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This was the last undergrad research paper I wrote. I think it was one of my best papers, and it is certainly one of my favorites. For the foreseeable future, this will be the last paper I share in this series. Thanks for reading!
The Reliability of the Gospels
Evangelism and Apologetics
April 16, 2019
There are many objections that have been raised in the past couple centuries concerning the reliability of the Bible and in particular the four Gospels. Objections to the accounts and claims of Scripture are by no means a modern innovation, of course, but it is especially in recent centuries, on the heels of the Enlightenment and in the rise of Postmodernism, that a slew of lay skeptics and critics from the Academy have mounted their great siege against the gates of Holy Writ. Some of these arguments are epistemological in nature, but many are less fundamental than that, dealing with concrete matters of archaeology, history, and various fields of language and literature. The objections are compelling on the surface. They are technical. They are loud. They are clever and numerous. Some are easily dismissed (even by fellow critics), while others require a closer examination. Nevertheless, the evidence supporting the reliability of the Gospels far outweighs even the most compelling objections. This paper will (a) consider a number of common objections to the reliability of the gospel accounts and the manuscripts which contain them, (b) argue that the Gospels are more than adequately reliable despite the objections, and (c) discuss how the Christian and the non-Christian ought to react to these findings. The objections that will be considered and subsequently refuted are the absurdity of the miraculous and the supernatural, the ancient Synoptic Problem, the lack of extrabiblical attestation to the content of the Gospels, bias and inaccuracy in the original accounts (both written and oral), and textual and oral corruption either by accident or purposeful deception. The Christian should conclude this reading encouraged and the skeptic admonished lest he continue to harden his heart.
Although criticisms of the biblical accounts are not an innovation of modern times, there is one criticism that does seem particularly modern, and that is the staunch denial of the miraculous. From the 1700s into the 1900s, a series of “Enlightened” scholars began questioning the miraculous and the supernatural in the biblical accounts, which led to several quests for the “historical Jesus.”1James H. Charlesworth The Historical Jesus (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008). Presuming that the miraculous was impossible, these scholars concluded the historical Jesus could not be identical with the Jesus recorded in the gospels, and they sought to reconstruct who the historical Jesus actually was and what he actually did. Among them were Albert Schweitzer and S. D. McConnell, whose writings were so compelling that they nearly shook the faith even of Reformed pastor Clarence Boomsma (a key figure in the Christian Reformed Church denomination); however, in hindsight Boomsma notes that they did not make any comprehensive attempt to deconstruct the claims of Christ’s resurrection because they “deemed it unnecessary to refute what seemed to them to be the patent absurdity of a bodily resurrection.”2Clarence Boomsma, Why I Still Believe the Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 26. For a more comprehensive refutation of miracles, one may turn to the early Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume, who developed four specific bases for rejecting the miraculous: “(1) No alleged miracle has been ever supported with the testimony of a sufficiently large number of witnesses. (2) People in general crave the miraculous and believe fables more readily than they ought. (3) Miracles occur only among the barbarous people.”3Marvin C. Pate, 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus, 40 Questions Series, ed. by Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015), 28. (4) All religions cite miracles to substantiate themselves, and since their doctrines conflict, the miracles must not all be true; indeed, none can be true, by Hume’s account.4Ibid.
There are essentially two guiding principles that underly this resolute skepticism toward the supernatural. The first principle is a direct descendant of the Enlightenment, and that is the notion that the universe consists in “a uniformity of natural clauses within a closed system.”5Francis A. Schaeffer, “Escape From Reason,” in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume (Wheaton: Crossway, 1990), 230. Everything is orderly. Everything runs like clockwork, and nothing can come in from the outside to jiggle the cogs or roll back the time. There can be no entrance of the supernatural into the fine-tuned machine of the universe, so all phenomena must originate from within it. That is the first assumption. The second assumption is that of “historical analogy, which essentially declares that we cannot accept reports of miracles in the past because we know that miracles do not happen in the present.”6Pate, 28.
Working from these basic assumptions (and in some cases other motivations), many naturalistic explanations have been offered against the resurrection of Christ, such as that the body was stolen or that the emotional women imagined it or that the guilt-ridden Peter imagined it or that Jesus swooned but did not die.7Boomsma, 63–65. While there is not space here to deal with each individual argument, it is worth noting that the most serious arguments against the resurrection do not deny that the tomb was empty. To suggest that the body was stolen, for instance, implicitly acknowledges that the tomb was empty. Any argument that supposes the tomb was not empty must explain why the body of Jesus could not have been produced at the outset to silence the rising Christian movement; hence, the best arguments against the resurrection at least acknowledge the empty tomb. The best arguments, acknowledging that, still fall short of explaining what happened to the body, since they do not adequately account for the stalwart conviction of the Christians who would not renounce their faith even on pain of death.
Aside from the specific miracle of the resurrection, it is worth noting that the scholars who deny the miraculous are all Western, neither accounting for modern non-Western evidence nor non-Western thought.8Pate, 28. Even here in the West, the majority of “people have never stopped believing in, and occasionally experiencing, what they perceive to be supernatural occurrences.”9Ibid., 29. Marvin Pate also deconstructs the anti-supernatural bias of such scholars by pointing out that science itself has radically changed in the last century with the introduction of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory, which effectively do away with the tidy system of Newtonian science whereby the universe is governed by fixed, predictable, inviolable laws.10Ibid. Pate recalls hearing “a distinguished Harvard physics professor announce that his experimentations worked nine out of ten times, which in his estimation still left room for divine intervention in at least one out of ten times.”11Ibid.
Furthermore, as Paul Copan has noted, the very existence of the universe makes it absurd to deny miracles, for how else did the universe come to exist in the first place?12Paul Copan, True for You, But Not for Me, rev. ed. (Bloomington: Bethany House, 2009), 147. A closed system must be placed there from the outside, and how then is it closed if there is an “outside” to place it there, interacting with it through creation? Far from being absurd, miracles are necessarily possible by virtue of the existence of anything.
Another old objection to the reliability of the Gospels is the so-called “Synoptic Problem.” The three synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—are remarkably similar in content and even in exact wording at times, but there is so much difference and apparent contradiction that some would take this as sufficient reason to doubt their reliability. Many solutions have been proposed across many centuries, beginning with some early attempts at harmonization by Tatian.13Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 2. More recently, various “document hypotheses” have been proposed, each suggesting a different relationship between the Gospels and hypothetical oral or written sources (the most famous being the “Q” document).14Blomberg, Historical Reliability, 13–14. While these hypotheses are best considered as just that—hypotheses—and not as conclusive answers, they do provide a reasonable and credible framework to understand some similarities and differences among the Gospels. In any case, there is no reason to be resolutely doubtful about the Gospels on account of the Synoptic Problem since several reasonable, if not conclusive, solutions can be given through the various document hypotheses.
Also, when considering specific examples of alleged contradiction among the Gospels, one must note that content was not always arranged in strict chronological order in the ancient world (this is true at times of modern writings as well). Ancient writers often employed a literary or thematic scheme of arranging material that serious defenders of biblical inerrancy acknowledge without qualms.15Pate, 30. These arrangements were often driven by theological considerations, such as Matthew’s desire to draw parallels between the work of Moses and the work of Jesus.16Ibid. This would explain such discrepancies as the different order of temptations that Satan gives Jesus in Matthew’s account (4:1-11) and in Luke’s account (4:1-13).17Pate, 30.
At times, the Evangelists seem to have employed some cultural adaptation of the material in order to make it more comprehensible to their audiences. Blomberg notes examples of this in the parable of the two builders, the parable of the mustard seed, and the story of the paralytic.18Blomberg, Historical Reliability, 122–123. In the case of the two builders, Luke adds construction details of digging down deep to lay foundation which would have made the parable more relatable to a Greco-Roman audience. Likewise, in the parable of the mustard seed, Luke locates the mustard plant in a garden, which would have been unheard of in Jewish culture but would have made sense to his Gentile target audience. In the case of the paralytic, the friends are pictured as digging through the roof in Mark’s account but as removing tiles in Luke’s account, likely because of the different architectural methods of their respective audiences.
All differences in the Synoptic Gospels can be explained reasonably by these and other approaches, and so there is no threat to the reliability of the Gospels on account of apparent contradictions. Far from it, as argued by Copan, “if they were identical, this would strike us as suspicious. Perhaps the Gospel writers engaged in a collaborative plot in order to suppress any variation.”19Paul Copan, That’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001), 181. The differences among the Gospel accounts are actually proof of their genuineness.
As for the lack of extrabiblical attestation as an argument against the reliability of the Gospels, this is a blatant falsehood. First, one should note that the New Testament itself consists of multiple attestations, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, the author of Hebrews, and possibly a different John who authored Revelation. (Ironically, those who dismiss all of these authors together instead of dealing with them individually are implicitly acknowledging the legitimacy of the New Testament canon.) Second, there are many early extrabiblical sources that quote from the New Testament, often referring to such quotations as the words of Jesus.20Ron Rhodes, Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2006), 132–133. There is actually so much early biblical quotation by Christian writers that “it has been claimed that almost the whole New Testament could be recovered from the citations of those early Christian writers.”21Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 46. Third, there are several non-Christian writers who were antagonistic toward the Christian faith and yet corroborate it in their references to Christians, their practices, and to Christ himself. These include Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Josephus, the Talmud, Celsus, and others.22Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), chap. 1, Amazon Kindle. The reference in the Talmud is especially interesting since it condemns Jesus as a sorcerer who was hanged on the eve of Passover; thus, the Jews who opposed Christians were doubtful of Jesus’ character but quite certain of his supernatural works.23Rhodes, 135.
Based on the data of extrabiblical literature alone, twelve facts can be deduced about Christ, compiled as follows by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek:
1. Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
2. He lived a virtuous life.
3. He was a wonder-worker.
4. He had a brother named James.
5. He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
6. H was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
7. He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
8. Darkness and an earthquake occurred when He died.
9. His disciples believed He rose from the dead.
10. His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
11. Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
12. His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshipped Jesus as God.24Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 223.
Again, this is only the data gathered from extrabiblical literature, and it is weak scholarship at best to not also consider each individual attestation in the New Testament canon for a more comprehensive and reliable historical picture.
As for the charge that the written accounts of the Gospels are unreliable due to the biases of the authors and that the hypothetical oral tradition preceding the written accounts is likewise biased, one should first note that bias is not proof of inaccuracy. After all, when a man is put on trial for a crime he did not commit, he will most certainly have an agenda of proving himself innocent, but his bias is by no means proof that his account is false; in establishing the truth of the matter, the more important question is if he is accurate in his report, rather than if he is biased.25Williams, chap. 1. Why should the accounts of the Gospels be treated any differently? (If because of the miraculous content or the Synoptic Problem or lack of extrabiblical attestation, then please see above.)
Another important consideration is the inclusion of certain “embarrassing details” in the Gospel accounts.26Rhodes, 28. Why would the Evangelists include the detail of Peter’s denial of Christ, not to mention being called Satan (Luke 22:54-62; Matt. 16:23)? Why include doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29)? Why report that the disciples deserted Christ (Mark 14:50-52)? Why write that the women found the empty tomb first, knowing that one’s audience lives in a culture where women are belittled and considered unreliable witnesses (Matt. 28:1-10)? Strange and embarrassing details like these do not befit a fabrication or the inaccuracies one might expect from the Evangelists’ biases.
Lastly there is the charge of textual corruption and oral corruption. This is similar to the charge of bias but more sophisticated and objective. Atheist and agnostic scholars like Bart Ehrman report that “there are four hundred thousand textual variants among the ancient New Testament manuscripts.”27Craig L. Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2014), 14. In fact, the number of variants among manuscripts (400,000) actually surpasses the number of words in the New Testament (138,000 words).28Copan, True for You, 145. How can the New Testament be trusted if the manuscripts do not agree? How can we know what the original New Testament actually said?
While this may seem troubling at first to the believer, the figure 400,000 by itself is misleading. The vast majority of these variants are insignificant—changes in word order, different spellings of words, typographical errors (or rather slips of the pen), and the like.29Copan, True for You, 148. Less than 1 percent of the variants have any significance (that is, having an effect on meaning), and even in those cases, they do not compromise the integrity of core Christian doctrines.30Ibid.
Furthermore, there is no conspiracy by elitist scholars to hide these variants from laypeople as some might suggest. The standard editions of the Greek New Testament—used by pastors and seminarians—include a critical apparatus that runs below the text and details the textual variants extensively, both significant and insignificant. Even most English Bibles are careful to indicate with footnotes any verses or passages that have significant textual variants. There is nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Around one tenth of a percent of variants are “interesting enough to make their way into footnotes in most English translations. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough that no orthodox doctrine or ethical practice of Christianity depends solely on any disputed wording.”31Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible?, 27.
The number of variants does no damage to the reliability of the manuscripts; the number of manuscripts, on the other hand, does tremendous damage to any remaining charges of corruption in transmission. Textual criticism is the science of sifting through extant manuscripts of an ancient work, comparing their variations, and drawing conclusions about what the original version likely said. The precision and accuracy of textual criticism depends largely on the number of manuscripts available and how early they are dated. For example, the manuscript evidence for Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War is considered reliable.32F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981), 13; Copan, True For You, 148. It was written around 460–400 B.C., and the earliest manuscript is dated to A.D. 900, which is 1300 years after the original.33Z. E. Kendall, “Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible,” Equipped: The Christian Apologetics Quarterly 1, no. 4 (June 2015): 62, accessed April 30, 2019. http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/equipped-a-caa-quarterly/. The total manuscript evidence includes “eight manuscripts and a few papyrus scraps.”34Bruce, 13; Copan, True For You, 148.
By contrast, the manuscript evidence for the New Testament includes almost 6,000 Greek manuscripts, as well as early 10,000 early Latin manuscripts and 5,000 in other languages.35Daniel B. Wallace, “Lost in Transmission: How Badly Did the Scribes Corrupt the New Testament Text?”, in Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence, ed. by Daniel B. Wallace (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011), 27–28. In terms of sheer volume of manuscripts, this far surpasses any other ancient work in the world. Next to the New Testament, the best attested ancient work is Homer’s Iliad, with 1,757 manuscripts.36Richmond. The vast number of manuscripts for the New Testament is, in fact, the reason there are so many textual variants, for if there were only one manuscript, there would be no variants.37Wallace, 27. F. F. Bruce writes:
When we have documents like our New Testament writings copied and recopied thousands of times, the scope for copyists’ errors is so enormously increased that it is surprising there are no more than there actually are. Fortunately, if the great number of MSS [manuscripts] increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small.38Bruce, 15.
Not only is the number of manuscripts vast, but also the dates for the New Testament manuscripts are incredibly early compared to other ancient works. The earliest fragment from the New Testament, the John Rylands fragment containing John 18:31-33 and 37-38, is dated to A.D. 130–140, only fifty years after the original.39Copan, True For You, 149. This is only a small fragment, but it is an anomaly in textual studies to even have a fragment so close in time to the original. In addition to this, there are 12 manuscripts from the second century and 124 total manuscripts from within the first 300 years of the New Testament’s composition.40Wallace, 28–29. Not all of these 124 manuscripts are complete, but together they contain the entire New Testament text multiple times.41Ibid. By contrast, the Iliad’s earliest manuscripts are dated to 400 years after the original.42Kendall, 62. Wallace concludes that “in terms of extant MSS [manuscripts], the NT textual critic is confronted with an embarrassment of riches. If we have doubts about what the autographic [original] NT said, those doubts would have to be multiplied a hundredfold for the average classical author.”43Wallace, 29.
Also keep in mind what was noted above, that the New Testament is quoted so extensively by early Christian writers in the first few centuries that it may be possible to recover the entire New Testament from their quotations alone; hence, even if there were no manuscript evidence for the New Testament whatsoever, text critics could still reliably recover the text.
How is it possible that that the text was transmitted so reliably across so many different manuscripts? This is likely because these documents are reported by early Christian writers to have been read at the weekly meetings (church on Sunday).44Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 43. On account of the essential role the Bible had at weekly church meetings, it was necessary for these documents to be copied, translated, and widely distributed very early in the life of the church with all the accuracy that one would expect from their religious reverence and fervor. Here it should also be noted how quickly Christianity spread and in such an “unorganised, unco-ordinated” manner that it is hardly likely that any centralized, superintending power oversaw the copying, translation, and distribution process.45Barnett, 45. This would have been a grassroots operation with a higher likelihood for error than if it had been centralized, making it all the more incredible how relatively few textual variants there are; the Christians were painstakingly accurate in their handling of the holy word of God. (Later on, the monasteries became a further source of painstaking accuracy in transmission.)46Barnett, 46. Textual transmission is possibly the most foolhardy front for an attempt to challenge the reliability of the Scriptures, along with the front of miracles and the supernatural.
As for corruption of the hypothetical oral tradition that may have preceded the Gospels, this is also highly unlikely: “Among the ancient Jews, much attention was paid to accuracy and reliability in carrying on the oral tradition because it was by this means that customs, practices, and teachings were handed down generation to generation. Even from an early age, Jewish children were taught to remember oral material accurately.”47Rhodes, 124. Consider also that it would not have been only one person trying to remember the oral tradition; a whole community together would have been committing things to memory, greatly reducing the likelihood of error.48Rhodes, 124. (Is it likely that there would be any significant disagreement even among young children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance together?) Also, given the short time span between the dates of the New Testament writings and the dates of the actual events they describe, there is hardly enough time for significant corruption of the oral tradition. Too many witnesses would still have been alive by the time the traditions were written down who could have easily refuted any errors had there been any.
Whether on the basis of miraculous content, the Synoptic Problem, an alleged lack of extrabiblical attestation, the biases of the writers, or corruption in oral and textual transmission, the New Testament documents prove on all accounts to be more than adequately reliable, and this is only a survey of a few arguments. There is far more that could be said in favor of the New Testament’s reliability; for example, I have not written at all about the extensive archaeological evidence or the geographical evidence or the philosophical evidence or the professionalism of the writers or the testimony of the lives of the apostles or the journalistic arguments by Frank Morrison or a host of other considerations that substantiate the Gospels and the Bible at large.49Frank Morrison, Who Moved the Stone? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958).
The Christian should be comforted and encouraged by all the evidence for the reliability of the Gospels and praise God that in his providence he has given an abundance of proof far beyond what was necessary (for only faith is necessary). The Christian should take note of these evidences when conversing with those who may be skeptical, and one should not be dismayed when faced with an argument one is not prepared to answer. There is nothing new under the sun, and wherever an objection has been raised against the Scriptures, a refutation has surely already been given somewhere by another believer. When Boomsma was struggling with doubts over the reliability of the Gospels, he decided:
It was only fair to postpone any conclusions or make any decisions that called into question my Christian faith until I had learned what the responses of intelligent and learned fellow believers were to these fundamental criticisms. After all, I was not the first person to wrestle with [these] challenges. . . . It seemed only fair as a believer to draw on the resources of the ‘communion of saints.’50Boomsma, 11–12.
As for the non-Christian, he should seriously consider the claims of Christ because if the accounts are reliable as the wealth of evidence suggests, then the claims of Christ have eternal significance. Trusting the historical accuracy of the Gospels is not ludicrous or ignorant; rather, it is wise and reasonable. Since the Gospels are historically reliable, their message must be grappled with because one’s response to the gospel will result in either an eternity in heaven or in hell.
With or without evidence, both the Christian and the non-Christian would do well to remember the words of Jesus in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Unbelief is ultimately a matter of the heart and not of intellectual persuasion; not even the greatest miracle—the sign of Jonah (Matt. 12:38-45)—will convince if the heart is hardened. In the process of drawing an unbeliever to Christ, God may certainly use the informed discussions of believers familiar with the evidence, so it is good to learn the evidence and engage with unbelievers in intelligent discussion of such things. In the end, however, faith comes from hearing the word (Rom. 10:17). A believer evangelizing to an unbeliever should begin and end with the message of the Scriptures rather than with evidence or proofs, and always remember that it is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation, not textual criticism (Rom. 1:16). Know the proofs, yes, but know the Scriptures more and pray for God to soften the heart of the unbeliever.
Barnett, Paul. Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986.
Blomberg, Craig L. Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2014.
———. The Historical Reliability of the Gospels. 2nd ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007.
Boomsma, Clarence. Why I Still Believe the Gospel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.
Bruce, F. F. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981. (Orig. pub. 1943.)
Charlesworth, James H. The Historical Jesus. Nashville: Abingdon, 2008.
Copan, Paul. That’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001.
———. True for You, But Not for Me. Rev. ed. Bloomington: Bethany House, 2009.
Geisler, Norman L. and Frank Turek. I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004.
Morrison, Frank. Who Moved the Stone? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958. (Orig. pub. 1930.)
Pate, Marvin C. 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus. 40 Questions Series, edited by Benjamin L. Merkle. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015.
Schaeffer, Francis A. “Escape From Reason.” In The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume. Wheaton: Crossway, 1990.
Rhodes, Ron. Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2006.
Kendall, Z. E. “Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible.” Equipped: The Christian Apologetics Quarterly 1, no. 4 (June 2015): 58–80. Accessed April 30, 2019.
Wallace, Daniel B., editor. Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011.
Warren, William. “Who Changed the Text and Why? Probable, Possible, and Unlikely Explanations.” In The Reliability of the New Testament: Bart D. Ehrman & Daniel B. Wallace in Dialogue, edited by Robert B. Stewart. Minneapolis, Fortress, 2011.
Williams, Peter J. Can We Trust the Gospels? Wheaton: Crossway, 2018. Amazon Kindle.
Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||James H. Charlesworth The Historical Jesus (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008).|
|2.||↑||Clarence Boomsma, Why I Still Believe the Gospel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 26.|
|3.||↑||Marvin C. Pate, 40 Questions About the Historical Jesus, 40 Questions Series, ed. by Benjamin L. Merkle (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015), 28.|
|4, 10, 11, 16, 30, 41.||↑||Ibid.|
|5.||↑||Francis A. Schaeffer, “Escape From Reason,” in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy: Three Essential Books in One Volume (Wheaton: Crossway, 1990), 230.|
|6, 8.||↑||Pate, 28.|
|12.||↑||Paul Copan, True for You, But Not for Me, rev. ed. (Bloomington: Bethany House, 2009), 147.|
|13.||↑||Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2007), 2.|
|14.||↑||Blomberg, Historical Reliability, 13–14.|
|15, 17.||↑||Pate, 30.|
|18.||↑||Blomberg, Historical Reliability, 122–123.|
|19.||↑||Paul Copan, That’s Just Your Interpretation: Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001), 181.|
|20.||↑||Ron Rhodes, Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics, (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2006), 132–133.|
|21.||↑||Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 46.|
|22.||↑||Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), chap. 1, Amazon Kindle.|
|24.||↑||Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton: Crossway, 2004), 223.|
|25.||↑||Williams, chap. 1.|
|27.||↑||Craig L. Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible?: An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2014), 14.|
|28.||↑||Copan, True for You, 145.|
|29.||↑||Copan, True for You, 148.|
|31.||↑||Blomberg, Can We Still Believe the Bible?, 27.|
|32.||↑||F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981), 13; Copan, True For You, 148.|
|33.||↑||Z. E. Kendall, “Evidence for the Reliability of the Bible,” Equipped: The Christian Apologetics Quarterly 1, no. 4 (June 2015): 62, accessed April 30, 2019. http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/equipped-a-caa-quarterly/.|
|34.||↑||Bruce, 13; Copan, True For You, 148.|
|35.||↑||Daniel B. Wallace, “Lost in Transmission: How Badly Did the Scribes Corrupt the New Testament Text?”, in Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament: Manuscript, Patristic, and Apocryphal Evidence, ed. by Daniel B. Wallace (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011), 27–28.|
|39.||↑||Copan, True For You, 149.|
|44.||↑||Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 43.|
|47, 48.||↑||Rhodes, 124.|
|49.||↑||Frank Morrison, Who Moved the Stone? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958).|