In the 27 letters of the New Testament, we have the greatest surviving written testimony of antiquity that has ever been recorded for one person. Contrary to critics who seek to impugn the reliability of the authors of the New Testament, the writers themselves state repeatedly that what they are recording, they saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and they are telling the truth.
“We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands…We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard…” ~1 John 1:1-4
When we read the text for ourselves we find that these narratives are really just personal letters that were written by men who had firsthand knowledge of Jesus or had personally interviewed those who had seen and heard Jesus.
When we evaluate these texts with the modern methods used for determining genuine events of history, we find that the New Testament meets and exceeds every literary requirement for accurate and reliable historical events.
When we apply modern forensic techniques used to determine the validity of written testimony utilized by the FBI and apply these methods to the New Testament, we discover that there is stunning and verifiable evidence in the text that allows us to accurately conclude that what these men wrote is genuine testimony and the writers are telling the truth.
When we examine the 24,593 surviving manuscripts of the New Testament, we find that they were written closer to the time of the events they describe than any other events of history. These manuscripts exist today in greater numbers than any other works of literature which seek to document persons and events in the historical record.
This great number of surviving manuscripts are evidence that the text of these documents was considered true and reliable by those who made so many copies. People in ancient times did not undergo the intense and tedious task of copying texts for others to read unless it was already established by eyewitnesses that these events were true and reliable.
The existence of more surviving copies of the New Testament than any other ancient texts, tell us that these events were of such great importance that these ancient people made, perhaps, tens of thousands of additional copies than those which have actually survived. The fact that we have nearly 25,000 extant manuscript copies today, is evidence that originally there were thousands more made which did not survive time and decay. These massive numbers speak clearly that these people believed what they were copying and distributing was true.
Even though there are such a great number of surviving manuscripts from all over the world, and in several different languages, there are no significant changes in all of the texts of the New Testament manuscripts that we would expect to see in ancient manuscripts that survive in such large numbers.
When we compare all of the copies of these surviving 24,593 manuscripts with each other, we find the same consistent narrative with the same primary events:
- The claims of Jesus to be God and Messiah.
- The fulfillment of over 400 prophecies from the Hebrew prophets which predicted a Messiah exactly like Jesus.
- The validation that Jesus performed works that would only be possible if He was, in fact, God.
- Jesus healed every person that came to Him. He opened the eyes of the blind, caused the lame to walk, opened the ears of the deaf, and even raised a man who had been dead for four days. These specific events of healing are exactly what Isaiah 35 predicted for Messiah.
- All of the original Apostles saw Jesus crucified and dead.
- Over 500 eyewitnesses saw Jesus alive at one time, after He was crucified.
- All 12 of the Apostles saw Jesus alive after He was brutally executed.
- Jesus said that He would bring to the remembrance—everything He had said and done during His three years on earth, so these men could remember and write an accurate account.
- Jesus said that the 12 Apostles were called to be His witnesses and write a testimony of all they had seen and heard concerning Him.
- Although Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and said that “not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another,” these events were never recorded in the New Testament, even though the destruction of Jerusalem did happen in 70 A.D. Jewish historian, Josephus, confirms this.
- If the letters of the New Testament were written after 70 A.D., it is certain that they would have included the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction and the obliteration of the Temple.
- The fact that these two critical events in the history of the Jews was never mentioned in the New Testament, is empirical evidence that the letters of the New Testament were written before 70 A.D.
- Every other event that Jesus predicted, such as Peter’s betrayal, included the fulfillment of these events in the New Testament, because they happened before the writing of the text. In comparison to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, that were not included in the New Testament. The reason is obvious: the New Testament letters, including the four Gospels, were all written before 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.
Scholar, Bart Ehrman, On The Eyewitnesses
According to New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, because the text and narratives of Jesus as found in the New Testament were written in Greek, they could not have been written by the followers of Jesus. According to Ehrman, the Apostles of Jesus were not educated men who would have been able to write Greek. For this reason, Ehrman concludes that the four Gospels could not have been written by eyewitnesses, but were written by others much later, who had not seen Jesus.
There are several problems with Ehrman’s conclusions. First, and most important; the four Gospel manuscripts that we have in our possession today are copies of the original autographs, not the original writings. To assume that because the surviving manuscript copies we have today were written in Greek, therefore the original autographs were also written in Greek, is a conclusion that cannot possibly be proven. The entire hypothesis of Ehrman is based on this assumption.
We don’t know what language the original autographs were written, or who it was who may have assisted the Apostles in transcribing them. We don’t know that the Apostles were not able to write Greek. We don’t know that the original autographs were first written in Aramaic or Hebrew and later copied as Greek texts. In the third decade of the second century, Papias said: “Matthew gathered the sayings of Jesus in the Hebrew tongue, and each person translated them as he was able.”
We can’t accurately conclude this because the original autographs don’t exist any longer. There are no original autographs for any ancient texts of that age, secular or religious. All that we have today to prove any ancient event are the surviving manuscript copies.
Luke, who writes at the beginning of His Gospel that he was very familiar with all of the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, states that he personally interviewed the eyewitnesses who saw Jesus and heard Him. Luke was a Greek speaking Physician who was highly educated. Matthew was a tax collector and must certainly have acquired the ability to write well. The Romans would have required every tax collector to have the ability to write and speak adequately in order to carry out their appointed tasks. Mark was a Greek speaking Jew, who was the likely scribe for Peter.
Could Uneducated Men Write The Gospels?
Ehrman often states that the writers of the four Gospels were uneducated men who did not have the capacity to write the elegant Greek text we see in the New Testament. He refers to Acts chapter 4 where Peter and John are standing before the council of leaders at Jerusalem. In this text we find the statement: “they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures.”
From this statement, Ehrman has concluded that it was impossible for these men to have the skill necessary to write the Gospels. The problem is that Ehrman leaves out the rest of the text, which helps the reader understand how uneducated men could have the ability to write what we find in the four Gospels. “They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” It was Jesus who gave these uneducated men the ability to understand and communicate everything that He had said and done during His three and one half years of ministry.
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say. ~Acts 4:13-14 (NLT)
Just before Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, in John chapter 14:25-26, Jesus said that after He is gone, the Holy Spirit will come and remind these men of all that He had said and done, so that they could write an accurate account and send it to the world.
I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. ~John 14:25-26 (NLT)
How do we know that these men had supernatural abilities to remember and write the elegant Gospels we find? Read the last part of Acts 4:14 above: But since they could see the man who had been healed standing right there among them, there was nothing the council could say.” The Pharisees had before them a man who had been healed by Peter and John, so it was impossible for them to condemn these men for their good work. This tells us that these uneducated men, who had been with Jesus, also had supernatural power given to them by Jesus.
There is no question that these simple men had been given the ability write an accurate and elegant narrative of Jesus in the four Gospels, because Jesus made this possible.
Papias Describes Mark As The Scribe Of Peter
Papias wrote that Mark was the scribe of Peter in the Gospel of Mark while in Rome. In a five volume work called, ““Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord,” Papias describes the Apostle John telling him that Peter dictated the words of Mark’s Gospel:
“And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”
Irenaeus Stated that Mark Obtained His Text From Peter’s Teaching
Irenaeus stated also reported Mark penned his Gospel as a scribe for Peter, adding the following detail:
“Matthew composed his gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form”
Justin Martyr Said Mark’s Gospel Came From Peter
One of the first Christian apologists, Justin Martyr, wrote:
“It is said that he [Jesus] changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and it is written in his memoirs that he changed the names of others, two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means ‘sons of thunder’….”
Justin Martyr said that Mark’s Gospel was really just the “memoir” of Peter, which describes the sons of Zebedee as “Sons of Thunder.” Mark is the only Gospel that uses this term, describing James and John and James in this way.
Clement Wrote That Mark Recorded Peter’s Words
In his book, “Hypotyposeis,” Clement describes a tradition of the elders regarding the Gospel of Mark:
“And so great a joy of light shone upon the minds of the hearers of Peter that they were not satisfied with merely a single hearing or with the unwritten teaching of the divine gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, who was a follower of Peter and whose gospel is extant, to leave behind with them in writing a record of the teaching passed on to them orally; and they did not cease until they had prevailed upon the man and so became responsible for the Scripture for reading in the churches.”
Eusebius Said That Mark’s Gospel Came From Peter
Clement wrote that the actual words for Mark’s Gospel were written down from what Peter had said while he was in Rome. Clement was not simply repeating what Papias had already stated, but is writing as an independent source to validate Mark’s Gospel as coming from Peter directly.
“The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it.”
This text is extremely important because it tells us that Peter was well aware of what Mark wrote concerning his words, and approved of these texts.
Tertullian Confirms Peter’s Words As Recorded In The Gospel Of Mark
One of the early Christian Apologist, Tertullian refuted the assertions of Marcion, in his book, “Against Marcion.” In this book Tertullian describes Peter as the true author of Marks’s Gospel.
“While that [gospel] which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”
The Muratorian Fragment
The oldest known list of New Testament books is called the “Muratorian Fragment.” Dated near 170 A.D., it contains text that describes the facts of Jesus, as witnessed by Peter, are in Mark’s Gospel.
“But he (Peter) was present among them, and so he put [the facts down in his Gospel]”
This text is a reference to Mark’s presence at Peter’s sermons when he was in Rome with Peter and recorded these messages which later became the Gospel of Mark.
The Muratorian Canon or Canon Muratori, is a copy of the oldest known list of books for the New Testament. This fragment consisting of 85 lines bound in a 7th or 8th century codex from the library of Columbanus’s monastery at Bobbio Abbey, a translation from the original Greek texts.
This fragment contains a list of all the New Testament books that were accepted as canonical by the Christian churches, and known by the original assemblers. This Fragment was discovered in the Ambrosian Library at Milan, Italy by Father Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1750), who is the most famous of Italian historians of that generation, published in 1740.
The actual formation of the New Testament canon did not take place until 367 A.D., when Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria, in his annual Easter letter, composed the list of 27 books that is still recognized today as the canon of the New Testament.
Origen Stated That Mark’s Gospel Was Authored By Peter
In one of his commentaries from near 240 A.D., Origen describes the foundation of the four Gospels. As a part of this text, Origen attributes the Gospel of Mark to Peter:
In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, Origen states that:
“He knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language. The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ 1 Peter 5:13 And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.” 
Ability Imparted By The Spirit
Ehrman also fails to understand the spiritual element of God who imparts knowledge and ability to those who genuinely trust in Jesus. When the rulers, elders, and scribes of Israel heard Peter teaching about Jesus at Jerusalem in Acts 4:13, they knew these men were uneducated. These Ph.D.’s of the law marveled at how the disciples of Jesus were able to navigate the scriptures and how much knowledge they possessed, though they were simple men. Jesus said that after He rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit would come upon the believer and impart knowledge and abilities that exceed the greatest human education. Ehrman does not believe God exists and therefore, does not comprehend the power of God’s Spirit to enable those who love Him to do extraordinary things. If the original autographs were written in Greek by these disciples, it was because Jesus enabled them this ability.
The early church Father’s had no doubts about who these authors were and they give us their own testimony in thousands of comments and commentaries from early in the second century. The entire New Testament is quoted more than 31,000 times by the early church. Origen, in 240 A.D., used all 27 of the New Testament letters in his extensive commentary about Jesus and never once stated that the authors or their eyewitness accounts were in doubt.
There is absolutely no corroborating evidence to support Bart Ehrman’s conclusions that the original autographs of the four Gospels could not have been written by the Apostles of Jesus. There is no evidence that the original autographs were written in Greek at all. They very well could have been written in Aramaic or Hebrew and the later copies written in Greek. Ehrman presents no actual evidence to support his hypothesis other than conjecture that these men could not write in Greek and were therefore not eyewitnesses.
What We Can Learn From Simply Studying The Text Of The New Testament:
Many of the false assertions about the New Testament are impeached by simply studying the text itself. What ancient texts actually say is a crucial key in determining whether the narratives are true. All ancient surviving manuscript copies of events are first evaluated by their written text. Historians always give greater credence to what the writers state, rather than the commentary of later skeptics or critics. Obviously the writers who were present when these events took place, have greater knowledge of the events in the texts than someone, 2,000 years later, who states that these events did not happen. This is particularly true when no impeaching evidence is presented to cause the historian to doubt that narratives of these ancient manuscripts.
The men who wrote the New Testament say that Jesus rose from the dead, and they state, in their own words, that they saw Him alive.
Critics state that they know better today that the writers were not eyewitnesses and that Jesus did not rise from the dead. If we think about this, it is easy to decide who us telling the truth. Do we believe the men who were there and saw the events, or people today who claim these events never happened?
New Testament Scholarship is not biased, but many New Testament Scholars are. Every human being is capable of cognitive prejudice. People tend to choose their preferred conclusions and then justify their choices by fallacious reasoning.
There Is Absolutely No Evidence In Existence That The Writers Of The New Testament Lied
Men like Bart Ehrman, who is described as a New Testament Scholar, freely admit that He is an atheist. Ehrman has stated that He doesn’t believe the Bible is true. We might ask how, then, can anyone rely upon a person who starts his examination of the New Testament with the certainty that it is not true?
Would you go to a doctor who told you ahead of time that he doesn’t believe in medicine?
Remember that we have nearly 25,000 surviving New Testament manuscripts today. We have 95 percent of the complete New Testament that is dated from 130-225 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. There are 101 references in John’s Gospel to Jesus’ crucifixion 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
The only way to verify that events actually took place in ancient history is to read what people wrote about these things in the surviving manuscripts. Critics will tell you that the narratives of Jesus are written too far from the occurrence of the events they describe to be considered reliable.
When we actually examine these surviving manuscripts for ourselves and verify the dates that are given for the above manuscripts, we find that the copies of the New Testament we have in our possession today, are from a time closer to the events than any other manuscript copies of any other ancient literature—secular or religious.
There Are No Surviving Original Autographs For Any Ancient Literature
When we read the comments of critics as they described the New Testament, we get the idea that only the New Testament survives by manuscript copies. It is important to know that no ancient works of literature survive today with their original autographs. All that we have to prove any works of antiquity are manuscript copies. In this regard, no secular events of history have more surviving manuscripts than the New Testament. Reliable scholars have consistently written that we have better evidence for the reliability of the New Testament than any events in the history of the world, secular or religious.
Copies Before 225 A.D., Means Originals In The First Century
If we have manuscript copies of the entire New Testament that are verified as written before 225 A.D., It is reasonable and certain that the original autographs were written early in the first century. There is every indication in the internal text of the New Testament that the writers set out to record what they have written, immediately after the resurrection of Jesus.
Paul’s Epistles Match The Four Gospels
A vigorous and compelling proof for the earlier writing of the four Gospels is also supported by Paul in his epistles.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, chapter 5, verse 18, he quotes from Luke’s gospel.
Paul: For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” ~1 Timothy 5:18
When we examine Luke’s gospel we find that Paul was referencing a quote by Luke in his letter he wrote to Timothy. This means that Luke’s gospel must have already been written by the time that Paul wrote 1 Timothy.
Luke: And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. ~Luke 10:7
Eusebius wrote that Paul was beheaded under Caesar Nero, who was assassinated in 68 A.D.25
After Paul’s fifth missionary journey ended in 67 A.D., Eusebius states that Paul was beheaded by the Romans under Emperor Nero. This date was near May or June of 68 A.D., Nero forced his private secretary, Epaphroditos, to kill him on June 9th of the 68 A.D.25
Since Paul died by 68 A.D. and he wrote text that came from Luke’s Gospel, it is certain that Luke penned these words before 68 A.D. It is highly probable that Luke wrote his gospel near the same writing of Matthew’s Gospel in 60 A.D.
These facts of history are empirical evidence that Luke’s Gospel was already written while Paul was still alive..
By this corroboration from the historical record, we learn that Luke’s Gospel is certified as written before 68 A.D., when Paul was killed. Confirmation of these facts are made by a letter from Eusebius.
After defending himself the Apostle was again set on the ministry of preaching…coming a second time to the same city [Paul] suffered martyrdom under Nero. During this imprisonment he wrote the second Epistle to Timothy. (Eccl Hist. 2.22.2).
We also have the record of the Romans which validates Nero’s death in 68 A.D., a secondary confirmation that when Paul is writing his epistle to Timothy, quoting Luke’s gospel from chapter 10, this text had to be written before Paul was executed in 68 A.D. This is corroboration that Luke’s Gospel was also likely written by 60 A.D.
The majority of New Testament scholars today believe that Paul’s epistles are written from A.D. 48-60. When we examine Paul’s outline for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we see that it matches the same timeline as the four Gospels.
The four Gospels are reliable as they were written very near the time of the events they describe. These facts are supported by evidence and impeach the theory that the narratives of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were written at much later dates.
There is no record in the entire history of the Christian church that the four Gospels or any of the 27 book of the New Testament, were written in the second century. In fact, there are over 31,000 references in the writings of early church leaders that all of these texts in the New Testament were written just after Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead.
Do The Supernatural Descriptions Of Jesus, Disqualify The Text As Authentic?
If God wanted to prove to the world that He exists, how would He accomplish this? The most logical method would be to perform works that only God would be capable of. What we find in the Bible is that God told us hundreds of years beforehand, that He would come to earth in the form of a man and then perform works of healing that would confirm that He is God. Isaiah wrote one of these prophecies, 700 years before Jesus arrived:
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. ~Isaiah 35:5-6
When Jesus arrives at Jerusalem and presents Himself to the nation as the Prophet whom Moses described, He validates His identity by the very proofs Isaiah predicted for the Messiah.
Then Jesus touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened… ~Matthew 9:29-30
Then great multitudes came to Jesus, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them all. ~Matthew 15:30
Those who study the Bible, understand that it is filled with supernatural events that are orchestrated by the God for whom the entire text is written for. If we demand evidence that God exists, but deny the testimony that is provided by people who said they saw and heard these supernatural events take place, we are being disingenuous in our demands for evidence.
It is important to acknowledge that none of us were there when these things took place. The men who wrote their descriptions of Jesus’ miracles, said that they happened. When we examine all of the texts that are in these 27 letters of the New Testament, we do not find a contrived attempt to deceive the reader. The descriptions of these events are written matter of factly as though they were things which really took place during everyday events.
If You Read The New Testament For Yourself, You Will See That It is Written Sincerely
Many times the writers of the New Testament state that when Jesus was performing the miracles that are described, these men still did not believe that He was God or Messiah. There were many rumors that Jesus was able to perform these works of healing and raising the dead, by the power of satan or demons. Some men who heard these comments answered that the power to do these things could only come from God and not through satan. Others said that God would not listen or act through an evil men to perform supernatural acts.
These comments are significant in that they are written as naturally occurring events that are what we might expect from someone who is simply telling us a truthful story. This becomes particularly significant when these men who wrote the New Testament tell us that it was not until after Jesus was seen alive, after He was brutally crucified and then pierced through His side by a Roman lance and buried in a tomb, that they really believed He is both God and Messiah. It took the resurrection to convince these men that all of the miracles Jesus performed, really were because He is God.
Alleged Discrepancies Or Contradictions In The Four Gospels
One of the criticisms asserted by those who doubt the reliability of the New Testament is the idea that there are differences in the testimonies of Jesus in each of the four Gospels. The idea being that if the events really happened as they allege, the testimonies would agree.
This argument is made because those who read and see these differences, do not have the training to recognize what they are seeing.
One of the pieces of evidence that fully validates the authenticity of the four Gospels, is their singularity as four independent reports. It is important to our comprehension of the New Testament Gospels, that we understand that these men are writing an account from their own perspectives.
As with any group of people who are recounting the same story; some of the witnesses will see things that others did not. These variations in recollection are not contradictions, but great evidence of authenticity. False accounts, and those which are contrived, make certain that all of the witnesses state the same details. Perhaps you have seen a movie where a group of people agree together on exactly what they are going to say to the authorities, before they are questioned, so that their stories match exactly and are found credible.
When we examine the four gospels, we see that very often each of the writers have slightly different recollections of the same event. The accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are not perfectly matched, for good reason. Genuine accounts that are written by multiple eye witnesses, seldom have precisely the same details.
In the gospels, we see a genuine narrative of four honest men who have told the truth, according to their recollection. These minor differences in their accounts, are evidence of truth.
Courts of law frequently have to deal with multiple testimonies concerning witnesses. It is quite common to see these variations in the story, which does not affect the actual facts of the events. These minor differences are understood by a judge as necessary to a valid testimony and do not invalidate or detract from the material facts of the testimony.
One good example of these slight variations in the accounts of the four gospels, that is alleged as a contradictory by critics of the Bible, is found in Jesus’ encounter with Bartimaeus. Notice that in each of the three accounts of this event, the men who are telling their story, use different ways of explaining where this event took place.
Blind Bartimaeus Healed
Matthew 20:29-34 Mark 10:46-52 Luke 18:35-43
29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him….
46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, a great number of people also followed…
35 And it came to pass, that as he was near Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the road begging…
People who are of a certain disposition to criticize what they see as inconsistencies in the Bible, point out that this account of Blind Bartimaeus displays a contradiction of terms. If we read the four gospels independent of each other, we miss this subtlety. By reading all four gospels together at the same time, we see this variation of terms:
All three agree that this took place at or near Jericho. The event that we are primarily concerned with is the healing of Bartimaeus.
- Matthew states that “ two blind men were sitting by the road…”
- Mark states that “blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the side of the road, begging…”
- Luke states that “a certain blind man sat by the road begging…”
Is it a contradiction that Matthew remembered two blind men, while Mark remembered only Bartimaeus? Luke remembered one blind man, but did not know his name?
If we were reading a myth, or a contrived story, we would not see a variation in recollection. We would see three men who recorded the exact same story.
Differences In Statements Between Matthew And Luke Concerning Jesus As He Is Before The High Priest
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!” Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?” ~Matthew 26:62-68 (NLT)
This verse doesn’t make sense upon first examination. When thee men began to beat Jesus in His face with their fists, and slap Him, they ask Jesus “who hit you that time?”
Understanding that they men who struck Jesus in His face are standing right in front of Him, why would they ask “who hit you?” This makes no sense to the reader until we also read Luke’s account of the same event:
They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” ~Luke 22:64 (NLT)
Matthew left out the detail that Luke includes, that these men had blindfolded Jesus before they began to hit Him in the face, then asked “who hit you?” The reason these men asked this of Jesus was because He had claimed to be a prophet, who is able to know the future. Without Luke’s detail that Jesus was blindfolded, using Matthew alone, none of what is said about Jesus makes any sense.
Without realizing, Matthew forgot to include the important detail that before these men had beat Jesus in His face, they blindfolded Him. Luke was a Greek Physician who is highly trained in recognizing specific details. Luke includes this fact that Jesus was blindfolded before they struck Him in the face and asked “who hit you?” We see this attribute of inclusive details for Luke in His Gospel and in the Book of Acts. Luke is a precise recorder of details and always tells the reader much more about what is taking place than Matthew, Mark, or John.
This omission was clearly unintentional and not realized by Matthew. This becomes a marker for us as the reader that these narratives are telling us the truth. In false written testimony, we do not see these unintentional errors. We find that liars make certain that their details agree so that they will not be exposed as liars.
This type of testimony where one person includes something that other witnesses leave out, is empirical evidence of genuine testimony. The witnesses didn’t realize they had done this, but we observe it 2,000 years later and it becomes a certainty that these men are telling the truth.
Using this type of method to scrutinize and evaluate the words that are written in the four Gospels, there is no question that what we are reading are the actual words that were spoken by Jesus.
The Laws Of Physics And Miracles
The idea that supernatural events are impossible because they violate the physical laws of the universe is incorrect. Science does not know everything that can be known about the universe, and it is certain that there are laws or variables to these laws that are as yet undiscovered.
For example: the idea that Jesus could turn water into wine is a concept that many scientists find impossible to believe. Every day, plants turn water into wine, and no one pays much attention. It is not that Jesus accomplished things that are impossible but that we simply don’t understand yet the process whereby He did these things.
The idea that anything which appears as miraculous is contrary to the physical laws of the universe is incorrect. It is certain that there are aspects of physics, which are currently not understood, that could explain the supernatural events described by the four gospels as properties within the laws of physics.
Some critics have stated that if Jesus is really God and the author of the physical laws of the universe, He violated His own laws by the miracles that are descried by the four gospel writers.
“A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and as a firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the proof against a miracle, from the very nature of the fact, is as entire as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined.” ~David Hume
What is often misunderstood regarding the miracles that Jesus exhibited is that they really did not violate any law. The physical laws of the universe do not define the outcome of events, only they manner in which they must occur. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he still died later. Jesus did not violate the laws of physics He simply displayed His ability to suspend these laws for a moment in time.
What we find when we really study the text of the Bible is that sickness, suffering, and death were not a part of the original creation of God. Sin interrupted this perfection and caused our physical world to take an unnatural course. All that Jesus did in healing and raising the dead was to suspend the present law of sin and death for a time in order to demonstrate His credentials as the Creator of all that exists.
It is sickness and death which violate the original intent of the laws that govern the universe. Jesus simply showed us what this world will be like once He has permanently eliminated the law of death. This was the entire point of Jesus’ arrival on earth: to stop the curse which came as a result of sin, which is itself a fracture in the laws of the universe.
Jesus’ Miracles And Quantum Physics
John records that after Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to them suddenly within a room with a locked door. Some commentators have stated that Jesus was able to move through the physical structure of the walls without harm to His physical body. In order to confirm that He was not a ghost or other spirit entity, Jesus instructed His disciples to touch Him and see that He did have flesh and bones.
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. ~John 20:19-20
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” ~John 20:26-28
We notice the text does not state that Jesus walked through the walls. John writes that Jesus suddenly appeared before the disciples in the room which they occupied. Quantum Physicists who have examined this text state that in order for Jesus to appear suddenly in this room without going through a physical structure, this would require access to a sixth dimension.
When you or I move from the dimension of length to width, we are able to freely move without encountering a physical barrier. In the same way, when Jesus moved from a sixth dimension to our three-dimensional world, He did not need to pass through a closed door or a wall. Jesus suddenly appeared from an unseen dimension.
What was it that enabled Jesus to accomplish this supernatural event?
It is apparent that the process of death for our physical body removes the limits of four dimensions, and allows our non-material soul and spirit that remains to access the other dimensions that might exist. This ability may appear as a supernatural event when, in fact, it is simply a facet of the physical laws that already exist.
The idea that anything which appears as miraculous is contrary to the physical laws of the universe is incorrect. It is certain that there are aspects of physics, which are currently not understood, that could explain the supernatural events described by the four gospels as properties within the laws of physics.
The New Testament Writers Claim To Be Eyewitnesses:
The writers of the New Testament state clearly in many places that what they are recording, they actually saw with their eyes, heard with their ear, and they know they are not lying.
Six of the Twelve Apostles, Wrote The New Testament:
- John wrote one Gospel, three letters, and the Book of Revelation (5).
- Peter wrote one Gospel (Mark), two letters (3).
- James Zebedee wrote one letter (1).
- Paul wrote thirteen letters (13).
- Judas “not Iscariot” wrote the letter of Jude (1).
- Matthew wrote one Gospel (1).
John Said He Saw Jesus With His Own Eyes:
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. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. ~1 John 1:1-4 (NLT)
Paul Said That He Saw The Risen Jesus With His Own Eyes
“Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes?” ~1 Corinthians 9:1
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. ~1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NLT)
As Paul was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! ~Acts 9:3-5 (NLT)
Note: In the two verses above from 1 Corinthians 9 and 15, Paul also said that he “saw Jesus at that time.”
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles. ~Galatians 1:15-16 (NLT)
The Greek word used to translate “reveal” here in Galatians 1:116, is ἀποκαλύπτω apokalyptō, which means to unveil, let us see, fully disclose. This is the same Greek word used in the introduction to the Book of Revelation where it states that this book is an apokalyptō for Jesus, an “unveiling,” so that we might be able to see Him and who He is.
Critics say that Paul never saw Jesus, but this is only a partial truth. Paul did not see Jesus before He was crucified in the days of His ministry, but He did see Him alive after His resurrection. Paul states this as evidence, preserved in the New Testament. Critics of the New Testament often state “half-truths” about Jesus, the eyewitnesses, and the New Testament, but rarely the entire truth. When we examine the text for ourselves we can see that there is a great deal of evidence that has been preserved for us, that Paul did, in fact, see Jesus after He was risen from the dead and Jesus spoke to Paul and revealed many secrets (mysteries) of the scriptures that no other man have ever known.
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. ~1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NKJV)
The Greek word in the text of 1 Corinthians 2:7, is “μυστήριον mystērion,” is information from God that was not formerly known by the prophets or anyone else in the Bible. Paul stated that because God had given him these eighteen “mysteries,” (15 for Paul, 3 for John) he was also given a “thorn in the flesh,” to humble him so that he did not become exalted above measure. Essentially, Paul suffered an physical ailment in his vision for all of his life, as a reminder from Jesus that what He had been given as revelation, was to be received and spoken with humility and not to exalt himself but Christ.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. ~2 Corinthians 12:7
Mysteries Revealed In The New Testament:
- The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God (Mt. 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10)
- Israel’s blindness (Rom. 11:25)
- Salvation in Christ (Rom. 16:25)
- The wisdom of God (1Cor. 2:7)
- The doctrines of God (1Cor. 4:1; Col. 2:2; 1Tim. 3:16)
- The gospel (Eph. 6:19)
- Gift of knowledge (1Cor. 13:2)
- Speaking in tongues (1Cor. 14:2)
- The rapture of the church (1Cor. 15:23,51-58 Jn. 14:1-3 1Th. 4:13-16)
- God’s will (Eph. 1:9)
- The church (Eph. 3:1-9; 5:32)
- Christ in people (Col. 1:26-27)
- Doctrines of Christ (Col. 4:3)
- Spirit of lawlessness (2Th. 2:7)
- Faith of the gospel (1Tim. 3:9)
- Seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20)
- God’s delay in casting out of Satan (Rev. 10:7; 12:7-17)
- Mystery Babylon (Rev. 17:5,7)
Jesus Said That His Disciples Are Eyewitnesses Of All That He Said And Did:
Jesus Tells His Disciples That He Came To Fulfill All the Prophecies of Moses And The Prophets
Then Jesus said, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things. ~Luke 24:44-49 (NLT)
Jesus Said That John The Baptist And His Miracles Are Witnesses For Him:
“If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true. In fact, you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved. John was like a burning and shining lamp, and you were excited for a while about his message. But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me.” ~John 5:31-38 (NLT)
Jesus Said The Apostles Will Be His Witnesses To the World
So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. ~Acts 1:6-9 (NLT)
Peter Said That All The Apostles Are Witnesses Of Jesus
In the book of Acts, chapter 2, Peter is standing before a great crowd of people from many countries who are gathered at Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. Although Peter is a simple fisherman who is not trained in the scriptures, he displays an incredible knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures and is able to relate the Prophecies of the Messiah to Jesus as the fulfillment of all that was written by the prophets about the Messiah.
What is incredible about this text is that Peter is taking the verses of scripture from Psalms 110, which are very specific to the Messiah, and directly stating that Jesus fulfilled these word that David wrote for his future descendent.
“King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad,
and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope. For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence.’
“Dear brothers, think about this! You can be sure that the patriarch David wasn’t referring to himself, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on his throne. David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. ~Acts 2:25-32 (NLT)
Notice that Peter is clear that Psalms 110 was not written for David, but for his future descendant, the Messiah. Peter states that David wrote this Psalm as a prediction that the Messiah would be resurrected from the dead, nearly 1,000 years before Jesus was crucified and rose on the third day.
Peter states that all of the Apostles who saw Jesus crucified and alive on the third day, are witnesses of this.
In Acts 3:12-26, Peter Repeats His Declaration Of Jesus Resurrection While At The Temple
He States That All 12 Apostles Are All Eyewitnesses And Saw That Jesus Was Raised From The Dead.
In Acts chapter 3, Peter again reiterates the fact that Jesus is the Messiah whom the prophets predicted. Jesus is the specific “Prophet” that Moses predicted.
Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. ~Deuteronomy 18:15 (NLT)
Peter states that beginning with Samuel, every Old Testament prophet wrote about what had happened with Jesus as He fulfilled every prophecy of the Messiah. Peter says that the 12 Apostles are “witnesses” of Jesus death and resurrection.
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this. This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him.
You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!“Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.
“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’
“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.” ~Acts 3:12-26 (NLT)
Peter Before The High Priests And Officials States That All The Apostles Are Witnesses Of Jesus’ Death And Resurrection:
When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!”
The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man’s name!” he said. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!”
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” ~Acts 5:17-32 (NLT)
Peter States That All The Men Who Wrote A Testimony Of Jesus In The New Testament Are Not Making Up A Story—They Told The Truth
- Peter specifically states that he is not making up a story.
- Peter says that he saw Jesus with his eyes.
- Peter is referencing a text from Mark’s Gospel, Mark 9:2-8.
- Peter states that this experience of actually seeing Jesus transformed as He will be at His return, and hearing the Father’s voice from heaven, strengthened his faith that Jesus was the fulfillment of all that the prophets had written fro the Messiah.
For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.
Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 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 1:16-21 (NLT)
Peter Is Referring To The Testimony He Recorded Through Mark In His Gospel:
Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed, and his clothes became dazzling white, far whiter than any earthly bleach could ever make them. hen Elijah and Moses appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter exclaimed, “Rabbi, it’s wonderful for us to be here! Let’s make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t really know what else to say, for they were all terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, when they looked around, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus with them. ~Mark 9:2-8 (NLT)
Peter’s reference to Mark 9, is a confirming piece of evidence that Mark’s Gospel is actually from Peter who dictated these words to Mark as a scribe. This confirms the true authorship of Mark and impeaches the idea by Liberal Theologians that Mark was written anonymously. We know that Peter is the author, by his own statement in 2 Peter, chapter 1, referencing what he dictated to Mark in chapter 9 of his Gospel.
Paul Writes To Timothy That Jesus’ Death And Resurrection Is Confirmed By “Many Witnesses:”
Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. ~2 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)
Paul Preaches At The Synagogue At Antioch: “Many Saw Jesus Alive After His Resurrection”
Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel. ~Acts 13:26-31 (NLT)
Paul Stated That If The Apostles Denied Jesus Had Risen, They Would All Be Lying:
For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. ~1 Corinthians 15:13-15 (NLT)
John Said The Disciples Of Jesus Saw Him Perform Many Miracles:
The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. ~John 20:30-31 (NLT)
John Said Jesus Appeared To His Disciples After Jesus Was Raised From The Dead:
Later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. This is how it happened. Several of the disciples were there—Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. ~John 21:1-2 (NLT)
Stephen Saw Jesus Raised From The Dead, Seated In Heaven:
But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” ~Acts 7:55-56 (NLT)
Jesus Said That He Appeared To Paul So He Could, “Tell People You Have Seen Me”
One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’ “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. ~Acts 26:12-16 (NLT)
Luke Said That He Personally Interviews Those Who Had Seen The Events Of Jesus’ Life, Death, And Resurrection
Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught. ~Luke 1:1-4 (NLT)
Why Are These Scriptures Describing Eyewitnesses Important?
One of the primary objections that atheists and critics of the New Testament narratives make concerning Jesus and the text which declares Him as performing miracles, claiming to be God, crucified, and risen from the dead, is that none of these accounts were written by eyewitnesses.
As you can see from just a few of the places where eyewitnesses are declared and specifically state that they saw Jesus with their own eyes, the assertions that these are not eyewitness accounts, is not true. All of the narratives in the New Testament, come to us by honest men who wrote what they actually saw and heard. They state that they saw Jesus with their own eyes and they are telling us the truth. We have 24,593 surviving manuscripts today from as early as 60 A.D, 240 A.D, that contain the entire New Testament. When we compare these thousands of surviving manuscripts with each other, they all preserve a concise, fundamental narrative that Jesus claimed to be God, performed miracles to prove He is God, fulfilled all the 400 Prophecies of the Messiah, and was crucified and rose from the dead.
Massive Surviving Numbers Are Only Part Of The Evidence
Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen, estimated that about 99 percent of the original papyri that are dated from 3000 B.C. through the 400 B.C., have been lost to time and decay.
In the Greco-Roman world, Roman soldiers were traditionally paid three times a year. These payments were documented by pay receipts that were written on papyrus. Of the estimated 225 million pay receipts that were given to Roman soldiers during the reigns of Augustus and Diocletian, from 27 B.C., to 305 A.D., only two fragments have survived.
Only about 10 percent of ancient manuscript copies can survive 2,000 years of time and decay. The New Testament exists today in the form of 24,593 surviving manuscript copies. This means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000 manuscript copies were likely written in the subsequent years after the original autographs of the New Testament were lost by decay. All but the 24,593 we have today, were lost over the centuries.
The fact that we have nearly 25,000 surviving New Testament manuscripts today, is great empirical evidence that a massive effort was in place to copy and distribute the narratives of the New Testament to the known world. What does this men? Obviously, when people have see the dead raised, and a Carpenter from Nazareth, crucified and then alive three days later, this is the type of events that would cause such an enormous distribution of the eyewitness accounts of these narratives.
Why don’t we see this number of surviving manuscript copies from any other ancient event, secular or religious? Again, the obvious answer is that nothing in the history of the world could ever be more spectacular that seeing someone dead for four days, raised to life. Nothing can equal a man who claims to be God and Messiah, fulfilling every prophecy written by the Old Testament prophets, including his crucifixion and resurrection. The people who saw and heard these events are the reason that there were likely a quarter million copies made over the centuries, of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
We are privileged today to have the 24,593 manuscript copies that exist. What is amazing is that they all tell us the exact same story about Jesus.
The New Testament is a true and accurate representation of the actual events which took place concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
- The 391 Places In The New Testament For Jesus’ Death And Resurrection
- Why The New Testament Is a Valid Historical Narrative
- Alleged Textual Variants Of The New Testament Do Not Change The Narrative
- The Internal Evidence Of The New Testament Proves Its Integrity And Reliability
- Archeological Discoveries That Confirm The New Testament Narratives Of Jesus
- How Forensic Evidence Proves The New Testament Is Historical And Reliable
- First Century Manuscript Evidence For Jesus
- The False Assertion That The Gospel Writers Borrowed From Mark Or The “Q” Document
- New Testament Reliability: Eyewitnesses And Liars
- The Four Gospels Were Not Written Anonymously
- The New Testament Passes Every Literary Test of History
- The New Testament Is Intended As Historical Accounts
- Proving The New Testament Is A Reliable Narrative Of Jesus’ Crucifixion And Resurrection From Evidence
- Table Of Extant Greek New Testament Manuscripts
- 121 Non Biblical Sources For Jesus in the Historical Record
- How Does Criticism Of The New Testament Relate To Its Reliability?
- Evidence Of New Testament Reliability: Reliance Upon The Old Testament
- Truth And Lies Regarding New Testament 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
- How Liberal New Testament Scholars Deceive The World Today
- When A New Testament Scholar Is Not
- Jesus Authenticates The New Testament As Scripture
- The New Testament is Written by Jews, About Jews, For Jews
- Empirical Integrity of the New Testament
- Biblical Inerrancy And The Errors Of Critics
- The Reliability of the New Testament
- The Historical Record Proves That God Exists
- Old Testament Law: A Lesson In God’s Nature Not Understood Today
- Are The Old Testament Laws Applicable Today?
- The Greatest And Most Astute Scholar In History Said That Jesus Is God And Messiah
- The Historical Documentation For Jesus’ Death And Resurrection
- The Death and Resurrection of the Messiah Predicted by the Old Testament
- If You Just Read The New Testament For Yourself, You Will See That It Is True
- How Peter Knew the Birth of Jesus Church Was a Fulfillment of Prophecy
- New Testament Evidence, Jesus is “Yahweh” of the Old Testament
- Principle Differences Between Jesus And All Other Gods And Religions
- These Things Were Written: An Expositional Treatise Of The Life, Death, And Resurrection Of Jesus
- How Faith And Evidence Work Together
 1. John 12:37 (NLT) 37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.
2. John 7:3-5 (NLT) 3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
3.Luke 24:6-8 (NLT) 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
8 Then they remembered that he had said this.
 Matthew 9:33-34 (NLT) 33 So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed. 34 But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
 John 9:31-33 (NLT) 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. 32 Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he couldn’t have done it.”
 Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (60-130AD, Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15, Book 3 Chapter 30 and Book 6 Chapter 14.
 Irenaeus, “Against Heresies” Book 3 Chapter 1, Irenaeus (130-200AD).
 Justin Martyr, “Dialogue with Trypho,” 150 A.D.
 Clement of Alexandria, 150-215 A.D., “Hypotyposeis,” Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15.
 Eusebius, “Ecclesiastical History,” Book 6 Chapter 14.
 Tertullian, 160-225AD, “Against Marcion,” Book 4 Chapter 5.
 Muratori, Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevii (Milan 1740), vol. III, pp 809–80. Located within Dissertatio XLIII (cols. 807-80), entitled ‘De Literarum Statu., neglectu, & cultura in Italia post Barbaros in eam invectos usque ad Anum Christii Millesimum Centesimum’, at cols. 851-56.
 Origen, Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History Book 6 Chapter 25.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16
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