Are There Beastly High Priestly Problems Going On in Luke and John?

annas and caiaphas

If the Gospels make historical goofs, then it’s hard to call them reliable documents. Skeptics have been quick to point out that the Gospel writers make several factual errors, and an example of that is Luke and John’s confusion regarding the high priesthood.  Tradition tells us that Luke was a traveling companion of Paul and used apostles for sources. Surely he should’ve known better. And John was supposedly a Jew and an eyewitness. A local should’ve probably had a solid idea about how the high priesthood works.   Let’s start with Luke.  Two High Priests?  Luke 3 sets the stage for John the Baptist, and this is where he seems to get confused. Luke 3:2 reads: “during … Read more

Why Think the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John? Follow the Clues.

Just about every bit of evidence from early church history says that John, the son of Zebedee, wrote the Gospel of John. But if you just read the book by itself, John isn’t explicitly identified by name. He refers to himself as the ‘Beloved Disciple.’ Because of this, there has been some in-house debate among Christian scholars who wrote it. And skeptics like John Shelby Spong say it’s impossible that John or any other eyewitness possibly wrote it. Spong writes:  “There is no way that the Fourth Gospel was written by John Zebedee or by any of the disciples of Jesus. The author of this book is not a single individual, but is at least three different writers/editors, … Read more

Is the Story of Darkness During Jesus’ Crucifixion Pure Fiction?

Skeptics tell us that one of the reasons we can’t trust the Gospels is because they make so many historical gaffes. In particular, the evangelists tell us of far-out tales that aren’t corroborated by other contemporary historians. One of those stories is the darkness that happened during Jesus’ crucifixion, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Here’s Mark’s version:  And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. Mark 15:33, cf. Matthew 27:45, Luke 23:44 We know from history that historians like Pliny and Seneca have carefully described much less exciting events in the same kind of remote regions. But they failed to note an eclipse occurring in … Read more

How Mentions of Money in Matthew’s Gospel Confirm Matthean Authorship

The Synoptics tell us that Matthew was a tax-collector by trade. So if his version of the Jesus story shows an unusual degree of interest in financial matters, we’re given a solid reason to think that the apostle is the genuine author. It wouldn’t likely be some later, anonymous non-eyewitnesses like the skeptical critics say.  As it turns out, this is precisely what we find to be the case. Matthew talks about moola more than any other Gospel writer, and it isn’t even close. When we add up the references to money in the Synoptics, here’s what we get:  Matthew – 44 Mark – 6 Luke -22 Luke’s total includes nine references in one parable … Read more

Was Jesus Being Racist and Harsh When He Told the Woman at the Well That the Samaritans Didn’t Know Who They Worshiped?

There are some wonderful spiritual lessons in John’s story about the Woman at the Well. We learn that salvation comes to those who recognize their spiritual thirst. We discover that Jesus is the source of this salvation and that only he can answer our spiritual needs. And it doesn’t matter if we’ve marred our own lives with sin, Jesus is willing to accept anyone.  But some might complain that Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman were too harsh. They smack with religious and racial superiority. Here are the passages in question:  “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where … Read more

New Video: Are the Gospels Really Anonymous?

I’d like to introduce you to my new YouTube channel. It’s called Sunday School Apologetics. I’m excited about this new channel! The idea behind it is to do a Sunday School type of curriculum covering various apologetic topics. The first series is going to be on the historical reliability of the Gospels. Today we start with the genuineness of the Gospels. Were they really written by the traditional authors? Skeptics like Bart Ehrman say that the Gospels were anonymously written and the traditional authors like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were names added long after the disciples were dead. But is this theory right? Here I defend the traditional authorship of the gospels and answer … Read more

13 Good Historical Reasons For The Early Dating of The Gospels

Skeptics like Bart Ehrman will use Apollonius of Tyana as a challenge to Jesus’ uniqueness. Apollonius lived in the first century. His birth was supernatural. He also performed miracles and appeared to people after his death. Sounds familiar, right? Critics will then conclude that the story of Jesus isn’t special. Apologists will then retort that the Apollonius’ biography was written long after his death. It isn’t until about 100 years later that Philostratus wrote his biography. Therefore, the story we have about his life couldn’t be based on eyewitness testimony. But the Gospels are based on the accounts of witnesses.  And this is where critics will say “Oh really? The Gospels came long after Jesus’ … 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

Undesigned coincidences in the gospels: Surprising evidence for Jesus’ feeding of the 5000

The feeding of the 5000 is one of Jesus’ most popular miracles. If you grew up in church, you probably saw it depicted on many a flannel graph. You know the story: Jesus was in a deserted place where large crowds were hanging on his every word. When it started to get late, Jesus’ disciples asked him to disperse the gathering to the surrounding villages so they could grab a bite to eat. Rather than sending them home, Jesus took five loaves and two fish and fed the multitude. The young lad who shared his food became famous that day and was sent home with 12 baskets full of leftovers.  Critics of the Bible tend … Read more

A hopeless Bible contradiction? Why do Matthew and Luke give us two different genealogies for Jesus?

Early in their respective Gospels, Matthew and Luke both present to us Jesus’ genealogy. But there’s a rather glaring problem between the two records. They are irreconcilably different. Popular skeptical blogger Bob Seidensticker calls this one of the most damning Bible contradictions, a discrepancy that strikes at the foundation of Christian claims. To help me state the objection in more detail, I’ll let Bob do the talking: “The Messiah had to be of the line of David (Jeremiah 33:15–17; Isaiah 9:7), so two gospels provide genealogies of Jesus to validate this requirement. The problem is that we only need to go back one generation, to Joseph’s father, to find a problem. Jacob [was] the father … Read more

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