What Would It Be Like for the Pastorals to Be Forgeries?

In my recent video about undesigned coincidences between 1 & 2 Timothy and Acts, Dr. Kipp Davis, a biblical scholar (and someone I like and respect despite our differences), commented. He wrote: “In this video, @Testify demonstrates that he is just as clever as second-century Christian writers were in crafting their highly convincing forgeries. If you can connect a few of the same dots, Erik, then so could anyone familiar enough with early Christian writings, no?” Now I get that a blog reply seems like overkill for a single comment. Initially, I was planning to just leave a comment, but then I thought, why not dive deeper into Kipp’s theory and see where it takes … Read more

Recommended Books on Historical Apologetics

I am often asked which books I recommend for defending the reliability of the Gospels/Acts and Christianity in general, so here is my list. It is not exhaustive, but it will definitely give you a good start. The categorized as “mandatory” are more basic, while some of those labeled as “recommended” or “supplementary” delve into more profound and scholarly content. Any item marked with a * can be accessed for free online as PDF files. A significant number of these works are downloadable from http://historicalapologetics.org, http://books.google.com, or http://archive.org. Mandatory Reading: Author Book Title Bennett, Edmund * The Four Gospels from a Lawyer’s Standpoint Lewis, CS Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism (Essay in Christian Reflections) McGrew, … Read more

Timothy’s Tale: Unveiling Undesigned Coincidences in Paul’s Journeys

Because Paul crisscrossed paths with many folks, some repeatedly, it’s quite enlightening to compare how these people are portrayed in the book of Acts with what Paul hints at in his own letters. Among these characters, Timothy stands out as a particularly intriguing figure. In 1 Corinthians 4:17, Paul mentions sending Timothy, his “beloved and faithful child in the Lord,” to jog the Corinthians’ memory about Paul’s ways in Christ. Now, from this passage alone, it’s a bit tricky to figure out if Timothy was sent before the letter or with it. In 1 Corinthians 16:10-11, though, Paul makes it clear that Timothy was dispatched before the letter was penned. He talks about Timothy’s impending … Read more

What Does the Talmud Say About Jesus and Gospel Reliability?

Christian apologists frequently turn to sources beyond the New Testament to support the existence of Jesus and verify historical aspects of his life. Among these sources, although less commonly cited than Tacitus or Josephus, is the Talmud. For those of you who don’t know, the Talmud is a central text in Judaism, consisting of rabbinic discussions and teachings on Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. It comprises two main parts: the Mishnah, which presents legal discussions and principles, and the Gemara, which contains commentaries and analysis on the Mishnah by various rabbis. The Talmud was composed over several centuries, primarily between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, but its origins trace back to earlier oral … Read more

Matthew’s Massacre of the Innocents: HIstory, Not Fiction

When we think about the Christmas story, we imagine warm and cozy scenes—Mary, Joseph, and the baby in a humble manger, angels, shepherds, and the wise men offering their gifts. But right in the middle of this heartwarming tale is a grim event. In Matthew 2:16, Herod, after learning about the birth of the Messianic king, orders the killing of all boys aged two and under in Bethlehem. It’s a disturbing part of Christ’s birth story, but not everyone believes Matthew’s account. Scholars and historians doubt this event for a few reasons. It’s not in Luke’s Gospel or any other historical records. Some think it was made up to fit a narrative, to portray Jesus … Read more

Did Luke Fabricate a Census to Get Jesus to Bethlehem?

‘Tis the season for the same old skeptics trotting out those tired arguments about the birth narratives. Here’s biblical scholar and popular TikToker Dan McClellan rehashing the whole “Luke invented a census” spiel. The story of Jesus’s birth, as found in Luke 1 and 2, is not historical….According to Luke 1, Jesus would have had to have been born, if not during the life of Herod, within about a year of his death at the latest. So, Jesus would have had to have been born by 3 BCE if Luke chapter 1 is historical. But chapter 2 introduces two critical problems. The first is that the author needs to get Joseph and Mary from Nazareth … Read more

Rebutting Dan Mcclellan’s Attempt at Debunking the Virgin Birth

You know it’s Christmas when you get your annual lump of coal with the whole ‘Matthew invented the virgin birth’ schtick. This time, it’s from TikTok’s favorite cynical biblical scholar, Dan McClellan: The virgin birth is a tradition that seems to have developed decades after Jesus’s death, primarily because of a poor translation of a passage from the Hebrew Bible…. The earliest writings we have about Jesus, the writings of Paul and the gospel of Mark, say absolutely nothing at all about any virgin birth. Paul’s really only concerned with the resurrected Jesus, and Mark’s story starts with the beginning of his ministry and his baptism. It’s not until after that that people are starting … Read more

The Weird Reason Bart Ehrman Thinks 2 Thessalonians Is Forged

For almost 1800 years, there was solid consensus on the authorship of 2 Thessalonians. It made its way into Marcion’s canon around AD 140 and secured a place in the Muratorian Canon between 180 and 200. Esteemed figures like Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr alluded to it, and even Irenaeus directly referred to it. But, in today’s scholarly arena, doubts surface. Some scholars, like Bart Ehrman, vehemently contest Paul’s authorship, presenting a multitude of rather peculiar reasons. Ehrman writes: “What seems relatively certain is that someone after the time of Paul decided that he had to intervene in a situation where people were so eagerly anticipating the end, so eagerly, he suggests, that they were neglecting … Read more

The Case for Paul: Investigating Ephesians and Colossians’ True Authorship

In the world of Paul’s New Testament letters, most modern scholars only accept 7 out of the 13 attributed to him. This leaves a tough choice for believers: either discard six letters from the Bible or grapple with the notion of possible deceit within the New Testament. The writers of these disputed letters posed as Paul, urging honesty while deceiving others. (Eph. 4:25) But if modern scholarship’s arguments falter and evidence confirms Paul as the true author of all these letters, it’s their credibility that suffers, not the New Testament’s. Let’s now examine Ephesians and Colossians, often bundled together due to their resemblances, and explore their authorship. Different writing styles? In his book “Forged: Writing … Read more

The Early Church Would’ve Never Received Anonymous Gospels

Some skeptics claim that before Irenaeus wrote his book Against Heresies in 185 AD, many different Gospels were used in early churches. Irenaeus supported only the four Gospels we have today in the Bible, saying they were special. He linked them to important figures like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to make them more authoritative. So crudely put, our current Gospels got their names from a cranky 2nd-century bishop. However, Tertullian, writing about 20 years later from Carthage, throws a monkey wrench into this whole idea by suggesting that the early church would not have accepted anonymous Gospels. Tertullian, initially a lawyer, later became a theologian and used his legal mind to challenge the legitimacy … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?