The Body Of New Testament Evidence

The New Testament is unique amongst all the ancient secular and religious books in that it has a substantial record of archeological discoveries to support it structure and premise.

If we can demonstrate that the ancient people and places, which are described in the Bible, actually existed—this provides great credibility for the authenticity of Old and New Testaments.

Robert D. Wilson, Ph.D., February 4, 1856–October 11, 1930, was an American linguist and Biblical Scholar who was fluent in 45 ancient languages and dialects and had memorized the entire Old Testament in Hebrew. Dr. Wilson was able to recite, from memory, every word of the Hebrew scriptures without missing a syllable.[1]

Dr. Wilson demonstrated that the secular accounts of 29 ancient kings from 10 different nations were inaccurate. At the same time, He also firmly established that the names of these kings, as they are recorded in the Old Testament scriptures, matched the artifacts of Archeology empirically.[2]

Today, those who have criticized the Bible for being inaccurate have eaten their own words. The secular record has been proven inaccurate by discoveries of modern archeology, while the Biblical descriptions of archeological artifacts have been proven true.[3]

Previous claims that certain references in the Bible, such as the depiction of King David, Pontius Pilate, and the ancient Hittites—once claimed by critics of the Old Testament as myths, have been proven by archeological discoveries to be absolutely accurate.

Professor Wilson Writes:

“I have come to the conviction that no man knows enough to attack the veracity of the Old Testament. Every time when anyone has been able to get together enough documentary ‘proofs’ to undertake an investigation, the biblical facts in the original text have victoriously met the test”[4]

Today, no credible scholar disputes the accuracy of Biblical accounts of ancient cities, cultures, or people. They are beyond dispute and without impeachment.

Nelson Glueck is considered one of the world’s greatest Archeologists. His work in the discovery of over 1,500 ancient sites led him to the firm conclusion that every reference in the Old Testament scriptures which refers to an ancient city, civilization, or people were entirely accurate in every regard.

In The Words Of Dr. Nelson Glueck:

“It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a single biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”[5]

The evidence presented to us by the archeological record of ancient history demands a conclusion that the Bible is perfect in all its descriptions of the historical events it reports. Dr. Wilson describes the record of Biblical precision, which accurately describes names, cities, and events of history, as a marvel unequalled by any other literature of antiquity.

“That the Hebrew writers should have transliterated these names with such accuracy and conformity to philological principles is a wonderful proof of their thorough care and scholarship and of their access to the original sources. That the names should have been transmitted to us through so many copyings and so many centuries in so complete a state of preservation is a phenomenon unequaled in the history of literature.“[6]

Those who purport to be “experts” or scholarly authorities on the inaccuracies allegedly found in the Bible should go back to school and learn the important study of Paleography and the ancient languages in which the Bible was written.[7]

Before a man has the right to speak about the history, the language, and the paleography of the Old Testament, the Christian church has the right to demand that such a man should establish his ability to do so.” —R.D. Wilson

In regards to the New Testament and the facts that it reports to us in its narrative: Sir William Ramsey, world famous historian and renowned archeologist, describes the statements of the New Testament regarding the geographical and historical references it makes, as existing without a single error.

I began with a mind unfavorable to (the accuracy of the New Testament) but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”[8]

Dr. Ramsey believed, at the onset, that the accounts which are described in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts were inaccurate. Over 100 years ago, he undertook an expedition to Asia to try and refute the New Testament, only to become so overwhelmed by the evidence that he became a follower of Jesus Christ.

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.”[9]

Archeological Accuracy Points To Literary Accuracy

Since Luke’s description of cities, names, places, and customs are perfect in their historical accuracy, it is certain that the accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are also accurate and reliable.

The fact that Luke has been confirmed as a scholarly historian of specific details regarding the history of the first century, it is certain that he also recorded for us, with the same precision, the specific events which transpired concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Luke’s integrity as a historical scholar demands that we accept, with confidence, his testimony of Jesus’ resurrection, which is the foundation of the entire Christian church.

One of the criticism’s of Luke’s account of Jesus’ life is found in his description of the census that he says was ordered by Caesar Agustus.

Luke 2:1-3 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Because no archeological discovery had ever previously verified that such a census took place, Luke was regarded in past history as having embellished this story. A later discovery regarding the taxes of the kingdom of the Roman government revealed that the tax payers were enrolled every 14 years by the use of a census. Archeology has uncovered facts which verify that Caesar Agustus did conduct the precise census described, during the period of time Luke specified—near the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.[10]

Further, an inscription discovered in Antioch describes Quirinius in 7 B.C., who was the governor of Syria, on two occasions—7 B.C. and 6 A.D.—a fact that is confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus.[11]

An archeological discovery in Egypt, uncovered a Papyrus which specifically describes the details of this census spoken of by Luke, under Caesar Agustus:

“Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.”[12]

In his book, Archeological Confirmation of the New Testament,” Dr. F. F. Bruce describes a problem that was present in Luke’s description of the Tetrarch of Abilene in Luke 3:1.

Luke 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene

Previously, there was no record of anyone called “Lysanius” as the tetrarch of Abilene during the time that Luke specified that he was there. In recent history, an archeological discovery made in Damascus, Syria, describes a person called “Freedman of Lysanias the Tetrarch.” Scholars date this inscription at between 14 A.D and 29 A.D.[13] This is the same period of time in which Luke had written of Lysanias.

An interesting discovery in 1910, by Sir William Ramsey, debunked the secular record of Cicero of the Romans who described Iconium as being in Lycaonia. Luke describes Lystra and Derbe as being in Lycaonia.

Acts 14:6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.

The secular record has been erroneously held as more reliable and accurate than the Biblical record in past history. This continues to be a common error that is made today. The facts bearing witness—the Bible is always right in matters of history and the secular record is consistently wrong. This truth has been confirmed by archeological discoveries over the entire course of human history—all over the world.

Other noted scholars such as Dr. Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White, a British historian and scholar—regarding Ancient Rome, wrote his doctoral thesis on the treatment of the New Testament from the point of view of Roman law and society.

Dr. Sherwin-White said this regarding the work of Dr. Ramsey’s conclusions on the book of Acts:

Any attempt to reject its (the New Testament’s) basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.”[14]

Dr. Sherwin-White examined the records of Rome and concluded that their own history proved the narrative of the New Testament scriptures regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.[15]

All Historical Events Are Confirmed By Firsthand Testimony

Virtually everything we believe regarding past history is because of the eyewitness testimony of those who were there at the time the events they recorded, took place. How do we know that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were actual persons of history? We read the testimony of those who saw them, heard them, and then recorded these events for us. The man Jesus Christ is a real person from history whose life has been recorded for us by the men who saw and heard the amazing things that He has said and done. There is more historical evidence for the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ than any other person in the chronology of the world.[16]

Recent Archeological Discoveries Confirming The New Testament

One of the often asserted criticisms of the New Testament records for Jesus is the idea that there are no outside confirmations of these narratives, other than the Bible. In recent years, there have been four archeological discoveries that impeach this argument by stunning evidence.

One of these discoveries is the tomb of the high priest Caiaphas who sent Jesus to the cross, as described by the four Gospels. An ossuary discovered in this tomb, near the city of Jerusalem is the confirmed burial place of Caiaphas and his family members. The actual ossuary of Caiaphas with his name written on the limestone box, proves that this is the same Caiaphas from the New Testament.

Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. ~Matthew 26:57 (NLT)

Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.” ~John 18:14 (NLT)

Second of these discoveries are two crucifixion nails that are validated from the second temple period, and authenticated as the likely nails of Jesus’ crucifixion. The reason that there is such great certainty that these are the actual nails of Jesus’ crucifixion is the fact that they were discovered in the tomb of Caiaphas. One nail was in the ossuary of Caiaphas, the other was outside and next to the ossuary.

Scientific examination of these nails has concluded that they are two of the only three crucifixion nails known to have survived history. All three nails are Roman, have the specific type of head used for the crucifixion, and are bent at the ends, the manner in which crucifixion nails were used during the time of Jesus’ crucifixion.

A Third archeological discovery comes from northern Israel where a Roman army was stationed after the death and resurrection of Jesus. A cave has been located that was used by a Roman Centurion and his soldiers for Christian house worship. Inside this cave are wall carvings of the Christian Cross, and a Christian Fish symbol that was used during the first century Christians for identity purposes, and various other Roman emblems.

In the Gospels of Jesus Christ from the New Testament, a Roman Centurion is mentioned who was a believer in Jesus. The book of Acts describes a Roman Centurion as helping to pay for the building of a local synagogue. It is apparent that after Jesus was crucified and rose from the death, a Roman Centurion began to tell the men under his command about the events of Jesus Christ and many became believers. This cave that was used by these Roman soldiers, and has survived as archeological evidence that Jesus was crucified, rose from the death, and was believed upon by a Roman Centurion who believed that Jesus was alive after He was crucified.

So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” ~Matthew 27:54 (NKJV)

There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. ~Acts 10:1-2 (NKJV)

And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.” ~Luke 7:2-5 (NKJV)

Fourth of the discovery of a mosaic north of Israel, depicting Jesus where He is described as both God and Messiah by early Christians. An inscription at this site states that a Roman Centurion paid for this Mosaic, in dedication to “The God, Jesus Christ.” This surviving mosaic is empirical, archeological evidence, that Jesus was believed upon by first century Christians, including a Roman Centurion, as both God and Messiah. This is the earliest archeological confirmation that has ever been discovered that early Christians believed that Jesus was both God and Messiah.

This archeological evidence confirms that the texts of the New Testament which described Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, are true.

There are also 121 secular references to Jesus in various historical records from the Romans and Jews who were not sympathetic to Jesus or His cause. These comments are made by hostile terms, describing Jesus as causing disturbances at Jerusalem, His crucifixion during Passover as a major upset to the peace, and that His followers claimed that He had risen from the dead.

When we examine the totality of all the evidence that exists for Jesus; His life, death, and resurrection, we have a multitude of empirical evidences that have been thoroughly examined by scientific and archeological procedures. These evidences have been confirmed as reliable artifacts that prove Jesus, His death and resurrection—during the same period of history in which the New Testament places Him there.

The 1,500 year written Old Testament record also confirms that the Jews had written in over 400 prophecies that a Messiah would arrive during the time of the Roman Empire and perform miracles to prove His identity as the Messiah, and as God.

Jesus’ story did not begin 2,000 years ago with the narratives of the New Testament. The record of Jesus’ miracles, death, and resurrection, began 3,500 years ago by the Messianic Prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in the pages of the New Testament.

The provable historical record of Jesus Christ is the best documented, most fully examined and validated record of any person in the history of the world. We know more about Jesus and the events which took place during His life, death, and resurrection, than any other person in the history of the world.

The following video presentations document the archeological discoveries of these four proofs for Jesus’ existence in Israel during the time that the New Testament described Him.

These two videos document the archeological evidence for Jesus and validate that there are extra-biblical evidences which place the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Roman Centurion at these archeological sites, in confirmation of the narratives of the four Gospels contained in the New Testament.

First Century House Worship By A Roman Centurion And Mosaic Describing Jesus As God And Messiah

The Tomb Of Caiaphas And The Two Nails Used During Jesus’ Crucifixion

The following are the resources available at this site which contain evidence to prove each of these important issues:

  1. When Were The Gospels Written?
  2. Were The Gospels Written By Eyewitnesses?
  3. Did The Gospel Writers Borrow From Each Other?
  4. Has The Text Of The New Testament Been Changed?
  5. Is The New Testament Filled With Errors?
  6. Were The Four Gospels Written Anonymously?
  7. The Body Of New Testament Evidence
  8. Are There Sources For Jesus Outside The New Testament?
  9. Is The New Testament A Valid Historical Narrative?
  10. Did Jesus Really Claim To Be God?

NOTES:

[1] 1.This includes all the Biblical and cognate languages, i.e., Hebrew, Aramaic, the Sumerian/Babylonian dialects, Phoenician, Assyrian, Ethiopic, the various Egyptian and Persian dialects.
2.Nelson Glueck: Biblical Archaeologist and President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Jonathan M. Brown, Laurence Kutler, Hebrew Union College Press, 2006
[2] “A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament,” by R. D. Wilson, “Is Higher Criticism Scholarly,” and “Which Bible,” by David Otis Fuller, who studied under Dr. Wilson at Princeton Theological Seminary.
[3] An interesting discovery in 1910 by Sir William Ramsey, debunked the secular record of Cicero of the Romans who described Iconium as being in Lycaonia. Luke describes Lystra and Derbe as being in Lycaonia. Acts 14:6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
[4] Quoted in R. Pache, The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture
[5] Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, 1960, pageg 31
[6] “A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament,” by R. D. Wilson
[7] Paleography is the study of ancient writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts
[8] William M. Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, 1982, page 8
[9] William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, page 222
[10] 1.John Elder, “Prophets, Idols and Diggers.” Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960. Pages 159, 160
2.Joseph Free,. “Archaeology and Bible History.” Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, Page 285
[11] Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Page 160
[12] 1.Elder, John. Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill,1960, Pages 159, 160
2.Free, Joseph. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton: Scripture Press Publications, 1969, page 285
[13] F. F. Bruce, “Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament.” Revelation and the Bible. Edited by Carl Henry. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1969. Page 321
[14] Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament, 1963, page 189
[15] Tacitus’ characterization of “Christian abominations” may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the symbolic ritual as cannibalism by Christians. References: Ancient Rome by William E. Dunstan 2010 ISBN 0-7425-6833-4 page 293 and An introduction to the New Testament and the origins of Christianity by Delbert Royce Burkett 2002 ISBN 0-521-00720-8 page 485.
[16] 1.Grant, M., Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels New York: Scribner’s, 1977, Page 176
2.Van Daalen, D. H., The Real Resurrection, London: Collins, 1972, Page 41
3.Kremer, Jakob, Die Osterevangelien — Geschichten um Geschichte, Stuttgart: Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1977, Pages 49-50