Proof in a Jar

What if the Christian scribes who copied scrolls of Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophetic books altered them to make them correspond to Jesus’ life?

This is a question many scholars and skeptics have asked. And it seems possible, even plausible at first glance. It would prevent us from making Jesus into a lying imposter, which seems highly unlikely, and it would explain the amazing accuracy of his fulfillment of prophecies. So, how do we know that the Old Testament prophetic books, such as Isaiah, Daniel, and Micah, were written hundreds of years before Christ, as purported? And if they were, how do we know Christians didn’t alter the texts later? [Read more…]

How Would the Accuracy of Biblical Prophets Compare to Today’s Psychics?

According to the Scriptures, the God of the Hebrews spoke to his people through prophets, men and women who were especially attuned to God and who may or may not have been a part of the religious establishment. Some of the prophets’ messages were for the present; others, for the future. Either way, their role was to proclaim God’s declarations and disclosures to the people. [Read more…]

How Does the New Testament Itself Help Us to Determine Its Reliability?

Scholars studying ancient literature have devised the science of textual criticism to examine documents such as The Odyssey, comparing them with other ancient documents to determine their accuracy. More recently, military historian Charles Sanders augmented textual criticism by devising a three-part test that looks at not only the faithfulness of the copy but also the credibility of the authors. His tests are these:

The bibliographical test

The internal evidence test

The external evidence test¹

Let’s see what happens when we apply the internal evidence test to the early New Testament manuscripts. [Read more…]

Is There Any Evidence that Jesus Existed?

Skeptics like Ellen Johnson [former President of American Atheists] cite the “lack of secular history” for Jesus as evidence that he didn’t exist.

Yet there is very little documentation for any person from the time of Christ. Most ancient historical documents have been destroyed through the centuries, by wars, fires, and pillaging, or simply through weathering and deterioration.

According to E. M. Blaiklock, who has catalogued most of the non-Christian writings of the Roman Empire, “practically nothing exists from the time of Christ”, even for great secular leaders such as Julius Caesar.¹ Yet no historian questions Caesar’s existence.

And since he wasn’t a great political or military leader, Darrell Bock notes, “It is amazing and significant that Jesus shows up at all in the sources we have.”²

So, who are these sources Bock mentions? Which early historians who wrote of Jesus did not have a Christian agenda? First of all, let’s look to Jesus’ enemies. [Read more…]

Prophetic Scrolls Altered?

What if the Christian scribes who copied scrolls of Isaiah and the other Old Testament prophetic books altered them to make them correspond to Jesus’ life?

This is a question many scholars and skeptics have asked. And it seems possible, even plausible at first glance. [Read more…]

Mystery vs. History

Who would you be more likely to believe—someone who says, “Hey, I’ve got some secret facts that were mysteriously revealed to me,” or someone who says, “I’ve searched all the evidence and history and here it is for you to make up your mind on”? Keeping that question in mind, consider these two statements, the first from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (c. 110-150 A.D.) and the second from the New Testament’s Gospel of Luke (c. 55-70 A.D.): [Read more…]

Heretics Confirm the New Testament

The wealthy merchant Marcion (d. c.160 A.D.) didn’t like what he thought was the cranky God of the Old Testament, so he removed this God from his version of the Bible. He amputated the entire Old Testament as well as any New Testament books that to him sounded like the Old Testament. We generally know what was in his Bible, and it contained much of what is in ours. What he amputated is harder to discern. The important point is that Marcion’s partial list of New Testament books in 135 A.D. affirms their acceptance 200 years prior to the Council of Nicaea. [Read more…]