Is There a Contradiction in the Lists of Jesus’ Twelve Disciples? No, The Names Provide Surprising Evidence for the Gospels

The late Christopher Hitchens said, “The New Testament is a work of crude carpentry, hammered together long after its purported events, and full of improvised attempts to make things come out right.” One example of this alleged makeshift handiwork is the names of the Twelve. If the gospel writers can’t get the names of Jesus’ disciples straight, how can we trust them with other details?  On the face of it, it looks like Matthew and Luke contradict: Matthew 10:2-4: “The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, … Read more

Did early Christian scribes really completely fake The Josephus Testimonium?

If Jesus was such a big deal, then why isn’t he mentioned by more historians of his time? This is a question that often gets asked by skeptics. The common Christian reply is that he was mentioned by 1st and early 2nd-century historians – namely Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and Josephus. This is where some critics – particularly the “Jesus-is-a-myth” crowd – cry foul. They’ll argue that Josephus never really mentioned Jesus, and if we’d critically examine the passages for ourselves, we’d admit that this popular Christian apologetic is pretty flimsy. This reply is a bit odd, seeing that even some of the strongest critics of traditional Christianity like Bart Ehrman and JD Crossan think that … Read more

84 reasons why we know Luke was a traveling companion and eyewitness of the miraculous life of the Apostle Paul

Bart Ehrman claims that Luke wasn’t really a traveling companion of Paul. In his book Forged, Bart writes: “(The author of Acts) is simply claiming to be a traveling companion of Paul’s and therefore unusually well suited to give a “true” account of Paul’s message and mission. But he almost certainly was not a companion of Paul’s. On the one hand, he was writing long after Paul and his companions were dead. Scholars usually date Acts to around 85 CE or so, over two decades after Paul’s death. On the other hand, he seems to be far too poorly informed about Paul’s theology and missionary activities to have been someone with firsthand knowledge.”  (Forged: Writing in … Read more

3 times archaeology has confirmed the Gospels and shut the mouths of skeptics

Liberal scholars and radical skeptics like to say that gospels have more holes than swiss cheese. Aside from the gospels being full of unresolvable contradictions, they also make grave historical blunders. If they were reliable historical documents based on eyewitness testimony, they’d get the details right. Therefore, they’re mere religious fictions. But in recent times many of the holes that critics have tried to poke through the gospels have been filled by the shovel of archaeology. Excavators have come to the rescue and provided a counterbalance to suspicious views against the gospels. Here I’m going to share three examples where biblical archaeology has made the critics look flat-out silly. If that whets your appetite for … Read more

7 startling historical facts we learn about early Christianity from a Roman governor who persecuted Christians

Christians wrote the gospels, so for some skeptics, that’s enough to assume they are too biased to be taken seriously. While I think the “biased testimony” objection is a terrible argument, we do have some hostile sources outside of the Bible that tell us a lot about the beliefs of early Christians. These sources obviously can’t be accused of the same prejudice and provide us with some powerful info that confirms what we read in the New Testament. In an earlier post, I wrote about what the Roman historian Tacitus tells us about Jesus and early Christianity. Now let’s turn to our second hostile Roman witness, Pliny the Younger. WHO WAS PLINY? Pliny lived from … Read more

Did Matthew Really Write the Gospel Attributed To Him?

If it could be shown that Matthew’s gospel was written by one of the twelve apostles, it would be a decisive weight in favor of the credibility of biblical history. After all, Matthew would have had a front-row seat to Jesus’ life and alleged miracles. Because of that, skeptics have challenged the genuineness of the authorship of Matthew. For example, here’s the famous agnostic Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman in an interview with NPR: “All the Gospels were written anonymously, and none of the writers claims to be an eyewitness…Whoever wrote Matthew did not call it “The Gospel according to Matthew.” The persons who gave it that title are telling you who, in their opinion, wrote … Read more

9 historical facts about James the brother of Jesus that provide a strong basis for the truth of Christianity

Do you think that you could convince one of your siblings into believing that you’re the Son of God? Unless they were three years old, it would probably be a tough sell. After all, they’ve seen how you keep your room. So it’s a pretty amazing historical fact that Jesus’ brother James, who probably wore Jesus’ hand-me-downs, later as an adult converted to Christianity. And we know that he was sincere about his belief because he died for it. James’ martyrdom wasn’t just recorded in Christian sources (Hegesippus) but by the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus. In his book Antiquities of the Jews 20.200, Josephus wrote: “But this younger Ananus, who, as we told you already, took … Read more