Posted by Scott Palmer on 5 February 2016 | Comments


While many Christians would not say it out loud, they have questions about the Bible. There are some who might think the Bible is an intriguing book but still wonder if it can be trusted.   Is it really reasonable to believe this is the authoritative word of God?  Has God revealed Himself in this book?

I believe it is very reasonable to answer both of those questions with an emphatic yes.  It is reasonable to believe the bible is the inerrant and authoritative word of God and that God has revealed Himself in Scripture.  Honestly, there is so much evidence to support this truth we cannot deal with it all in this blog.  I will give you some sources that would be good to study further at the bottom of this article.  What I want to do is give you an overview of the material that is found in Chapters 9-12 in Dr. Frank Turek and Dr. Norman Geisler’s book called “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.”

One of the first questions asked about the New Testament is “Do we have early testimony about Jesus?”    By piecing together the writings of ancient non-Christian historians like Celsus, Tacticus, and the Jewish Talmud there is a story line that is congruent with the New Testament.  We see that:

  1. Jesus lived during the time of Tiberius Caesar.
  2. He lived a virtuous life.
  3. He was a wonder-worker.
  4. He had a brother named James.
  5. He was acclaimed to be the Messiah.
  6. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
  7. He was crucified on the eve of the Jewish Passover.
  8. Darkness and an earthquake occurred when he died.
  9. His disciples believed he rose from the dead.
  10. His disciples were willing to die for their belief.
  11. Christianity spread rapidly as far as Rome.
  12. His disciples denied the Roman gods and worshipped Jesus as God.  (ch. 9 p. 223)

In light of these non-Christian sources and references the theory that Jesus never existed seems very unreasonable and is not supported by any credible historian.  The truth here is that non-Christian sources affirm the New Testament.  It is clear that we have early testimony about Jesus from non-Christian sources that are consistent with what we know about Jesus in the New Testament. 

One of the important tests of ancient works by historians is the number of copies.  There are almost 6000 handwritten Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.  In addition there are more than 9,000 manuscripts in other languages (e.g. Syriac, Coptic, Latin, Arabic).  Some of the nearly 15,000 manuscripts are complete Bibles.  When you compare the number of manuscripts with other ancient documents the New Testament stands out.  You have almost 6000 copies of the New Testament.  In comparison to other ancient works, we have  643 of Homer, 7 of Plato, 20 of Tacticus and 10 of Ceasar.

These manuscripts are very early.  We know that some copies of John 18: 31-33, 37-38 are dated between  AD 117-138.  There are some fragments found with the Dead Sea scrolls that are dated between  AD 50-70.   When you compare the New Testament with other ancient manuscripts the time gap between the original and the first surviving copies stand out.  You have a 25 year time gap with the New Testament.  500 years with Homer, 1200 years with Plato, 1000 years with Tacticus and Ceasar. (ch. 9 pp. 225-227)

Is the New Testament historically accurate?  We know 30 of the people in the Gospels are confirmed historical people.  60 confirmed historical facts in John and 80 in the book of Acts.  It is also reasonable to believe that most of the books of the New Testament were written before A.D. 70.  Among other things, this is based on the fact that nothing in the New Testament  is mentioned  about the fall of Jerusalem which happened in AD 70.  Sir. William Ramsey of Oxford regarded as one of the greatest archeologist who ever lived examined the biblical record and concluded that the writers of the bible were historians of first rank, what he found in the archeological evidence alone so overwhelmed him that he became a Christian. Dr. William Albright the late professor of John Hopkins said there can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the historicity of the bible. 

In Chapter 11 of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” the authors talk about the top ten reasons we know the New Testament writers told the truth. 

  1. Embarrassing Details.  The tendency of most authors would be to leave out any details that might put them in a bad light.  Yet in the bible at times the disciples were dim-witted, uncaring, cowards…etc).  If you were making up a story would you include those details?
  2. Difficult Sayings.
  3. Demanding Sayings
  4. The authors distinguished Jesus words from their own.
  5. Included events related to the Resurrection they would not have invented.  Things like  the burial of Jesus by Joseph of Arimathea a member of the Sanhedrin…Women being the first witnesses of the Resurrection in all four Gospels because  women in general were not considered to be reliable witnesses in the first century…etc.
  6. They include more than thirty historically confirmed people in their writings.
  7. They include divergent details.  The fact that the eyewitnesses accounts of events in the Gospel tell the same story but may vary in detail reveals they are truly eyewitnesses.  They did not get together and compare accounts.  Just as two eyewitnesses can see the same events and tell the same story but vary is some details.  This is what we see in the Gospels.
  8. The writers challenge their readers to check out the verifiability of the facts, even about the miracles.
  9. The writers describe the miracles like other historical events; with simple unblemished accounts.
  10. The New Testament writers abandoned their long-held sacred beliefs and practices, adopted new ones, and did not deny their testimony under persecution of threat of death.

The truth is there is historical, textual, archeological and testimonial evidence that supports the conclusion that the New Testament is God’s word and is historically reliable.  It is His revealed truth to man.  If you still have questions and want to look further into the sources for this information check out the sources below.

Pastor Scott


Dr. Frank Turek and Dr, Norman Geisler.  “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.” Chapters 9-11.

Dr. Graig Blomberg. “Can We Still Believe The Bible?”

Johnathan Morrow.  “Questioning the Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible’s Authority”

Dr.  Norman Geisler . “Inerrancy.”