Bart Ehrman Is Wrong That Acts 4:13 Proves Peter Was Illiterate

It is incredible how many people rely on a man who is known as a New Testament scholar, yet spends so much time trying to refute every important principle of the New Testament. Perhaps the most famous of all Ehrman’s attempts at impeachment is the idea that the Apostles of Jesus were simple peasants who were illiterate and not capable of writing the elegant Greek text of the New Testament.

This hypothesis is based upon the text from Acts 4 where Peter and John are standing before the religious leaders of Israel. Peter has been delivering an incredible expository teaching at the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles, proving from the Hebrew scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah and the fulfillment of all the prophets wrote concerning Him. As Peter has concluded his teaching, he is summoned by the leaders of Israel to answer their questions regarding why he is teaching in the name of Jesus. Notice that these men ask Peter, “by what power are you doing this?” They recognized that Peter had exhibited incredible ability to deliver, perhaps the most incredible sermon in the New Testament. They didn’t understand how a simple fisherman could accomplish this.

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. ~Acts 4:5-13 (NKJV)

Understanding the context of how this meeting took place is important to a comprehension of what the Jewish leaders are saying in the final paragraph. They had seen and heard Peter preaching before a very large crowd of worshippers who had come from many nations to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. In Acts chapter 2, Peter begins to preach with such fervor and scholarly knowledge of the Hebrew scriptures, that the leaders of Israel were completely flabbergasted at how an uneducated fisherman was able to navigate over 25 of the Hebrew texts and apply them to Jesus.

Peter’s Scholarly Dissertation Of Acts Chapters Two And Three

The first reference in the following list is the scriptures that Peter quotes from in Acts Chapter 2. The reference that follows each of these verses in Acts 2, is the text from the Old Testament that Peter is quoting from. No uneducated fisherman would ever be capable of teaching through these 25 verses of Hebrew scripture and apply them to Jesus as the fulfillment of these Old Testament texts. This is, of course, unless he was empowered by the Holy Spirit.

  1. Acts 2:17-21~Joel 2:28-32
  2. Acts 2:18~Numbers 11:29
  3. Acts 2:25-28~Psalms 16:8-11
  4. Acts 2:29~1 Kings 2:10
  5. Acts 2:30~2 Samuel 7:12-14
  6. Acts 2:30~Psalms 89:4
  7. Acts 2:30~Psalms 132:11
  8. Acts 2:31~Psalms 16:10
  9. Acts 2:34-35~Psalms 110:1
  10. Acts 2:39~Isaiah 43:3
  11. Acts 2:39~Isaiah 57:19
  12. Acts 2:40~Deuteronomy 32:5
  13. Acts 3:13~Exodus 3:6, 15
  14. Acts 3:18~Psalms 22;
  15. Acts 3:18~Psalms 41:v9
  16. Acts 3:18~Psalms 69:4, 21
  17. Acts 3:18~Isaiah 50:6
  18. Acts 3:18~Isaiah 53:4-11
  19. Acts 3:18~Zechariah 12:10
  20. Acts 3:18~Zechariah 13:7
  21. Acts 3:22~Deuteronomy 18:15, 18
  22. Acts 3:23~Leviticus 23:29
  23. Acts 3:23~Deuteronomy 18:19
  24. Acts 3:25~Genesis 22:18
  25. Acts 3:25~Genesis 26:4

As Peter and John are summoned before the leaders of Israel, these men observe their appearance and wonder how untrained and uneducated men could accomplish what they had just seen Peter do at the Temple.

We notice that the text does not say Peter and John actually were uneducated, only that this was the “perception” of these leaders.

It is clear from the entire context of Acts chapters 2-4, that because of what the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees had personally seen and heard from Peter’s incredible speech in Acts 2-3, they no longer believed Peter and John were uneducated, only that they didn’t know how Peter was capable of such a feat.

They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people. ~Acts 4:7-8

We can see that these leaders understood that God could give power to men to accomplish incredible things like Peter had exhibited. We see this power that is give by God, all throughout the Old Testament. The Problem for the priests and the Sadducees, was that Peter and John claimed that Jesus, whom these men had crucified, had given them this power.

We know and understand today that it was the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised would come after He had risen from the dead, that had enabled Peter to accomplish what the leaders of Israel and many people today believe was impossible.

(Jesus) “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

This is the oft-missing information that those who do not know Jesus or the power He brought to earth, understand. What enabled simple fishermen to deliver a message like this, to perhaps a million worshippers at Jerusalem, with such precision and accuracy, was only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If we read the entire body of texts for Acts chapters 2-4, we see exactly what is taking place here. Peter preaching to an immense crowd of people from dozens of nations, with abilities that were only possible from an educated scholar with extreme knowledge of Hebrew scripture. This together with expository precision and a delivery that was so compelling that over 3,000 people received Christ after Peter concluded His speech (Acts 2:41).

The leaders of Israel knew that it was impossible to conclude any longer that Peter and John were just simple fishermen without any education. The rest of the text that follows tells us what changed, “They realized Peter and John had been with Jesus,” and this was the source of their education and power to accomplish what they had seen and heard in Acts 2-3. Jesus had promised to give them the Holy Spirit and He had.

From the arrival of the Holy Spirit upon the 12 Apostles in Acts 2, every one of these men were now able to remember, write, and compose an accurate testimony of all they had seen and heard from Jesus. It was Jesus Himself who told these men that this would happen.

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 (NKJV)

Remember that after Jesus was raised from the dead, He instructed the Apostles to wait in Jerusalem until the Feast of Pentecost 50 days later (Acts 1:4). It is clear from that exchange between Jesus and these men that they wanted to get out immediately and begin preaching what they had seen and heard. Jesus said to first wait for the arrival of the Holy Spirit that would come and live in them, enabling these men to remember what Jesus had said (John 14:25-26), and records it so that letters could be sent to the seven primary churches in Asia at that time.

We see these seven churches described in Revelation chapters 1-3. In these texts Jesus repeatedly states that John is to write in a book, all that he has seen in the past, sees now in the present, and will take place in the future. The early Christian church had already established a postal route in Asia Minor whereby the letters of the New Testament and the Gospels from the Apostles testimony about Jesus, could be distributed to these churches. This was already in place by the time that John writes the book of Revelation.

12 Times Jesus Said Write And Send

  • Write in a book everything you see…” Rev. 1:11
  • Write down what you have seen…” Rev. 1:19
  • Write letters…” Rev. 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, 3:14
  • “Write this down…” Rev. 14:13
  • “Write this…” Rev. 19:19
  • “Write in a book everything you see…” Rev 21:11

Each of the letters that Paul wrote, and the Gospels, were sent personally to these seven churches with the name of each particular church placed at the top of the letter. “To The Church At Ephesus…” This is how we acquired the known names of these letters that are in the New Testament. The names of these churches are on the manuscripts. The same was done for the Gospels that were written in the years right after Jesus was raised.

Jesus said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” ~Revelation 1:11 (NLT)

The idea that the Gospels were written decades later by non-eyewitnesses, is a fabrication. This lie was created by men like Bart Ehrman and other liberal scholars in order to try and impeach the certainty that actual eyewitnesses had written the text. The problem for Ehrman is that there is absolutely no evidence that has ever been found to prove the Gospels were not written by the men who are associated with these texts or that the Gospels were actually written decades later.

We see evidence in the first chapter of Revelation that Jesus intended that the Apostles would write what they had seen and heard and how Jesus intended they would accomplish this; the established postal routes of the seven churches in the map above.

The idea that Jesus only told John in Revelation chapter one to “write in a book and send,” but did not want the Apostles who saw His miracles, crucifixion and resurrection, to write and send, is preposterous. This is particularly true because Jesus said to take their message to the whole world in Acts 1:8. There is no possibility that these men did not obey Jesus’ explicit command to go out to the world at once.

There is great evidence in the New Testament that Jesus expected the Apostles to immediately write a testimony and send it to these seven churches so that it would be further distributed to the entire world.

Notice Jesus’ Emphatic Command To Take What They Had Seen To The Whole World

  • Acts 1:8 you shall be witnesses to Me… to the end of the earth.”
  • Mark 16:15 And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
  • John 17:18 (Father) As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
  • John 17:20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”

“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.” ~Acts 1:8

Does this sound to you like Jesus wanted these twelve men who had seen the most spectacular events in the history of the world, to wait 20, 30, 40 years or more before they wrote a record of all that Jesus had said and done? How else could the Apostles obey Jesus’ command to reach the whole world, if not by letters? They were not capable of traveling the entire planet on foot.

We have found evidence that these men did this very thing by the surviving manuscripts of the New Testament that came from all over the world.

Jesus called these twelve men to testify as eyewitnesses at that moment. All the miracles that they saw could never be repeated; yet all these things must be known to the world for all time. Jesus wanted the people of that moment who were still alive to know these things, and also every person throughout history.

In John’s Gospel Jesus promised that He would remind these men of everything they had seen and heard so they could write a reliable account. ~John 14:26

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would testify of Him  to these men. Then they must testify about Him to the world, because they had been with Him from the beginning. ~John 15:26

The evidence that the Gospels were written immediately after Jesus rose from the dead, is found in the text itself where Jesus makes this requirement an imperative.

There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that these men waited for decades to write their testimony. This idea comes from a few liberal New Testament scholars as their opinions, but not because there is any proof that this is really true.

The text of the New Testament is where we find the evidence. It is by what Jesus said regarding His desire that these twelve men would tell everyone what they had seen, and the statements of these men who said they saw Jesus with their own eyes, that we can correctly understand that the New Testament was written by men who saw Jesus and heard Him. These men certainly did not wait, they began to write immediately and started to distribute these texts all over the world within a short period of time. They did this because Jesus told them to write a remembrance and tell the world immediately.

Surviving Manuscript Evidence

The evidence we have for exactly what Jesus intended these men must do after He rose from the dead, exists in the 24,593 surviving New Testament manuscripts copies we have in our possession today. Nearly the entire New Testament, including the P45, manuscripts from 200 A.D., which contain the book of Acts where Peter preached his sermon, are evidence that Peter and the other eleven Apostles were eyewitnesses, and Jesus wanted them to immediately write and send their testimony to the world.

There are 134 places in the New Testament where statements are made regarding the eyewitness testimony that these men wrote. They say in their own words, “I saw Jesus with my own eyes,” and they record that what is written in the Gospels and the other New Testament letters are truthful testimony.

This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. ~John 21:24 (NKJV)

Paul States That He Saw Jesus With His Own Eyes In 1 Corinthians 9:1

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 (NLT)

Paul actually saw Jesus on eight occasions, with two additional places where other Ananias and Barnabas also state that Paul saw Jesus:

  1. The statement above: 1 Corinthians 9:1
  2. On the road to Damascus: Acts 9:3-6.
  3. Ananias said Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:17
  4. Barnabas said that Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:27
  5. At Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:8
  6. At Corinth: Acts 18:9-10.
  7. At Jerusalem: Acts 22:6-10.
  8. While praying at the Temple: Acts 22:12-21.
  9. At the Roman barracks: Acts 23:11.
  10. Before king Agrippa: Acts 26:12-18

Peter Saw Jesus With His Eyes

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. ~2 Peter 1:16

This is a reference by Peter to the Transfiguration of Jesus that Peter, James, and John saw with their eyes in Matthew 17:1-6, Mark 13:26, Luke 9:28-32. Jesus showed these three what He will look like in His kingdom. Moses and Elijah were also with Him.

It is interesting that here in 2 Peter 1:16, he describes events that were already written in the Gospels of  Matthew, Mark, and Luke. If the Gospels were not written first, early in the first century, how is it that Peter is able to quote from them later in the first century? Peter was killed in 68 A.D. This demands the Gospels were written long before Peter wrote the letter, 2 Peter, and was killed in 68 A.D.

This is one of the many places in the New Testament where evidence exists to impeach the idea of a late first century writing of the Gospels.

James Saw Jesus With His Eyes

Paul said James also saw Jesus with his eyes. Paul confirmed that James saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion in 1 Corinthians 15:7 “After that Jesus was seen by James, then by all the apostles.

John Said He Saw Jesus With His 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. ~1 John 1:1

Luke Said He Went Back To The Beginning Of All Jesus Did, And Interviewed The Eyewitness Testimony Of The Early Disciples

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. ~Luke 1:1-3

In many regards, the Gospel of Luke is a significant account of Jesus because of the incredible skill of Luke as a highly educated Greek Physician. We see this skill throughout His Gospel and the following text in the Book of Acts. The world-renowned archeologist and scholar Sir William Ramsay, said this about Luke:

“Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy…this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.” ~ William Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, page 222

Dr. Ramsay believed at the onset that the accounts described in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts, were inaccurate. He undertook an expedition to Asia, to refute the New Testament, only to become so overwhelmed by the accuracy of evidence placed by Luke in his Gospel and Acts that he became a follower of Jesus Christ.

Matthew Saw Jesus With His Eyes

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests. ~Matthew 9:9-10

Matthew wrote that when Jesus had risen from the dead, eleven of the disciples saw Him alive. (Judas Iscariot dead)

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him. ~Matthew 28:16-17

This appearance of Jesus at the mountain is the event Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15:6, where over 500 people saw Jesus alive at one time.

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. 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 15:6-7

Here, Paul also states again that He saw Jesus alive with his eyes. Paul states all twelve of the Apostles saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion, with their eyes.

Places In the New Testament Where People Saw The Risen Jesus

  • Mary Magdalene. John 20:11-17
  • Mary and Salome Mathew 28:9-10
  • Peter: Luke 24:34
  • Two Disciples: Luke 24:13-32
  • 10 Apostles: Luke 24:33-49
  • 11 Apostles: John 20:26-30
  • 7 Apostles: John 21:1-14
  • 12 Apostles: Matthew 28:16-20
  • 500 people at one time: 1 Corinthians 15:6
  • James: 1 Corinthians 15:7
  • 11 Apostles: Acts 1:4-9
  • Paul: 1 Corinthians 9:1, Acts 9:3-6, Acts 9:17, 1 Corinthians 15:8, Acts 18:9-10, Acts 22:12-21, Acts 23:11, Acts 26:12-18

There are 396 citations in the New Testament where Jesus’ death and resurrection are described in context with witnesses who saw these events.

These are the words of men who were there when the events happened and they wrote for us what they saw and heard. We have the largest manuscript record of any event of antiquity, secular or religious, by the surviving New Testament manuscripts.

Were The Gospels Written By Eyewitnesses?

There is no evidence in existence that the four Gospels were written decades after Jesus rose from the dead. There is great evidence in the text of the New Testament itself that Jesus called men who had seen Him, to write a testimony and send it out to the world as fast as possible.

Notice Carefully All Of Peters Words In Act Chapter Ten

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. (1) Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (2) “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. (3) They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, (4) but God raised him to life on the third day. (5) Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, (6) but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. (7) We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. (8) 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. (9) He is the one all the prophets testified about, (10) saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.” ~Acts 10:38-43 (NLT)

  1. Jesus performed miracles.
  2. The Apostles are witnesses.
  3. Jesus Died on a cross.
  4. Jesus Rose the third day.
  5. Jesus appeared to eyewitnesses.
  6. Jesus chose Apostles, as eyewitnesses and ordered them to write and testify everywhere.
  7. These Apostles ate and drank with the risen Jesus
  8. Jesus ordered the Apostles to preach everywhere and testify about Jesus.
  9. Jesus fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies required of the Messiah.
  10. Everyone who believes in Jesus’ death and resurrection is saved.

In this one paragraph, everything that any person needs to prove that Jesus did all the things described for Him, is contained in this single location. It has been preserved in manuscripts from 2,000 years ago and matches our New Testament today.

Bart Ehrman is a mercenary for the atheist movement. He has written in opposition to Jesus and His Gospel for many years because his claim to have been a former Christian now an atheist has made him a very famous and wealthy man. The majority of books written by Ehrman contain very little evidence, or in some cases, no evidence whatsoever to support his suppositions. This is particularly true in the places where he asserts that the Gospels were written late in the first century by non-eyewitnesses.

You have seen from this article how Ehrman is wrong about Acts 4:13. He is wrong about many other assertions that he has made in his books and article. He is the atheist hero and they look to him for all their evidence to try and impeach the Gospels of Christ. Ehrman is not reliable and one wonders how anyone can rightly be described a true scholar when their conclusions are so filled with error.

I have impeach Ehrman’s hypothesis that Jesus never claimed to be God, but was made God by the men who wrote the New Testament. See this impeachment in “Why Jesus Is God, And Others Are Not.”

If you think that Ehrman is a scholar and therefore must be right, I challenge you to read a few of his books and notice that there is no evidence to prove that the Gospels were written late by men other than the Apostles. You will not find it.

According to Ehrman, because the narratives of Jesus 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. Do you think that Jesus called 12 men to see what He had done so they could tell the whole world, but they could not write?

Jesus would not be the Messiah if He made these types of blunders. Jesus called simple men who were teachable and then taught them, showed them evidence He is God and Messiah, and then enabled them to remember, write, and distribute this news as scripture, to the whole world

There are several problems with Ehrman’s conclusions. First, and most important; the surviving manuscript copies for the four Gospel 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 that 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.”

I live in the world of evidence that is necessary to prove facts. I cannot state ideas that do not exist in the real world and expect anyone to believe me simply because I am a Biblical scholar. Every scholar must support their assertions and conclusions with facts.

Atheist Supposition Verses Actual Facts Of Evidence

The atheist must guess about what happened concerning the New Testament because they have no evidence to prove the Gospels were written late by non-eyewitnesses. Atheists don’t like the facts of the New Testament because it proves Jesus came to earth and did all that is described of Him in these texts. We who trust in Jesus do not have to guess what happened because we have actual evidence in the form of an enormous body of 24,593 surviving New Testament manuscripts to prove they are from the men who were there with Jesus. They come to us from very early in the first century and contain all the same texts that we have in our modern New Testament today.

Has The Text Of The New Testament Been Changed?

This manuscript evidence means that we can read, study, and learn exactly what happened without conjecture. The men who were there with Jesus when these events took place, were commanded by Him to write their testimony and send it to the world. All throughout the New Testament we see places where these men tell us that Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit to remind them what He had said and done. We see Jesus telling the Apostles that He called them to be His witnesses, “you will be my witnesses, telling people about me—everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

This cannot be any clearer. There is tremendous evidence for us today, from these texts that Jesus intended that these men would write and tell the world as soon as Jesus ascended back to heaven and the Holy Spirit arrived 50 days later. It is pure fantasy that they didn’t write at all, or waited for decades.

There is no evidence that anonymous authors wrote a fake testimony about Jesus that is contained in our New Testament.

Were The Four Gospels Written Anonymously?

The facts, flow of events, recounting of over 400 Messianic prophecies that are intertwined throughout the entire New Testament, and the internal forensic evidence of how the text is constructed, make it impossible that it is a forged.

How Forensic Evidence Proves The New Testament Is Historical And Reliable

Imagine eight men writing 27 books with perfect symmetry with each other, all telling the same story about Jesus, and having the skill to insert every prophecy of the Messiah into this fake story so that it also fulfills the entire Old Testament. This is not possible, and certainly not believable.

The New Testament is a truthful narrative, written by honest men who saw and heard the events they recorded in the 27 books of the New Testament. This narrative is congruent with the 39 preceding books of the Old Testament. In order to believe that the New Testament is a fraud, we would also have to believe that the entire Old Testament is also a fraud.

If we accept the statements of liberal New Testament scholars today, claiming that the Gospels are contrived, we must also accept that the entire Old Testament is also a fraud. What is predicted by the old is fulfilled by the new. If the Prophecies of the Messiah are lies and the testimony that Jesus performed the miracles these prophets predicted are lies, we are facing the greatest global conspiracy in the history of the world.

The Primary Issues Of New Testament Criticism

This deception began 3,500 years ago and involves 40 authors, who penned 66 books. There is no possibility that men who had never met each other, conspired together to write a myth about a man called Jesus. The story of Jesus did not begin in the New Testament. It started in Genesis and continued throughout every book of the Old Testament. In order to really believe the New Testament is a fraud, this would demand that we also accept that the entire Old Testament is also a fraud, for they are both about the same person, the Messiah.

Every person can take great confidence today in the text of the New Testament that it is true and reliable and contains eyewitness testimony by the people who were there when the events happened, or they interviewed those who were there, and then wrote a record that we have today.



Categories: Anonymity of the Four Gospels, Bart Ehrman, How The NT Writers Remembered, New Testament Criticism, Robert Clifton Robinson, Secular sources for Jesus, The Historical Jesus, The Miracles of Jesus

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3 replies

  1. The NT gospels were written in Greek by obviously educated men … The followers of Jesus spoke Aramaic and were fishermen … I don’t believe there was a Greek correspondence course given to his followers back then … It is agreed on by most historians that the gospels were written decades later and are anonymous … None of the gospels say there were inspired and the canon of scripture didn’t come about until 367AD … Paul was writing letters to churches and never thought that he was writing scripture … Why can’t I have a road to Damascus experience or an appearance like the 500 had , by the way none of the 500 have names or made any type of written testimony about it which proves the illiteracy of time … You might as well say 5,000 saw him … If you think about it Saul’s free will to persecute and murder believers was interrupted on the road to Damascus and in one account he said he heard a voice that was suppose to be Jesus and was struck blind and the men that were with him also heard a voice and saw nothing … Bart Ehrman in my opinion is a honest and intelligent authority on the NT and I believe he might be correct.

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    • Thank you Anthony for your thoughtful response to my essay. Your questions are valid and many of your questions, I have also asked during the past 45 years of my career.

      You will be happy to learn that there are good and authoritative answers that do fully impeach Ehrman’s ideas and prove the New Testament was written by the men who saw Him, early in the first century.

      I will answer each of your questions in their order:

      –“The NT gospels were written in Greek by obviously educated men … The followers of Jesus spoke Aramaic and were fishermen … I don’t believe there was a Greek correspondence course given to his followers back then … “

      1. According to New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, because the narratives of Jesus 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 surviving manuscript copies for the four Gospel 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 that 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 what language the original autographs were written because they 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 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 possess the ability to write and speak adequately in order to carry out their appointed tasks. Mark was a Greek speaking Jew, who was able to write in Greek, and was the scribe for Peter.

      When we examine the text of Acts 21:37, we see that Paul was also able to speak Koine-Greek.

      Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, (in Greek,Ἐλληνιστί) “May I speak to you?” He replied, “Can you speak Greek? ~Acts 21:37

      The commander of the barracks was surprised that Paul, a Jew, could speak Koine-Greek. From this we can demonstrate that Paul, a proficient scholar of the Pharisees, was also able to assist the writers of the Gospels in writing their texts in Greek, if this was necessary.

      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 Koine-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 the Apostles 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.

      Jesus told these men: “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 14:26
      It was these unique abilities to remember and write all they had seen and heard that Jesus imparted to these men, which made it possible for them to write what we see today in the New Testament.

      Faulty Perception Determines Errors Of Assumption
      One of the problems that the leaders of Israel consistently exhibited, was their false perception that Jesus and His Apostles were uneducated.

      Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. ~Acts 4:13-14

      It is important to notice here that the rulers, elders, and scribes of Israel “perceived” that Peter and John were uneducated. This does mean that they actually were illiterate, it was merely the perception of these men that they were not capable of reading or writing the scriptures. The Pharisees had previously stated the same thing about Jesus, and they were also wrong:

      They were surprised when they heard Jesus. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. ~John 7:15

      Jesus repeatedly demonstrated that He was far more proficient in the scriptures than all of the Pharisees, and chief priests, who were the Ph.D’s of the Hebrews scriptures during that time.

      Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? ~Mark 12:24

      In the next chapter you will see this further demonstrated when Jesus challenges the Pharisees understanding of Psalms 110.

      Evidence Of Peter’s Proficiency
      Examine the text of Acts chapter 2 where Peter is before thousands at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. He delivers one of the most spectacular dissertations describing Jesus’ fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets, that has ever been recorded.

      Does it seem to you in Acts 2 that Peter is uneducated and unable to communicate the scriptures?

      Beginning at Acts 2:14-41, Peter systematically describes Joel 2:28-32, Psalms 16:8-11 (Greek version), and Psalms 110:1, all as fulfilled by Jesus as the Messiah. There were few men in Israel at that time who were capable of accomplishing such a dissertation, and with such accuracy.

      Peter even quotes from the Greek version of the text in Psalms 16:8-11, which would only be possible if He knew Greek.

      The idea that Peter and John, with the other Apostles of Jesus, were illiterate, is not supported by the text of the New Testament.

      Jesus Imparted Supernatural Abilities To His Apostles
      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 Jesus had said and done, so that they could write an accurate account and send it out 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

      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 abilities given to them by Jesus. Peter and John were able to simply speak to this man and he was healed. Notice how skilled Peter is in communicating the truth of Jesus to the leaders of Israel:

      Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ~Acts 4:8-12

      Again, Peter quoting scripture from Psalms 118:22, as one proficient in the Hebrew prophecies written for Messiah. The first line of this text tells us why this was possible, Peter was “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

      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.

      There is also great evidence in the historical record from the early leaders of the Christian church that the writers of the four Gospels, are the men know to us today.

      Papias Describes Mark As The Scribe Of Peter
      Papias wrote that Mark was the scribe for Peter in composing the Gospel of Mark, while they were 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 also reported that Mark had penned Peter’s Gospel as a scribe, 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 That 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 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 in this manner.

      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
      Eusebius wrote that the actual words for Mark’s Gospel were written down from what Peter had said while he was teaching at Rome. Eusebius 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 had written, concerning his words, and he did not object to what Mark had written for him.

      Tertullian Confirms Peter’s Words As Recorded In The Gospel Of Mark: One of the early Christian Apologists, Tertullian, refuted the assertions of Marcion in his publication, “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.”

      –“It is agreed on by most historians that the gospels were written decades later and are anonymous … “

      2. The assertion made by critics is that the four Gospels were written anonymously and the church leaders later added the names, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In the minds of liberal scholars, this later addition calls into question the reliability of these narratives.

      This process should not seem odd to us today when we understand that the writers of the New Testament believed that Jesus was the focus of their words and they did not consider themselves important enough to mention. John does not refer to himself by name in his gospel, but simply calls himself, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20).

      Anonymity does not mean the Gospels were not written by the men who saw the events described in these narratives. To assert this is true is merely conjecture. It is far more likely these men wanted to call the reader’s attention to Jesus and not to themselves. One of the reasons for anonymity is humility, particularly when writing about another person’s exemplary life.

      There is no logical argument that the omission of the writers name on the Gospels, proves they are not true. In fact, it proves just the opposite. A person seeking to deceive would have included the names of the men who are listed as Apostles so the story would be more believable. Only a humble, honest witness would leave out his name.

      As with many of the Psalms, which originally did not contain the authors names, the early leaders of the Christian church, knew the identity of the writers for the four Gospels and these names were later accurately attributed to each Gospel.

      When we examine the extensive work of early Christian Apologist, Origen, he knew the identity of each author for all 27 books of the New Testament, by 240 A.D. The oldest known list of New Testament books is called the Muratorian Fragment. Dated near 170 A.D., it contains all the same authors names for each New Testament book that we have today in our modern New Testament. The authors of the four Gospels were never in doubt during the entire history of the Christian church.

      The Original Autographs
      We should also understand that there are no original autographs for the four Gospels or any other ancient works of literature, secular or religious, from that period. Time and decay have eliminated these original documents from the historical record. All that we have today to validate any event of antiquity are surviving manuscript copies.

      Because we do not have these first autographs of the four Gospels, we cannot say for certain that they were not originally written in either Hebrew or Aramaic, and did not have the authors names attached. The manuscript copies of the Gospels that have survived time and decay are Greek Manuscripts without names associated with the texts. This does not mean that the writers were unknown, only that they authors either did not want their names to be recognized, or they were omitted in later copies.

      Historically, Anonymity Does Not Determine Unreliability
      It is important to understand that there are 97 unnamed works of literature, from before Christ, all the way up to the twenty-first century. No serious historian has ever doubted the identity of these secular writings, or considered these works of literature invalid because the authors names were not attached. Only in the case of the four Gospels has this unmerited requirement been demanded of the text. If we used the same criteria asserted for the four Gospels on every other ancient work of literature, very few could be validated as authentic. There is a tremendous bias applied to the surviving New Testament manuscripts that is not applied to any other ancient work of literature.

      The New Testament has presented us with 24,593 manuscript copies, while the greatest number of surviving secular manuscripts are Homer’s Iliad with 643 documents.

      Since we do not have the original autographs for the four Gospels, it is impossible to prove that the author’s did not attach their names to them. To state with certainty that this is true is simply a misrepresentation of the facts.

      Understanding that the New Testament and the Gospels of Jesus Christ were written and distributed so many times over the past 2,000 years it is not surprising that many did not have the author’s names. We see several cases of copyist errors in spelling, punctuation, and incomplete words in the copies that have survived. It is highly likely that in an attempt to distribute copies to other readers, the names of the Gospel authors were omitted as an oversight. If this happened only once, each subsequent copy afterwards would not have the author’s name.
      This is likely the reason that manuscript copies we have in later versions did not have the author’s name.

      According to Bart Ehrman, he writes with confidence that the original writers did not place their names on the four Gospels. It is for this reason that Ehrman states that we cannot know for sure who wrote them and therefore they are not reliable.
      At the same time, Ehrman asserts that much of the text in the four Gospels came from an unknown “Q” document that also has no name attached and there has never been any evidence that this document actually exists. How is it that Ehrman can place such confidence in the Q document and derive such authority from it with no proof of its existence or knowledge of who wrote it, but also claim that we cannot trust the four Gospels because there are no names attached to them?
      You will find that the assertions of Bart Ehrman are often in contradiction to the facts.

      It is a far leap from the author’s did not include their names, to we cannot rely upon them, particularly since Dr. Ehrman does not know whether the original autographs had the authors names affixed. Until we find the original autographs, we cannot state with certainty that the four gospels were written anonymously.

      We can say that the early Church fathers believed the four Gospels we have in our possession, were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Origen quoted from all four Gospels in his extensive writings from 230-250 A.D. Origen seldom wrote a commentary without the inclusion of a Bible text to support his commentary. We have nearly all of the four Gospels in fragments, within Origen’s writings. The eventual canonization of the New Testament came about, largely due to the scholarly work of Origen in using all 27 of our current New Testament books, by 250 A.D.

      “None of the gospels say there were inspired and the canon of scripture didn’t come about until 367AD …”

      –“Paul was writing letters to churches and never thought that he was writing scripture … “

      3 Paul wrote to the Christian church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 that he was happy they had received the Gospel of Christ and the testimony of the men who had seen and heard Jesus, as scripture, the inspired word of God that was equal to the Old Testament. Paul did think that He and the other NT writers were writing scripture, he said this in the following text:

      For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. ~1 Thessalonians 2:13

      We know that the testimony of the Apostles who had written what Jesus had said and done, was carried to the church at Thessalonica. Paul writes that when they began to teach the people there what Jesus had said and done, they received these words as “the word of God.” Paul is not talking about the Old Testament scriptures. There would be no need to specify that the Old Testament was the word of God. The people already knew this. Paul is describing the words of the Apostles who had already written their testimony about Jesus as the Gospels. This is what Paul was teaching the people at the church at Thessalonica. These people accepted the Gospels as the word of God, scripture equal to the Old Testament.

      This is clear evidence that the Gospels must have already existed by this early date when Luke penned the book of Acts. Of course this is true because Acts is the second book of Luke, after his own Gospel.

      There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that the Apostles waited for decades to write their testimony. This idea comes from a few liberal New Testament scholars as their opinions, but not because there is any proof that this is really true.

      The text of the New Testament is where we find the evidence. It is by what Jesus said regarding His desire that these twelve men would tell everyone what they had seen, and the statements of these men who said they saw Jesus with their own eyes, that we can correctly understand that the New Testament was written by men who saw Jesus and heard Him. These men certainly did not wait, they began to write immediately after Pentecost and started to distribute these texts all over the world within a short period of time. They did this because Jesus told them to write a remembrance and tell the world immediately.

      Listen to what Jesus told the Apostles after He had risen from the dead: “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.” ~Acts 1:8

      Does this sound to you like Jesus wanted these twelve men who had seen the most spectacular events in the history of the world, to wait 20, 30, 40 years or more before they wrote a record of all that Jesus had said and done?

      Jesus called these twelve men to testify as eyewitnesses at that moment. All the miracles that they saw could never be repeated; yet all these things must be known to the world for all time.

      Jesus wanted the people of that moment who were still alive to know these things, and also every person throughout history.
      In John’s Gospel Jesus promised that He would remind these men of everything they had seen and heard so they could write a reliable account. ~John 14:26

      Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would testify of Him to these men. Then they must testify about Him to the world, because they had been with Him from the beginning. ~John 15:26

      The evidence that the Gospels were written immediately after Jesus rose from the dead, is found in the text itself where Jesus makes this requirement an imperative.

      –“Why can’t I have a road to Damascus experience or an appearance like the 500 had , by the way none of the 500 have names or made any type of written testimony about it which proves the illiteracy of time … You might as well say 5,000 saw him …”

      4 The reason that Jesus appeared to Paul and the other men who believed Jesus was the Messiah, was so they could have an authoritative ability to honestly say they had actually seen Jesus with their eyes. Jesus was calling these men to be His witnesses, so they would write a testimony and sent it out to the world.

      You and I have the testimony of these men and God considers their testimony as sufficient to prove to us that He exists, Jesus came to earth and proved He is God, died for our sins, and rose from the dead.

      There is no record in all of history that any of the 500 who saw Jesus alive after He was raised, ever wrote to refute Paul’s testimony that over 500 had seen Him after He was crucified and risen. These letters were well known and widely circulated and the 500 would have known that Paul had written this. Not one every refuted what Paul said.

      In Luke chapter 16, Jesus tells the story of two men who died. One, who did not believe God, who died and was seen in hell, a second who did believe God, and was seen in heaven. The man who was in hell asked the Lord to send someone from hell to warn his family not to come to this place of torment. Jesus said no, “they have the law and the prophets,” the Old Testament scriptures, “let them hear these.”

      In other words, we do not need a Damascus Road experience because God has left us the scriptures of the OT and NT, written by the men who saw and heard Jesus, and their testimony is true and sufficient to inform us so we can also trust Christ and be saved.

      –“If you think about it Saul’s free will to persecute and murder believers was interrupted on the road to Damascus and in one account he said he heard a voice that was suppose to be Jesus and was struck blind and the men that were with him also heard a voice and saw nothing …”

      5 Paul said that He saw the risen Jesus, not just heard Him:

      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

      There are eight places in the New Testament where Paul states that he saw Jesus; two additional places where Ananias and Barnabas state that Jesus appeared to Paul:

      1. Paul’s statement above: 1 Corinthians 9:1
      2. On the road to Damascus: Acts 9:3-6.
      3. Ananias said Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:17
      4. Barnabas said that Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:27
      5. At Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:8
      6. At Corinth: Acts 18:9-10.
      7. At Jerusalem: Acts 22:6-10.
      8. While praying at the Temple: Acts 22:12-21.
      9. At the Roman barracks: Acts 23:11.
      10. Before king Agrippa: Acts 26:12-18

      The last meeting Paul had with Jesus in Acts 26:12-18 above, Jesus said the following to Paul:

      But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. ~Acts 26:16

      Jesus called Paul for the express purpose of being a witness who saw the risen Jesus with his eyes and a minister to tell people about Jesus. Jesus also told Paul that He would give him more knowledge in the future, a continuing revelation. Paul knew more about Jesus than any of the other Apostles. There are 18 mysteries that Jesus gave to Paul which are described as previously hidden from the foundation of the world.

      Paul later wrote that these revelations of God that were not known before Jesus arrived, came at a great cost to Paul. Along with this tremendous reservoir of knowledge about Jesus and events of the future, Paul was also given an infirmity in his body to keep him humble.

      This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord…That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it…even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, to keep me from becoming proud. ~2 Corinthians 12:1-7

      Paul was one of the leading Pharisees in Israel during this period, second only to Gamaliel. At the time that Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he was carrying letters given to him by the leaders of Israel, granting him authority to arrest Christians who declared that Jesus is the risen Messiah. Prior to this moment, Paul didn’t believe Jesus had risen, or that He was the Messiah.

      After Jesus appeared to Paul, everything changed. There was no hesitation by Paul. He immediately began telling people that he had seen Jesus and he believed Him to be the risen Messiah: Immediately Paul preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. ~Acts 9:20

      If this meeting with Jesus was nothing more than a hallucination, how is it that right after this happened, Paul began to declare that Jesus was alive and He is the true Messiah? This story makes no sense unless Paul had actually seen Jesus with his own eyes.

      Would Paul have gone from staunch persecutor of Christians, to chief architect of the New Testament—declaring the risen Jesus by writing 14 books—if he really didn’t see Jesus alive on the road to Damascus?

      From that day forward, Paul became a hated Christian and lost everything that he had formerly held as valuable. Paul was no longer a respected Pharisee. He lost his wealth, home, and was marked for death by his former colleagues. Paul was beheaded in 68 A.D., and maintained that he had seen the risen Jesus with his own eyes, right up until his final breath.

      Peter
      Peter also wrote that he had seen the risen Jesus with his own eyes: 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. ~2 Peter 1:16

      This is a reference by Peter to the Transfiguration of Jesus that Peter, James, and John also saw, as recorded in Matthew 17:1-6, Mark 13:26, and Luke 9:28-32. On that day, Jesus showed these three men what He will look like when He returns to establish His kingdom on earth. Moses and Elijah were also with Jesus during this transfiguration.

      Peter later wrote that this experience of seeing Jesus as He appears after His resurrection, forever convinced him that all the prophets had written about the Messiah, was penned only for Jesus.

      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. ~1 Peter 1:19

      James
      Paul said that James also saw Jesus with his eyes after His crucifixion, and finally all 12 of the Apostles saw Jesus alive as recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:

      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 had said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures had 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. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. ~1 Corinthians 15:3-7

      John
      The Apostle John stated emphatically that 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. ~1 John 1:1

      John was the only Apostle who faithfully remained with Jesus at the foot of His cross while He was being crucified. For his faithfulness, Jesus gave John a privileged view of Him that no other Apostle received. Jesus bestowed upon John the incredible eyewitness testimony found in the book of Revelation. John said that he had seen, witnessed, and testified, that Jesus was crucified and risen, 49 times in his narratives. There are 101 citations in John’s Gospel where he describes Jesus as crucified or resurrected (see the last chapter). John had no doubts that Jesus was dead on the cross, and came back to life three days later when He walked the earth for 40 days before He returned to heaven.

      Luke
      Luke described his acquisition of the true facts concerning Jesus by interviewing the eyewitnesses who had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry.

      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. ~Luke 1:1-3

      Luke tells us that he researched the eyewitness reports that had been known at that time from the early disciples. He carefully investigated everything these reports contained which described Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that had existed from the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. You will discover in this book that it was by Luke’s testimony that we can accurately validate the very early writing of the New Testament Gospels.

      Thomas
      Thomas is unique amongst the other Apostles in that he was an extremely dubious follower of Jesus. Thomas wanted to be sure that Jesus really was God before he invested his reputation and life into making Him known.

      One of the twelve Apostles, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus appeared after His resurrection. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

      But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

      Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

      “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.
      Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” ~John 20:25-29

      Thomas was, perhaps, the most skeptical of all Jesus’ Apostles. He refused to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead until he had actually touched Jesus’ risen body and felt the places where the nails had been driven into His flesh. Jesus appeared to Thomas so that all of his doubts could be dispelled. When Thomas saw the risen Jesus he does not call Him Rabbi any longer, he calls Him my Lord and my God.

      Matthew
      In his own words, Matthew tells us that he saw Jesus and that Jesus chose him to be His disciple. As with all the Apostles Jesus chose, each man had to see Him resurrected from the dead so that he could accurately testify about this in his narrative.

      As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him. Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests. ~Matthew 9:9-10

      Matthew records that Jesus predicted His own crucifixion and resurrection:

      Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again. ~Matthew 20:18-19

      Matthew also records Jesus’ crucifixion in chapter 27:45-50. Matthew records that Jesus was buried in chapter 27:57-61. Matthew records Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, chapter 28:1-10. His Gospel is an eyewitness account.
      Matthew informs the reader that Jesus chose Him to be His Apostle, so that he would see and hear all that Jesus accomplished while on earth. In chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew lists his name as one of the 12 Apostles who saw Jesus crucified and risen from the dead.

      In Matthew 9:9-10, Matthew wrote that when Jesus had risen from the dead, eleven of the disciples saw Him alive. Judas Iscariot was dead by this time.

      Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him. ~Matthew 28:16-17

      This appearance of Jesus that Matthew speaks of is the event Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15:6, where over 500 people saw Jesus alive at one time.

      After that, Jesus was seen alive…Then he was seen …by all the apostles. ~1 Corinthians 15:6-7

      Clearly, Matthew was an eyewitness of Jesus.

      Matthew 10, describes the following Apostles. The first 11 saw Jesus alive immediately after His resurrection. Paul saw Jesus alive, later, while on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Judas Iscariot hanged himself before the resurrection of Jesus.

      1. Simon, called Peter
      2. Andrew (Peter’s brother)
      3. James (son of Zebedee)
      4. John (James’s brother)
      5. Philip
      6. Bartholomew
      7. Thomas
      8. Matthew (the tax collector)
      9. James (son of Alphaeus)
      10. Thaddaeus,
      11. Simon (the zealot)
      12. Paul of Tarsus, later.

      Jesus told these men that they are His witnesses and He wanted them to tell the whole world about what they had seen Jesus accomplish.

      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.” ~Acts 1:6-8

      Does anyone really believe that after Jesus told these men that they were His witnesses, and He wanted them to tell the world about Him, that they did nothing for 20, 30, or 40 years?

      This is the bizarre claim of today’s liberal New Testament scholars. The idea that these men either did not write at all, or waited until the end of the first century, makes no sense. There is no record anywhere that this theory is true. In this book I will demonstrate for you that the Apostles began writing immediately after the Holy Spirit came to live in the Apostles in Acts chapter 2:1-4, When the Day of Pentecost had fully come…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.

      After this, in obedience to Jesus’ command in Revelation 1:11, These men obeyed Jesus and sent out their Gospels to the seven churches that were already established in Asia Minor, : What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

      Any alternative theory that men, other than the Apostles, wrote the Gospels late in the first century who were not eyewitnesses, is based entirely upon conjecture.

      Without the certainty of eyewitness testimony to support what Jesus had said and done, the New Testament would be insignificant. This is the goal of the modern critic, to effectively impeach the text that is written so it is impossible for anyone to trust that what is recorded is true. Jesus understood this and He made certain that He called men who were not only willing to follow Him for three and one-half years, but also capable of writing a reliable testimony and cognizant of the fact that it must go out to the world.

      These men had seen Lazarus dead in his tomb where he remained for four days. When Jesus arrived, Martha reminded Jesus that the flesh of her brother had begun to rot. To open the tomb at such a late date would release a terrible odor. Jesus instructed the men nearby to move the stone away from the entrance and wait. Jesus spoke only the words, Lazarus come out. If Jesus truly was God, there would be no question that Lazarus would hear Him and return to life. John wrote that He saw Lazarus walk out of the tomb alive. (John 11:1-44).

      This kind of eyewitness testimony is absolutely critical for anyone who needs to know for certain that the events described in the New Testament really happened.

      These men who were with Jesus for nearly four years, state that they saw Jesus brutally crucified and His side pierced by a Roman lance. These men also write that they saw Jesus dead on the cross and buried in a tomb. When the Roman soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus to hasten His death, they found that He was already dead.

      Three days later these men write that Jesus was alive again. They touched the physical body of the risen Jesus and felt his flesh and bones. They saw Him eat food, and are certain that He was alive.

      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. ~Acts 10:39-42

      No one in the history of the world had ever seen anything like what Jesus had accomplished. It is impossible to believe these men did nothing with this knowledge for decades. Acts 10 above states that Jesus ordered them to preach what they had seen everywhere.

      Just before Jesus was crucified, He told these men that after He was killed and rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit would come and fill them—reminding each man—everything that Jesus had said and done.

      But when the Father sends the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. ~John 14:26

      Jesus would bring to their remembrance—everything that had taken place so that they could write an accurate account for the world. We have these narratives today in our New Testament. None of the important details which these men first penned in their individual Gospels are different from the texts we have in our New Testament today. The only errors that are verified are spelling, punctuation, different words that mean the same thing, commentary in the margins, and some omitted text of less than 400 words at the end of Mark’s Gospel. The New Testament we have today contains the same narratives that these men wrote not long after Jesus rose from the dead.

      –“Bart Ehrman in my opinion is a honest and intelligent authority on the NT and I believe he might be correct.”

      6 There is no question that Bart is intelligent. The question of his honesty is one that I have spent a great deal of time addressing in several of my books and essays. Either Bart Ehrman is misinformed about many of His New Testament criticisms, or he is writing his errors on purpose.

      Have you noticed that in a majority of the books that Ehrman has published, he does not include any evidence to support his assertions that the Gospels were written late in the first century by non-eyewitnesses? He is merely stating his opinion, but there is absolutely no evidence that any of this is true. ‘

      In fact, as I have provided for you here in this answer, it is quite easy to prove from the text of the New Testament itself that Ehrman is wrong. Jesus specifically states that He called these men to not only see and hear Him, but to write and tell the world what they had seen and heard.

      It is preposterous to consider that Jesus did not want these men to write a testimony and send it to the world. In Acts 1:8, He specifically says this. The only way these men could tell the whole world about what they had seen and heard, was if they wrote a testimony and sent it out to be read by others. This is exactly what happened, the evidence is in the surviving 24,593 manuscript copies we have today of the NT, written in 13 languages, found in places all over the world.

      I have written an extensive treatise impeaching the modern, atheist New Testament scholars, who assert these ideas. It is filled with evidence and available now at Amazon. If you cannot afford the book, I will purchase it for you and send it to you as a gift.

      Here is the link to the book: “You Are My Witnesses: The Men Who Saw Jesus.”

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  2. The sad part is really a simple fact of their own human nature, and of course arrogance before God; for they simply have their own agenda to fulfill a narrative they want others to own and further a personal cause…which will make them connected, powerful, and prosperous in some cases; for they think more of themselves than they do God!

    Like

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