I apologize for any spacing, numbering, and alignment errors that occurred from copying from Word into WordPress for this blog post, but here is the first part of an outline of Kenneth Samples’ book, Without a Doubt:
Key Points from Chapter 7 Part 1: Historical Reliability of The Gospels
The Christian faith depends on the historical nature and accuracy of the unique claims, character, and credentials of Jesus Christ! – Page 91
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-18. Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Christ.
Support for the Historical Reliability of the Gospels
- 1. The New Testament documents are the best attested documents of antiquity in terms of total number of manuscripts.
- Check out this website: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html
- 5,000 individual Greek Manuscripts
- 8,000 copies of the Latin vulgate
- Without these there are still thousands of manuscripts from commentaries and sermons that can be used to piece together the entire New Testament and these are from the early church fathers in the second to fifth centuries. – Page 92
- Textual criticism exists because of the Bible.
- 2. The interval of time between the date of the original authorship and the date of the earliest New Testament manuscript copies is extremely short.
- 3. The historic statements made about Jesus by ancient non-Christian authors for the most part matches well with the Gospel record.
- He was a provocative teacher, a wise and virtuous man from the region of Judea.
- He reportedly performed miracles and made prophetic claims.
- The Jewish leaders condemned him for acts of sorcery and apostasy.
- He was crucified by Pontius Pilate at the time of the Jewish Passover, and during the reign of the Emperor Tiberius.
- Jesus’ followers reported that he had risen from the dead.
- The Christian faith spread to Rome were the Christians were persecuted and tried for crimes.
- First-century Christians worshiped Jesus Christ as God and celebrated the Eucharist in their services.
- Even though these Romans ridiculed the Christians as being morally weak, they were often times known for their courage and virtue.
- 4. The authors of the four Gospels were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ life themselves, or were closely associated with the eyewitnesses.
1 John 1:1-2
2 Peter 1:16
- 5. The Gospel writers intended to convey factual and historical information and the writings of their historical content have been confirmed to a significant degree.
- 6. The apostles’ testimony becomes more credible when it is considered that they had nothing to gain from it and everything to lose.
- They received no monetary reward or power from their message.
- They received only beatings, imprisonment, and death.
- Adversaries could have exposed their message as a lie, but they couldn’t.
- We can trust their message because they had no motif to lie or deceive.
- If they did lie and deceive they violated everything Jesus taught about honesty and truth.