similar testimony concerning Jesus:
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. ~2 Peter 1:16-18
As Peter stands before thousands of people from all over the world on the Day of Pentecost, he describes David as a prophet, predicting the Messiah who would come from his line of descendants. Peter said that David predicted the Messiah would be killed and resurrected and the men who saw these things would be His witnesses.
Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. ~Acts 2:29-32
From The Killer Of Christians To Believer In Christ
Paul did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah and he pursued those who followed Him to their deaths. This was until the risen Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus. While on this journey, a great light breaks out at midday:
As Paul journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”And he said, “Who are You, Lord? Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” ~Acts 9:3-5
Were The Narratives Of Jesus Fabricated?
A common argument posed by critics of the New Testament is that the writers made the whole story up. Some pundits claim that Jesus was a real person, but He never claimed to be God. A second false assertion, is that the writers who penned the words of the four Gospels, made Jesus God by the inclusion of miracles that they attribute to Him. There is no evidence anywhere that what these men wrote, is not true. In fact, all the evidence proves that the entire narrative of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, took place exactly as the writers of the New Testament wrote.
- Jesus exists, not only in the pages of the New Testament, but also is the secular writings of the Romans and the Jews. I have a library of 121 secular citations for Jesus, during the time that the New Testament places Him in Jerusalem, from non-biblical sources.
- The miracles that Jesus performed, were all predicted by the Old Testament prophets as evidence that He would give the world, to prove that He is God and Messiah. If the writers of the New Testament tried to deceive the world into believing that Jesus performed miracles, then the entire Old Testament and all of its writers must also be in on the deception.
- This would mean that 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a 1,500 year period of time, were all lying. If the miracles of Jesus were made up, then the entire Bible must not be true and every Jew who believed their coming Messiah would perform miracles to prove that He is Messiah, was also deceived during the thousand years before Jesus arrived.
- The surviving text of the New Testament, when compared with the current New Testament, is virtually identical. Both the original manuscripts and the New Testament Bible we have today, both describe Jesus as performing supernatural miracles to prove to us that He is God and the promised Messiah of the Hebrew scriptures.
- A majority of the writers of the New Testament stated that they saw Jesus and touched Him after He was crucified and risen from the dead. John, Peter, and Paul, stated emphatically that they are certain that they are telling the truth about Jesus ability to perform miracles, raise the dead, and that they know Jesus was alive after He was brutally crucified.
- The majority of the New Testament consists of letters written between persons as communication, instructions, encouragement, and corrections. These books of the New Testament were not written as one story that could be viewed as a mythological narrative. When anyone reads the letters that are in the 27 books of the New Testament, they clearly see that these are personal letters written between real people with real events and problems. It is impossible to conclude that the New Testament narrative of Jesus is a contrived story. All of the text has every indication that it is genuine and true and was distributed by these letters to places all over the known world during that period of history.
- All but two of the 27 New Testament books, describe Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are 391 references to Jesus as crucified and seen alive by eyewitnesses. One reference mentions over 500 eyewitnesses who saw Jesus alive, all at once time. The descriptions of Jesus’ miracles and resurrection are not limited only to the four Gospels, but are a significant part of the entire body of the New Testament. There is absolutely no possibility that the text we have today, which matches the original manuscripts written not long after they took place, are not reliable and true accounts of actual events.
The Scientific Evidence Of Our Modern Era
We are a unique generation that possesses greater scientific evidence for the origin and function of the universe, than any generation before us. Scientists today understand that our universe, in its present form, could not have begun or developed by itself. The environment that makes life possible on earth today, was controlled by precise specific events which were essential for advanced life forms.
Although the universe began in chaos, it immediately was controlled by forces outside the universe, which balanced essential physical constants that would make life a reality, billions of years later.
At just -430th of a second into the beginning of the universe, a balance between gravity and electromagnetism took place. Try to imagine the chaos of a massive explosion that contained all the matter of our present universe. In the midst of this movement of matter, these two essential constants—the precise balance between gravity and electromagnetism—just happened to be established at the right setting, the first time.
This could not have happened by chance or any natural process. In order for this balance to take place, it would have to be determined before the universe began and then set precisely at the beginning. To accomplish this massive feat, intelligence was required. This intelligence must be transcendent of time, space, and matter, and completely independent of the actions that it was causing.
This intelligence must have unlimited knowledge in knowing what this precise setting must be, and what the outcome of changing this setting would cause, even before the universe began. Scientists have told us that any change in the fine balance between gravity and electromagnetism by so much as 10^40, + or -, would cause the universe to collapse back upon itself.
During the entire history of the universe, there were 200 of these physical constants that were necessary for people to exist on earth today. Someone set all of these constants, they could not have occurred by accident.
The God of the Bible, claims that He created the universe, and that He made it as a visible proof for us that He exists and loves us. God made this universe for us, so that our planet could support human life. He maintains and controls all the universe so that we can live.
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The universe display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. ~Psalms 19:1-4 (NLT)
The same power that enabled the universe to begin and be set precisely where it must be to support life on earth, also had the ability to enable certain men to hear the voice of God and write the words that exist for us in the Bible.
It was the forethought of Jesus before He came to earth as a man, to enable the men who penned the New Testament, to be able to remember the precise words and works that Jesus said and did while He was here. Jesus planned for this and ensured that it happened, because of His love for this world. Jesus wanted every person to have a reliable record of what God has done for us, so that we might have our sins removed, and inherit eternal life.
God wants you and I to live with Him in a perfect world that is free of sin, evil, sickness and death. The record of the Bible was created and preserved by the same God who spoke the universe into existence. God speaks to us by human words because this is how we communicate with each other. The record of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is a reliable, truthful narrative of the actual events that took place. God sent His Son into the world to make it possible for anyone to be saved, if they want to be saved.
You can trust that the words that exist today in your New Testament, which tell us all that Jesus said and did, are truthful and will cause anyone to experience a brand new life, now, and for eternity, if they will believe what is written.
God Designed The New Testament To Be Self-Proving
Think about this for just a moment: Would God require the commentaries of men to be necessary for people in order to understand His word? Does the reliability of what God has said to the world, require that New Testament scholars confirm that the Bible is true?
Of course not.
God has always intended that we might be able to know that what these men wrote, could be understood as His word, simply by reading the text. We don’t need any help from anyone in order to know that the New Testament narratives about Jesus are true.
I challenge any person who doubts the reliability of the New Testament to simply read is through, slowly, and carefully. If we rely upon the opinions of men who doubt the reliability of the scriptures, of course we are going to have own doubts.
What I find interesting about all of the comments made by those who are described as New Testament scholars, is that many of them are atheists who don’t believe that God exists. Are you comfortable trusting the conclusions of a scholar who does not believe the God of the Bible exists in the first place?
You might say, “well that depends upon why they think the scriptures are not reliable.” This would be a good point to remember. Let me save you a little time. I have read most of the Liberal Theologians commentaries on the New Testament—those who state that we cannot trust what is written about Jesus. The reason these persons do not believe that the New Testament is true is because they don’t believe that God exists and miracles are not possible.
Atheist New Testament Scholars Rely Upon Feelings, Not Evidence
In every one of the commentaries that I have read, written by atheist scholars, there is not a single piece of evidence to impeach the reliability of the New Testament. They make their conclusions because they don’t believe Jesus is God and was not capable of miracles, despite the New Testament declaring that this is true. These scholars expect us to trust them because they have a Ph.D, but they neglect to tell us that they began their writing with a bias that God doesn’t exist, therefore Jesus cannot be God.
If you just read the narratives of Jesus in the four Gospels, and all the accompanying letters that come after by Luke, Paul, John, James, and Peter, you will see that there are 391 places in the rest of the New Testament, where Jesus miracles, death and resurrection, are described in vivid detail.
Historically Reliable Texts
These documents of the New Testament bear every mark of genuine, reliable testimony, and have no evidence of fraud or contrivance. These documents have survived for over 2,000 years, in greater numbers than any other ancient literature (24,593), and survive with all of the same text that describes Jesus power of miracles, crucifixion and resurrection that we have in our New Testament today.
Critics claim that the text has been changed but when we examine what text they mean by “changed,” we discover they are talking about synonyms, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Just as we have several different modern translations today of the New Testament, but they all tell the same story; early Christian writers also created modern translations for their generation so that people could understand the Bible. What is important to understand is that neither our modern translations, nor the ancient translations, change the story of how Jesus possessed the powers that only God could retain, He was brutally crucified, and He was seen alive, three days later by over 500 eyewitnesses.
All that we need to determine whether Jesus did the things that are described for Him in the New Testament, is to read the entire New Testament text for ourselves. When we do this, we see clearly that we are not reading myth-narrative, but actual accounts that are recorded by men who saw and heard the things that they describe. These men state clearly that they saw them with their own eyes and heard them with their own ears.
It Was God’s Plan To Call Eyewitnesses To Write A Narrative Of Jesus
In the book of Acts, chapter 10, Peter tells the Roman Centurion Cornelius and his family the following words:
Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
“And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” ~Acts 10:34-43 (NLT)
This text from the book of Acts, is not from the four Gospels, but is written by Luke in his second book, where he recounts for us what Peter said to a Roman official and his household:
- Jesus Christ is Lord over all.
- John the Baptist began the preaching about Jesus as the Messiah.
- God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power to perform miracles, in fulfillment of the many Hebrew prophecies which predict a Messiah with the power of miracles to prove He is God and Messiah.
- Jesus went around performing miracles and setting people free who were oppressed by the devil.
- Peter states that all of the Apostles are witnesses of these things.
- Peter says that they all saw the Romans put Jesus to death on the cross.
- God raised Jesus to life on the third day.
- God chose these men to be eyewitnesses of these events and to write an account to the world about what took place.
- These eyewitnesses ate and drank with Jesus after He was killed and raised from the dead, so they know He was alive.
- God appointed these men to write their testimony and tell everyone what they had seen and heard.
- Jesus is the Messiah whom all the prophets of the Old Testament describe.
- Everyone who trust is Jesus’ death and resurrection, has their sins forgiven and eternal life.
In just in this one section from Acts 10, we get all that we need to prove that the writers of the New Testament intended that the world would know that these men believed that God had called them to be eyewitnesses of all that Jesus said and did, and they wrote an accurate account of all these events.
A Gradual Revelation Of Jesus’ True Identity
The writers of the New Testament did not understand who Jesus was at the beginning. They had not linked the prophecies of the Old Testament to the works that Jesus had done in their presence. They did not know that Jesus was God, and the Messiah whom God promised, until later.
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. ~John 12:16 (NKJV)
John wrote this in his Gospel after he realized who Jesus was, after He had been crucified and risen from the dead.
At the time when Jesus asked His disciples to go and find Him the foal of a donkey and He sat upon it while riding into Jerusalem, they did not know that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecies of Zechariah 9:9, and Psalms 118:22-26:
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.” ~John 12:12-15 (NKJV)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. ~Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! ~Psalms 118:22-26 (NKJV)
It took some time before the disciples of Jesus were able to connect the dots of all He had said and done and understood who He really was. It was then that they realized that they were called by Jesus to remember and record all of these things for the world. Jesus told them that He would send them the Holy Spirit who would cause them to remember all He said and did, and to understand how these things were a fulfillment of all the prophets had written for the Messiah.
It was in the process of putting this all together that they understood that Jesus was the one whom the prophets had predicted and everything He had said and did, was intended by Jesus to prove that He is God and Messiah.
See: “The Prophecies Of The Messiah.”
This is a singular and distinguishing characteristic of Jesus that is not present in every other god and religion of the world. No other religion has ever had the power of predictive and fulfilled prophecy, except the Bible.
God intended that as we would read through the entire Bible and see what His prophets wrote and how Jesus had fulfilled all these things they had written, that we would have confidence in the Bible as the word of God and that Jesus is the Savior/Messiah of the world.
- The Historical Documentation For Jesus’ Death And Resurrection
- Alleged Textual Variants Of The New Testament Do Not Change The Narrative
- Why The New Testament Is a Valid Historical Narrative
- Impeaching The Atheist Excuse That There Is No Evidence For God
- 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
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