Artless Similarities: More Evidence for Gospel Reliability

While reading the gospels, you’ll notice similarities between the characters portrayed across the different stories. Parallels between the gospels concerning character depictions are unlikely to be the result of mere chance. And these correspondences seem so casual and subtle that it’s unlikely they were designed that way. Philosopher Tim McGrew calls these ‘artless similarities.’ In an earlier video, we saw this kind of unity of character with Jesus between John and the Synoptics. But let me give another example with two somewhat lesser-known characters in the gospels — Mary and Martha. We find their stories in both Luke and John. For this evidence, I’m drawing from Peter J. Williams’ excellent book Can We Trust the … Read more

Learn to Make a Maximal Case for the Resurrection

I used to love sharing the minimal facts with unbelievers.  It’s easy to present in a few minutes and sounds rhetorically powerful. When I tell my friends that the facts I’m sharing are universally acknowledged by scholars, even those who are skeptical, it seems like I am not coming at them with something that only conservative evangelicals believe. And on the surface, taking an end-run around the Gospels seemed helpful because unbelievers tend to view them as dubious sources.  However, I ran into a couple of issues. One was practical. Let’s say I got the skeptic to hear me out. Does it really make sense to say: “OK, I granted for the sake of argument … Read more

The Parables of Jesus Disprove the Telephone Game

Skeptics frequently argue that the Gospels are not based on eyewitness accounts. They were composed decades after Jesus’ death by people not familiar with first-century Israel. And they wrote after hearing stories passed down to them. And those stories came from others who heard these stories. It’s one long game of telephone. How can we know if we have the actual words of Jesus?  One piece of evidence that goes against the telephone game theory is the parables of Jesus. The gospels present Jesus as a formal teacher or rabbi, with disciples. NT scholar Peter J. Williams notes that the Gospels use the word disciple or disciples 195 times. They also describe Jesus as a … Read more

Video: Names in the Gospels: Unexpected Evidence for Their Reliability

For a moment, imagine that you had to invent a story about people who lived in Germany 100 years ago. In order for the story to appear genuine, you’d have to give people the right sort of name that fit the time and place in which they lived. You might know Hans, Franz, Adolf, and Günter are older German names. But you’d probably peter out after a little while.  And you’d not only have to know the right names, but you’d need to get them right in the same proportion and frequency without the help of Google. This would be a tough test for your home state, let alone some faraway land. So why do … Read more

Video: The Gospel Authors Knew Local Geography

Skeptics argue that the Gospels were written far after the events they report, in distant lands like Rome, Egypt, Turkey, or Greece. They’re not a product of eyewitness testimony but a collection of stories passed on for decades. The original story of Jesus got mixed up over time, like a long game of telephone. But is that really what happened? As it turns out, the Gospel writers don’t just know 1st-Century Palestinian geography when compared with other sources, they are actually valuable sources themselves, proving the skeptics wrong. The video is just under 6 minutes long. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer … Read more

Unexpected Evidence for the Gospels’ Truth From the Names of the People in Them

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

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