Is the New Testament reliable?
** question #7 is somewhat related to question #6.
If we are trusting in the Bible so much, students need to be sure it is true. Three ways to know it is true: Internal evidence, Bibliographical test, and Historical test.
Internal Test – Students need to read first hand what the Bible claims about scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. It is imperative students start to see Scripture is sufficient while they approach it very humbly. Scripture is the Word.
Bibliographical Test – I would like to simply compare the New Testament books with various other books that are widely read and accepted in Western literature. Scholars have the earliest copies of Aristotle and Plato about 1,400 years after they were written. We have 7 copies of Plato and 5 copies of Aristotle. Here is the kicker: We have copies of the New Testament about 100 years after the books were written and we still have over 14,000 copies of the New Testament. The problem is no one is questioning the reliability of Aristotle or Plato. I think the fact that we still have over 14,000 copies of the Greek New Testament implies the content is pretty important.
Historical Test – Josephus- best known ancient Jewish historian. He was born in 37 CE, only a few years after Jesus’ execution. Josephus was well educated in biblical law and history. In a section of Book 18 dealing with various actions of Pilate, the texts refer to Jesus and his ministry:
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.
– Jewish Antiquities 18.3.3
My point: other 1st century non-Christian historians claimed that Jesus existed.
I think getting students to see first hand that the New Testament in the scholarly world does have some street cred. I love watching students see the evidence first hand and are floored because now they can take ownership of their faith. They have seen some of the many facts of this ancient faith which was called THE WAY.
** If you want read all 10 of the Top Ten Theological Questions Teens Ask click here