It's not just archeology that backs up the New Testament

4 more reasons to think it reasonable that the New Testament text is trustworthy

This is the latest in a series of blog posts on why you can trust the Bible.

A. Initially we covered why the copies of the Old Testament haven't changed, validated in part by sources outside the Bible. These same scribes set in place standards for copying text that carried over into the New Testament as well. One I didn't mention was that the Masorete scribes also used math to check their copies. The total number of verses and words at the end of each book had to match up, this is according to J Warner Wallace's book Cold Case Christianity page 232, citing Gleason Archer's A Survey of Old Testament.

B. Next we discussed how archeology, historical events and prophecy all provide additional reasons to believe the Old Testament was accurately preserved.

C. In shifting our focus to the New Testament, last month we highlighted 14 pieces of archeological evidence that backed up what’s written in the New Testament.

Today we're focusing on other reasons you can believe the New Testament, written over a span of 50 years during the second half of the first century A.D., can be trusted.

1. Early recognition:

Skeptics often talk like the books that made it into the Bible were chosen haphazardly at the Council of Laodicea from 350 - 363 A.D. Contrary to this, documents show that the words of Jesus and books about him that later were bound together into the Bible were transmitted orally and written down shortly after Jesus ascended from the earth. There was no gap of hundreds of years between when Jesus lived and when what we consider the New Testament was recorded.

"By the second century, several of the books of the New Testament were considered to be divinely inspired Scripture: the four Gospels, Acts, Paul's epistles, 1 Peter, and 1 John," according to The Origin of the Bible. By around 350 A.D. the other books of the New Testament were accepted as divinely inspired and worthy of inclusion in the New Testament cannon.

2. Faithful transmission:

In addition to the eyewitnesses to Jesus, early Christians living in different parts of the ancient world confirmed the early New Testament cannon, namely:

  • Clement of Rome in AD 95

  • Polycarp, a disciple of John in AD 108 in Smyrna

  • Ignatius of Antioch in about AD 112

  • Irenaeus in Asia Minor in AD 185

  • Origen in Alexandria, Egypt in AD 225

  • Hippolytus in Rome in AD 220

  • Eusebius in Caesarea, Palestine in AD 324

  • Athanasius in Alexandria, Egypt in AD 325

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3. The Gospel of Luke and Acts include true representations of Roman culture, such as:

  1. A correct description of the two paths to Roman citizenship in Acts 22:28

  2. An accurate explanation of how Romans were brought to trial in Acts 24:1-9

  3. A real example of invoking one's Roman citizenship and appeal to Caesar in Acts 25:6-12

  4. A realistic example of being in Roman custody in Acts 28:16 and 30-31

  5. The geography is also accurate

4. The New Testament is confirmed by prophecy

  1. Peter denying Jesus three times

  2. Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed

  3. The church would survive and grow

  4. The Gospel will be preached to the world

  5. The words of Jesus would not be forgotten

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On a side note, time is ticking if you want to grab a copy of Person of Interest and be eligible for the bonuses. I wrote a lengthy book review here. At the bottom you’ll find not only a free chapter of the book you can listen to, but my growing list of curated videos and podcasts about the book as well.