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Christian Apologetics
Our Dependence Upon the New Testament

By Mark Copeland

religion, articles, christianity
  1. Introduction.
    1. We have seen the evidence from unbiased sources that establishes Jesus of Nazareth
      1. As a person of history.
      2. Who lived and died in the first century A.D.
    2. We have also pointed out that such sources tell us nothing about ...
      1. Who he was.
      2. What he did to earn such a reputation that centuries later his teaching and life still have so much influence in world society.
    3. The only record that describes in detail the life and death of Jesus is the New Testament.
      1. As a historical document the New Testament is reliable.
      2. Can we trust the New Testament to be accurate in recording facts of history about Jesus? his life, death and resurrection?
      3. Can we have confidence that what we have today in the form of the New Testament is an accurate copy of what was penned by the original authors?
    4. These are some of the questions we shall attempt to answer as we examine the historical reliability of the New Testament.
  2. Reasons for believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
    1. Likely answers:
      1. Because of his miracles.
      2. Because he fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies.
      3. Because he rose from the dead.
    2. Where do we learn about these things?
      1. The New Testament tells of his miracles.
      2. The New Testament tells of fulfilled prophecies.
      3. The New Testament tells of his resurrection.
      4. Most of our information comes from the New Testament.
  3. Criticism of the New Testament by enemies of Jesus.
    1. Some say the New Testament was written more than 100 years after Jesus died.
      1. If true, the New Testament was not written by eyewitnesses, nor by the men whose names are connected with it (Paul, Peter, James, John, Jude, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Jude).
      2. If the New Testament was written in the second century instead of the first century, as it claims, then it IS a forgery.
    2. Some critics say the New Testament is filled with errors about geography, people, and events.
      1. If true, we cannot trust the writers of the New Testament to be accurate in describing supernatural events, when they were careless about describing natural ones.
      2. The New Testament would be an unreliable record.
    3. Some critics say manuscript evidence is scarce, and a thousand years removed from the original documents.
      1. If true, we have no way to test the accuracy of the copyists, who for hundreds of years preserved the New Testament by making copies by hand.
      2. Our faith in Jesus would be based on shallow ground, if it is based on a document that is historically questionable.
  4. Faith in Jesus is dependent on the New Testament being reliable as a historical document.
    1. "Blind faith" may be adequate for some ...
      1. For children who believe whatever their parents say.
      2. For those who have never had their faith seriously challenged.
      3. For those who make no effort to convince others that Jesus is the Savior of the world.
    2. If we have a strong faith in Jesus as the Son of God ...
      1. We need to understand our dependency on the New Testament.
      2. We need to know how to demonstrate evidence which supports the New Testament as a reliable, historical document.
  5. Conclusion.
    1. We must appreciate the need to carefully examine the evidence for the historical reliability of the New Testament.
    2. We must apply the same kind of tests that are applied to any ancient document to decide its reliability.
    3. Coming studies will give the "acid test" for deciding the truthfulness or falsity of any ancient document claiming to be a historical record.

creation, evolution, origins, god, genesis, theistic evolution, organic evolution, charles darwin,
	progressive creationism, gap theory, day age theory, religion, christianity, apologetics, apologetics press, firm foundation

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Published December 1995