How We Can Verify The Reliability Of The New Testament Narratives Of Jesus:
One of the preeminent problems that I have observed in my study of the New Testament manuscript evidence, is the prevalence of false and misleading information that is disseminated by critics of the New Testament. The idea that what is written about Jesus in the New Testament is a myth or fabricated story, is utter nonsense. When we examine the actual text itself in the surviving manuscript copies, we find that every requirement for historically accurate text, honest testimony, and genuine narratives about Jesus, is met and surpassed by greater certainty than any other ancient literature in existence.
- The New Testament was written closer to the events than any other ancient event in history.
- The Four Gospels were written specifically as the fulfillment of all that the prophets had written for the Messiah, not as myth or fictional novels as modern liberal scholars assert. See the 400 Messianic Prophecies of the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.
- There are more extant copies (24,593) of the New Testament manuscripts that have survived time and decay, than any other manuscript copies in existence, secular or religious.
These surviving manuscripts were written closer to the events they describe than any other secular or religious events in antiquity.
Surviving New Testament Manuscripts Dated 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.
P46 is the earliest New Testament Codex Manuscript in existence, dated at 175-225 A.D. It contains the following letters written by Paul:
- Romans 1:1–5:17
- Romans 5:17–6:14
- Romans 6:14–8:15
- Romans 8:15–11:35
- Romans 11:35–14:8
- Romans 14:9–15:11
- Romans 15:11–Hebrews 8:8
- Hebrews 8:9–9:10
- Hebrew 9:10–26
- Hebrews 9:26–1 Corinthians 2:3
- 1 Corinthians 2:3–3:5
- 1 Corinthian 3:6–2 Corinthians 9:7
- 2 Corinthian 9:7–end, Ephesians, Galatians 1:1–6:10
- Galatians 6:10–end, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians 1:1–2:3
- 1 Thessalonians 2:3–5:5
- 1 Thessalonians 5:5, 23–28
- 1 Thessalonians 5:28–2 Thessalonians, Philemon; 1–2 Timothy, and Titus
Of P46, Romans 6:5-14, Most Clearly Describe Jesus’ Resurrection:
Date: Between 175 and 225
Location: Dublin, Chester Beatty Library
Shelf Number: CBL BP II (Dublin)
Image Type: Digital
Description: Late second century or early third century (c. 200) manuscript of Paul on papyrus; 86 leaves, single column, 23–26 lines per column. Images are from the Chester Beatty Collection.
P46: Rom 6.5, Rom 6.6, Rom 6.7, Rom 6.8, Rom 6.9, Rom 6.10, Rom 6.11, Rom 6.12, Rom 6.13, Rom 6.14, 1 Thess 5.5, 1 Thess 5.6, 1 Thess 5.7, 1 Thess 5.8, 1 Thess 5.9
Romans 6:5-14 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NKJV
- The text from these surviving manuscripts, when compared with our modern translation of the New Testament today, are virtually identical in all its basic principles about Jesus.
- The allegation that the text of the New Testament has been changed over the past 2,000 years by thousands of textual variants, is a deceitful fabrication. In fact, what is meant by a textual variant, is nothing more than misspelled words, alternative words meaning the same, grammatical errors, and different ways of saying the exact same thing.
- It is important to understand that there are two classes of New Testament scholars: Liberal and Conservative. There are significant differences between the conclusions of these two groups that result in critical results.
- Liberal and atheist scholars classify the New Testament as ancient literature only, not the inspired word of God. Conservative scholars classify the New Testament as the word of God that was inspired, directed, and composed as a direct work of the Holy Spirit. These stark differences are observed by the comments of liberal scholars who do not regard the New Testament as the word of God. This in contrast to scholars who do regard the New Testament as a supernatural composition by the Living God.
- Because liberal scholars do not view the New Testament as authored by God, they treat the text differently than conservative scholars. Critical liberals scholars analyze the text for reliability based upon suppositions and conjecture that is reflected in their comments and opinions, while failing to provide actual evidence to support their hypotheses.
- Liberal scholars insert their opinions that the synoptic Gospels were written late in the first century, by non-eyewitnesses. Conservative scholars insist that the synoptic Gospels were written early in the first century, by the men who saw and heard Jesus.
- In the first essay (When were the Gospels written), there is substantial evidence from the text itself demonstrating that Jesus intended the Gospel testimony about Him should be immediately written and sent out to the entire world.
The facts of evidence that is included in the following essays, proves that it is possible to know for certain whether we can trust what is written about Jesus. The following are the resources available at this site which contain evidence to prove each of these important issues:
- When Were The Gospels Written?
- Were The Gospels Written By Eyewitnesses?
- Did The Gospel Writers Borrow From Each Other?
- Has The Text Of The New Testament Been Changed?
- Is The New Testament Filled With Errors?
- Were The Four Gospels Written Anonymously?
- The Body Of New Testament Evidence
- Are There Sources For Jesus Outside The New Testament?
- Is The New Testament A Valid Historical Narrative?
- Did Jesus Really Claim To Be God?
Other Articles For New Testament Criticism
- The Synoptic Problem
- Historical, Evidentiary Proof Of New Testament Reliability
- Why The New Testament Is a Valid Historical Narrative
- Evidence The Four Gospels Are Separate And Distinct Narratives
- Scripture Is The Only Authority In All Matters Concerning Christianity
- 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
- Correctly Dating The P64 Magdalen Papyrus
- First Century Manuscript Evidence For Jesus
- A List Of Conservative And Liberal Bible Scholars
- The False Assertion That The Gospel Writers Borrowed From Mark Or The “Q” Document
- It Is Very Easy To Deceive An Atheist
- Impeaching The Idea That The New Testament Is Not True
- 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
- Examining The New Testament For Reliability And Eyewitness Accounts
- Proving The New Testament Is A Reliable Narrative Of Jesus’ Crucifixion And Resurrection From Evidence
- Does Jesus Live In The Believer? How Jesus Communicated A Remembrance Of All He Had Done To The New Testament Writers
- 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